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This mod has been though a few generations:
MkI - Progressive Airtail shock
MkII - Extra travel version
MkIII - Actuation control from tilt lock
Details below:

Yes, you saw it first here...

If you, like me, have ducks' disease (arse too close to ground) and you own a Fuoco (seat too far from ground), then you need this.


I have installed a system which, when the bike slows down to 10km/hr (adjustable), compresses the rear shocks so I can reach the ground easily. When the speed increases again, the shocks pop back up to normal length.

I used a Progressive Airtail shock which used to be on my previous Harley. The shocks have 2 air chambers, an internal spring (like a normal shock) and a damping mechanism. It's like a spring return double acting air cylinder with a damper. The lower air chamber is the air spring, and the upper air chamber allows you to force the shocks to a fully-compressed position. I used only one air-shock because they were built for a much heavier Harley, and the damping is too strong for the Fuoco.

Here's the shock:

External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

The shock needs modification because the size of the lower air chamber is too small, effectively making the spring rate too high. So, I added an external reservoir (see end of white PVC tube in photo above), connected by 8mm pneumatic hose. The upper chamber is connected with 4mm hose.

Here's the result:

Shocks UP
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

Shocks DOWN
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text


Here's the compressor and other controls:

External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

And here's the switch on the handlebar. L runs the system in auto. Middle position is off. R runs the compressor only.

External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text.


The valve switches in at 10km/hr and the the compressor runs for about 6 secs until the pressure switch (under a side cover) switches the compressor off. At which point the shocks are compressed.


Now, you ask, how do I sense the speed???? Well I tapped into the speed pulses from the LH front wheel (some members may recall I was asking about this in another post), and I ran that signal into a frequency switch kit. That drives the solenoid, etc.

Gonzo
⚠️ Last edited by GonzoB on UTC; edited 5 times
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UTC quote
Clap emoticon Clap emoticon
Good job
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UTC quote
Hope the muffler heat does not effect any diaphram in the shock? That is thinking out of the box!
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Awesome, Gonz. Inspiring. Clap emoticon
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UTC quote
Wow, very neat. You're one clever duck!
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UTC quote
Very neat fix.
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UTC quote
Wow. I love controls... ...but maybe platform riding boots would have been cheaper?? Razz emoticon

Seriously, awesome job! Clap emoticon Clap emoticon
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UTC quote
Necessity the mother of invention, well done GonzoB, brilliant.
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Great!

So the left shock is just there as the support, huh?
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That is crazy awesome! I wish I had a fraction of your skill. Enjoy your ride!
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UTC quote
Thanks for the +ve feedback.

G03: Yeah, I was a bit concerned about that, as the shock clears the muffler on one side by about 3 mm and the tyre on the other by about the same. I can switch sides, but putting the air-shock on the RHS means it can get the bike a bit lower due to the off-set layout of the top shock mounts. However, the shock IS designed for motorcycle use, and it doesn't seen to get hot anyway.


Sushi: Yes, the left shock actually provides a lot of the springing, and I have it set to the highest pre-load. The air-shock has an internal steel spring, but it provides only about 20kgf. I make the final adjustment to the ride height with the air pressure in the lower chamber in the right shock.

There are some drawbacks to the system:
a) the air-shocks are made for Harleys and they have much less travel than the Fuoco ones, so I've lost suspension travel. The trade-off is worth it IMHO.
b) The parcel shelf under the seat is full, and I have to find another spot for my tools.
c) For anyone else deciding to do it, the cost is high. When I bought the Progressive Airtails, they cost AUD2000 !! They've probably come down a bit since then, but I doubt you'd be able to buy just one. Also, it would be really good to get a shock in the correct length, but I haven't seen them.

Gonzo
⚠️ Last edited by GonzoB on UTC; edited 1 time
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UTC quote
Very impressive work!
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UTC quote
WOW,this maybe the most unique mod Iv'e seen yet,how damn clever! This mod makes me think of Mexican Lowrider cars,next thing you know you will have your Fuoco jumping up and down.
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UTC quote
Yes, I really am a nerd.

Just to prove it,

here's the Schematic Diagram:
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

and the Wiring Diagram:
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

and a section through the Airtail:
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

Gonzo
⚠️ Last edited by GonzoB on UTC; edited 1 time
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UTC quote
GonzoB,

I wonder if other types of air suspension system would work on a 500.
I have seen a Honda Ruckus with "air ride" suspension online somewhere...
Here it is!

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UTC quote
What a fascinating job! i gape in astonishment at your abilities to modify your bikes guys! Well done...
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You shoulda just PM'd me...I did this mod over a year ago. Razz emoticon

Seriously, Gonzo...very cool and very unique!! Man, I wish you could make it over here to ride with us. I'd love to have a "modders weekend" where we all show up and just do mods and tutorials/workshops and swap stories. Great stuff!
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Gonzo, the clip that Sushi linked to never shows the bike activating while someone is actually sitting on it, let alone DRIVING it. You have GOT to get a vid of your rig in real-life street operation and post it (with a link to that Rukus lame-ass's comment page...take THAT, two-wheel loser!)
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UTC quote
Sushi,

Yeah, there are other systems available, but it's tricky to get the information about them. The key feature for the Progressive units is the two chambers.

This is not usually an issue for people of "normal" height. They don't need to continually adjust the suspension.

What you don't want to be doing is having to re-set the spring pressure (lower chamber) each time you stop/start. You could vent the lower chamber when you stop, and then re-fill it with air when you're moving again, but there's a problem. You can't do it automatically, say with a pressure switch, unless the bike is unloaded, and you don't want to be getting off the bike at every set of lights.

The Progressive units allow you to keep a fixed amount of air in the lower chamber, then simply squash it by using pressure in the upper chamber. When the pressure in the top chamber is vented, the lower chamber returns the bike to its original position.

I haven't seen any other units with two chambers.

Gonzo
⬆️    About 27 days elapsed    ⬇️
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New Addition
It keeps getting better...

When one has an on-board compressor, why does one need to carry a tyre pump?

Here's the pic:

External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

Yes, its a 1-1/2m hose with a schrader fitting on one end, and a quick-connect male fitting on the other which clicks into a female fitting on the pressure line.

The whole thing coils up nicely into my toolkit. Hope I never have to use it.

Also, for those of you with eagle-eyes, you may notice that the shock reservoir has moved to the swing-arm. When I made the original I carefully made sure I used PN12 pvc pipe to take the pressure, then mounted the thing across the bike just above the engine where there's a nice couple of brackets with a large hole thru the middle (you can see one in the pic). WRONG! There's also a lot of heat, and the pipe started to bulge...

Gonzo
⚠️ Last edited by GonzoB on UTC; edited 1 time
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UTC quote
You need to change over to a clip on air chuck. Your hand is gong to start hurting as long as it will take the compressor to fill the tire.
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UTC quote
OK Jeff,

Here's the video:

The suspension is compressed to start with, and after I get up to about 15km/hr it extends. When the speed gets back down to 15 it starts to compress again. The first part of the compression is fast then it gets slower as the pump has to work against the compressed shock.

Enjoy.

Gonzo
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UTC quote
way cool!!!!!!!!
That is way cool, the bomb dude, I love the drawings Popcorn emoticon Nerd emoticon
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UTC quote
Hey Gonzo, which model did you get? I mean if you have a part no. that'd be great, otherwise, do you know which Harley year and model it was made for?
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luthorhuss wrote:
Hey Gonzo, which model did you get? I mean if you have a part no. that'd be great, otherwise, do you know which Harley year and model it was made for?
The shocks are Progressive Airtail IAS 740-1001C 13" eye-to-eye.

Now, if I were doing it from scratch I'd use shocks with more travel. My Airtail has 70mm which is a bloody lot less than the 110mm stock. I put up with it because it gives me the ability to ride the bike much more comfortably.

I couldn't find info on other Airtails, so I don't know if they make a longer stroke one. Also, they're made for much heavier bikes, which is why I used only one.

Back to the "from scratch" question - what I'd do is design a winch system with a cable and pulleys which performs the same job as the pneumatics does, except it would use a 12V winch to pull the standard shocks into a compressed position when stopped. It would be much faster than the pneumatics, more efficient, and probably more compact. The winch could be mounted somewhere on the swingarm assy or in the packrack area.

That's a project for another day...

Gonzo
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UTC quote
Very very cool, Gonzo.
⬆️    About 2 months elapsed    ⬇️
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UTC quote
Mk II version
OK, you saw it here first.

I was frustrated that the air suspension was short travel - the air shock has only 70mm of travel, and the Fuoco claims 110mm. So I did something about it.

The new MkII Active Suspension has about 100mm of travel. I made a neat mechanical linkage to augment the movement.

Here's pics:

The UP position
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

The down position
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

I changed the side that the air shock was on because the linkage would have interfered with the muffler.

I expect to get a much smoother ride with pillion now.

Enjoy.

Gonzo
⚠️ Last edited by GonzoB on UTC; edited 1 time
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UTC quote
is that a carbon fibre linkage?

+10bn, awesome work, or "respect" in Ali G voice.
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deepfraught wrote:
is that a carbon fibre linkage?

+10bn, awesome work, or "respect" in Ali G voice.
Yep, carbon fibre with steel reinforcing.

Actually it's 3mm mild steel flat bar with 3M Di-noc vinyl "carbon fibre" wrapped around it.

Looks good, eh?

Gonzo
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UTC quote
GonzoB wrote:
Yes, I really am a nerd.


Gonzo
You may be, but where would us dimwits be without you, neat work


243
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Gonzo: who do you think you are, taking unfair mechanical advantage like that? Razz emoticon

Absolutely outstanding. I have said it before: Piaggio needs you designing stuff for them.
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UTC quote
I guess I missed this when I was offline due to the boys in my house. Damn Gonzo!
I expect to see unfolding pillion pegs from you now that activate when a pillion is "sensed" and they must have built in suspension. You've raised the bar!
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UTC quote
You should be working for one of the big manufacturers in their marketing department! Why the Hell isn't his standard on all bikes? It would sell ALOT more bikes!!!!! I find this industry so "stupid" when it comes to ergonomics. Why such a lack of adjustments? You don't get into a car and have a fixed seat, so why have it this way on a bike?!?!
⬆️    About 1 year elapsed    ⬇️
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MkIII version
For all the MV members closely following the progress of this mod (all two of you), here's the latest update:

The previous versions used a speed sensing module to determine when to compress the shock. It took a speed reading from the speed sensor on the LH front wheel.

While it worked OK, it was not ideal because no matter what you were doing below speeds of ~10km/hr the shock would be compressed. This meant that if, for example, you're going over parking area speed humps the rear end was solid. There is a manual over-ride so I can switch off the compression under such circumstances, but it seemed to be happening a lot.

So, what I've done now is to pick up the warning lamp signal that goes from the parking control module to the instrument cluster, and used that to drive a relay which actuates the compression. Now, when the warning lamp is either flashing or solid, the shock compresses.

What this means is that as soon as you power-on the back end lifts, and if you don't want the shock to compress all you have to do is apply a little throttle plus brake, which is exactly what you do during slow-speed manoeuvres.

Here's the new circuit:
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

The new bit is the box in the right bottom corner. The capacitor smooths out the pulsing of the lamp.

Gonzo, anything to get closer to the ground.
⚠️ Last edited by GonzoB on UTC; edited 2 times
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The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
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Good work.
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MP3 250 and 2 MP3 500s
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UTC quote
I have no way to say if it is good work or not but still impressed with your work on this.
⬆️    About 1 month elapsed    ⬇️
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UTC quote
I finally got around to making another video.

This time you see the long travel suspension, with the compression when stopped being triggered off the tilt-lock lamp.

Gonzo, still short.
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UTC quote
GonzoB wrote:
I finally got around to making another video.

This time you see the long travel suspension, with the compression when stopped being triggered off the tilt-lock lamp.
You're amazing! Good work...
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UTC quote
Good stuff Gonzo! Way back you mentioned you were reading the front speed sensor - I don't see that in your latest incarnation. You ever consider using an Arduino module to implement the logic? The Arduino has some "Analog" inputs which in fact will read a speed sensor as a varying voltage. Given that you could implement your compressor to determine rate of deceleration and speed to actually start decompressing the shock before you actually stop.
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Now, BJ, that sounds like the basis for another project!

In fact, with this one, I'm pretty happy with what I've got now. You are correct in that I used the speed sensor to control when the shock extended and contracted. There was a problem with this - at low speed it was always compressed and very hard on the bum (backside, arse, ass, whatever you guys call it) when doing low-speed manoeuvres (however you spell it).

Now I'm triggering off the tilt-lock lamp it's near perfect. It starts to compress with trailing throttle at about 15 kph, and as soon as you accelerate from stopped, it extends. If I need to go down a kerb at low speed, I simply give it some throttle with the back brake applied a bit, and the shock is fully extended.

Gonzo, near perfect now.
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