Touratech Extreme Shock Product Review
By Keith Dowdle
If you’re an adventure rider, you probably already know about Touratech. They’ve been making high-quality parts and accessories for decades, and while they make items for a wide range of motorcycles, their specialty lies in the adventure market. In 2012, after years of selling other aftermarket suspension brands, they decided to take their vast knowledge of adventure motorcycles and build their own suspension that was focused strictly on ADV bikes. The result is highly specialized suspension engineered by adventure motorcyclists for adventure motorcyclists. With a little help from Tractive, Touratech now offers a comprehensive line of suspension components for just about every adventure bike on the market today, including plug-and-play options for models that come equipped with active and semi-active suspension. We purchased their top-of-the-line Extreme shock for the Honda Africa Twin and put it to the test.
The Lowdown on the Touratech Extreme Shock:
Stand-Out Feature: Top-level fully adjustable suspension with high- and low-speed damping settings
Rider Analysis Touratech Extreme Shock:
Upgrading your suspension is by far the most impactful performance improvement you can make to a stock motorcycle. When you’re ready to upgrade, there are several key features that you want to be certain to get in your upgraded components. First and foremost, you want as much adjustability as possible. From there, pay attention to spring rates, compression and rebound, and high- and low-speed settings. High- and low-speed adjustability allows you to fine-tune the suspension so that it performs perfectly in every situation. The Touratech Extreme shock offers all of that, along with expert tuning from staff members at Touratech USA.
We ordered our components online, where the process starts by answering a few questions: your weight, what type of riding you do, how much gear you carry, and how often you ride two-up. Once all of this was calculated, Touratech USA installed a spring heavy enough to support my needs and shipped the parts to me. The installation was straightforward, and within a couple of hours I was ready to begin the first step of properly adjusting my new suspension by setting the sag.
The Extreme shock offers 15mm of preload adjustment—almost double what the factory shock has—so I’ll have plenty of adjustment when we’re two-up on long trips and fully loaded. Setting the other adjustments is a matter of trial and error. The setup was pretty good right out of the box, but I knew that with a little work I could make it perfect. I’ve upgraded the suspension on every motorcycle that I’ve ever owned—it’s that important to me—but the feeling on the first upgraded ride always surprises me. It’s like you’re riding a completely new machine. This was certainly the case with the newly installed Touratech components: the bike is so much livelier and more predictable, especially in the turns. Soft factory suspension tends to allow for way too much “push” in turns. You don’t realize how much it’s actually happening until you experience the same bike with upgraded suspension. With the new suspension installed, the bike goes exactly where you tell it to go and the front is planted and predictable.
The Touratech Extreme shock also offers position-dependent compression dampening, which prevents the shocks from bottoming out on big harsh bumps. This is a feature that is especially important for ADV riders carrying heavy loads like camping gear on long expeditions. As I experimented with the compression and rebound settings, the feel of the machine improved, and within a couple of hours I felt like I had it right. Riding off-road or on the street, the improvements are so dramatic that it’s worth every penny of the investment.
Speaking of the investment, Touratech offers lots of options to choose from, and pricing varies widely based on features: limited manual adjustment vs. electronic damping, preload adjustments with additional two-way manual compression adjusters, and more. Depending on your budget, you can simply purchase a new spring for your current shock or go all the way with their Extreme shock.
The same is true for the front end; you can choose springs only, like I did, or a complete conversion to cartridge forks, depending on the make and model of your machine. They also offer options for lowering your machine if you’re vertically challenged. The bottom line is, you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to get better suspension, and once you experience really great suspension.