Best Motorcycle Air Ride Systems – 2021 Review

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Motorcycle systems have been evolving over the years. As a result, motorcycle owners now have an option for air suspension systems.

These systems offer easy fine-tuning, smoother rides, and optimal performance of the bike. Below is a guide to motorcycle air ride systems, including reviews of the best ones.

Our Top Picks for Motorcycle Air Ride Systems

  • Smooth action
  • Complete package
  • Easy to install
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  • Ride lower
  • Versatile kit
  • Durable construction
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  • Best for the Money
  • Easy adjustments
  • Versatile kit
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Comparison of the Best Motorcycle Air Ride Systems

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Reduced friction with smooth action of rods
  • Everything included for a complete installation
  • Quick and easy installation option
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  • Height adjustment air shocks included
  • Can be used with a wide range of models
  • Made from strong and durable materials
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  • Best for the Money
  • Quick and easy height adjustment option
  • Can be used with a wide range of models
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  • DOT rated fittings for much better safety
  • Air line made from reinforced nylon materials
  • 2-way toggle switch included for ease of use
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  • Will fit on all Harley Bagger 2000 to 2013 models
  • Shortened inner springs for a smoother ride
  • Made from strong materials for improved durability
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What Makes a Great Motorcycle Air Ride System?

Since there are many options of air suspension systems to choose from, when you know what you are looking for, it is much easier to narrow down and identify the most suitable air ride for your motorcycle. Below are some key features to look out for in an air ride system.

Ease of Adjustability

The best motorcycle air ride systems can be easily fine-tuned or adjusted. While most air suspension can be controlled with buttons that are installed at the handlebar, others can be controlled with a remote or an app from the phone

Has Shock Absorbers

Although not all air ride suspensions have shock absorbers and struts, those that have them offer a smoother ride and better handling.

Comes As a Complete Kit

The motorcycle air ride system you consider should have all the parts and components necessary for installation and optimal functioning. Otherwise, you will incur the extra cost of buying the missing parts, and it may not be easy to find parts that are a match. If you prefer installing the air ride system yourself, the kit must come with an installation manual.

Offers Adequate Suspension Sag

Suspension sag refers to the volume of compression that the air spring offers when the load is applied on the bike’s seat at a neutral position. The more the suspension sag, the better the handling and the smoother the ride on rough roads.

Quick Take - Best Motorcycle Air Ride Systems

Hoping to cut to the chase? Below are the three best motorcycle air ride systems:

  1. Monroe MA785 Max-Air Adjust Shock Absorber
  2. XFMT Adjustable Rear Air Ride Suspension Kit
  3. XFMT Rear Air Ride Suspension Kit

Review Of the Best Motorcycle Air Ride Systems

Below you will find several reviews of some of the best motorcycle air ride systems along with the information you need when trying to make a purchasing decision and narrow down your choices.

Monroe MA785 Max-Air Adjust Shock Absorber

PROS

  • Sold at an affordable price
  • All-weather fluid to reduce friction
  • Simple design for easy installation
  • ½ inch piston for precise performance
  • Improved valving range for comfortable riding

CONS

  • Have a short life span
  • Do not have a warranty

What Recent Buyers Report

According to most reviews, these shock absorbers work well when they are not defective. However, there have been complaints about the shocks leaking, especially at the welded joints. Other previous buyers reported that the bushings did not fit as expected, and they have had to either replace or adjust them

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Max air adjust shock absorber contains all-weather fluid that reduces friction and ensures smooth rod reaction. Its design incorporates a ½ inch piston rod that offers sturdy and precise performance.

The system’s valves are fully displaced for optimal compression and smoother, comfortable rides. The shock absorber design is quite simple and straightforward to install. This product is not a complete air suspension system, and you would need to buy the other parts separately.

Bottom Line

These shock absorbers are among the best air ride systems in the lower price range.  They have a simple design and are easy to install. However, previous customers report that the shock absorbers work well shortly after buying, but they soon begin to have air leakage issues. Monroe does not offer a warranty on this product.

XFMT Adjustable Rear Air Ride Suspension Kit Compatible with Harley Davidson Harley Touring Bagger Electra Street Road Glide Road King 1994-2020

PROS

  • Easy to adjust
  • Sold at an affordable price range
  • Comes with clear installation instructions
  • Comes as a complete air ride suspension kit
  • Compatible with a wide range of Harley 1994-2020 motorcycles

CONS

  • Slow compressor
  • Low quality and numerous complaints of defective parts

What Recent Buyers Report

This air ride suspension kit is quite easy to install once you follow the manual's instructions. However, there are complaints about the wires not being color-coded, which makes installation a bit challenging. There are reported cases of faulty air compressors purge valves either straight out of the box or after short use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The XFMT adjustable rear air ride suspension comes as a complete air ride system kit with all the parts and accessories necessary for installation and optimal functioning.

It is compatible with a wide range of motorcycles, including all Harley Touring Bagger, Electra Glide, Street Glide, and Road King 1994-2020 models. It also comes with a detailed and easy to follow instructions manual.

The kit is designed to replace the stock touring shocks in your motorbike with height-adjustable air shocks. The air suspensions have 9.64 inches collapsed height suspension and 14.17 inches fully extended height.

Once installed, this kit offers you an option to ride on zero-wheel air pressure without rubbing. This means that in the event of a tire puncture, you can still keep riding.

Bottom Line

This air ride suspension system is fairly priced. It is a complete kit with all the necessary parts and accessories for installation. It offers the basic features of a standard rear air ride suspension system. However, it is not as durable as its pricier counterparts.

XFMT Rear Air Ride Suspension Kit W/Air Tank For Harley Touring Road King Street Electra Glide 1994-2020

PROS

  • Comes with an air tank
  • Water and dustproof IP54 rated
  • Sold at an affordable price range
  • Comes as a complete air ride suspension kit
  • Compatible with a wide range of Harley 1994-2020 motorcycles

CONS

  • Air leakage issues
  • Numerous complaints about defective parts

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers like that this suspension system comes with an instructions manual and is easy to install.  However, in some instances, motorcycle owners had to adjust fittings. There are numerous complaints about the air leak.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This suspension kit is similar to the XFMT rear air ride suspension, only that it comes with an air tank. It is sold on Amazon by the manufacturer as a 100% brand new product. It is compatible with most Harley 1994-2020 motorcycles.

The air suspension offers height adjustment with a fully collapsed height of 9.64 inches and 14.17 inches when fully extended. It is IP54 rated as waterproof and dustproof. The suspension unit comes with an air tank, which allows you to fill the compressor with air within a few seconds

Bottom Line

While the XFMT rear air ride suspension with an air tank offers a faster compression than the one without, the compressor is still significantly slow. This air ride kit is easy to install if all the parts fit. However, some parts are not a good match in some cases, and you have to adjust or purchase others.

HornBlasters Motorcycle Air Ride Modification Kit

PROS

  • Powered by Viair 98C
  • Has a 2-way toggle switch
  • Small, compact, yet powerful
  • ¼ inch valve controls airflow with precision
  • Compatible with most shock absorbers and struts on the market

CONS

  • Does not come with struts/shocks fittings       
  • Contain chemicals that can cause cancer and congenital disabilities

What Recent Buyers Report

It is easy to install and works well to offer adequate suspension. However, if you are using it with the Monroe MA785s, their air fittings are incompatible (Hornblaster -1/4’ and Monroe MA785s 1/8’). Therefore, you would have to buy reducers or compatible air fittings.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Viair 98C powers this motorcycle air suspension. It has a ¼ inch valve, a 2-way toggle switch, and reinforced nylon airline. The ¼ inch valve precisely controls the amount of airflow into the compressor for optimal suspension.

The HornBlasters motorcycle air ride modification kit comes with a DOT rated fitting, but the shocks do not have fittings. It is a small yet powerful air suspension with a 130psi air compressor. The kit is designed to operate without an air tank. It is compatible with the most popular shock absorber struts on the market, including the Monroe MA785.

Bottom Line

Overall, the HornBlasters motorcycle air ride modification kit provides adequate suspension. However, it is not a complete air ride suspension kit as it does not come with shocks fittings. It is compatible with most shocks/struts on the market, but you might need to find compatible air fittings.

American Suspension AR-­70/41A Fork Tube Air Ride Kit for 2000-2013 Harley Davidson Bagger

PROS

  • Made in the US
  • Comes with installation instructions
  • The kid has air pistons, bushings, and seals
  • Offers an effective way to customize air ride system
  • Compatible with the Harley Davidson Bagger and street Glide 2000-2013

CONS

  • A bit pricey
  • It is not a complete air ride suspension kit

What Recent Buyers Report

This kit comes with straightforward instructions; therefore, it is easy to install.  It offers adequate suspension and is not noisy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The AR -70/41A is designed to add air suspension to bikes with 41mm front fork tubes. It effectively turns the American Suspension short neck triple tree kit into a custom air ride system.

It would also work well as an add on to the rear air ride system.  It is a simple kit that is easy to install. It is compatible with the Harley Davidson Bagger and Street Glide 2000-2013 motorcycles.

Bottom Line

The American Suspension AR 70/41A is a fork tube air ride kit for converting 41mm front fork American suspension short neck triple tree kit into a custom air ride system. It is easy to install and works well.

Are Motorcycle Air Ride Systems Universal?

No. different motorcycle air ride systems are built to be compatible with specific motorcycle makes and models. Amazon and other online stores provide a page where you can check whether your bike is compatible with the particular air suspension system you are considering.

What is Air Ride? How Does Air Ride Work?

A motorcycle air ride is an air suspension system that utilizes inflatable air springs to offer spring and rear seat height adjustability. Most air ride systems incorporate valves, air spring bags made from rubber, and airlines that use air reservoir and air compressor mechanism to offer suspension. When pressurized with air, the spring bag provides a spring motion.

When the air suspension is pumped up to maximum, it elevates the back of the seat and offers a firm feel of the suspension. On the other hand, when the suspension is compressed halfway, it offers a smooth and soft ride. When it is completely lowered, it improves stability and handling. 

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Below are some factors to consider when buying an air ride for your motorcycle:

Compatibility With Your Motorcycle

Most online stores provide you with an option to provide your motorcycle's make and model to determine whether the particular air ride is a good fit. Alternatively, you could contact your motorcycle’s manufacturer’s customer support to determine whether they have any air ride system recommendation for your bike’s model.

Budget

There is a wide range of air ride suspension systems at different price points. While some high-end options offer more sophisticated features and capabilities, mid-range options provide optimum performance.

In most cases, cheaper air rides work well initially but do not last long. Do market research to find out which air-ride systems are compatible with your bike and are available in different price ranges.

Analyze their features and then determine which ones offer you the features you want and are within your budget.

Customer Reviews

Check various review platforms to get a sense of previous customers' experience with the various air ride systems. Go for products that have many positive reviews and an overall high rating.

Conclusion

Having the right air ride system for your bike and ensuring it is installed properly will offer you a smoother ride and better handling. Whichever air ride system you choose, ensure that it comes as a complete kit, offers adequate suspension sag, and is easy to adjust. With so many options to choose from, go for the air ride with the key features you want, good reviews, and is within your budget.

People Also Ask

Below are answers to some of the most common air ride suspension FAQs.

How Much is Air Ride Suspension?  

Air ride suspension kits’ prices range from $100 up to $1600.  The cheaper ones offer only the basic features, and in most cases, do not last too long. On the other hand, the high-end ones are more sophisticated and can last for more than 10 years.

How Does Air Ride Work on a Motorcycle?

Air ride systems use pressurized air to offer suspension. In motorcycle air ride systems, the compressor pumps air into the air springs. The air springs inflate, raising the chassis from the axle. You can adjust the height of the suspension and, consequently, your rear seat's height to fit your preferred seat position load capacity.

How Much Air Do I Put In My Harley Shocks?

The manufacturer recommends that you do not exceed 50psi as greater airline pressure may damage the shocks’ components. However, you can adjust the air pressure (as long as it remains below 50psi) to suit your preferred seat comfort and accommodate varying load conditions. Ensure to check for air leaks on the rear air suspension system.