A common installation error we see that can occur on all models using our air ride (excluding Softails) is the air shocks being installed incorrectly which leads to a rolled air spring. As a result, the shocks may ride poorly and/or leak a slight amount of air.
To determine if you have a rolled air spring(s), you will need to compare the length of each air spring (rubber portion) of the shock when fully inflated. If the length of one air spring, is shorter than the other, the shorter spring is the rolled one:
Although not as frequent, both air springs may become rolled. If this occurs, you can take a measurement of the damper body that is exposed below the air spring. To determine if the air spring is seated properly, you should have a measurement of about 3" from the bottom of the air spring to the bottom of the damper when fully inflated:
If the measurement is about 4", then the spring is rolled and this is incorrect:
What leads to air springs becoming rolled, is riding the bike in the fully lowered/deflated position (which we don't recommend), or installing the shocks while they are in their fully extended position while deflated, and then applying air to the shocks before lowering the jack, sitting the weight of the bike on the rear tire and compressing the shocks. The correct way to install the air shocks, is once they are mounted on the bike, lower the jack until the weight of the bike is resting fully on the rear tire with the shocks deflated and fully compressed before applying air.
What happens when air is applied to the shocks while they're fully extended and deflated is the aluminum cup can get hung up on the top of the damper body which results in the cup not properly seating around the damper body:
This causes a poor ride because the overall air volume of the air spring is reduced, which gives the feeling of a much firmer ride with harsh rebound characteristics.
If you do determine one or both of your air springs have become rolled, it is a relatively simple solution to fix. You will need to let all air out of the shocks, and then attempt to reseat the aluminum cup by hand. Re-apply air to the shocks while the weight of the bike is on the rear tire, and this should reseat the aluminum cup and fix the issue. If the air springs are still rolled, you may need to release all air from the shocks, jack the rear tire up off the ground, then lower the jack and place the rear tire back on the ground, ensuring the shocks are fully compressed and deflated, and re-apply air to the shocks once the weight of the bike is back on the rear wheel in an attempt to reseat the aluminum cup.
Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!