I installed my new Cogent Dynamics "Moab" shock on my A17 this morning and took it for a shakedown cruise.
I just got home from riding about 150 miles of combined freeway, city streets and LOTS of bumpy twisty goat trail roads (Alpine Road, Stage Road, Tunitas Creek Road, Lobitos Creek Road, etc.). I haven't ridden it on dirt yet. The rear feels planted all the time. Accelerating out of bumpy corners, the rear has this "hooked up" feel all the time, no matter how rough the surface.
There is one freeway bump that I always use as a test for suspension... coming from I280 toward downtown SF, there is an overpass over Highway 101. Just as the overpass begins there is a big bump where the surface you are on is lower than the onramp (feels like an inch or more). SF locals will probably know the bump I am talking about. I generally hit it at about 65-70MPH.
On bikes with unsorted rear suspension (like a KLR with stock shock adjusted any way you want to), this particular bump will slam you pretty hard with the sharp edged force, and will cause the suspension to first bottom (hitting the bump stop) and then rebound violently, slapping you in the butt with the seat. The overall geometry and composure of the motorcycle is extremely disturbed by this event.
I hit it today on the way home with the Cogent Dynamics Moab shock... THUMP! That was it. It sucked it up, no big rebound event, and the motorcycle was not upset by it. Now it doesn't make big bumps disappear. You know you hit something. The difference is the way the rest of the motorcycle behaves during and immediately after the event. With the CD shock, it always feels composed.
The rear is now so good that it really shows how harsh the front is. I currently have it set up with Progressive springs, 12wt oil and an Eagle Mfg fork brace. This was also the first long test ride for the fork brace which I only installed late last week and hadn't ridden yet. The oil is too heavy, that is clear. The forks are very harsh on sharp fast impacts, but still pogo on slower stuff. I couldn't really tell what was so bad before putting the shock on, but now it's clear the front needs work. I definitely need to install the Race Tech cartridge emulator and lighter oil. At that point the front forks will likely be about as good as I can make them short of swapping them for better fork legs, which I am not going to do.
The Eagle fork brace made the front end way more stable though, in spite of the very harsh damping due to the heavy oil. High speed sweepers have lost that "wandering" feeling. Grooved concrete freeway surfaces don't upset the front and make it gently oscillate like it used to. Cornering on bumpy surfaces, the screwed up damping can be felt, but the wheel still tracks true.
I may experiment with a couple clicks less damping in the rear just to feel how it behaves. Rick at Cogent Dynamics set the shock to 10 clicks out which was his best guess from my description of my riding habits, but there is always room for fine tuning (and this shock actually has a control that WORKS).
Keep in mind that these shocks are individually built by Rick and tuned for YOU and your weight and riding habits. This is not an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all shock like the Progressive. Rick says there are only about 15 of them out there right now.
Overall, my feeling is that this shock is WELL worth the price. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner!