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It ain't how many shocks, but the quality of the ones you got. Early twin shocks were of low quality. Performance was inconsistent between a pair of shocks. Combined with spindly swing arms there were all kinds of handling problems. Girling sold 'matched' pairs for extra dollars.

Replacing low quality stock shocks with high quality aftermarket units was one of the first things a serious rider would do. The rumour was that japanese shocks of the 70s used fish oil for a damping medium. Any damping ability they had usually disappeared after 5000 miles or so.

It costs as much to build a single shock as it does to build two, all other things being equal, which is probably the biggest reason that single shocks are so popular with bike makers today.
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