Lowering at the highest level
Our advice on suspension tuning
Our advice on suspension tuning
“Simply having shorter springs, doesn’t work” explains our Engineer, Daniel Boehnke. It’s one of the most common mistakes in suspension tuning. Although this form of lowering gives a sporty appearance, the handling will not match the styling. A shorter lowering spring also needs to have a harder spring rate to support aggressive driving. Not only this but the new spring rate must also be matched with a damper calibrated to the new springs travel range and stiffness. It’s an exact science. Ignoring this results in a bouncy ride and poor road holding, compromising braking, acceleration and cornering grip. In extreme situations the shock absorber reaches the very end of its travel, bouncing on the bump stop and creating dangerously unpredictable braking and steering characteristics. This also causes rapid damper wear. The moral of the story is this; you should always fit sport springs with the appropriate shock absorbers. That’s why BILSTEIN has developed the B8 damper, specifically designed to work with lowering springs.
The best course of action for sporting enthusiasts is to select a complete suspension package where spring and damper work in perfect harmony with the car. For this purpose BILSTEIN has developed sports shock and damper pairings and more dynamics focussed coilover systems. Both of which are extremely popular in the tuning scene. But which solution is best for you?
“The most expensive and complex is not always the best for everyone”, explained Marco Kunert, a BILSTEIN suspension engineer. For example “Our Clubsport racing suspension is definitely not for someone looking to retain day to day comfort. Yes it’s a road-going solution but it is focussed on achieving the optimum handling possibilities” he continues.
That’s why the BILSTEIN buying process begins with a requirement analysis. The dealer will ask a series of questions in order to narrow down the customer expectations. “Some individuals will always seek the most expensive solution. However, these products may not be the best for them. Often the specialised product lines are simply too hard-core or offer too much adjustability. These can often be specially developed for a group of enthusiasts seeking a specific characteristic, forgoing all others. Often we provide these customers with an abundance of options which can be too much for the regular car driver”, said Kunert.
However, being too thrifty can also be problematic. This can be true when only changing the springs or if you require adjustable damping for changing situations but purchase a fixed damping solution. It’s the BILSTEIN dealer’s job to make sure the suspension acquired meets the customers demand for driving dynamics and also the look. For most drivers fixed-damping suspensions like as the BILSTEIN B12 Pro-Kit are perfect. It offers lowering up to 40 mm and is a fit and forget non-adjustable solution with perfectly matched damper and spring pairs. We also offer the BILSTEIN B12 Sportline for people looking to go a little lower, B12 Sportline provides a max lowering of 50 mm. If you want to select your own lowering amount then coilover systems like BILSTEIN B14 may be for you. These offer even more possibilities to vary the vehicle height and get the optimum look and ride height setup.
If you want the ultimate driving dynamics on the road and if the suspension is to be perfectly tailored to your preferences, the BILSTEIN B16 is the product for you. In addition to the B14 features, it offers a mechanical parallel adjustment of rebound and bump settings via an adjustment wheel with ten clearly noticeable clicks. The BILSTEIN B16 is therefore even suitable for a few quick laps on the Nürburgring. Whether conventional sport suspension or coilover system: Extreme lowerings, as offered by some products on the market, should only be used for pure showcars. Shock absorbers simply do not work effectively in combination with such a short spring travel, which has negative consequences for safety, comfort and driving dynamics. Hardcore-racers use other ways to optimise their vehicles.
For everyone who drives on public roads with semi-slicks and normally would only like to drive to the next race track in order to challenge themselves in the brutal competition, the BILSTEIN Clubsport should be an example. The extremely reliable, high-tech coilover system offers a uniball support bearing made of aluminium, as well as a separate setting of rebound and bump settings: in total there are 100 different setting variations. With a racing suspension it is only a comfort mode that a customer will search for in vain. In this case, the BILSTEIN B12, B14 and B16 will offer a better compromise. For those who completely dread this, they would actually need two suspensions. And precisely this is offered by the DampTronic® option for the BILSTEIN B16. Here, at the click of a button, you can choose between a comfortable regular mode and a sport setting. As a further extra the Modul iRC® is available, with this you can control the suspension by your smartphone. You can determine numerous further parameters and even set a “auto-mode”, which actively adapts the suspension to the respective driving conditions. Thereby you are equipped for every eventuality.
However, independent of the installed suspension, for optimal results it is also important to consider other eventualities and the peripherals. Extreme tyre cross-sections can likewise negatively influence the drive properties as the over-sized rims unduly increase the unsprung mass. When chosen wisely these components can support the suspension in its work. Experienced workshops are available to offer advice and assistance to drivers.