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Old 12-03-2009, 03:38 PM   #1
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Dampers-Koni or Bilstein

I have a 2005 ST with stock springs. With the help of shox.com, I have run down and ordered a set of European Bilstein HD shocks and struts. I am wondering if this is going to be overkill. I also ordered a set of Koni STR.T units (after having 2nd thoughts about the Bilstein HD's).

Which would you run? I had Bilstein HD's before on my Saab 9-5, paired with OEM Aero springs (oem sport springs), and loved them, but wonder if they will be too harsh in the lighter car. I don't want to lower the car, and want a damper that will last. I do a ton of highway driving for work. I know the Bilsetin will out live the car, but would the Koni's be just as good, and ride better? Can I expect to get 100K out of the Koni's? Thanks for any input...


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Old 12-03-2009, 03:40 PM   #2
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defo the koni's
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Old 12-03-2009, 03:43 PM   #3
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Appreciate it, any thoughts on why? See you are in Europe, do you have any 1st hand knowledge on the Bilstein units?
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Old 12-03-2009, 04:41 PM   #4
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I have koni yellows on my fronts and bilstein pss9's on the rears on my wagon, and they are really about equal quality as far as I can tell. The monotube design should prove to be a bit more durable, but I only have about 3000 miles on the set.

In your case, it is really hard to tell which dampers will be better for those springs. If the STR.T are yellows on full soft like people say they are, I would be disappointed in them. That is simply not enough rebound for my taste and driving style. I dont think ive ever seen the Bilstein HD used on these forums... but if I had to guess they would be something like the PSS9 on a low setting like 7 or 8. That would certainly be adequate for stock springs. Possibly a bit harsh... but I am willing to sacrifice a bit of that for the much improved handling and less bouncy ride quality.

Your selections won't be adjustable, but if someone had the choice between koni yellow and pss9, I'd say get the pss9 so you can adjust compression with rebound. That is the only downfall I've found so far with the koni's.

My vote is for the Bilsteins based on the monotube design and the possibility of more damping force than the STR.T's.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:05 PM   #5
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That's interesting, I never heard that about the STR.T's before.

It's interesting that you bring it up because IIRC Koni had something somewhere about the yellow shocks being at "optimal settings" for handling while turned all the way down, and the firm adjustment is just to tune to preference, or something like that.

I was a little disappointed in my kit at first (until I used the knob) because I thought they would be really firm, but the ride quality on my yellows when turned all the way down on Koni springs is arguably better than stock. As for firm that's a different story lol.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:21 AM   #6
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I have Bilstein HD's on my Miata with the stock springs. This is quite possibly one of the most popular improvements that second generation (99-06) Miata owners do. That said, its a horrible option for first generation (90-97) Miata owners as too much suspension travel is lost on that car. I guess what I'm saying is that the Bilstein HD's, like any other shock, has niches where it works wonderfully and some where another shock selection would be better. They are designed to be used with stock length springs. Bilstein makes a sport model for lowering springs. Now, from a quality standpoint, they are impeccable. Just holding them in your hand you know you have something very serious. They are made of heavy wall chromoly steel and reek of German engineering. They can be custom re-valved and serviced if desired (not cheap). The magic of the Bilsteins is a very special mechanical valve assembly that adjusts automatically to road conditions and handling inputs. As a result, it's quite likely the most sophisticated shock in it's price range. I would have to say it's head and heals above a Koni Str't in terms of quality and potential. Whether it's a better application for a Focus is hard to say. There is so very little to go on as they have not been available for our cars in the U.S.
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:12 PM   #7
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I appreciate everyone's feedback. Right now I am leaning towards the Bilstein's. They truly are great dampers.

Geezer, I know what you mean about it all depends on the model. I also had Bilstein Sports on a Volkswagen Passat with H&R OE springs. They provided minimal lowering, about 1". The ride was much harsher than my Saab with the HD's and OEM Aero springs. I hope i am guessing correctly.
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Old 12-05-2009, 02:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPPM View Post
I appreciate everyone's feedback. Right now I am leaning towards the Bilstein's. They truly are great dampers.

Geezer, I know what you mean about it all depends on the model. I also had Bilstein Sports on a Volkswagen Passat with H&R OE springs. They provided minimal lowering, about 1". The ride was much harsher than my Saab with the HD's and OEM Aero springs. I hope i am guessing correctly.

In that comparison I'd say your ride quality was the result of the springs and not necessarily the shocks. Bilstein Sports are however, firmer than Bilstein HD's in order to handle stiffer shorter springs. If you do go with the HD's please provide an update after you have them installed and any ordering info you can share. These could be a very meaningfull addition to the OEM shock replacement ranks.
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:36 PM   #9
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Well, after all the information, I am going to go with the Koni STR.T dampers. I will be placing the Bilstein's for sale as soon as I receive them.
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPPM View Post
Well, after all the information, I am going to go with the Koni STR.T dampers. I will be placing the Bilstein's for sale as soon as I receive them.

Can I ask why the change of heart? I see nothing in any way that concludes the Koni's are better than the Bilsteins. In fact there's not that much more info on the Str'ts to arrive at any reasonable conclusion on how good they are. If it were me I 'd go with the Bilsteins.
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