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Comparison between my turbo’ed NSX and near stock.

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Subtitle: should I change my suspension from Bilsteins on lower perch and stock springs, to the Sakebomb Öhlins?

I had the opportunity to drive a local owner’s Kaiser Silver NSX yesterday, and he drove mine. It’s mostly stock other than that he has the Sakebomb-modified FPSpëc Öhlins DFV coilovers in Grand Touring form. I am considering this setup for my own car, which is the main reason I drove Gary’s car. It’s the first opportunity I’ve really had to compare a nearly stock car to my SOS twin-turbo’ed car with SOS Sport 350 clutch and Bilstein shocks/stock springs simultaneously. I wrote down my thoughts fairly quickly so I wouldn’t forget them.

Review is split into four parts, clutch, power, suspension, exhaust, as those are the big differences.

1. Clutch. The SOS Sport 350 is advertised as having “10% more pedal effort” than stock. In fact, the only real difference I found in the feel between the two was that the clutch biting point was significantly higher with Gary’s stock clutch than mine. This led to much hilarity initially as I revved Gary’s engine as I was expecting a faster bite, and when he drove my car, he stalled a couple of times. Could install differences account for the difference in bite point? Was a quick adjustment, though.

Pedal effort was really not very different between the two. The Sport 350 was also more “on-off” in first gear.

In any case, if you are considering a Sport 350 clutch for your high-power build, don’t be concerned that you’ll need a “leg day”. I was told to expect clutch chatter with this clutch. I’ve got over 2000 miles on the clutch now, and I have had absolutely no chatter. Overall, I’m happy with the clutch.

2. Power. Not much to say here. It was enjoyable watching Gary’s response to his first acceleration onto the highway in my car, though! He’ll have to post up his own impression, but the experience of being in my car with turbos is just as fun from the driver’s seat as from the passenger’s seat. I don’t really notice much in the way of turbo lag. Bottom line is that a NSX with FI is a completely different car from a NSX without.

3. Suspension. This comparison is complicated because Gary has stock wheels (16 front, 17 rear), different tires on front and rear, I have 17-18 with Pirelli Zero Nero GTs, and because I am not a suspension expert.

Just as a note, the Swift springs that come with the Sakebomb Öhlins system are 8 kg/mm front and 6 kg/mm rear, vs my stock 97-05 springs (3.5 kg/mm front and 4 kg/mm rear). What I could tell immediately was that on expansion joints and tarmac strips in Gary’s car, the ride was noticeably more compliant. By that, I mean that the damping seems much better for small impacts and less of the resulting vibration was transmitted up the steering column. I’m not well enough trained to determine how much is from Gary’s higher-profile tires, and how much from the suspension. However, the Öhlin DFVs are known to have a high-quality long-stroke damper.

When turning, I noted much less body lean than in my car with the Bilsteins, and also much less understeer. I suspect this would translate to reduced roll, or at least better body control, in the turns on a track.

My wife would love the ride in Gary’s car for certain.

The question is, it is $2k better than KWV3s? I’ve seen many comments indicating that the quality is that much better, as well as the result, a suspension system that is great for enthusiastic street driving (99% of my car’s use) that is also good for occasional track use.

Sorry, this part of the comparison may not be the most helpful, but I hope it helped someone.

4. Exhaust, I have an old YouTube video describing the difference between stock and my current Pride Lightweight setup. Essentially, the Pride Lightweight has a much, much deeper tone and there is some drone at around 2500 rpm. Since I don’t generally run my NSX at 2500 rpm, I don’t hear the drone.

I hope this comparison helps someone who is considering a change. I am thankful to Gary for allowing me to drive his car!

My car is on the left, Gary’s is on the right.

2fcbc0dbb2c26a33797a8aef210beb7a.jpg
 
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Nice writeup! If you're considering the Ohlins, I'd also take a look at the JRZ. Similar comfort to the Ohlins/KW, but excellent quality and durability.

Same question as jwmelvin. The 1 and 2 full kits are similar in price to the Öhlins, but the Pro setup is significantly more. I’ve heard only good quality stories with the Öhlins, are the JEZ that much better in quality, and why? Thanks.
 
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Does that mean you think JRZ quality and durability are better than Öhlins?

Same question as jwmelvin. The 1 and 2 full kits are similar in price to the Öhlins, but the Pro setup is significantly more. I’ve heard only good quality stories with the Öhlins, are the JEZ that much better in quality, and why? Thanks.

I think the Ohlins DFV damper itself is of very high quality. I'm just not convinced that Sakebomb is at the same level as JRZ in terms of suspension tuning/development. My understanding is that Sakebomb pieced together this kit by taking an off-the-shelf DFV damper and getting it to physically fit the NSX's suspension by using their own mounting hardware and brackets. The JRZ dampers are built and tuned specifically for the NSX by JRZ, who needs no explanation as an elite-level motorsports suspension company with a large customer base of professional race teams. If you guys are just looking for ride comfort and durability, then I'm sure the Sakebomb suspension will be great. But, if you plan to use your NSX on the racing circuit, the JRZ are on another level. I put them with Moton, MCS, Penske, Sachs and Bilstein.

For roughly equal money, I would buy a set of JRZ RS One and call it a day. But, I have a NA2 NSX-R suspension, so I don't need to do that. :D
 
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[MENTION=18194]Honcho[/MENTION] thank you for that insight, that’s really helpful. Decisions, decisions....
 
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I think the Ohlins DFV damper itself is of very high quality. I'm just not convinced that Sakebomb is at the same level as JRZ in terms of suspension tuning/development. My understanding is that Sakebomb pieced together this kit by taking an off-the-shelf DFV damper and getting it to physically fit the NSX's suspension by using their own mounting hardware and brackets. The JRZ dampers are built and tuned specifically for the NSX by JRZ, who needs no explanation as an elite-level motorsports suspension company with a large customer base of professional race teams. If you guys are just looking for ride comfort and durability, then I'm sure the Sakebomb suspension will be great. But, if you plan to use your NSX on the racing circuit, the JRZ are on another level. I put them with Moton, MCS, Penske, Sachs and Bilstein.

For roughly equal money, I would buy a set of JRZ RS One and call it a day. But, I have a NA2 NSX-R suspension, so I don't need to do that. :D


Dont forget about the Ohlins TTX line. They are their top tier suspension.
 

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I can only be of limited help here but since you're looking for feedback... Here goes.

I honestly hated the DFVs in my S2000. So much so that it's not something I want to try on the NSX. However most of the issue was that the rear travel was so low and with little droop. As a novice, I would welcome a 1 way knob, but if you're willing to learn and invest the time to test more damping adjustments is so helpful.

The JRZ RS Pros on my car is honestly probably my top 3 favorite mods on my car of all time but you need to invest the time to get them to you liking. I wish I had the 4 ways. Enough said about that.

I have been several cars with KWV3s. I also respect many friend's positive opinions of them. Would I trade? No.

Best of luck in your search. Damping is probably the toughest to get online feedback on. Loudest and plentiful voices don't count.

Cost/value proposition is tempting. Branding can be tempting (i.e. "Grand Touring") but in this regard, in my experience, you really get what you pay for.
 
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RYU

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P.s. I'm running the 2005 NSX-R spring rates. If you look them up, they are stiff AF yet so comfy and confidence inspiring once I narrowed down my settings. Admittedly, it took me a while and they are still not optimal I'm sure. I need someone like Billy to eek or the extra 20%
 
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If my memory is correct the RS Pro are mono tube while the RS 1 and RS 2 are not?

You are correct. I’ve added Science of Speed’s page on the RS systems for reference.

The RS One referenced by [MENTION=18194]Honcho[/MENTION] above costs significantly less than the Sakebomb Öhlins, and the Pro referenced by [MENTION=20915]RYU[/MENTION] costs significantly more.

https://www.scienceofspeed.com/inde...ems/jrz-rs-rs-pro-suspension-system-1266.html

Getting a bit overwhelmed now with high quality suspension choices. I’ll have to wait until the next in-person big East meet or NSXPO to get a feel for these systems in person. My Bilsteins will last “forever”, so I can wait.
 
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RYU

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I find suspension topics are really hard to discuss. It's a difficult topic to "get". Everytime I think I know it I'm reminded I don't.

Here's a few takeaways over the years.
- looking back, I can articulately say the Bilsteins provided great body control when not lowered below the bottom perch on the stock springs. However, the Bilstein engineers really like way tooooo much high speed compression damping for some weird reason. It makes the ride terrible from that aspect. If you don't notice it then ignorance is bliss and I honestly think that's not a bad thing!

- be honest with your driving style and requirements. High end dampers are nice but if you're not looking for full compliance even your going fast into a bumpy turn and do not feel the scary lack of control as the car squirms and gets unsettled, yet with better suspension you feel the magic carpet ride as you go through that same bump as you learn how much knob tweaking needs to be applied and where... Well then... You might just be wasting your money.

- internet chatter on suspension is mostly misleading. I think that's because there's so much to a good setup that entirely variable based on car, conditions, and driver. It's often easiest to work with someone you trust.

You are correct. I’ve added Science of Speed’s page on the RS systems for reference.

The RS One referenced by [MENTION=18194]Honcho[/MENTION] above costs significantly less than the Sakebomb Öhlins, and the Pro referenced by [MENTION=20915]RYU[/MENTION] costs significantly more.

https://www.scienceofspeed.com/inde...ems/jrz-rs-rs-pro-suspension-system-1266.html

Getting a bit overwhelmed now with high quality suspension choices. I’ll have to wait until the next in-person big East meet or NSXPO to get a feel for these systems in person. My Bilsteins will last “forever”, so I can wait.
 
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You are correct. I’ve added Science of Speed’s page on the RS systems for reference.

The RS One referenced by [MENTION=18194]Honcho[/MENTION] above costs significantly less than the Sakebomb Öhlins, and the Pro referenced by [MENTION=20915]RYU[/MENTION] costs significantly more.

https://www.scienceofspeed.com/inde...ems/jrz-rs-rs-pro-suspension-system-1266.html

Getting a bit overwhelmed now with high quality suspension choices. I’ll have to wait until the next in-person big East meet or NSXPO to get a feel for these systems in person. My Bilsteins will last “forever”, so I can wait.

As Regan mentioned, it's really easy to get deep into the weeds with suspension. So much of it is personal preference. My simple point, however, is if you have already made the decision to let go of enough cash to buy the Sakebombs, I would advise you to spend it instead on the JRZ. You're getting a lot more suspension for your money, in my opinion. The RS One and Two are twin tube and the Pros are mono. Even the RS One is going to be way more damper than you'll ever need. I'd run it on the SOS factory top mount kit to help with some NVH and have them spec it out to the Type-S spring rates (or R if you track a lot). If I didn't have my NSX-R suspension, I just described what I would choose for my own NSX. ;)
 
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Thanks [MENTION=20915]RYU[/MENTION] and [MENTION=18194]Honcho[/MENTION] . I’m really in no rush and I surely haven’t made a decision. :) I appreciate your opinions as you both have more experience in this realm than me. Now I’m curious to experience other suspension setups. You’ve created a monster LOLOLOL!
 
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I would not bother with JRZ and go straight to MCS, especially if you track your car or plan on tracking your car. MCS was founded by Jerome VanGool who started JRZ (that's the "J" in JRZ) and Lex Carson who came from Moton (as did VanGool). They have taken the technology they developed at JRZ and Moton and improved it considerably at MCS. I've had my MCS system for several years now and it is fantastic. MCS dampers are serviced and rebuilt in the US. No overseas shipping and long wait times.

I've combined the MCS dampers (I have the 2WR) with Swift springs that match the 1995 NSX-R rates. The MCS dampers at specific compression and rebound settings closely match the Showa non-adjustable rates as fitted to the 1995 NSX-R. I finished this off with F/R sway bars from the 1995 NSX-R. What this gives me is the same suspension dynamics as the NSX-R for the track, yet I can dial back both rebound and compression for the drive home. At the softer setting the suspension is firm but compliant. Similar to Bilsteins but not as harsh. When adjusted for the track the suspension is incredibly stable over curbs and very balanced. For reference I am on 17/18 wheels.

The Swift springs are different than anything else I've tried. Swift uses a proprietary steel alloy along with a proprietary winding method to make their springs light and consistent throughout their range. It sounds goofy, but I could immediately tell the difference between the Swifts and the Eibachs that were previously on the car (with the same MCS dampers so direct apples to apples comparison).

Anyway - lots of choices out there and lots of opinions. My advice is to talk to as many owners as you can and, if possible, get a ride in these cars. It will quickly be apparent which setups are better than others.

Good luck with whatever direction you go.

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Thank you for the data point, [MENTION=32537]mwagner10702[/MENTION] ! Keeping in mind.
 
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