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The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.

Illustration for article titled The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.
Illustration for article titled The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.
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Illustration for article titled The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.

And the suspense _was_ terrible. Seriously, for having the name “bilstein” on it the stock sport suspension on the NC Miatas is absolute trash. Harsh over bumps and wallowy in corners and floaty on the highway, it’s somehow the worst of all worlds. NA and NB owners will be looking on in utter confusion as Bilsteins for their platforms are highly coveted bits of OEM equipment but NC bilsteins, even mine with <20k miles on them, are best suited as door stops.

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$1k later I remedied these issues this weekend. In addition to the already-equipped RX8 yellow-dot sway bars I now have:

Progress Technologies springs (.5" lower than stock, 20in-lbs stiffer, significantly denser wound)

Koni Yellow shocks (adjustable rebound, though the adjusters are pretty much impossible to get to once installed)

GWR Race bumpstops (for daily driver cars that will see track time)

Fun fact about the progress springs: They’re OEM equipment. You could buy an NC from the Mazda dealership with these lowering/sport springs on them. It came as a part of a class-cheating trim level that also included the combo of the limited slip rear differential with a 5 speed transmission for better autox ratios.

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Also, they’re far better than the numbers would suggest. 20 inch pounds over stock sure didn’t seem like it’d be enough considering my NA where I went with springs DOUBLE the stock spring rate, but there’s obviously something going on here my neanderthal brain can’t comprehend because this car is SUBLIME now.

No more diving under braking or nose lift under accel (the last one has me a bit sad because the car feels much slower now in a straight line). Wallowing when pushing it through an offramp is completely gone. Ride harshness is either the same or slightly lessened over the stock billies. Steering precision as a whole is massively improved and the car will now oversteer almost on command.

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As an added bonus, the 1" drop over stock with the Konis (.5" built in drop) and the springs (.5" built in drop) finally makes the wheel gap at the top of the tire equal to the wheel gap in front and back of the tire, ditching the blatantly 4x4 looks of the NC1 and now just looking like a normal ass stock car. I’ll take it.

In short: this suspension is amazing. The car feels more purposeful without affecting daily drivability. It’s a lot more precise and telepathic. A lot of this is probably due to the bumpstops alone; the stock ones were obviously not replaced when the shocks were (previous owner had new OEM shocks put on shortly before I got the car) and were completely smashed to bits. While tearing up the touge in Arkansas the car felt downright terrifying when pushing it to keep up with my buddies’ track NC, autocross FRS, and modified Z3 M coupe. Now I feel like I could easily keep up with the group, especially given a better wheel and tire package than the zillion-pound stock 17" wheels and mediocre Pilot Sport AS3 tires. But that’s a project for another day...

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