WonkoTheSane HalfDork
March 8, 2016 1:17 p.m.

Heyo Hive,

I'm going to be shopping for some refreshments for my 2007 Rx-8 with 65k.. It's primarily a nice-weather car that I occasionally let off the leash a few times a year to go chase down Caymans and the like.

I was looking at getting some Konis along with the Racing Beat springs & sways, but I'm interested in everyone's opinions on the Koni vs. Bilstien debate, and if there's any other good suggestions? Anyone have any experience with the MazdaSpeed stuff? I'm not interested in a $5000 6 way adjustable coilover setup (well, maybe interested isn't the right word)), but I'm also not too into a riceland ebay "slam" kit.

I'd prefer to buy from a GRM advertiser if possible.


Brett_Murphy PowerDork
March 8, 2016 1:41 p.m.

I had non-factory* Bilstiens with the Racing beat springs. It was great. It was a bit choppy at low speeds on uneven pavement, but the difference in handling was worth it for me.

I rode in a car with Konis, and it seemed much stiffer and choppy, but that was also an S2 car and it was on lower Tien springs.

I thought the Mazdaspeed units were NLA.

  • I've been led to understand that the regular aftermarket Bilstein HD shocks for the RX-8 have a different valving than the Mazda offered shocks. I think there were two (and possibly three) factory Bilsteins: the Shinka (softer) for the S1, and for the S2 the R3 (hard) and the Bilstein package. Since I wasn't sure if the S2 units would fit on an S1, I never paid much attention to them, so I don't know if the R3 and package shocks are the same.
chiodos Dork
March 8, 2016 2:55 p.m.

I always buy bilsteins because they are cheaper, but I prefer Koni. They are a bit stiffer but adjustable. Also bilsteins are notorious for having bad low speed dampening, that's the only complaint I've ever had/heard about them. Oh and that the hd's are usually valved pretty soft.

Why not get some used bilsteins and have them revalved for whatever springs you decide on?

tomtomgt356 New Reader
March 8, 2016 4:45 p.m.

I currently have Progress Tech springs and sways with Koni yellows on my 2005 RX8. The setup works great on track, but the shocks are currently set at 50% stiffness which is a bit too stiff for the rough roads around here. I have been meaning to adjust them down to 25% to see if it matches the springs better (wasn't tracking yet and didn't know what I was doing when I installed them). The problem is that the rear shock has to be removed from the car so you can compress the rod to adjust it which is a PITA. Have you considered Tokico D-specs? A friend of mine who does time trials recommended them. They were out of stock everywhere when I was ordering everything and I got impatient. I wish I had waited. They are adjustable from the top and you can get extenders for the rear to make it easy to adjust.

PMRacing SuperDork
March 8, 2016 6:20 p.m.

The R3 was about perfect out of the box. I added some Progressive F&R anti-roll bars and it brought better balance by letting me rotate the car a bit better. See if you can get a used set off of someone building a track or autox car.

WonkoTheSane HalfDork
March 9, 2016 7:22 a.m.

Thanks for all the info, Gents.. If I were to find a set of Bilsteins, who do you recommend to have them rebuilt? I'll do a bit more research into the R3's Billys.

Looks like the Konis are on pretty good sale right now, they're $220 less than the D-Specs.. Is it worth it?

Anyone have any opinions on Racing Beat vs. H&R Sport vs. Eibach Pro-Kit springs? I've had Racing Beat on a Miata with tokico blues, and I really liked them, but I also really liked my rx-7 that was also on the blues.. Looks like ~220 for the H&R, ~240 for the RB & ~260 for the Eibach.

Brett_Murphy PowerDork
March 9, 2016 12:51 p.m.

Unless you're tracking it to the exclusion of all else, I wouldn't go too stiff or lower it too much. I liked the Racing Beats because they firmed everything up without slamming it to the ground.

WonkoTheSane HalfDork
March 9, 2016 12:53 p.m.

From what I can tell, they're all about the same drop.. I'm not too concerned about the being slammed since all of them are reputable, and I've used two out of three with good results and they're all designed to be used with regular shocks, not coilovers.

fidelity101 SuperDork
March 9, 2016 6:07 p.m.

I just went with the bilsteins myself for the S2 but I have yet to install them. (i'll let you know how i feel about them soon) We have E36 M3ty roads in Michigan so I opted for the only monotube option I could get. Plus I have always been satisfied with their parts on all of my vehicles.

WonkoTheSane HalfDork
March 9, 2016 10:06 p.m.

Looks like I found a nice (looking from the pictures) used D-Spec setup for cheap, so that may make my decision for me.

RX8driver Reader
March 10, 2016 7:29 a.m.

You might want to consider looking for some Bilstein PSS coilovers, as they're a pretty good option that apparently can be found for around $800. A guy over on the RX8club site had PSS9's and found the adjusters to be not worth the extra cost, but really liked the setup other than that and recommended the PSS option.

WonkoTheSane HalfDork
March 10, 2016 8:19 a.m.

Wow, where can you snag those for $800? That setup looks to be (retail) about 1k more than konis or tokicos. I don't have 2k in the budget for this project unfortunately.

WonkoTheSane HalfDork
March 10, 2016 9:03 a.m.

I got the Tokico D's with Tein H springs for $325, at that price I can't afford NOT to upgrade :)

Harvey Dork
March 10, 2016 9:06 a.m.

In the reasonable price range the only good choices are Bilstein (rebuild if you need to match spring rates) for non-adjustable or Koni for adjustable.

I had the Tokico D-Specs on my car because I got them for free and they were adequate I'd say.

WonkoTheSane HalfDork
March 10, 2016 10:00 a.m.

Thanks for the feedback! Would you say that the dspecs were a decent upgrade over, purely-hypothetical, 65k stock shocks and springs?

I'm thinking that I'd like to have the Konis, but I'll give these a shot for barely more than the cost of springs.

Now I just need to get some sways.

Harvey Dork
March 10, 2016 10:39 a.m.

The stock shocks are cheapo things unless you have the Bilsteins. The D-Specs were an improvement over the blown shock I had on the car at the time!

I didn't really get a chance to put them through their paces. They were fine for street driving.

z31maniac MegaDork
March 10, 2016 12:44 p.m.

DSpec/Megan/BC/Ksport, all SE Asian junk.

Would not touch.

WonkoTheSane HalfDork
March 10, 2016 1:03 p.m.

Do you have any basis for grouping tokico with megan/bc/raceland (I think those are all the same company, right?). I've used tokico before for many miles and with great results.

Matt B SuperDork
March 10, 2016 1:40 p.m.

I'm not sure I'd group Tokico with the Taiwanese rainbow brigade. For a street setup I consider them a mid-grade product, but nothing I've seen says they're on par with Koni or Bilstein. I doubt they'll fail, seize, or rust away like the SE Asian stuff, but the valving is more adequate than ideal.

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