Suspension Reviews:

carl hammond

Advanced Member
Messages
3,236
To help other owners with certain goals I thought I‘d put together this detailed review of the suspension setups I‘ve personally used on my DC5.

My setups to date:
1st - OEM
2nd - Mugen Dampers & Spoon Springs
3rd - Bilsteins PSS9 B16 Coilovers
4th - Area Motorsport version (Track Focussed YellowSpeed Coilovers)


Whilst choosing my 4th setup cost was not a issue and I considered all sorts from Nitron, AST, YCW, Aragosta, Swiftsport and many more inc Ohlins (but they are no longer available new).

The setups considered were priced between £2.2k and £6k. However before making a final decision I put my sensible head on and spoke to nearly all of these companies, a number of fellow owners and also some race teams and decided to go against my own judgement and made my decision.

OEM Honda Dampers and Springs


Value For Money:

N/A


Build Quality:
N/A


Accompanying Parts:
None


Road Ride Comfort: 5/10
I didn‘t keep this setup on my car long, I found it very harsh and crash on the UK roads. I believe in Japan these are very compliant but I personally didn‘t like them here in the UK and the car sat very high.


Track Use: N/A
I didn‘t track my car in this setup


Overview:
As per the Road Ride Comfort review,


Why did I sell them?
I didn‘t, if I return the car to oem ever I will refit them, however I didn‘t really get much confidence in the car‘s capabilities with this setup.


Additional Parts required for fitting
N/A

OEM Height Measurements (from the wheel arch to the middle of the centre cap on the wheels)
Front - 38cm
Rear - 35.5cm

Geo Settings - I believe these are the factory alignment settings (found on here)

Total Toe: +0.0mm +/-1.9mm
Half Toe : +0.0mm, +/-0.9mm
Camber : -.50deg , +/-1deg
caster :+1.17deg, +/- 1.0deg

Rear:
total toe : +1.9mm, -0.9mm,+1.9mm
half toe : +0.9mm, -.5mm, +09mm
camber : -.75deg, -1deg, +.75deg

Still on OEM Suspension


Still on OEM Suspension




Mugen Showa Dampers with Spoon Sport Springs

Value For Money: 8/10

A lot of people think this setup is expensive and pants VS coilovers.
Unless you‘re buying decent coilovers for a specific reason or a quality item by a reputable brand then these will be far superior as an allround setup.

I believe the dampers new were circa £1200 and as Showa‘s were the oem dampers fitted to the NSX-R its safe to say they are a quality item. Spoon (well known with any Honda enthusiast) means you‘ll know their quality and heritage, these are possibly the best springs available for a DC5. Second hand his setup can be bought (when found) for between £350 - £500 depending on age and condition, for a non track focussed car with occasional (say 3-5 trackdays a year) I would highly recommend it.


Build Quality: 9/10
As expected Mugen and Spoon do not disappoint with the build quality of these items and they really complement one another.


Accompanying Parts:
Superpro front Caster Bushes

Road Ride Comfort: 8/10
This setup removed all the crashyness and feel from the oem setup and made my car feel far more balanced, focused and stable. This setup was very capable whilst remaining perfectly compliant on the UK roads. The total drop is 40mm (15mm from the shortened damper and a further 25mm from the springs) and the stance is perfect. You can run 225wide tyres square with no issues or any need to roll the rear arches on oem rims.

Track Use: 6/10
If you aim to do the occasional trackday and are mainly using the car for daily or weekend blasts then this setup is ideal. The springs are progressive and the car is very easy to predict. The feedback you get can only be is explained by saying it‘s like being back in my old DC2â€, any weight distribution and lift off oversteer can be felt and noticed and catered for easily and imo this setup should have been the oem setup for a DC5.
I completed a season on track using this setup (without front camber bolts or rear camber arms fitted and the car) and it was great. I believe with the addition of the camber bolts and arms and the right geo they would have got 7/10 as I did find myself pushing them to the limit so even an additional -1.5 front camber would have helped.

Overview: If you are looking for a fast road (even occasional track setup that is plug and play) then this is ideal.

You get a great ride height, very compliant on the UK roads and the feedback you get from the car is perfect. My only regret with this setup was selling it on. If I ever return the car to oem this would be the only thing I‘d have wanted to keep.

Why did I sell them?
I sold this setup as originally the car was purchased as a restoration project but I then got the track bug again and felt that I maxed out on this setup leaving me no alternative but to move on in order to get what I wanted from the car.

Additional Parts required for fitting
N/A

Geo Settings

The Camber on this setup was roughly as below (camber gains only by the lowering springs and shorter dampers), total drop 40mm all-round

Front Camber: -1deg
Front Toe: 0

Rear Camber: -0.8deg
Rear Toe: 0

Sitting on Mugen/Spoon combo


Sitting on Mugen/Spoon combo




Bilstein B16 PSS9 Coilovers

Value For Money: 7/10

Although this is quite an expensive bit of kit the quality of these coilovers is as expected from Bilstein, flawless. The coilovers look amazing and the quality materials used to produce them is apparent from the start.

Build Quality: 9/10
As you‘d expect from a company like Bilstein there coilovers are built to the highest of standards, I don‘t really have much more to say about them aside from the fact that they really are one of the best setups out there in their price range and that I have used Bilsteins on a number of cars in the past.

Accompanying Parts:
Superpro front Caster Bushes
Hardrace rear camber arms
2 x sets of front camber bolts

Road Ride Comfort: 9/10 With the height set similar to my previous setup (circa 40mm lower than oem) and even when set to the stiffest setting I found these very good on the road. They can be a little skittish on uneven surfaces when on the stiffest setting but I like my cars like that, when I tweaked the stiffness down the car felt like it was back on the Mugen Spoon setup which was perfect.

For a fast road, regular/occasional trackcar these are superb and I think for the money you‘d be hard pressed to find anything better.

Track Use: 7/10 The coilovers themselves are amazing on track. The stiffness settings are spot on and the spring rates superb for this chassis. The Front spring rate is 10.70 and the rear is 12.75.

You can really throw the car around and get it to handle exactly as you want with as much or little lift off oversteer as you‘d like.
The weak link was the camber bolts, running two sets of these (as advised elsewhere on the forum as a good ideal to gain maximum camber) from my experience is not advised for track use.

On the road I had no issues at all but on track using the curbs hard at Brands the lower passenger bolt kept slipping throwing my geo off. I re-geo‘d it and this time over torqued them with thread lock and after 77 laps it happened again.
Based on the above this setup‘s track score had to be dropped due to the lack of top mount adjustability. Honestly if they came with adjustable top mounts of if Bilstein top mounts were available separately I would have scored these a ‪10/10‬ as the feel and feedback I got from the car was unexplainably perfect bob on the track and road.

Overview
This setup is ideal for anyone using their car on the road or with regular/occasional track use where you don‘t want to run aggressive camber. If you are happy with -1 to -2 camber on the front these are ideal, anymore then you would need to consider looking at top mounts.

Grinspeed and Todd top mounts I have heard work on Bilsteins as do ones from Nitron, however to use the Nitron‘s the collars need some adjustments.

Why did I sell them?
I have moved on from this setup as I mainly use my car on track and I couldn‘t trust the camber bolts. If these came with or had optional adjustable top mounts available from Bilstein I would have never removed them from my car.

Additional Parts required for fitting
2 x Washers per side for the rear (not supplied with the suspension)
EP3 Track rod ends (not supplied with the suspension)

Geo Settings

Front Camber: -2.5deg
Front Toe: 1 degree out total

Rear Camber roughly: -2deg
Rear Toe: 1 degree in total

Sitting on Bilstein B16‘s


Sitting on Bilstein B16‘s


Sitting on Bilstein B16‘s


Sitting on Bilstein B16‘s


So finally I decided to try the Area Motorsport version (Track Focussed YellowSpeed Coilovers). The Area MS version use Eibach rear springs and the strut is adjusted to suit. Top mounts are also swapped over L to R to increase castor and the spring rates are Front 8 and Rear 16, I‘ll be interested to see how these feel versus the Bilstein spring rates.

As these get great reviews and feedback by others using their cars predominantly on track I decided I had nothing to lose by trying them.

Once they have been fitted I‘ll update this thread with my findings.

Area Motorsport version (Track Focussed YellowSpeed Coilovers)

Value For Money: 8/10

I have always sworn against buying cheap alternative parts however I was left in an awkward position due to my car being more track focused and my camber bolts constantly slipping when hitting curbs hard on track throwing my geo off.

This setup was very cheap compared to what I was expecting to spend but after a number of conversations with people I know who race Integra‘s and also some race teams I had to take into account that fact that I generally do a max of circa 3K miles a year (mainly track miles) and the other setups I was considering were between 3-5K I decidedto consider cheaper alternatives.

My decision was made mainly around the fact that I wasn‘t losing much by trying these out and assisting others with true back to back reviews. I wasn‘t sure what to expectbut since fitting them I am quite impressed. The main things I like are that they come with an 18months guarantee, Area supply them with great supporting paperwork and I can now remove the camber bolts. The camber is gained by a slotted top strut hole and the caster by the topmounts.

These are the Area Motorsport Track Verison and not off the shelf YS‘s and these have the higher spring rates etc.

This setup looks good out the box but I will admit they didn‘t look as good as the Bilsteins‘s. I could tell straight away that the quality of the materials used to produce them wasn‘t on par with Bilstein but I was expecting them to be due to the much lower price. But for the money they look very good, my main and only concern is how long they will last, time will tell and I will keep updating this post as they get used more.

Build Quality: 7/10
The black powder coating protection layer is nice but not completed to the highest of standards imo. The rest of the setup looks nice and solid out the box. The topmounts were already fitted ready to go with only the caster needing to be set which is nice. The adjustment allen keys concerned me at first as they feel a little loose but fingers crossed they don‘t come out ever.

Accompanying Parts:
Superpro front Caster Bushes
Hardrace rear camber arms

Road Ride Comfort: 8/10
This part of the review is very basic as I have only covered around 70 miles with them fitted so far. One thing I can say is that I am using the recommended settings (which is aimed for track use) and they are not as compliant on the road as the Bilsteins. I was running the Bilsteins on full stiffness on road and track and they dealt with the roads better, these are nice, very nice on smooth roads but a lot more bouncy on the less smooth surfaces however the grip they offer is great and the car really does handle well on them (poss down to my geo).

The caster gain‘s noticeable and the camber is great. I believe the caster gain was 4 degrees and I am currently running -3.9 front camber and -2.7 rear. My first journey was in the dry and it drove really well, in the wet (my second journey) really surprised me, the car was great but it did have issues with aquaplaning a couple of times which I never experienced with the previous setups (but this could and is more than likely geo related) as my new geo is much more aggressive.

I must also add that the height is pre-set as recommended by Area which I feel also has impacted on the road ride comfort as the car sits a lot lower than I had it previously on the Bilsteins. I have left it as is as I want to experience how the car feels and what feedback I get from this setup exactly as Area recommend, from there I will update this post with any tweaks made.

Track Use: 9/10
Although I have not used these on track yet I will score them until next season. The reason for the high score is due to the amount of caster, camber and adjustability offered. These are not to be confused with the basic off the shelf YS setups. The spring rates are much better and these are Eibach springs, the topmounts are swapped and thestrut is slotted. I don‘t ever drive hard or fast on the road but the feedback I got from this setup was superb and I can only imagine how good they are on track. I will confirm this as soon as I get out there again.

Overview:
So far I am very impressed by these coilovers. The amount of adjustment seems good but I do wonder if there is much of a difference between all the clicks. All other brands I have owned throughout my life have had a lot less clicks but with each click it was very noticeable.

My main concern with setups like this is and always has been around the lifetime of the product, but with an 18 month guarantee I am comfortable knowing that they are covered and Area seem a great company (I wish they were more local too me to be honest as I‘d use them a lot more for parts and services). To help ease my concerns about the quality I have coated these and will continue to do so in order to keep them looking as new and shiny as I can.

I personally believe this setup will be very capable for anyone using their car predominantly on tracks over the road. If you only do a couple of trackdays a year and drive on the road 90% of the time I would look at Bilsteins if budget allowed but for a track car I am very impressed with these so far.

Additional Parts required for fitting
2 x Washers per side for the rear (supplied with the suspension if bought new)

Note
DC5 or EP3 Track rod ends can be used with this setup as these come with a metal sleeve that shrinks the strut fitment for use with EP3 track rod ends

Geo Settings
Front Drivers Camber: -3.6deg
Front Passenger Camber: -3.5deg
Front Toe: 2.5mm out (each side)

Rear Drivers Camber: -3.2deg
Rear Passenger Camber: -3.0deg
Rear Toe: 1mm in (each side)

Note: Rear Camber was with added fuel and the spare wheel, it will reduce to around -3.0deg and -2.8deg on trackdays


Sitting on the Area Motorsport version (Track Focussed YellowSpeed Coilovers)
This is the pre set recommended height.


Sitting on the Area Motorsport version (Track Focussed YellowSpeed Coilovers)
This is the pre set recommended height.


Sitting on the Area Motorsport version (Track Focussed YellowSpeed Coilovers)
This is the pre set recommended height.



Sitting on the Area Motorsport version (Track Focussed YellowSpeed Coilovers)
This is the pre set recommended height.


Basic Overview

Damper Spring Combo's

OEM Honda Dampers and Springs - Good, more than likely ok/good on track and even on our roads if refreshed but not the best on the UK roads, high ride height.
Mugen Dampers with Spoon Springs - Perfect stance, great feel and feedback and good quality parts. Good on both road and occasional track (would benefit from 1 x set of camber bolts and rear camber arms for a basic track geo).

Coilovers
Bilsteins PSS9 B16 Coilovers - Perfect for a road and occasional track car where you don't want an aggressive geo using one set of camber bolts and rear camber arms. The feedback was very good and the car very predictable and controllable. The quality of these is superb.
Area Motorsport version (Track Focussed YellowSpeed Coilovers) - Perfect for track and anyone wanting an aggressive geo with occasional road use. Great feedback and adjustability. The geo used will really impact on ones feel and experience with these.
 
Last edited:

skengdR

Advanced Member
Messages
286
very helpful post carl , I think ill be going for the showa and spoon combo when the time comes

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 

Mike9000

Advanced Member
Messages
210
I thought I‘d replied to this Carl, but I probably got drunk and started listening to Nirvana or something...

Mugen Showa / Spoon...

Road Ride Comfort: ‪8/10

This setup removed all the crashyness and feel from the oem setup and made my car feel far more balanced, focused and stable. This setup was very capable whilst remaining perfectly compliant on the UK roads. The total drop is 40mm (15mm from the shortened damper and a further 25mm from the springs) and the stance is perfect. You can run 225 wide tyres square with no issues or any need to roll the rear arches on oem rims.
Mugen Showa suspension on mine in very nice condition too. Doing a forum search the Spoon springs are a bit less compliant/stiffer than the springs that come standard with the Showa, so probably not for me. I guess I got lucky with having the Mugen suspension. I wouldn‘t want anything stiffer and I really like the compliance I get from the Mugen which feels very well controlled on A and B roads. Not skittish, just planted and with just enough give not to break your back/keep your fillings. It works for me.

That‘s as technical as you get from me I‘m afraid.
 

ATC

Active Member
Messages
87
Thought I'd add my review to this post, with another common setup. Unfortunately I have no real baseline to compare it to (other than memories of a 7th gen civic with similar OEM suspension).

Eibach Lowering Springs on OEM Dampers (Sportline Front, Proline Rear)

Value For Money: 9/10
While my exact setup requires two sets of springs, it can easily be done with one. Even with both sets, this actually works out cheaper than a set of spoon springs, so bang for you buck, this has to be right up there however you look at it.

Build quality: N/A
Not sure how to score purely springs - but Eibach are generally pretty good - all parts pass the strict German TUV approvals, so it can't be that bad right?

Accompanying Parts:
Powerflex Front camber bolts
Hardrace Rear camber Arms
Fast Road Setup (Specs below)

Front Camber: -1° 20' (~ -1.33°)
Front (Total) Toe: 0°

Rear Camber: -1°
Rear (Total) Toe: 0° 12' (~ 0.2°)

Road Ride Comfort: 8/10
No worse than the OEM civic suspension I had on a previous car, and no worse than DC5 I tried with only Mugen showa shocks - while this is no luxury cruiser, I imagine you'd struggle to improve comfort without significant compromise on one of these. I believe the drop is 40mm front and 30mm rear on the mixed spring setup - I'm yet to have a problem with a speedbump, and the stance is pretty spot-on - it seems like a sensible setup.

In terms of road handling, I'm yet to be able to fault it - I've found it surprisingly composed over bumps and crests and can only describe the way it sends you down a good b-road as confidence inspiring. The downside (if it can be called that) is how much speed it lets you carry into and through corners without feeling like you're going too fast. I've been surprised many a time heading round a corner, only to glance down at the speed and find I'm doing 10+mph faster than I've ever thought possible in other cars, without even breaking a sweat.

The overall balance feels spot on too, slightly playful in nature while still being progressive - while this might not be the absolute fastest way to make progress, it helps the drive be an absolute hoot without having to be silly. What I was most pleasantly surprised about was how you could feel the back end start to move about a little over certain crest/corner combinations, without it being scary or snappy - it just felt so predictable and controlled. This could well be a characteristic of the tyres I'm running, but they clearly work with this suspension setup.

Track Use: N/A
I've not been on track, so no feedback here ;)

Overview
Nothing much to fault - I love the suspension setup, and is perfectly livable on a day-to-day basis, offering playful handling, decent ride comfort and an awesome stance to the vehicle, all at an affordable price. Hopefully the photo below gives you an idea of the drop:

 

carl hammond

Advanced Member
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3,236
unsungDC5s said:
Great post. Any update on the yellowspeed setup?
I only fitted them yesterday but the cars off the road until Saturday awaiting a geo setup, as soon as it‘s done I can do the road review and go from there. It‘s the track I want to hot with them ASAP to see if they live up to the hype :)

Keep your eyes on the post mate :)
 

unsungDC5s

Member
Messages
9
Awesome, can‘t wait.. was gonna bite the bullet and just purchase them and hope for the best but i saw this post and now i can just wait for an actual review 👍🏽
 

carl hammond

Advanced Member
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3,236
Awesome, can‘t wait.. was gonna bite the bullet and just purchase them and hope for the best but i saw this post and now i can just wait for an actual review
No problem at all mate I will update it post the weekend, track use maybe delayed due to time of year etc, but my overall review will be started from the unboxing, the fitting, quality and general use etc :)
 

unsungDC5s

Member
Messages
9
carl hammond said:
No problem at all mate I will update it post the weekend, track use maybe delayed due to time of year etc, but my overall review will be started from the unboxing, the fitting, quality and general use etc :)
Any updates?
 

carl hammond

Advanced Member
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3,236
Great review
Just being as honest as possible on all views mate, basically time will tell with this as I know it's not up there with bilsteins for build quality and so I assume it wont last as long BUT it has its place and that's for a car that's mainly or solely used on circuit. If I was as I hope (competing) by now I would have gone for AST, Aragosta or Nitron's but for the amount of days I use the car a year I decided it was worth a shot trying them out and being able to offer a back to back review on all areas of use against a much most expensive item and brand.

If I was to be doing this all again with clear set goals from the outset I would buy the Bilsteins (B16's) if the car was a road car and the Area Motorsport Track version of the YS's if it was a track car.

I cannot fault the Area Motorsport Track version of the YS's to date but I have hardly used the car due to the weather and getting everything ready for next season. As I add to the review or alter it accordingly throughout ownership I will keep you posted :)
 

24Lemons

Active Member
Messages
96
Really helpful reviews Carl, I am sure a lot of people appreciate the effort you have gone to.

Did you fit EP3 tie rod ends with the Bilstein's and Yellow speeds? I think I read somewhere this has to be done as the coilovers are designed for the EP3.
 

carl hammond

Advanced Member
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3,236
24Lemons said:
Really helpful reviews Carl, I am sure a lot of people appreciate the effort you have gone to.

Did you fit EP3 tie rod ends with the Bilstein's and Yellow speeds? I think I read somewhere this has to be done as the coilovers are designed for the EP3.
Thanks for the comment mate

The Bilsteins you need the washers at the rear (2 x per side) and EP3 tie rod ends

The Area Motorsport Track focussed YS‘s also use the washers at the rear (2 x per side) it the fronts can be used with EP3 or DC5 tie rod ends. The mount for the tie rod ends is made for the DC5 but they come with a small metal sleeve that Fits in and pads the fitting to use the EP3 ones if required.

Bilstein unfortunately don‘t make suspension specific for the DC5 but they fit fine :)
 

105tc

Member
Messages
17
Great read Carl!

Over time I learned that money spent on suspensions is not enough and great suspension gives you so much control/stability - which means you have so much fun!

I hope we manage to hook up in my dc5 purchase or ownership journey. I am intrigued by the fact that you‘d still go bilstein, given the choice but as you say so much is dependant on application.
 

carl hammond

Advanced Member
Messages
3,236
105tc said:
Great read Carl!

Over time I learned that money spent on suspensions is not enough and great suspension gives you so much control/stability - which means you have so much fun!

I hope we manage to hook up in my dc5 purchase or ownership journey. I am intrigued by the fact that you‘d still go bilstein, given the choice but as you say so much is dependant on application.
Glad it‘s a good read, I‘ve tried to be as detailed as possible with each setup and I don‘t think you‘re too far from me so that should be easy enough.

I contacted bilstein a number of times to have my setup customised but they were not that interested. They were happy to revalve the coilovers and give me bespoke spring rates but they‘d not do me topmounts specific and although I know a couple of places inc Nitron that do ones to work and fit bilsteins I wanted Bilstein specifics so they are 100% fit for purpose (if that makes sense).
 

carl hammond

Advanced Member
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3,236
More updates coming on this shortly as I have now got the new geo/setup completed and the car ready for the coming season
 

C&S Evo7

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Nice thread, look forward to seeing some updates when we are allowed out again
 
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