[s-cars] Bilstein or Koni?

Lee Levitt lee at wheelman.com
Fri Jan 31 17:06:42 EST 2003

Eugene writes:

> 1.  I'm currently running the stock suspension, but I plan to install
> lowering springs (H&R, perhaps?) in the future.  I understand that the
> Bilstein HDs are intended for stock suspension, and Sports are for
> lowered cars.  Can I get away with running Bilstein Sports with stock
> suspension?  I don't want to buy a set of HDs, and have to swap them
> out for Sports when I change the springs.


You'll get divergent viewpoints on this, but here's my experience. When I
bought my wagon, a right rear shock was toast. I hadn't intended on lowering
the car and looked for a set of HDs. Couldn't find any in the US. Sports
were available. I spoke with the east coast technical rep at Bilstein, who
explained why Sports would work fine with stock suspension (the shaft is
slightly shorter, which would only be evident at full droop - suspension
fully extended).

I went with the Sports, which was a Good Thing (tm) because not long after
that I did my first autocross and immediately decided to lower the car :)

> 2.  Any differences in durablility and reliability between Koni and
> Bilstein?  I found a few posts from listers complaining about having to
> adjust the Konis after a few thousand miles, and I was wondering if
> this was due to break-in, or if the shocks were actually wearing out.
> 3.  Any opinions on performance, ride comfort, etc. regarding these
> shocks?

I've never run Konis. Had great luck with Bilsteins on Volvos, Range Rovers,
Audis, etc. Never had a problem with a shock, and Bilstein has a lifetime

The car is very comfortable with Bilsteins and stock shocks...surprisingly
soft, in fact.

I went with the Eibachs. 70% of the time the car is just right, 20% of the
time it's too soft, and 10% too stiff. :)

I'd do the same again.

'95.5 S6 avant
'96 A6 quattro avant

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