The Olympics. The World Cup. The Super Bowl. American Gladiators, even. Human competition is an innate, hungry beast that fuels the urge to succeed within all of us. Look at some of Formula One's greatest drivers: Gilles Villeneuve, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. It was their overwhelming, and often passionate, desire to win that made the public love them so much. In the case of Senna and Schumacher, the deliberate and controversial crashing of their cars into opponents only fueled the stories surrounding their intense fervor to be champion.
Some people don't like to lose-and tuners are no different. Pay a visit to any tuner, whether they specialize in suspension, engine, braking or bodywork, and they'll have more stories slamming their competitors than you could ever imagine. Without fail, each one believes they're the greatest on Earth.
That guy said he could build a 500hp Civic engine? I've done it twice already-and it makes 800hp with the same parts list. Someone came out with a new three-way adjustable shock? I bet I can still go faster at Buttonwillow Raceway.
And it's good this way. For the market to advance, new products and innovations need to be released. Real tuners should believe that they are numero uno and they need to battle constantly to stay on top of their competitors. This motivates them to develop and conquer. It also provides us with new options for cam profiles, exhaust designs, suspension setups and stickier tires. The tuner trash-talking happens to be a free bonus.
And, knock-off companies aside, suspension tuners are really starting to bring out their A-game. Gone are the days of coilover sleeves with stock shocks. The market has become savvier and faster, and the tuners have replied in kind. In this month's issue, the suspension setups we tested from JIC, KW, TEIN, Spoon Sports, Buddy Club, Moton, Ohlins and J's Racing are all pretty good. It's obvious that tuners are now spending considerable time honing each kit's damping profile, spring rate and internal design to create dual-purpose track and street suspensions.
In a climate like this, the war is fierce and the more ammo you bring, the better off you are. We've purposely left out the declaration of a winner in this comparo, because there simply is no obvious victor. We present the data here and let you, the reader, decide which one is worth your hard-earned cash. Ultimately, it will depend on personal preference in regard to price, stiffness, customer service and track ability. Whether or not you utilize that purchase to chop opponents at Suzuka is up to you.