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2002 Honda S2000 - Ohlins Road & Track Coilovers - Proving Grounds

Improving handling both on and off the street.

Jun 14, 2012
Modp 1206 01+2002 honda s2000+cover Photo 1/9   |   2002 Honda S2000 - Ohlins Road & Track Coilovers - Proving Grounds

Test Mule
’02 Honda S2000
Engine
2.0L F20C inline-four-cylinder
Relevant Mods
Aftermarket sway bars and bumpsteer-correction kit

Key Features

  • Lightweight, solid-aluminum construction
  • Spherical bearing top mounts
  • Corrosion-resistant bodies
  • 14mm front and rear shock shafts
  • One-way 32 times adjustable
  • Ride height adjustable without changing spring preload
  • Dual-flow valve technology for instantaneous suspension movement

Description
So you’ve been driving around in your S2000 for quite some time now, enjoying the nimble handling and quick, precise steering. The S2K turns heads and feels great to drive, but deep down inside you know Honda didn’t build this RWD roadster to cruise in. It needs some track abuse every now and then to keep it satisfied. Problem is, you want to separate yourself from the boys and drive with the men. You want an S2K that can be pushed to the limit with little compromise. It’s time to get serious and upgrade the most important part of your car: its suspension.

There are plenty of low-buck coilover solutions on the market for S2000s, and most of them are passable for daily-driving duties, but when it comes time to get serious about performance, there are only a handful of companies on the market that can meet that demand, and one of them is Ohlins.

Modp 1206 02+2002 honda s2000+ohlins coilovers Photo 2/9   |   2002 Honda S2000 - Ohlins Road & Track Coilovers - Proving Grounds

With a long history in motorsports racing, Ohlins has been dedicated to producing quality suspension that meets the needs of both racing and road-going enthusiasts. Its Road & Track lineup of coilovers is meant to be a perfect blend of racetrack and street performance. Built with little compromise in mind, the R&T coilovers utilize a proprietary Dual-Flow Valve that allows instantaneous suspension movement during harsh, high-speed loads ensuring the tire is always contacting the ground (that’s a good thing).

While other dampers’ performance tends to deteriorate as the fluid inside the shock heats up, Ohlins has a unique needle bleed valve that expands with the internal temperature change, therefore maintaining a consistent damping rate no matter how hard the shock is working. The result is a reliable and stable automobile, turn after turn, lap after grueling lap.

Ohlins R&T coilovers are fully rebuildable and built with quality, corrosion-resistant, lightweight components to ensure they’ll last as long as your car.

Even though Ohlins’ top priority is performance, it realizes many customers want to be able to lower their cars without detrimental effects. That’s why the Road & Track coilovers employ a threaded body and an adjustable lower flange, which means the spring and its perch are left untouched, maintaining the same characteristics no matter the ride height.

Ohlins R&T coilovers are fully rebuildable and built with quality, corrosion-resistant, lightweight components to ensure they’ll last as long as your car.

Modp 1206 03+2002 honda s2000+ohlins logo Photo 3/9   |   Ohlins’ proprietary Dual-Flow Valve (DFV) technology allows immediate suspension movement during high-speed, harsh transitions. It’s a high-flow two-way valve that bypasses the shim stack for faster suspension movement, keeping the tire patch in contact with the road at all times.

Results
You know when you pick something up and can instantly tell how well it’s built? Well that’s the feeling we got after examining the R&T coilovers. From the heavy-duty upper and lower mounts to the robust adjustable collars and 14mm-thick front and rear shock shafts, there’s no doubt these coilovers are made to handle plenty of abuse. The ribbed rubber boots protecting the shock shaft are a nice feature; we rarely see them on coilovers and often wonder why more companies don’t use them. After all, protecting the exposed shaft from dust and debris seems like a great way to extend the life of the shock.

Installation of the suspension on our AP1 Honda S2000 proved to be a two-hour affair, with everything fitting as it should. The spring rates on the S2000 R&T coilovers are 572 lb/in (10 kg/mm) front and 458 lb/in (8 kg/mm) rear, almost double that of stock. Remember though, stiff springs don’t necessarily mean a harsh ride. Many times a harsh ride results from shocks that are not properly valved for the spring rates. In the case of the Ohlins R&T coilovers, the ride comfort is firm but not jarring. It’s exactly what we expect out of a good-quality coilover—very civil and usable for everyday road use.

Modp 1206 07+2002 honda s2000+front coilovers Photo 7/9   |   Fitment of the Road & Track coilovers is spot on and includes a bracket to ensure the brake line is mounted in the stock position.

Push it to the limit, however, and you can quickly tell that the S2K feels more planted and solid with lightning-quick steering response that seems to be a result of less body roll from the R&T coilovers. The car is also much harder to upset during cornering at high speeds, which is a great confidence builder, but don’t get too cocky, because the snap-happy rearend will still come around to bite you if you push it too hard. No number of suspension improvements will be able to help you there.

Ohlins kept things simple in the adjustment department, offering one-way 32 times adjustment with a wide damping range to ensure good compliance on the street and a firm ride for the track. Setting the damping level at 7 all around as specified in the instructions, the ride felt comfy and well-controlled but slightly bumpier and stiffer than stock without sacrificing comfort. This setting is choice if comfort is what you’re after. Next, the adjustment dials were cranked up to level 10 as recommended by Ohlins. Immediately, the damping was crisp and calculated with the stability of the vehicle being solid. This setting is best suited for the occasional spirited drive while still maintaining an adequate ride for a daily driver. Past level 16, the coilovers’ personality changed from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Turns were flat and the car exhibited no signs of body roll. Rebound and compression were lightning quick and precise, however, harshness became much more amplified. The stiff settings inspire more confidence to enter turns at higher speeds, and there’s much more control with the throttle in mid-corners, since the S2000 feels so grounded. Admittedly, these settings are a little too much for a daily driving street car.

Raising and lowering the car is done by threading the shock body in or out of the lower mount assembly, meaning you don’t have to play with the spring’s preload, a big bonus for those of you who want to go low and not sacrifice too much performance.

Modp 1206 08+2002 honda s2000+rear coilovers Photo 8/9   |   2002 Honda S2000 - Ohlins Road & Track Coilovers - Proving Grounds

In our opinion, suspension is such a key part of the automobile experience that skimping out with a cheap set is just bad practice. And while the Ohlins Road & Track coilovers may set you back a bit, retailing for around $3,000, they are one of the few companies that can blend superior track performance with comfortable streetability.

Modp 1206 09+2002 honda s2000+driving Photo 9/9   |   With the shock setting a few ticks from full soft, the Road & Track coilovers offer a civil and composed ride on the street.

Sources

Ohlins (USA)
Hendersonville, NC 28792
828-692-4525
http://www.ohlins.com

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