Not even close Bunkie, not even close. There are so many different theories on what a good shock is supposed to do that it makes picking one of old Howard Johnsons 28 flavors of ice cream a simple matter. It would appear that Koni, a European company that introduced European ride and road feel to this country, has the heads up at least in the marketing department. Now before you throw something at me, hear me out.
Koni build a very good product, no doubt about it. Koni build a very expensive product, no doubt about that either. Koni builds a very difficult to install product if you are going to use their features to the fullest, no doubt about that either.
Now, the Koni adjustable shocks is a great device. We used them in sports car racing when I was younger, lighter, and had red hair and a red beard (both now gray). There are to ways to install the Koni adjustable shocks. One read the instructions and guess that you would like a ride quality some where between firm and soft, pre adjust the shock, and install it. The adjustment of the shock cannot be done once the shock is installed. The shock must be fully compressed. This allows a spanner wrench built into the shock to contact and engage an adjustment nut in the bottom of the shock. This will turn the adjustment nut when the top of the shock is turned and the bottom is held from turning. Then re-install the shock and road test to see if that is the ride that you want. That is great, you can dial in the ride that you want.
Koni realizing this has come out with a new shock called the Frequency Selective Dampers. According to Koni, “We have combined the benefits of performance and comfort into one shock absorber. FSD is firm for control over large bumps and corners, but soft for comfort over expansion joints and rough roads.” This sounds good and if they re up to Koni’s reputation they should do just fine.
What appears from reading the forums is that Bilstien is the next shock of choice among the aftermarket brands. I have Bilstiens on Rover II, our older Foretravel, and am quite happy with them. Bilstien again evolved from the European sports road sedan market and again like Koni were very succesfull in the variable valving of shocks to be soft under minor bumps in the road and yet stiff enough for good overall control.
Bilstien says in thier web site, “Motorhomes are a great form of travel and recreation. But are they a joy to drive? Wallowing, top heavy, boat like, all phrases that have been used to describe the ride and handling of an RV. But not with Bilstein. Instead words like precise, confident, controlled and safe are what is said about a Bilstein equipped coach. With Bilstein, you won’t find a generic ‘heavy duty’ shock with ultra stiff valving and terrible ride characteristics, but rather a shock designed for your specific motorhome application providing you with a safe and compliant ride.”
Bilstien claims in it’s site that working with Monaco it has, “The World’s First Active Damping System Developed for the Motorhome Industry. BILSTEIN’S ACD SYSTEM (Active Control Damping) automatically reacts to changing road input and coach motion to deliver optimum ride comfort and safe handling.” The claim is that it is a computer controlled system that adjusts the shocks to road input. This type of suystem is a factory installed option as the cost of retorfit would be prohibitive.
Well as usual I have used up all my space for this week and next week we will look at what other companies are offering for ride and handling control. Till then keep camping.