We're really loving the discussion you guys have drummed up here! I think it's fantastic to see the AE86 market shift a bit from singular drift and track performance at the expense of all else to moving towards car setups that favor track performance, with enough bump compliance for daily use and back road canyon performance. This has really been our mindset from the beginning and we've been selecting and working with vendors to help offer products to achieve these goals.
First off, I want to state that we've been working with Annex very closely for the better part of a year now to really dial in a performance suspension that "has it all". From the get go, we wanted a suspension with more travel / stroke than what we've seen on the market. Annex was able to help us dial in an application that has longer stroke shocks than what is normally seen on a typical off the shelf coilover system. This helps with usability and overall performance by allowing the car to soak up large bumps that might otherwise upset the chassis, and also helps improve grip by letting the wheel droop when the car is launched off a berm at he track - or simply just trying to pull into a steep driveway. In terms of performance, the dampers have a large piston that provides great control at low shock speeds, but the pistons have an extra large compression port that allows the shock to "blow off" when hitting a sharp bump (like a rail road track, or track berm at speed), letting the spring absorb the force rather than transfer that energy to the chassis. This also keeps the car composed, and make the ride feel less "harsh" over fast and sharp impacts. We also really like the "road noise isolators", which are a specially formulated insulator that is designed to absorb high frequency road noise (like lane divider dots, or rough road surfaces). This feature really reduces the NVH that makes it into the cabin, yet is still stiff enough so that you really don't notice it when driving hard. They spent a lot of time developing the material and it shows! The dampers themselves have a WIDE adjustment range, with each position providing a very noticeable change in overall dampening.
Finally, the materials they use are of very high quality and have corrosion resistance in mind. This is important for those that live in harsh climates that receive snow or heavy rainfall throughout the year. Bottom line is, we think this is a very capable suspension that will suit most people's needs. They can build the shocks to different lengths if you want to run especially low, or if you want a rally height. They also can custom valve for motorsport applications. If you haven't already, check out out the website at https://annexsuspension.com/
. You can also see our store listing for the AE86 application we developed here: https://shop.battlegarage-rs.com/collections/ae86-high-performance-suspension-steering-parts/products/bgrs-x-annex-suspension-group-fastroad-pro-coilover-system-for-ae86-free-shipping
Pictured below is Annex with the BG Swift upgrade in the rear, and Swift coilover springs upgrade in the front. We Highly recommend the BG rear springs as they help keep the rear end planted! Typical weekend warrior spec from us is 7K front with the 5.5K BGRS swifts in the rear.
If roads are epecially bad (think San Francisco, Down town LA) and that's primarily where the car is driven, we might drop the customer down to 6K fronts and 4.7K BGRS Swift rears. The modern style pistons used in Annex allow spring rates to be higher, yet the shock blows off when hitting a sharp impact (like a pot hole), allowing the wheel to physically move and absorb the majority of the impulse.
FASTROAD PRO SPECIFICATIONS:
24 Way adjustable
Monotube with high pressure Nitrogen gas
Optimized shock stroke and valving for the US market (special attention on soaking up road imperfections and moderate sized bumps)
Spring rates carefully chosen to balance body roll, daily comfort, and still provide neutral handling characteristics
T6 6061 Hard anodized camber plates and lock rings
NiCr coated shock bodies for improved corrosion resistance vs competitors
Integrated spring perch bearings for increased steering feel and less steering friction
Road Noise Isolators for less noise ingress into the cabin
Front Aluminum camber plates for struts, or top hats for double a-arm layouts.
T6 Aluminum AE86 RCA's included!
In response to other topics in this thread:
I read through a lot of the post and want to share my opinions after working on these cars over the years. IMO Bilstein shocks are GREAT. The quality they offer is fantastic, and their valving profiles are very carefully chosen. Koni yellows are great too, however the basic shock design is getting a little old as they haven't been updated for our chassis / similar old chassis for decades. They do have good bump compliance, and the adjustments change the shocks as you would expect.
We were fortunate enough to be able to test a set of TRD blues on Annex's shock dyno. The image is posted below:
You can see that as the adjustments went from softer to harder, the shock increased in hardness on the compression side (top half of the chart) mainly at the high speed range. This is why TRD shocks feel harsh when you start go get to the 5-8 click range. For track only, this might not be that big of a deal, but the huge change in force at the high speed indicates that the piston is too small, and the shocks will launch the car when hitting a high speed bump. On a smooth surface though, the shocks might only be moving around the 1-5 inch per second range, and might be perfectly acceptable.
This also applies to the motorcross shim stack the Jondee posted - the high speed crossover does increase force at high speed, and you would get a graph like the TRD shock posted above. But on a car, this increase in shock force on the high speed compression will make it very uncomfortable when hitting gaps in the road.
BTW, we'd love to hear from you guys on the new Annex Suspension Group offering. Please email us if you have any questions about those, or suspension in general. We've learned a lot from Annex and we'd be happy to share the wealth.