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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With many of our board members enjoying their BC coilovers, there are many (myself included) who are considering them. The positive reviews around here (and in many other forums for other car brands) are making them tempting and, at around $1000, they are hard to pass up.

However, as we all know, suspension is not something that is to be skimped on. So the question is: what is the difference between the BC coilovers and the more expensive options (like Billstein PSS9 and Ground Control)? Is it the availability of supply? Is it the manufacturing process? What is it about them that makes them good but so affordable?

Personally, I am considering them, but that price point is borderline suspicious.

So, how about it?
 

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subscribed for discussion relevant to my interests and future decisions.

I to am swayed by the price point of these and the fact that (like ground control) they are a bolt up solution. I loved my pss9's on my old VW but the price difference is noticeable between them and even ground controls, and the 'necessary' bushes and mounts are still required (I know not 'required' but I think it would be pointless to have everything out of the car and not do them at this point, personally, so they will be getting done if I go this route myself).
 

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My observations are thus: the bc coils were certainly better than stock suspension with 100k miles. Beyond that I'm making it up really as I've only driven in a car equipped with the pss9 suspension once. From that one drive it was apparent that the bilstein setup would be better on track. I don't know what fresh stock shocks are like but I'd wager they are very good, can't be lowered though and perhaps too soft in the spring rates for some drivers??
 

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So the question is: what is the difference between the BC coilovers and the more expensive options (like Billstein PSS9 and Ground Control)? Is it the availability of supply? Is it the manufacturing process? What is it about them that makes them good but so affordable?
C-

As a proponent of both products, I have had opportunities to talk with both companies throughout my time and here's what I've been able to gather.

The Bilstein's West HQ is located in San Diego local to me. Their manufacturing process takes place in Germany with LOTS of hours of road test and damper R&D. The technology that they employ is expensive. Also, their manufacturing process is also rather expensive. The guy I spoke to noted something like 'most of the cost comes down to about 60% manufacturing, and 40% R&D, both of which are expensive in Germany' IIRC. He further noted that longevity plays a part also, as he has never accounted for a part failing or prematurely wore. Moreover, he mentioned that the majority of buyers of PSS9, or coilovers in general, never push the car to the limits of the suspension components, as they DO in R&D. He could reduce his R&D time, however, he would not be able to deliver a product that is up to par with the level of quality Bilstein is known for.

I've had the chance to own (briefly) and inspect the BC Coilovers to the best of my ability and compared it to my PSS9. The system itself is very well built. I was very impressed with the build quality right out of the box. What I cannot comment on is longevity, however, understand that they do have a reasonable replacement policy/cost. BC Racing coilovers has actually been around for a long time, they just recently began to expand their reach into the BMW and European car brands. BC Racing, otherwise known as Buddy Club Racing, has had a long history of motorsports in Japanese cars. They are HQ in the UK, but I am uncertain about where they are really manufactured. However, I can only assume that through their manufacturing process, their 'cost' is substantially less than what I'm sure Ground Control, PSS9, and any other premium suspension manufacturer pays, which we can see in their price of $1xxx. Also, I do not believe that BC Racing has put as much R&D into their systems as others would/are. Given this, let's assume that they both pay approximately the same to manufacturer their respective coilover system (~60%) but Bilstein invests their extra 40% in R&D whereas BC only invests 10%. That alone would show a price difference in their MSRP price.

Also, they are both built a bit different, which I'm sure plays into the cost also. With the PSS9, you can adjust the dampers from under the car, without removing any panels. IIRC, the rear dampers on the BC Racing require the removal of the trunk panels to access. Moreover, PSS9 do not have camber kits, whereas BC Racing does include front camber kits in the price (rears optional IIRC). The PSS9 incorporate a 2-collared system to raise/lower the car. BC Racing incorporates a 2-collared system as well as the ability to turn the entire shock housing to do the same adjustments.

What comes to mind is how we all know Dinan puts so much money/time [= money] into R&D, and it is reflected in the price. Take intakes for example. One can argue that Dinan CAI and Cosmo Racing CAI is identical in design, however, one cost more than the other. One is proven, had lots of R&D time/money invested, and also carries a certain level of customer service backing their product. I believe that although BC Racing coilovers are less expensive, it doesn't detract from the quality of the system, especially for what the majority of us use our beasts for, occasional spirited driving, etc. The difference is about $1000 (I'm not sure what they go for now, but I paid $2k for my PSS9 in 2007), which I can see as an indicator of more funds that Bilstein and GC invested/higher costs of labor/higher cost of materials from their given source when compared with BC Racing.

Another thing to consider is how many units per order both companies produce. It might be that BC Racing orders a larger quantity of units at a given time to reduce the overall cost per unit, whereas Bilstein may only order a small quantity and on a need-basis.

With all things considered, BC Racing coilovers do offer a lot of bang for the buck. Just like with a lot of other things on our cars, the value of the higher price tag is in the eye of the beholder.

The BC Racing kit was not available at the time I was making my decision on coilovers. My real choices were Dinan Stage 2, GC, and PSS9, all of which showed marginal price differences. Had this kit been available, I may have had a different decision making process.

subscribed for discussion relevant to my interests and future decisions.

I to am swayed by the price point of these and the fact that (like ground control) they are a bolt up solution. I loved my pss9's on my old VW but the price difference is noticeable between them and even ground controls, and the 'necessary' bushes and mounts are still required (I know not 'required' but I think it would be pointless to have everything out of the car and not do them at this point, personally, so they will be getting done if I go this route myself).

DrFraserCrane-

There is nothing more required to install the BC Racing coilovers, as it comes ready to install w/ pillow ball top hats on all sides. The PSS9 system reuses the stock components, although it is recommended that while you have the system out, that you replace those components with new/fresh OEM parts.
 

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In my opinion they are at the lower end of the market. Springs are about average, the valving looks to be sufficient for the task. To answer you question... generally this falls under the rule off "you get what you pay for" but as always there are exceptions to the rule. :S People say high end suspension manufactures usually have better R&D, higher quality components and better materials and manufacturing. From what I have read and experienced the BC stuff is a great value and although its not a top tier product. Many people have run BCs and had zero issues so we are glad to recommend and sell them to customers. You kinda cant go wrong with them for the price. :M5thumbs:

Shameless plug - M5 (E39) BC Racing Coilover Kit - Brecus Motorsport
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You kinda cant go wrong with them for the price. :M5thumbs:
You can, though. Because with price of installation and de-installation if you're not happy, you're already in the ballpark of the more expensive kits.
 

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Please elaborate

In my opinion they are at the lower end of the market. Springs are about average, the valving looks
to be sufficient for the task. To answer you question... generally this falls under the rule off "you get what you pay for"
but as always there are exceptions to the rule. :S People say high end suspension manufactures usually have better
R&D, higher quality components and better materials and manufacturing. From what I have read and experienced
the BC stuff is a great value and although its not a top tier product. Many people have run BCs and had zero issues
so we are glad to recommend and sell them to customers. You kinda cant go wrong with them for the price. :M5thumbs:
Elaborate please on why these "are at the lower end of the market" and "its not a top tier product". If the "springs are
about average", what constitutes above average? Making statements such as the above, with absolutely no definitive
particulars as to what relegates this product to a level that is sub-par with the competition, raises the question of what
is the underlying motivation of the source making these characterizations.

If based on materials or actual performance analysis, longevity of components through testing while installed on a test
vehicle or other data gathering, then by all means pass this information along.

Regards,
Alan
 

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Elaborate please on why these "are at the lower end of the market" and "its not a top tier product". If the "springs are
about average", what constitutes above average? Making statements such as the above, with absolutely no definitive
particulars as to what relegates this product to a level that is sub-par with the competition, raises the question of what
is the underlying motivation of the source making these characterizations.

If based on materials or actual performance analysis, longevity of components through testing while installed on a test
vehicle or other data gathering, then by all means pass this information along.

Regards,
Alan
I should clarify I was relaying my perspective from a sales point of view. The performance and quality may be similar to other suspension systems but the general consensus among suppliers is that they are an entry level product. They obviously don't have as well of an established "name" within the market so this perspective could just be due to the unknown. Everyone has a relative view... and I figured this one could help. We are shipping a set to Timmay77 soon so he can give you guys a great 3rd party review on the quality and performance. I would have to put them on my car and drive for some time both on the track and street to warrant any real road or racing review.
 

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I've been thinking about getting a set of the BC coilovers as well. I currently have Kelleners lowering springs on stock shocks, and was planning on upgrading to Konis, but for a couple bucks more, I can get the BCs.

I wanted the GC setup, but their price has been slowly increasing, and is now $1900. I'm sure it's a better setup, but I'm not sure if I'd actually use it to it's full potential, and for my use (mostly street driving), I'm thinking the BC is probably the better choice.
 

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And so if BC were able to turn back the clock and upon entering the mainstream market started offering the kits at roughly PSS9 prices, vendors with little experience of such kits other than looking at suggested retail prices set by the manufacturers themselves would automatically presume that hey were not "entry level" at all but would assume they were top end????

I'm sorry Brecus but if a manufacturer says he want $1000 for an intake, and another says he wants $500 for a very very similar looking intake it does not automatically mean that manufacturer 1 is twice as good.

Whilst i do not profess to be the oracle on ANY part designed as an upgrade, you have got to look at simple labour costs comparing where the kits are made.

I don't want to sound horrible or in favour of cheap labour but when you look at simply a far east worker will perform X amount of work for a pittance a day and compare that to a German worker for 6x the amount you can see where a manufacturer such as BC has a massive advantage in terms of purchase price from the get go.

Am i saying that the likes of BC can match Bilstein for overall quality in terms of muscle flexing prowess?
No i am not, but as an example, if Bilstein offer their last generation kit for $1500 and their new gen one for $2000, a good far east manufacturer is very capable of offering a kit of very very similar qualities to the last gen of Bilstein products for perhaps $800.

For example. The BC's offer a 2 ring locking collar arrangement under the spring which shouldn't ever be moved. The ride height is controlled by the 3rd locking collar at the base of the shock so that you can alter the ride height without subjecting the spring to any extra preload and therefore altering the spring rate and thus dampening characteristics of the shock. Something like the KW system only offers the 2 locking collars under the spring and so you are changing the characteristics of the coilover every time you adjust the ride height.

This isn't ideal and the BC system on face value looks to be the better thought out design of the 2, but that doesn't mean its overall a better quality system. It doesn't mean the KW team are a bunch of amateurs either, but it DOES say that even though you can be looking at a cheaper solution it doesn't mean the best engineering ideas are solely for use in the so called "top end " products

It may not be as good as the very latest Bilstein product, but at under half the price i'll be willing to wager its about 85-90% as good as the latest gen Bilstein goods at about 40% of the price. IMO this is why kit from the far east simply shouldn't be discounted. Especially when so many people are using them with not one bad word said against them
 

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Discussion Starter #11
To Jamiepeers

Exactly, lots of factors.

And while labor may be cheaper in the far east, then you gotta think about quality control. "Made in China" has never really been synonym with high quality, but I'm not one to stereotype when it comes to suspension. Fake watches, on the other hand...

And then comes the issue of use. If you're looking to track your car 5 times a year, then you're better served by getting a track-proven solution. But for street cars with the occasional spirited drive, then you have to wonder how much of the suspension's potential would you be using (if driving properly and not being an idiot, of course). Then, the cheaper alternatives might suit our needs very well.

No one is debating the Bilsteins and the Ground Controls of the world. But many of us do not require such level when we're rarely going to be squeezing 100% of their potential. We want a good ride (for a luxury sedan) with the ability to handle well when it's required.
 

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We want a good ride (for a luxury sedan) with the ability to handle well when it's required.

THIS is why I refuse to pay $2k for a suspension, I just won't use what it is made for. IE, what I would be paying for.

I am going with the BC set up on a hope and a chance that I will get a GREAT product at a great price point. Am I looking for a set up to beat the hell out of on the track? No, my car will probably NEVER see a road coarse. I am looking for something that is ride height/dampening adjustable, with a good warranty program, that is at a good price. If I strike out and it is junk, that is my fault for taking the chance, but from other owner's reviews, it seems like a nice set up, FOR ME. For what I want to accomplish with my car.


Great thread. I like the coarse this is on.......
 

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You guys are reading into what I am saying way to much. In no way do I think that because of the BCs price its a lesser quality product. In fact I think the contrary. Many members have contacted us on a budget and we have recommended the BC system. Timmay is a perfect candidate for this suspension and his review will be great for the board.
 

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@ Diny.

I whole heartedly agree. And whilst things that are made in China are generally frowned upon in terms of quality - or rather lack of it over the years, you have to agree that in general, quality has gotten so much better.

So much so that pretty much everything from the big names in all that you can think of are made there. Ipods, TV components from all the big guns, etc etc, you could sit here all day with an ever increasing list but the point is still the same.

Sure you have the backup of Bilsteins knowing they were developed on the nurburgring. You have the common sense to know in a straight fist fight that the Billy's are better than the BC's but you have hit the point brilliantly when you ask how you will use your new suspension.

Personally i think 99% of M5 users won't be doing so to warrant track orientated coilover suspension.

Certainly for me, coilovers in general are over the top, but the fact you can infinitesimally adjust your ride height means they are perfect for what i want. The standard non adjustable suspension is originally made by Bilstein and if i'm honest a little soft for me. My car has well in excess of 100k miles and so i know that over time they will have become worn anyways, but i'm willing to bet that even fresh ones would have been valved a little on the softer side from factory.

If the BC's offer a more sporting feel (which i'm sure they will, as thats why i've purchased them) then that improvement over stock is enough for me.

If i couldn't have got the BC's FWIW i probably would have went down the Bilstein B8 fixed damper and lowering spring route, as i'm certainly not going to be in the business of wringing anywhere near 100% performance out of £2000 suspension.

A friend of mine has Ground Control's on his M5 and its only ever been up the highway and back. Kind of a waste of money in terms of use its getting, and i suspect the vast majority of E39 M5 owners fitted with similar kit are doing the same.

A final point regarding BC's. Car Planet Racing is local to me. The UK guys will know them as some have had their evolve exhausts done there. However they are a very knowledgable outfit regarding racing, and time attacks. They currently hold the all time lap record at one of the British Circuits, not sure which off the top of my head, but obviously if you are of this level its fair to say you know a bit about suspension.

They have a 900+ BHP mitsubishi evo amongst others thats totally self built, and has Nitron suspension fitted, but the rears are the same as the fronts with extra turret travel fabricated into the rear positions so they can run 4 front struts. Monster stuff.

We took our BC kit to them so they could have a look but they'd already heard of them. They said they were pretty good. Not the be all and end all in terms of outright performance but good none the less.

Good enough for me
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Here's another question regarding price...

For the Bilstein kits, for example, it's necessary to buy a bunch of suspension consumables (about $300 worth) while the Ground Control kits are good to go and there's no need to buy anything else.

Which is the case with the BCs?
 

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When i fitted my BCs there were no extra parts required - excepting the shock adjuster extender thingies.
 

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Here's another question regarding price...

For the Bilstein kits, for example, it's necessary to buy a bunch of suspension consumables (about $300 worth) while the Ground Control kits are good to go and there's no need to buy anything else.

Which is the case with the BCs?
Does not require any additional parts. Kit comes ready to install. Adjuster extenders optional.
 

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I for one value diversity and always encourage healthy competition.

On occasion like this I'll reserve my comment.

BC Racing coilover still new to BMW world but not KW, Bilstein or GC. For that reason I will give it benefit of the doubt. So I'm going to wait and see long term result (durability, etc). To be honest it looks promising but I won't make recommendation for them yet. (at this point the most attractive aspect of it is the price point. The reliability and long term performance is still unknown)

To response to other comment if you think Bilstein PSS9 is expensive go and look for Moton shock :).

Some will say they will never explore 10/10th handling of the car thus the cheaper part should suffice (I'm in no way saying cheaper is inferior however I have enough experience to say "you will get what you pay for").
In the same logic why all of us buy E39M5, 540i would have been enough.

I for one will not skimped for safety on my beast. That include brake component, suspension, tires, etc.

FWIW I've now had about 20k miles on PSS9 and still NO rattles, squeaks, noises at all. Still as tight as the day I put it on the car.

My $0.02


Regards,

J Irwan
 

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Interesting thread. I personally feel if you're aiming for reliability and an overall top tier product, go for the KW V3's. They are a little more pricier than most options but I'd say they're also the best option out there and have never let me down in terms of performance and drivability.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Interesting thread. I personally feel if you're aiming for reliability and an overall top tier product, go for the KW V3's. They are a little more pricier than most options but I'd say they're also the best option out there and have never let me down in terms of performance and drivability.
In a thread where we're talking about $1000 coilovers, mentioning a $2500 option is out of bounds. We all know the merits and value of Bilstein, Ground Control, and many others.
 
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