Category: Test drive

The Nine Steps Of Bilstein


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The Nine Steps Of Bilstein
The Nine Steps Of Bilstein





At first, the prospect of another trip to the factory manufacturing spare parts did not cause optimism: look to the right, look to the left, read the patent, pay attention to the certificate …

This time they didn’t get bored. Bilstein experts reasoned correctly - it’s better to show the product in action once than to repeat how good it is ten times. Therefore, guided tours of the workshops and conversations with specialists were diluted with road tests. Saw, heard - now try it!

Shock absorbers with the Bilstein brand began to be manufactured in 1954. Today, the company is part of the Thyssen-Krupp concern, a major supplier of components for the automotive industry.

It would be logical to demonstrate the capabilities of shock absorbers on a car that is frankly weak from a driving point of view. Say, look - everything was so-so, but they put Bilstein - it became much better. However, the company didn’t go for such small tricks and put up as many BMW BM-328s as a carrier vehicle - this one, as standard, can cling to asphalt. Here, improving the performance of a carefully tuned suspension is no easy task. Took on tug …

The production of shock absorbers “for sale” is not the only concern of Bilstein. The factory in Mandern, which produces about 15, 000 shock absorbers per day, supplies mainly major automakers: Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Subaru, and Jaguar. It produces adjustable struts with air spring for the Mercedes S-Class.

A small caravan of three BMWs stopped at a roadside parking lot. From here begins the test route - a winding path that runs down the valley of a mountain river. Straight lines, turning into gentle arcs, alternate with bundles of complex turns - you can’t think of a better place. Here you can try all three cars and compare their behavior. The first is on a standard factory suspension. The second is equipped with Bilstein shock absorbers of the Sprint series. Such should not only improve handling, but also reduce ground clearance. Comes complete with springs. The third car - with suspension "Bilstein-RSS 9". Such shock absorbers make possible a nine-step (!) Adjustment of the force for both rebound and compression. We mention two more series of shock absorbers, although they were not presented in our improvised place. This is “Sport” (characteristics with a sports bias, but without reducing clearance, like “Sprint”) and off-road “Off Road”.

“Special purpose” shock absorbers are produced at a factory in the city of Ennepetal. Along with serial tuning products and shock absorbers for racing cars, here they are engaged in the production of a unique product for unique cars. You need a client’s desire, time to develop and, rightly, money to pay for an exclusive.

We will not discuss the trip to the serial BMW: this is just a base from which we will make comparisons. Let's start with Sprint. And without that the “muscular" suspension of the Bavarian car has become even more dense. Banks in corners have noticeably decreased, the car began, perhaps, to react a little sharper to work with a wheel and traction. At the same time, the comfort was almost not affected: it shakes, of course, more strongly, the machine, as it were, tracks all noticeable roughnesses in the coating, but sharp, rough shocks do not come to the body.

The shock absorbers are tested and adapted to a specific car model by a special laboratory in the same Ennepetal. Its main wealth … no, not modern equipment - testers. It is they who, during runs on special routes, conduct a subjective assessment of shock absorbers. The conclusion of an experienced specialist is sometimes much more than numerous tests at the stands. By the way, at one time our Samara visited the Bilstein laboratory. In the future, the appearance of the “tens” is not ruled out.

And now - the miracle of suspension equipment, PSS 9. For starters, “tighten” the shock absorber - the toughest option. Sensation as if the car had completely lost its suspension. It shakes so that the teeth clatter, every crack of the coating is felt. But how it goes! Even those minimal reaction delays that remained in the serial BMW disappeared. The car has become absolutely unambiguous in fulfilling the driver’s commands and is very sharp. He will not forgive laxity, unnecessary movements for a person driving. But if an experienced driver and such a car find mutual understanding, they will be able to do a lot.

Now we ask you to set the average stiffness - the suspension becomes a little calmer. Finally - completely “dissolve” the shock absorbers. The car has become noticeably more comfortable, but even the Sprint option against this background seems soothingly soft.

Bilstein has products that will never go on sale. These are shock absorbers for racing cars. Bilstein works not only in the suspension of Mercedes cars in the DTM series, but also in the Jaguars of Formula 1. Such a shock absorber with a stroke of only 40 mm weighs less than 300 grams.

And now from heaven - to earth, from Germany - to Russia. Whether we need a tooth-breaking PSS 9 or a low-set “Sprint” - in Russia this will interest a narrow circle of wealthy lovers of fast driving. Shock absorbers of the “moderate” Sport series or the regular Bilstein series can become much more widespread, which - without pretense of tuning - can replace worn-out “native” parts. Knowing the steady interest in solid four-wheel drive cars, one can predict a certain interest in the Off Road series. By the way, German sport brands are also known in our country. Domestic race car drivers used them long before the start of official deliveries of Bilstein to Russia. z

Adjustable hole

bore in stock - original element

shock absorber design PSS 9

The diagnostic stand provides information about the state of the suspension on the monitor.

Here you can not only buy shock absorbers,

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