PART NUMBER: 61-3456
This custom combo incorporates our new NC Koni Race height-adjustable shocks and a special dual-rate spring developed specifically for this package and made for us by Progress Technology. The result is a shorter shock body extra long travel coilover that boasts premium quality from some of the best names in suspension, with an unbeatable price tag.
This kit is all about MAXIMUM performance to dollar ratio. We focused the costs and R&D where it all matters, and avoided anything unnecessary in order to create the new best bargain among coilover options for cars bridging the gap between fun canyon carver and occasional autocross or track fun.
To that end, we chose to design this combo to use the factory top hats, which saves the cost of manufacturing four new hats. The reason most coilovers need their own hats is that standard 2.5 inch diameter race springs used on most coilovers don't seat properly on a stock hat. Rather than go with off-the-shelf springs we decided to custom design unique springs made to work with NC top hats.
Thus, instead of a universal linear 2.5 inch diameter spring, these custom springs were developed with the appropriate size at the top to fit into the factory hats. That means no extra adapters needed and the spring tapers down to a smaller diameter at the bottom to fit the adjustable perch on the special threaded body KONI Race shock. Furthermore, this custom spring incorporates two spring rates with a progressive transition, effectively having a higher primary spring rate and a lower helper spring rate all built in one spring (more on this below in the spring section). This simplification of the spring stack gets you the value of a high end coilover with dual spring setup, all incorporated into a single spring for easy assembly with less parts, and a lower price tag. AND we found in testing that this special dual-rate spring actually gives better ride quality than even a super high quality dual spring setup from Swift of similar spring rates. That's due to the special dual rate spring having a smooth progressive transition between the two portions of the spring, in stark contrast to a classic two-spring race setup where there's a sudden change in rate between the helper and main spring.
Koni Long Stroke Race Shocks
Back in the day our friends at KONI did a motorsports Koni Race valving setup for the NC for GrandAm Racing. They sent us a set of those in fixed length with that valving for testing and we LOVED IT. We loved it because it rode amazing and yet it handled race sharp. But we wanted even more - we wanted it in a height adjustable shock body in addition to the magic damping and the adjustable damping feature of the first test set sent to us. And the result is what you see here. A ride height adjustable and rebound adjustable Koni Race shock for the NC. Massive 136mm front stroke and 186mm rear stroke is more than anything we have seen on this platform. Think of it as a massively upgraded version of the popular Koni Sport shocks, adding superior damping control and fine height adjustment and extra travel. These are exclusive to Goodwin Racing.
The shock bodies feature a beautiful "chrome" finish that has undergone rigorous 1000-hour salt spray testing for exceptional corrosion protection.
These shocks come with Koni racing bumpstops included in the boxes which were selected for this kit after extensive testing in our own 2008 NC Miata. Shock rebound adjustment is done just like Koni Sport shocks via a knob at the top of the shock.
Custom Progress Dual-Rate Springs
Developed specifically for this kit, these dual-rate springs are a two-in-one wonder that operates like a traditional (and more complex) multi-spring stack found on dedicated race coilovers.
You'll often see high-end coilovers with multiple springs per shock; a main spring and a helper spring. This is particularly necessary for coilovers with higher spring rates so that as you move the lower spring perch to adjust ride height you aren't trying to compress the strong main spring further and further. The "helper" spring is a lighter secondary spring that is relatively easy to compress. The usual helper spring maintains pressure on the lower perch as you move the lower perch up or down on the shock while presenting minimal resistance to you as you make adjustments. The helper spring also helps with traction over bumps through a corner on the unloaded side of the car.
We rolled the helper and main spring into one spring by working with Progress Technology to develop a special spring that has both a main rate portion and a lower helper rate portion. Having this all incorporated in one spring eliminates the complexity of needing adapters and bearings between multiple springs. Some coilovers need up to 7 individual parts to make up one spring stack on a shock! Here you have just one spring and no potential noise sources that traditional multi-spring stacks can suffer.
Prime Section Spring rates: Front 390 lb/in, Rear 225 lb/in
Picture below is the final test set that we ran in our own NC, assembled with factory top hats. Note that, as always with NC, because it has the rubber bushings in the control arms it tends to lock height and car won't lower until you free those bushings to move. Thus, expect as normal with any NC coilover install that it will settle significantly as the bushings adjust to the new heights.
This thing now rides nearly as good as our famous OHLINS Coilovers. The damping profile in this setup is derived from shaker table work Koni did on the NC chassis for GrandAm Racing. It has the control now to work as a really nice sport touring setup that is much faster than any lowering springs with Koni SPORT shocks, and customers get precise height control of real coilovers, and the Koni Race shock damping control adjustment goes far beyond what is in the Koni Sport shocks. This is not a hardcore race setup by any means, and this is not the setup for those wanting to run really wide wheel and tire combos. Our much stiffer sprung MeisterR Club Race that come with 10kg/6kg springs, or our Feal 441 Road Race that come with 12kg/7kg, will leave this softer setup far behind on track and autocross days if lap time is your top priority. This unique combo provides a super fun and fast sport touring setup that rides better than those setups for super competent back roads fun, daily hooligan driving, and faster track and autocross work than you will get with standard lowering springs and Koni Sport shocks.
Thus, my recommendation for those interested in KONI but wanting a ton more performance than available with any NC lowering springs on Koni Sport Shocks is use this setup. Spring rates on these are the same as our standard Ohlins Coilovers, 7kg Front and 4kg Rear. In pounds that is 390 front/225 rear. In comparison, standard Progress Lowering Springs are more rate than stock but just 126 lbs/in front and 116 lbs/inch rear. So here we have more than doubled spring rates from the standard Progress Springs, yet delivered similar ride to that setup with MUCH more performance yet softer ride for daily use than something like our MeisterR ClubRace or FEAL 441.
As usual we set heights to our recommendation for NC coilover customers, which is 13.25 inches front center of wheel up to fender lip, 13.5 center of wheel rear up to rear fender lip - as shown in picture below. Since this is a real coilover customers can go lower or higher from here but we encourage customers to start with the sweet spot we designed into this setup, 13.25 inches front and 13.5 inches rear and that's what you see on our test NC here.
Brian's Tips For Setting Heights:
You jack up each corner of the car properly from the pinch welds and remove the wheels and spin the perches up until you get the height goals you want. This typically takes a few rounds of this process at each corner to get the feel of how much change in perch position results in how much resulting height change for that corner. On my 2007 with the same coilover I have roughly 1.5 inches of thread showing at the bottom of coilovers in front and a little less in the rear. Do not expect the left and right sides to need the same amount of spinning up of the spring perch, the car does not have the same weight at each corner so don't get too locked into where the perches are, just watch the resulting heights. So, if the goals are 13.25 and 13.5 like I have on this car here, adjust each corner up until you get there.
Suggested starting perch height on the shock, from the bottom of the locking ring to the bottom of the threads: 1.5" front, 0.8" rear.
At the price we can offer this setup I really think not much will come close to the combo of both quality ride and handling and performance. If you want your NC Miata to feel like a quality high speed GT, like a Jag F Type in competence and ride quality but a lot less heavy, this is the way. We have decided to call it our Club Sport Setup, it's the budget road and track coilover for those that don't have the budget for our Ohlins. Not as fast as our MeisterR ClubRace or FEAL 441 Road Race, but this long stroke setup rides real world busted up roads much better than those coilovers, and is far faster than stock setup or any standard lowering spring setup. Long Shock Stroke Setup: 136mm front and 186mm rear, that is more travel than any competing setup we have seen.
Long stroke design also means more travel than most can ever reasonably use if much beyond stock wheel/tire sizes. We have tuned it for street use with 235/40 tires on 17x8 Hypergram wheels and relatively aggressive higher durometer bumpstops that are relatively tall (55m long rear and 45mm long front). Customers with much bigger than stock wheels and tires, and those going to tracks with big drops like Laguna Seca Raceway, should have some packers ready to clip on as needed, depending on the track. For example, we fully expect to clip in some tall packers for the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca!
Brian's Sway Bar TIP: We STRONGLY SUGGEST you don't rush into adding sway bars with this setup until you really have weeks or even months to drive it. Why? As a Koni Race shock the compression damping is enough that most will find they do NOT need sway bar upgrades for really flat handling when used with a reasonable wheel and tire package. Adding bigger sway bars will cut ride quality! These reduce body roll so much that most will not feel the need to change from OEM sways. Most of our testing of this setup was done with our Hypergram 17x8 and 235/40 Dunlop ZIII tires and we love that combo with this setup and stock sway bars. That's enough wheel and tire to be fast in the canyons and yet total grip is reasonable enough that I can flat drift it around freeway 270 degree ramps with a big smile on my face.
I also suggest that street customers start with these adjusted FULL SOFT because with roots in a KONI GrandAm Race development these have plenty of compression side damping at full soft for most street use. Dial them stiffer for track and autocross depending on surface conditions and desired balance front to rear.
KONI RACE SHOCK DYNO for the Front Shock.
If you want a proper sports car suspension, this is the answer. On surface streets this suspension is well-behaved over manhole covers and train tracks. It took the expansion joints on the freeway nicely. It handled road imperfections as one would hope from a great street suspension. But I was really impressed at how well this setup handles at speed. On fast straights, dips and bumps were not an issue as the car remained stable and planted. But it shined even more by handling the on/off ramps great, remaining flat through both tight curves and more open sweepers. I kept thinking " I need this car" when I was driving on this suspension. This will turn an NC into a perfect GT car, smooth when cruising or driving around town, and sooo much fun in the twisties.
PICTURE OF EVERYTHING IN THE BOXES:
First time on track with our new coilovers, three days at Sonoma Raceway, and they proved amazing! Still a pretty 'soft' setup for serious track fun but advantages of the longest travel NC coilovers that exist included that we could cut all curbs and the car didn't care, it stayed on line and would not get knocked off line by even the most rough rumble strips. By the end of Saturday we had the car under 2 minute lap times with passengers. We started half a turn off full stiff at front and one full turn off stiff at rear and adjusted front to full stiff and rear to half a turn off full stiff for the control we wanted. We did find that we needed a quarter inch packer at the front corners clipped in to limit travel just a bit to prevent rub way up inside on front fender liners with relatively conservative 225/40 track tires. That's the cost of so much travel, this is not the setup for 17x9 and 255/40 unless you plan to add a lot more packers and give up a lot of the lovely travel of this setup. And that extra long travel is why this setup rides as good as it does for 7kg front and 4kg rear spring rates. We double stinted the car with multiple drivers and we all agreed it impressively quick for such a relatively soft 7kg/4kg spring combo. Around town we drove this setup on stock sways for best possible ride quality, but for the track weekend with high grip tires we added our Progress Sway Bars.
I've had coilovers and lowering springs on several of my past cars (Acura Integras, VW GTIs, Jettas, even trucks) and they were always a compromise. Usually you know you're giving up some ride comfort for more handling or looks. I even purchased these with that in mind but I'm happy to report that these coilovers give you ride comfort along with the added performance.
I previously had replaced my blown stock shocks and bumpstops with Bilstein HD shocks and GWR comfort bumpstops and it definitely gave the car a firm but decent ride. However, I always thought the HD shocks were a little too firm in comparison to the soft stock springs. I wanted a matched shock/spring combo and being able to adjust the ride height was a bonus so I installed these coilovers.
The whole kit came packaged very well and included everything you need including the spanner wrenches and adjusters for the shocks. I have them set to the same ride height as the stock springs/HD shocks that I removed to avoid an alignment until I decide on a wheel/tire setup that I want (Koni gives you a ton of adjustment by the way. Slammed to rally car heights are achievable). I have it set to full soft on the adjusters. I have about 1000 miles so far on the setup and it feels perfect. Ride isn't jarring or rough, it's smooth and controlled. It's less rough than my old stock spring/Bilstein HD setup. Goodwin recommends stock swaybars but I kept my RX8 Red/front, Yellow/rear sway bars on and I love it. Still has slight body roll which I prefer, doesn't feel like a stiff flat race suspension. Doesn't hop around on bumps but you feel rumble strips a little more. I get a sense that I know what the car is doing now during "spirited driving" as I get much better feedback and feel. When I'm just cruising, it's comfortable and relaxing to drive.
I don't have experience with any other coilovers on the NC Miata platform but I can say that if you're looking for a coilover that can give you that "quality high speed GT" feeling, this is it. It won't beat you up, you don't wince every time you see a bump, but it gives you all the confidence you could ask for in the corners. I keep thinking in my mind that this is how Porsche would set this car up. I think I hear less rattles in my car since the install. My wife and even my grandmother gave it a thumbs up.
I don't normally leave product reviews but I felt it was warranted here.
For context - I purchased my 2012 GT with 17k miles on it, bone stock. I had a 2008 previously (2 years of ownership), the one upgrade I had done was shocks due to it's mileage. When I replaced the shocks/springs with the ClubSport setup I had 48k on the odo.
Amongst a number of small updates I did to the vehicle, the big ones for me were FM sways, RoasterSport Street header and SuperQ exhaust with a dynatronics remote bench tune, and then these NC ClubSport coilovers.
Those other mods were both excellent upgrades and well worth the time and effort, but for me the clubsports take the cake for fun per dollar. The car feels MUCH more planted, flat, and composed... while still taking New England potholes without fuss or shock up my spine. Coming from the stock Bilsteins, and not currently doing any track time, these feel like an absolute win win. I am back to finding reasons to take the miata out for a drive! I don't have enough knowledge with other setups to compare these against, but if you're coming from stock and don't plan on spending all your time on the track, I very highly recommend these.
An equally important side note, and a large part of why I'm leaving a review. For both the header/exhaust and coilovers I did my own installs. I have a pretty robust set of tools and reasonable mechanical knowledge but this was my first time attempting either job and the customer service from Goodwin was nothing short of amazing. Any questions I had (and there were a few!) were very promptly responded to with both helpful and well mannered answers. In my experience, a rarity now a days. This made the experience so much more enjoyable.
I knew I needed to replace the shocks on this 80k mile Miata I've had for a year. My wife (she mostly drives it) and I being elderly, I was anxious about an uncomfortable ride and a too-low ride height. One of the main reasons I settled on these is that I had the option to increase the ride height.
After a pleasant morning wrenching with my son, we took it out for a test. This setup is better than worn out Bilsteins in every way. Much faster and much flatter in corners. Much less dive and squat, and even the ride quality is better. This Miata feels like a sports car now, maybe even better than my long departed, highly modified Merkur XR4ti. Actually, I'm so old now I don't really remember that car much.
As I don't race in any form anymore, I can't comment on the suitability of this setup for competition.
Finally, I set the ride height to the recommended values and it really doesn't feel that low.
I'm 100% satisfied and I highly recommend this combo to other old people, and probably anybody who uses their Miata as a road car.
Thanks, Goodwin Racing!
-- Robert (everyone calls me Pops) Valiant