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High-End Shock Performance - Shock Value

Four Wheeler
Kevin Blumer | Writer
Posted February 1, 2010
Photographers: King Shocks, Light Racing

Small Parts, Big Difference

Pared down to the basics, a shock is nothing more than a hydraulic cylinder that has internal controls that affect the rate at which the shock extends and compresses. Another way to explain a shock is that it's a device that changes kinetic energy (motion) into thermal energy (heat).

Though the concept is simple, shock performance is the single biggest factor in determining how your rig rides. Shocks determine whether your rig will stick to an obstacle or bounce off of it. Shocks (and lest we forget, suspension and steering geometry) determine whether your rig handles well on the street or is a dangerous handful.

Shocks come in a whole spectrum of prices. We decided to concentrate on high-end shocks this time because they're the most tunable, last the longest, and can make the biggest difference in comfort, safety, and most importantly, fun. Yes, basic shocks cost less and can usually be bolted to the same set of mounts, but you really do get what you pay for.

To hammer the point home, we consulted four industry leaders whose products have hundreds of thousands of off-road miles to their names. Who are those leaders? King Shocks, Light Racing, Walker Evans, and Sway-A-Way.

Turned inside-out to expose their guts, we found premium materials, precision machining, and superior design. Assembled, tuned, and bolted to your rig, they're nothing short of a revelation. They're small parts that make a big difference. We think you'll find that high-end shocks are a big-time value.

Photos

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Sources

Light Racing
Longmont, CO 80504
800-525-6505
www.lightracing.com
King Shocks
Garden Grove, CA 92840
714-530-8701
www.kingshocks.com
Sway-A-Way
Chatsworth, CA 91311
818-700-9712
www.swayaway.com
Walker Evans Racing
Riverside, CA 92516
888-933-7223
www.walkerevansracing.com
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