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Top-Tier Shocks For Your 4x4

Posted in Product Reviews on July 7, 2015
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It doesn’t matter if you are searching for high-end bolt-on shocks that fit your stock 4x4, or if you are building a one-off creation with custom shock mounts, the top-tier aftermarket shock industry is blossoming bigger and brighter than it ever has. We’ve compiled the companies that offer high-performance off-road shocks that fit or can be fit to your 4x4. Most of these companies offer many different shock models, so if you don’t see what you like here, don’t be shy—head on over to the company’s website.

ARB
ARB recently jumped into the high-end shock market with the Old Man Emu BP-51 externally adjustable internal bypass shock. The shocks are designed to utilize existing mounting locations on Jeep and Toyota 4x4s to allow bolt-on installation without the need for additional vehicle modifications. The shocks feature a 51mm-diameter bore. In addition to the velocity-sensitive damping, BP-51 shock absorbers also generate damping dependent on the position of the piston within the shock absorber’s body via the bypass design. The bypasses are independently adjustable for both rebound and compression damping. This shock valving combination is said to provide the best of both worlds, with a comfortable and compliant ride during normal driving and a more controlled ride over rough terrain. With increased damping at each end of the stroke, the shock piston slows as it approaches full compression and extension, preventing harsh topping and bottoming out of the suspension. Each shock absorber body is manufactured using aircraft-grade 6061 anodized aluminum to dissipate heat and provide corrosion resistance.
Info: ARB
866/293-9078, arbusa.com

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Bilstein
The new Bilstein 8125 Series is said to be designed specifically for the serious off-road enthusiast. The new monotube coilover shocks are available in 46mm (2-inch) and 60mm (2.65-inch) diameters in 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16-inch travel lengths. The company also offers short-body versions of the 60mm coilovers for those who are fitting shocks into confined spaces. Each shock features a zinc-plated threaded body with dual-rate coilover hardware. The remote reservoir with a large -8 AN hose provides greater resistance to heat, and the high temperature seals are said to extend the life of the shock. The shocks cycle via a 22mm case-hardened piston rod and have industry-standard 5⁄8-inch bearings at each end for mounting. The 8125 Series shocks are designed to be owner rebuildable. All components are billet machined and made right here in the USA. There are no cast parts used. Bilstein offers a full line of high-end shocks for custom and race applications as well.
Info: Bilstein
800/537-1085, bilstein.com

EVO Manufacturing
EVO Manufacturing specializes in modifying the ’07-current Jeep Wrangler JK. The company offers several different kits that include King shocks with EVO-spec shock valving for the JK. These kits range from bolt-on adjustable performance shocks that fit stock applications, to complete bolt-on coilover kits and Double Throwdown EVO Lever cantilever long-travel coilover kits with bypass shocks. The shock kits are designed to fit most aftermarket suspension systems for ease of installation on nearly any JK Wrangler. Kits with bypass shocks can be tuned externally to match your driving style or compensate for the weight of extra gear or people in the back of your Jeep.
Info: EVO Manufacturing
714/879-8913, evomfg.com

Fabtech
Fabtech offers a full line of 2, 21⁄4, 21⁄2, and 4-inch high performance Dirt Logic shocks. The company has expanded the line of high-end Dirt Logic shocks to include adjustable piggyback and adjustable remote-reservoir shocks. This new design gives the user the ability to change the compression damping of the shock while on the vehicle. A 10-way knob with detents allows for wide range of adjustments to suit many different driving conditions. The adjuster features the exclusive Fabtech Port Flow system. Shock fluid is channeled through specific-sized ports between the reservoir and shock body, controlling the compression forces of the shock as it cycles. Each detent provides a different sized port for the fluid to pass through. Also new for 2015 is that all Dirt Logic shocks feature a 304 stainless steel body and black NitroSteel piston rod for maximum corrosion resistance.
Info: Fabtech
877/432-2832, fabtechmotorsports.com

FOA
The FOA OEM shock upgrade kits are said to provide an easy, hassle-free, bolt-on installation for your ’07-current Jeep Wrangler JK. No cutting or welding required. The FOA shock kits are available for Jeep JKs with lifts from 0 to 6 inches. The 2-inch-diameter shocks are made from zinc-plated 1026 steel and feature black anodized aluminum components. Also new from FOA is the External Compression Adjuster available for 2 and 21⁄2-inch shocks. The External Compression Adjuster gives you the ability to adjust compression damping from super soft to super firm with the twist of a knob. This feature can soften your ride when just cruising or firm up the compression when hammering over rough terrain or carrying additional gear.
Info: FOA
855/362-7469, f-o-a.com

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Fox Shocks
You’ll find Fox shocks on factory applications ranging from mountain bikes, UTVs and snow machines, to the ’17 Ford Raptor. However, the company offers a full line of aftermarket universal air, smooth-body, coilover, and adjustable bypass shocks, as well as bolt-in performance shocks for many popular 4x4 applications. The latest includes the adjustable Dual Speed Compression (DSC) shocks for the ’07-current Jeep Wrangler JK. The DSC adjusters provide tuning for on-road use while also offering more aggressive damping for use off-road. The simple adjusters increase both low- and high-speed compression levels up to 25 percent, giving you the ability to maximize small bump compliance and traction while still having the extra damping required for big hits.
Info: Fox
619/768-1800, ridefox.com

Icon Vehicle Dynamics
Icon Vehicle Dynamics offers a slew of bolt-on high-end aftermarket shock applications for Dodge, GM, Ford, Jeep, Nissan, Toyota, and other international models. Newest in the lineup are the 21⁄2-inch vehicle-specific coilover shock with a Compression Damping Control Valve (CDCV), the 21⁄2-inch vehicle-specific Omega Series two-tube bypass shock, and the 21⁄2-inch vehicle-specific piggyback or remote-reservoir shock with CDCV. Each shock is made here in the USA. They feature precision-honed steel shock bodies with corrosion-resistant CAD plating, FK rod end bearings, and are user tunable and rebuildable. Icon bypass shocks offer compact tube design with infinite tube clocking positions for ease of fitment on modified vehicles and tool-free adjuster knobs with defined detents for easy adjustments. The company also offers universal 2 and 21⁄2-inch shocks for custom applications.
Info: Icon Vehicle Dynamics
951/689-4266, iconvehicledynamics.com

ORI Struts
The STX from ORI Struts is more than just your typical air shock. STX struts are compact, internally bypassed, nitrogen-charged long-travel suspension systems. The light weight struts are said to be designed to handle a high load capacity and control body roll. Each strut features a dual pressurized chamber and other internal features that are said to provide stability in fast turns and on off-camber side hills. The design is said to allow most users to eliminate sway bars, external bumpstops, and limiting straps. Each STX strut can be easily tuned by simply adjusting nitrogen gas pressures. Available in lengths from 8 to 20 inches of travel, the STX struts can support up to 1,900 pounds each. The STX Strut is velocity-sensitive with seven-position externally-adjustable rebound damping. They feature an internal hydraulic bumpstop on the compression stroke, a hydraulic end-of-stroke cushioning at full extension, cooling fins to dissipate heat, a massive 13⁄4-inch piston shaft, and 5,000 psi seals. Both 1⁄2-inch and 5⁄8-inch mounting points are available.
Info: ORI Struts
770/258-1554, oristruts.com

King Shocks
In addition to a full line of race and enthusiast smooth-body, coilover, air, and bypass shocks, King offers high-performance bolt-on shocks for many popular applications. The latest is the ’15 Chevy Colorado OEM Performance kit, which includes two front 21⁄2-inch remote-reservoir coilover shocks and two rear 21⁄2-inch piggyback-reservoir shocks. The shocks are specifically tuned for on- and off-road use. They are 100 percent bolt-on and require no cutting or welding to mount. The standard front kit increases ride height by 2 inches to allow for larger tires and serves as a leveling kit. The front kit also increases wheel travel by 12 percent. The rear wheel travel is increased by 15 percent. An extended-travel version of the front shock is also available for use with an upper arm kit. These front shocks increase wheel travel by 23 percent.
Info: King Shocks
714/530-8702, kingshocks.com

Knight Stalker
You may have seen Knight Stalker nitrogen shocks on monster trucks, but the company offers several variants that include Stage I (21⁄4-inch diameter), Stage II (3-inch diameter), and Stage III (4-inch diameter) versions to support the lightest and heaviest of 4x4s. The less-complex Knight Stalker air shocks are offered in Stage I and Stage II diameters. The shocks come in travel lengths of 6 to 30 inches, depending on the model. Stage III shocks are available with bypass tubes. Knight Stalker shocks are fully adjustable to vehicle weight and ride height, and they feature independent valving for compression and rebound movement. There are no mechanical springs. No mechanical energy is built up and the release is said to always be controlled.
Info: Knight Stalker
608/877-1044, knight-stalker-ent.com

Radflo
Radflo offers a full line of smooth body, coilover, air, and bypass shocks. The company also offers bolt-in OE replacement shocks for many different production domestic and import vehicle applications, including the new two-tube bypass shocks for the ’07-current JK Wrangler. Radflo OE replacement shocks feature an SSID alloy steel tube, a mirror-polished Nitro Steel rod, rebuildable seals, CNC-machined 6061 or 7075 aluminum body caps and eyelets with black anodizing, and optional finishes including a mirror polish, clear cadmium plating, and chrome. Other new Radflo shock items include the Stealth Bypass series dressed in all black and the Radflo high- and low-speed adjusters, which are available on several different model shocks.
Info: Radflo
714/965-7828, radflo.com

Pro Comp
The new Pro Comp Pro Runner Black Series shocks are arguably the most advanced shocks that Pro Comp has ever offered. Each shock is a hand-crafted assembly. The Black Series smooth-body shocks are 2 inches in diameter, and the coilovers feature massive 23⁄4-inch bodies. Both models have black anodized aluminum end caps, a bright zinc plating with a UV protecting clear top coat, and are finished off with a gloss polyurethane clear for added protection against the elements. Other features include Viton O-rings and NitroCarb shafts. Coilovers include coil springs. Both the coilovers and smooth-body shocks are completely rebuildable. Current applications include ’07-’15 GM 1⁄2-ton pickups, ’09-’13 Ford F-150s, ’07-’15 Toyota Tundras, and ’05-’15 Toyota Tacomas, with shock valving and spring rates customized specifically for each application.
Info: Pro Comp
800/776-0767, procompusa.com

Pure Performance
Pure Performance offers 2-inch-diameter fluted-aluminum smooth-body Prodigy shocks; 2.625 and 3.25-inch-diameter fluted aluminum smooth-body and coilover Prodigy shocks; and 2.625-inch-diameter Prodigy bypass shocks, as well as bolt-on Direct-Fit applications for Ford and Ram trucks. The fluted aluminum body is said to reduce weight without sacrificing strength. The fluting also increases the surface area for improved cooling. The shock bodies are treated with a military-grade hard-anodized coating to fend off corrosion. The shafts are made from massive 3⁄4 or 1-inch Nitrotec Steel or 1-inch polished 17-4 PH stainless steel, depending on the shock model. All Pure Performance Prodigy shocks come with a six-month warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
Info: Pure Performance
518/270-9822, pure-performance.biz

Sway-A-Way
Along with a full line of length-specific universal off-road race-style shocks, Sway-A-Way now offers bolt-in high-performance shocks for several applications. These include the ’07-current Jeep Wrangler JK and ’14-’15 Ford F-150. The JK 21⁄2-inch-diameter bolt-in bypass shocks are said to offer a smooth comfortable ride, yet still have the ability to handle even the roughest terrain at speed. The Sway-A-Way 21⁄2-inch-diameter remote-reservoir coilovers for the ’14-’15 Ford F-150 provide up to 2 inches of lift. They are designed to level the truck and are said to provide a comfortable ride on- and off-road. The F-150 coilovers come with a zinc plated 4142 bar pin and Grade 8 hardware. Also new at Sway-A-Way are custom colors for the entire shock lineup from race shocks to OEM fitment shocks.
Info: Sway-A-Way
818/700-9712, swayaway.com

Rock Krawler
Rock Krawler offers up a fleet of high-end RRD shocks. The RRD 2-inch-diameter shocks are available in fluted-aluminum smooth-body and 2.625-inch-diameter fluted aluminum smooth-body and coilover versions. Bolt-on 2-inch applications for most new-model Jeeps are also available. The flutes machined into the aluminum shock bodies are said to increase the cooling surface area and reduce overall weight without affecting the strength. Each shock body is treated with a military-grade hard-anodized coating for corrosion resistance. The RRD shock shafts are made from 3⁄4 or 1-inch Nitrotec Steel and the RRD race shocks are plugged with a 1-inch polished 17-4 PH stainless steel shaft. A six-month warranty against defects in materials and workmanship is included with every Rock Krawler RRD shock.
Info: Rock Krawler
518/270-9822, rockkrawler.com

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