Koni adjustable shocks

[10/15/2008] Reviewed by: Manuel A. Mota Mercado - propaganda84@hotmail.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Koni sport (yellow) shocks. Adjustable damping and height.

Forget about the instructions that come with the shocks. When it is time to drill the shock mounts; just get a unibid. Take your time drilling the mounts and do not go full blast on the drill, stay in the slow to medium speed. This will take between 5-10 min. for each mount and shock boot. For the front suspension loose the upper control arm and not he lower one, there is no need for it. I recommend using a ball joint removing tool instead of a hammer. It is the safest and easier way. Spray all the bolts and nuts with PB BLASTER the day before or a few hours before you begin your work. I can get into details about the work, but I am here to review the product. If you don?t any idea of what to do, go to a shop because it will take you all day if you are a rookie. And then you need an alignment.

If you want your car to be low get springs too. The shocks will lower the car, but nothing big. I put the spring perches in the lowest position and the car looks good. For the damping, I set the front to full hard (two turns) and 1.5 turns in the rear. This setup is perfect for the highway. I am very happy with these shocks.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Koni Yellow Sport Shocks

[5/15/2006] Reviewed by: Don Smith

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Koni adjustable shocks

Second set of Konis

Car has OEM springs, sway bar, and bushings. Pretty simple installation, my first time and I did it alone over the course of a Saturday afternoon. The fronts were very simple after I removed the undertray in front and the sway bar mounting brackets. After that the long bolt from the upper control arnm pulled straight out and the shock actually hit me in the head as it fell out of the car. Be careful there. The left rear was a bear because it's hard to reach around the gas filler to get to the bolts, and there's not much room to work a ratchet back there either. Once on they are a noticable improvement over the stock shocks. My only complaint is that now my ride height is about 1" higher both front and back over stock. And this is with the spring perches in the "stock" location. Other than making my car look like an SUV, they are great.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Koni Sport Shocks

[7/11/2005] Reviewed by: Greg Atchison - gregatchison@centurytel.net

Applicable to: '99 + 1.8 liter

Koni Adjustable Sport Shocks

As someone has already pointed out, they're not the prettiest of the bunch, but I believe that the workmanship and handling is superb.

In addition to the Koni Sport Shocks, I also installed a set of Racing Beat street springs. I purchased everything from Goodwin Racing and really appreciate the support I get from Brian and his team. Installing the shocks and springs is not an easy job, taking a good day for me to do the fronts, and another day to do the rears. It's not that it's all that technically difficult, but the challenge is getting the shock/spring assembly free from the swing arms. One person can easily get everything disassembled, but two people are needed to get enough clearance to get the old assembly out and the new one in. I used the instructions provided on the Good-Win Racing website, as well as the instructions for cutting the bump stops from Racing Beat. I would suggest that you move slowly to trim the bumpstops, as I was too aggressive in trimming the first one, which I later had to replace. I would also recommend that during the reinstallation, you wrap thin cardboard around the shocks to preclude any scratching. I failed to do so and ended up touching up the paint, as most were badly scratched after I installed them. I'm very happy with the ride and like the drop in ride height. I got less of a drop that advertsied by Racing Beat, but it's probably good as I'm already scraping the bottom of my car when I leave my driveway or drive over a speed bump. The ride is great. The Koni shocks have an adjustment at the top of the shaft that provides for about two revolutions of the knob provided. I have a full turn of adjustment in my front shocks and a half turn (from full soft) in my rear shocks. It is firmer than my original sport suspension, but not firm enough to shake any dental fillings out. In summary, it's not an easy project, but worth the price and "sweat-equity" in the end.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Koni Shocks

[4/16/2004] Reviewed by: Bruce Stanley - bstanley53@cox.net

Applicable to: '90 - '97

Adjustable rate shock. Not exceptionally pretty, finish isn't quite as nice as the red KYBs, but by their performance so far, it is clear that the money was spent on the internals.

Installed for about 2 1/2 years. Original installation was with stock springs and anti-sway bars and I used the softest setting which worked very well. I used the lowest perch setting which lowered the car a little bit, but I have no measurements since I have since changed springs. It was clear that the shocks were a big step up from stock. See other comments on installations notes and drilling. Now riding on FM springs and anti-sway bars. Using the highest perch as recommended by FM. After 2 1/2 years and about 25k miles, I see so no degradation in damping/performance.

The FM spring rates are significantly stiffer than stock (342/228). The setting that I am currently running on the Konis are 1/2 turn from full soft all the way around. I might soften the front 1/8 turn to help get the rear around, I am still experimenting with the damping level, but I think this is pretty close. With the FM springs (342/228) and bars (set at FM initial recommendation), and a street/auto-x alignment (F -1.4, 0 toe, R -2.0, .07 toe in), the car is neutral at the limit and steerable with the right foot. Once you have the rest of your suspension hardware set up properly, you can really fine tune the balance by small changes in the shock rates. I was at an auto-x and found the car to be pushing just a little and was able to neutralize that push by softenig the front rate. The infinite adjustability and wide range (approximately 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 turns from full soft to full firm) allow for some very subtle tuning of the car's balance. Big bang! for the buck.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Koni Sport Shocks

[12/7/2003] Reviewed by: JIM ESCAJA - ESCAJA@MSN.COM

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Koni Sport Shocks

Koni Sport Shocks are a relatively pricey upgrade for a first generation Miata especially when you factor in an additional $200 for installation yet they are by far the best option for improved handling that money can buy. Set the fronts on mid perch and the rears on the lowest perch, crank the firmness adjustment dial mid way between firm and soft, put on your helmet and go out racing... simple as that... Mash the accelerator to the floor, slam on the brakes, swerve to the left or right and the car maintains it's composure. Perform a stunt like that with the stock shocks and you could end up in big trouble. Best advice is to purchase the shocks along with a 12mm drill bit drop everything off at your mechanic in the morning and pick the car up at the end of the day. Installation is a lot of work even for an experienced mechanic so if time is a valuable commodity leave this one to the guy who does this for a living.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Koni adjustable shocks

[9/21/2003] Reviewed by: David Cooke - dtcooke@charter.net

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Koni adjustable shocks


After reading all the comments and suggestions about shocks and replacements, I decided to replace my 82K mile original shocks of my Miata with Koni adjustable dampness and spring perch. I am a profession auto technican of twenty eight years (Porsche), and I have installed many sets of Koni shocks. In my opinion Koni has always had very high quality products. One of the details that I haven't seen mentioned is the fact of the different ride height front to rear after installation. I would like to mention the shock and spring setting take into account of a load being in the car when driven and the force of wind resistance on the windshield, therefore the height of the car should be higher in the rear when unladen and stopped. If the spring perches are set to make the car level in a static state unladen, etc, the car will be too low in the rear when driven and with passengers.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Koni Sport shocks

[2/23/2003] Reviewed by: Angelo Gagliani - dragagliani@aol.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Koni Sport yellow shocks

2 weeks.

I put these on my '91 with 105k (just purchased) in about 6 hours with the help of my buddy. I rented spring compressors and bought a 12 mm drill bit prior to starting. If you use the spring compressors on the fronts while they're still on the car (somewhat of a pain), you don't have to separate the ball joints and mess up your alignment. Who wants to hit their car with a hammer, anyway? Installation was pretty straightforward using the techniques found in Miata.net by Bob Cohen (thanks, Bob). I used the lowest height setting and adjusted the shocks to about midrange (1 turn from soft). When I bougtht the car in Texas And drove it the 1500 miles to Cleveland, I knew the shocks were wasted. The car rolled, squatted, and dived more than my mom's RAV4. The improvement was immediately noticeable! The car is simply transformed. It is now more fun to drive than my 95 BMW M3. I can't wait to auto x it. This is definitely something I would do again.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Koni Shocks

[5/26/2002] Reviewed by: FormerMazdaTech - 31st330i@roadfly.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Konisport (yellow) shocks for 1993 Miata.

installation wasn't bad. you will need to drill out the holes on the shock mount as well as the shock boot (Racing Beat claimed that only M2 with Bilsteins required drilling but that was misinformation). it's easiest to use a unibit versus a standard drill bit. I set the adjustment to 1/4 turn and set the spring pearches to the lowest settings. I installed FM sway bars at the same time (see seperate review). on the highway the car feels very stable and has a good ride quality. on my favorite back road (calaveras road in the east SF bay area) the car handles as if it were on rails, never breaking tire contact from the pavement. I retained the stock springs and frankly see no reason to go for aftermarket springs for street driving. this is a must have upgrade, along with sway bars and chassis bracing. my 93 already has the OE rear subframe brace and I intend on retrofitting the front subframe brace ($28 from Mazda South).

purchased from Tire Rack but you can save ~$15 more buying them through the Performance Buyer's Club.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Shocks / koni sport

[3/13/2002] Reviewed by: Juan Sierra - juanantoniosierra@yahoo.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97

The shocks came in a two red boxes with inscriptions of special d, they are yelow, have a a white knob to do the adjustment, some hardware and decals; mine arrived after two monts with a little bit of paint damage, wich is normal because they travel world wide; holland/us/colombia , but the 4 of them look just ok for me.

I been using this for about two weeks, i can say that read everyting of the reviews before mine, all you need to know is there, and is true. I tell you this, because i do my own research before buying the item and i was skeptic. I just can tell you one tip, its simple and some may find it silly, but do not fail to do so: Adjust in the same way for every pair of shocks, After you do that, you get a totally diferent car, THESE ARE GREAT .. it doesnt matter what kind of tyres do you have, you get grip all the time and precise cornering.

As another guy down in other review says: the older shoks seems to be good but look tired, the same for my 91. I think this is a big improve for the pretty good oem shocks, you definly will have a better suspension. I will try to send another review later, you can write me at: juanantoniosierra@yahoo.com

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Koni Adjustable Shocks

[6/3/2001] Reviewed by: Joseph P. Gayan - jpgayan@yahoo.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Koni 3 position adjustable shock absorbers.

Installed the Konis along with Racing beat street springs. With the shocks on their softest setting the ride is as smooth as stock if not slightly smoother. Body motions are much more controlled with quicker recovery when changing directions.

A little pricey but well worth it. I had Konis in my 90 Trans Am and my 95 Z-28 and loved them so it was no surprise that they worked great in my 90 Miata. The only downside is that you need to drill out the front shock mounts to fit the Konis which would make swapping back a pain. Why you would want to I don't know. Also, my mechanic has a set of Konis on his Rx-7 and they're still holding up well after 8 years. It cost me six hours of labor to install front and rear shocks. When compared to installation cost the purchase price of $400/set of 4 doesn't seem so expensive. No regrets, best mod I've done so far.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Front and rear Koni shocks

[5/19/2001] Reviewed by: Don Verbeck - dverbeck@erols.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Koni rebound damping adjustable front and rear shock absorbers.

Overall, very good, but be prepared to invest some time and effort if you install them youself. I am very pleased with the results.

Forget about the instructions that come with the shocks. They try to communicate poorly with diagrams instead of words. I read some other books on shock replacement to understand the basic technique, but as always some little step doesn't work as written. You'll encounter lots of little dilemmas with this procedure. Hang in there. So if your blessed with good basic mechanical skills, have a can-do attitude, and plenty of time, go for it, you'll be pleased knowing you did it right. Remember a couple basic ideas: 1) Humans just like you put this car together, so you can figure out how to take it apart. 2) If you get stuck, put it away for a day and attack fresh the next. 3) Always torque fasteners to spec. There is reason that bolt should be that tight.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Front and rear Koni shocks

[3/4/2001] Reviewed by: Ken Densten - krd_28@hotmail.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

A set of Koni shocks Front and rear, nice fit and finish.

I`ve never owned Koni`s before but ,they are a company that has a good name for making quality shocks.

The install was easy and straight forward, after reading everything on Miata.net. I did the work alone. A few week before the shocks I added an airdam, so with that in mine , the combination of the shocks and airdam, the car is now a more stable ride. So if you are looking to improve your ride get a set of these great shocks, and call pete at performance buyers club, I ordered my shocks on Tuesday, early, they arrived Wednesday, the next day. Oh yeah the miata.net doesn`t tell you that you need to enlarge the new shock boots and the upper shock mounts, from 10mm to 12mm, be careful with the boots I tore one ,well the first one , other then that, the info, on miata.net was a great help, also Dealer Alternative was a great help. happy motorings

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Koni Coil Over Sport Suspension Package

[7/12/2000] Reviewed by Regie Bryant - regie_bryant@hotmail.com

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Koni sport (yellow) adjustable shocks with threaded body, special tapered matching springs, spanner wrench, adjustment knobs, vanity emblems.

Purchased from great folks at PBC, arrived ontime with no problems. US1199.95+shipping. Fit, finish, and design are excellent and justify the price. This kit is in the top tier of Miata suspensions with little competition. The tapered springs allow a full adjustment range, unlike other threaded shocks (and I have tried them!) that allow the spring perch to rub the drive axle. Damper (ride) adjustment is like any yellow Koni. Ride height is very adequate-you can corner-weight to get perfect 50-50 balance. These shocks are hand-built, dyno'd, are re-buildable. See August GRM for article on Koni factory. My only beef with this kit were the instructions, written only in German, and simplistic. The last step was "Installation the reverse of the 'zerlegen' (disassembly)". Pfffft. See www.koni-na.com and www.performancebuyers.com for more info.

See http//communities.msn.com/MiataTech for my personal pics on install and kit. Install is like any Koni install except you have to pick where you want the lower shock perch (ride height). Go with recommendations in instructions to start. Ride at full soft is firm, but comfortable, probably slightly firmer than stock. At full firm it is too much for around town and I'm saving that for a dry smooth track.

Height adjustability is phenomenal. My car is at 12" from hub to fender lip and has lots of adjustment up and down from there.

For the ultimate in Miata suspensions, you can't go wrong with this. I like the Koni reputation and the fact that one manufacturer of this caliber backs up the entire kit. Is a life-of-the-car investment for me. Will post track results when I get to the Time Trail at Carolina Motorsports in August.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Koni Adjustable

[11/16/2000] Reviewed by John Magnuson - turvovo@aol.com

Applicable to '90 - '97

A height and firmness adjustable shock asorber made by our friends in Holland called KONI.

I have had Koni shocks on three other cars in the past and loved them. So far the Miata is no exception. I have them cranked up to full firm and find that the ride is not too harsh in my opinion. It feels just as nice except big bumps to jar you a little more. I also put the spring perches on the lowest setting and it doesn't lower the car too much, only half an inch or so which is what is supposed to be best for handling. The handling not only feel much nicer but the car has more grip going through turns too. Combined with Dunlop SP8000 tires my Miata now blows away any other sports cars I've had before in handling... and I've had a lot of them.

Installation is pretty easy in my opinion. Unbolt the struts and sway bars, undo the lower ball joint in the front (not needed on back), push down on the suspension arm hard and pull the strut out. Much easier than many cars. You'll need a spring compressor.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[8/7/2000] Reviewed by Ed Esser - eesser@preferred.com

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Rear shocks to improve handling

improvement in handling and ride quality

now need better tires,installed Dunlop D60a2 and don't like the ride or handling

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

[2/22/2000] Reviewed by Jac Cottrell - jac.cottrell@omnient.com

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Price $440 from Performance Buyers Club

Installation Time 3 - 5 Hours

Installation tools Basic handtools, Metric sockets/wrenches, 12mm Drill bit & Drill, Impact wrench, sockets & extentions. BFH (Big F***ing Hammer), Spring Compressers, Torque Wrench, Helpers

SCCA BS/CS (Top Perch - Spring clip welded in place) CSP Lower two perches

The Koni Adjustable Shock seems to be the standard replacement high performance shock for the miata. Two reasons Adjustable rebound and the choice of ride hieght. On the body of the shock are three grooves into which a spring clip fits. This lets you select stock ride height, R package ride height, and lower than those two.


We have followed the Dealer Alternative instructions for shock replacement. They are quite specific about how to go about swapping your shocks. These instructions can be found here

http//www.dlralt.com/dealer.htm#This is my version

This job will take you about 6 hours the first time you do it...but after 3 or four miata shock swaps, you'll get it down to around 4 hours or so. Don't worry about the hammer part. Just give the 'ol steering knuckle a few good shots & it will just pop right apart. Follow Bill's directions and you shouldn't have any problems.

 Tips & Tricks

Take your time & work with a helper (tool gimp, if you will). Don't forget to put those little pieces of plastic on top of the shock top before you put the shock back in the car. Again, please do not ask about this blunder. We usually forget at least on per shock swap...


Well, everyone is using these because they work very well. (mmmm...flock-like behavior). At the time of writing, the new KYB AGX Shocks are hitting the market, and may prove to be a great alternative to the Koni. The AGX offers eight way adjustment and is priced slightly lower than the Koni. I would consider these shocks, especially as others test & report on the quality.

 Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Chris Beckey - beckey@home.com

Koni Shocks (adjustable with 3 selectable spring perches)

A very positive experience. I found really phenomonal improvement in squat and dive. Cornering is much flatter and turn-in is sharper as well. At the same time I installed these I also installed Jackson Racing sway bars and cut the springs by a coil all around. Overall, the whole package took about 6-7 hours spread over two days.

The installation of the shocks, especially the fronts, is best done with some help. I did most of the job myself but was unable to get the fronts back in without a second set of hands. I followed the process as outlined in the Miata Performance Handbook. One suggestion I would make is to unbolt the swaybar at the end links. This makes dropping the lower control arm much easier. Also, when putting the fronts back in, the lower balls joint can't be bolted in with the shock in place. I found that if you pushed the control arm way down, then pushed the bottom of the shock toward the center of the car, you could catch it behind the shock mount and then get the ball joint back in.

I also found the rubber boots in my old shocks to be completely trashed and had to order a new set ($100 fo all four). If you are contemplating a change in shocks you may want to look first and save having the car on jack stands a few days waiting for parts.

The swaybars are just about as easy to install as could be. The front was a little more difficult but I found that turning it so the ends pointed down made slipping it out the passenger side straightforward. The rear could be done in the parking lot on a coffee break.

As for cutting the springs, the results here are mixed. First, I only cut a coil off of both front and rear. The suggestion in Miata Performance Handbook was 1 1/8 in the front and 1 3/4 in the rear. My guess is that this is about right as now, my car front sits noticeably lower than the rear. I also used the lowest spring perches so the car really sits down now. I haven't had any rubbing or bottoming problems yet. Its hard to differentiate the effects of the three changes but my guess is they go, from most to least, shocks, swaybars, then springs.

Overall, the package makes for a very sweet handling car, decidedly better than stock.

Koni Shocks

Reviewed by: Jeff Barlow - jabarlow@americasm01.nt.com

Adjustable, lowering (or not) shocks   

I finally got rid of the Tokico HP's. They're not bad shocks (they seem fine in some other Miatae I've been in), but they weren't for me. I like these Koni's much better - I should have spent the extra dough and bought them first. Here's why - for some reason my '93 Miata seems to sit higher than most on the road. I guess the springs on my car are slightly different from the other years out there. The Tokico's aggravated this due to their stiffer nature (I'm guessing). The Koni's with their adjustable spring perches take care of the problem. Plus they ride better (or worse if you dial in some stiffness). Also, the handling is dramatically improved. The car corners much flatter. In addition, squat and dive are reduced when accelerating and braking. Drilling out the spring cap and dust boot turned out to be less scary than I anticipated. I bought a new 15/32" drill bit and a round file (to take off any flash). With these, it only took a few minutes for each shock to make the mod. Make sure you get a full 4-wheel alignment after installing these shocks - it affects the ride and handling dramatically.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

KONI Adjustable shocks

Reviewed by: Richard Norman - benpril@erols.com

Shocks with adjustable dampening and with three choices of ride height (only adjustable BEFORE installation).

I finally replaced the shocks on my 1990 Mariner Blue B package. At 92k miles it was LONG overdue...hey, I bought it used..

The install was just as described in every other shock review so I will skip that part. I did use the "Big Hammer" technique though. I set the spring perches at the lowest setting in the rear and the middle in the front in an effort to level the appearance of the car out a little..at first I was a bit disappointed because the car did not appear any lower but after a week or so it did settle and it looks good now.

Today is the first day I got to play with them at all. The difference between the most soft setting the the most firm setting is incredible. I ended up with 1 turn toward firm in the rear and 1 and 1/2 turns toward firm in the front. I tried the firmest setting but the roads in Delaware are not the best so it was a little busy. The setting I have now is an excellent balance between great handling and having an acceptable ride(imo...my SO still thinks it is too stiff!)

To say I love this upgrade would not be over exagerating.....I love it. Would I do it again?? Of course!! Easy installation and does what it says it does......can't beat it.

Note: Forget everything you have heard about having to find a 12mm drillbit..this is not the best tool to modify the bump stop and upper shock mount. Spend $14 and get yourself a 1/2 Uni-Bit. It works wonders. I spend probably 3 minutes on each shock enlarging the holes....just drilled a little...checked the fit..drilled a little...checked the fit...until it was just right. Trust me...UNI-BIT!

Reviewed by: John Daeschner - sugarmsc@swbell.net

Shock absorbers, adjustable damping, adjustable "spring perch"

Installation was quite simple with the exception of having to drill out certain parts from 10 to 12mm to allow for the greater diameter of the upper mounting point of the shock. For this I used a 15/32" drill bit, which worked fine. Buy two, as I did, you may find that you need a sharp bit before you have drilled the last hole. This also makes going back to a 10mm shock impossible without some sort of creative bushing. I don't like chopping up my car this way but had no choice once everything was out. The metal plate on each shock that supports the spring is too large (in diameter), allowing the bottom of the spring to move around. The fit should have been more precise, I certainly paid enough for this to be so. I adjusted the spring "perch" to the lowest setting, resulting in a slightly lower ride height. Looks good. As I said, the shocks were extremely easy to install. For installing the front shocks, DO NOT separate the upper ball joint from the upper "A" arm. Unbolt and remove the "tongue" of the lower ball joint where it joins the lower "A" arm, this will allow you to remove the coil-shock unit. I realize this procedure is not a secret but the Miata manual should be ammended to call for this procedure. Separating the ball joint will probably destroy it. Take care to first remove the lower bolt holding the shock to the lower "A" arm first. So remember, if the installation is hard, you're doing something wrong. I was able to rent a spring compressor from Chief Auto Parts which fit the small coils of the Miata very well and made compressing the spring very easy. Cheif does not charge for the loan of there tools.

Once installed the car seemed to sit slightly lower - I did not measure this - but it looks good and the way it should. I set the shocks to full stiff and went driving. My car is an otherwise stock '94 with 60k miles, stock wheels and tire size, Yoko A-509's. Very much improved ride, the car runs over rail road tracks at 50 with very little motion, very stable, well controlled, just a little busy at high speed (more than 70). The car no longer dives (in the rear) when going over small bumps with a passenger. The ride is also very choppy, just the way I like it, I haven't bothered to adjust them any softer yet. Handling is better, rear wheel hop when spinning the rear wheels is ALMOST gone, but this still happens - I won't blame the shocks. They are everything I expected - a rare thing these days - just didn't like drilling those holes. I would recommend them. Note: try to get hold of a carbide bit, 12mm or 15/32" (close enough) as I found it necessary to throw away my first bit before I was finished.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Koni Adjustable Shock Absorbers

Reviewed by: Stuart Jones - stuart.jones@capmark.funb.com

Yellow "Special-D" dampers, adjustable for both ride-height and compression stiffness.

Once you /finally/ get the dampers installed, you'll be thrilled to death. I put them on my '95 PEP with 36000 miles on the stock shocks and springs (which I kept on the car for comfort). How is the handling? Absolutely incredible. I put these on at the same time I was doing a JR Swaybar install. The difference between the stock Showas and the Koni/JR sways/stock spring setup is night-and-day. I didn't think that I needed (but I wanted them, oh, did I want them) new shocks, but I'm now convinced that the net-wisdom of replacing around 30k miles is the right time. On the softest setting, the car is very calm, poised, and collected; just like stock, only more so. On the 'GT' setting, the car is an absolute pistol: it grips and grips and grips, then laughs at you for thinking it might break loose. I really can't quantify just how good the car feels with these mods. Even if shifter karts were street legal, I still think I'd prefer a Miata with this suspension, if only because I can take a friend with me.

Instructions? What instructions? There were some loose sheets lying around in the box; one showed the different ride heights, one showed how to tell the front shock from the rear, and one that showed something about drilling out the upper mounting plate to 12mm. Thanks, guys, really. The stuff that came with the shocks was, collectively, the worst, most pathetic excuse for instructions I've ever seen. If there wasn't a paper on doing a shock install in the Garage section, I wouldn't have had the first idea of how to do this. Even then, I had to keep stopping work on to figure out how to put the new ones in. Now that I know how to do it, I could probably do a set of four on another car inside of the 4 hours that is advertised for the first time, totally clueless installation, but that first time is an absolute bear. Despite the fact that it took me two days and probably 12 to 15 hrs (including in that figure time to get the shock compressors, time to go buy a 12mm drill bit, and /lots/ of time to figure out just what in the heck I was supposed to do next) to get them in, I'm still /very/ happy with these shocks. Would I buy them again? Yep. Would I install them myself again? Yep.




When Jeff, the Mazda mechanic who does all of my work, rolled back into the garage after a test drive, I asked him how it drove. He just chuckled and said "wait'll you drive this...it's like it's on rails!" Well, about a block away from the dealership is an extremely twisty stretch of just repaved asphalt called Kettle Road where Jeff had taken the car and I knew that was the road to test the new shocks (which were set at full GT setting even though he was supposed to put them at medium). I have 42k on that car and thought I knew fun. All I could say to my friend Bob while slicing and dicing the curves was a mixture of laughter and "Oh my God!"

Please someone, cut my hands off so I can't drive anymore! No, I'll just figure out a way to drive it with my stumps! Poke out my eyes! No I'll feel my way along any road while blind. These Konis have made my 95 PEP so much cooler from the INSIDE! Now I really laugh at the punks in their Mitsubishis who want to challenge the Miata, for they would kill themselves trying to follow me through curves (which has almost happened a half dozen times when Camaros, Hondas, pickup trucks, etc. have tried to out corner the Miata in stock form...prompting my girlfriend to make me promise no racing, for the sake of the other drivers). Simply said: WOW!

DO IT! Your stock Miata was a prozac on wheels. With these Konis it'll be better than sex.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Koni Adjustable Shocks

Reviewed by: Peter Brusa - repete@hotmail.com

A set of 4 Koni Adjustable Shocks come in their standard bright yellow and were ordered from R-Speed in Atlanta for about $439. Packaged up with two in each box, they came with some nice instructions, valve caps, hardware, adjuster knobs, and even metal embelems that say "Koni Improved." The boxes were a little beaten up and the shocks had some paint scratched here and there, but all seemed intact.

There comes a time when your Miata just does not want to take another bump in the road. With almost 80,000 miles on my '91, I felt that it either was time or I had better do this soon before I bottom out somewhere and remove my nicely installed lower subframe brace. I decided to spend the day at R-Speed and help out with the instillation as well as take pictures of the instillation. We removed the wheels and started on the rears first. We removed some bolts from inside and while doing one at a time, we then removed the lower nut that holds the shock on the rear arm and pushed down on the brake drum while another person pulls the shock unit out. Very easy to do and is recommended for two people. Once both rears were out, I examined the old rubber shock boots and to my surprise, they were in *great* condition. Make sure you budget yourself for these boots if you have not looked at them in a while. Over a period of time, they will rip and become brittle and simply fall apart.

When installing Konis, you will have to make some modifications. The first thing is to drill out at the top of the boots, a bigger hole for the new Konis (easy to do). Then while you have the shocks apart, the mounting plate may need some slight drilling (from a Dremmel tool) for the adjustment knob to poke through. Before you do this, you must uncompressed your removed unit. R-Speed has this WONDERFUL device that is attached on their garage wall that you put the unit in and clamp down the spring while unscrewing the main nut. You then remove the top plate and slowly uncompressed the spring and *bingo*, on to the next one. It literally took Hector at R-Speed less than 15 seconds to get them apart! I examined my old shocks and they looked good, but tired and happy to be out. We set the perch height at the lowest ring possible and kept my standard springs. At one point from behind the car, you could really see the difference as the left side had the new Koni installed and the right had the OEM installed. Before you knew it was over, we had both new Konis on the rear. The fronts are more complex and time consuming, but they were done quickly.

A few points: (1) Make sure to keep the flimsy white plastic sheets that will fall off from the shock plate. This is an anti-noise piece that you will regret if left out - as we almost did twice! (2) The Koni shocks come with a nut, split washer and a split white plastic washer. This plastic washer is useless on the Miata strut plates. It was simply too big to fit anywhere in the strut plates even though the instructions showed them this way. If anyone knows, I would like to find out if they do go somewhere (keep them just in case). (3) You'll need at 12mm (I believe) drill bit to drill out a larger opening on the strut plates. This is not an easy drill bit to find, and the drill you need to use must be able to accept a larger chuck. Keep this in mind.

The car was lowered from the lift and for the first time, the car now sat on a new suspension. Don't forget to install your nice little badges on your car. Mine went right up front, just past the door line, on each quarter panel.

As stated before, I put all shocks on the lowest perch and kept the stock springs. The car was noticeably lower on the front and the rears looked the same. With the stock 14" wheels (195/60 D60's), this car looked great! I was advised to put the rears on the minimal settings and did the fronts about a 25% turn counter-clockwise. Took my '91 down some winding roads and the car feels better in the handling and dampening of the road. In fact, when I crawled over a few speed-bumps, you could feel the reflex of the dampening! I was hooked.

I highly recommend these shocks to anyone who is looking for more out of their suspension and I would suggest keeping the stock springs for everyday road use (with a little track racing here and there). I have been told that with progressive lowered springs, the ride comfortability becomes an issue. With the shocks dialed in on "minimum" (all the way clock-wise), the car is exactly stock with some added dampening. With the shocks turned all the way to stiff (or "Sport") the car is very solid and tight. I am very glad I paid the extra amount to get adjustable.

Koni Sport Adjustable shocks & PBC springs

Reviewed by: Manuel Patino - manuelp@mindspring.com

Adjustable shock absorbers & lowering "sports springs"

Good prices and service from Performance Boyers Club. The shocks and springs arrived within a few days of the order along with Axxis brake pads and urethane sway bar bushings. I did not install these myself as I generally don't enjoy "mechanicking" and I dont have the tools or place to work. A friend from work and another friend of his (both are mechanics) installed the suspension upgrade. The removal of the stock springs and shocks from the front was more difficult and time consuming than first thought. It was necessary to loosen the ball joint in the front and the lower Aframe plus the sway bar in the rear. Installing the new springs and shocks was much easier than the removal of the stock parts.

It was necessary to drill out the mounting bracket as well as the bump stops. the entire job took about 4 hours in a fairly complete shop (no lift though, big disadvantage). On the advise and opinion of two mechanics we installed the brake pads without turning the rotors. The owner of the shop who dropped by opined that "the rotors in jap cars are too thin to turn anyway and will warp soon after turning. If they are not good enough to re use buy new ones". The brake pad installation is fairly straight forward except for a couple of tricks on the rear caliper. The urethane sway bar bushings were another story. We tried unsuccesfully to remove the bushing from the connecting shafts. I decided not to install only part of the kit and will rather wait until I get a complete sway bar/s kit.

My original objective was to improve the engine performance of my '91 BRG A/T Miata. I decided to install a supercharger. While talking to my mechanic friend he suggested that I first improve the suspension, tires and brakes before improving the engine. I followed his advise and ordered the shocks, springs, brakes and sway bar bushings along with a BEGI Autorotor. I also installed a set of Dunlop D40M2's 195R55-14 tires on the car. Got them from TireRack for a very good price and had them mounted and balanced locally.

So far the tires have been a wonderful improvement over the Kelly Springfields that came on the car. The folks at Performance Buyers Club were very helpful and suggested the springs based on my desire to "improve performance without sacrificing the ride too much". I just have driven a few miles since the suspension upgrade but I am pleased beyond all my expectations. I expected the ride to suffer somewhat. Instead, the car rides infinitely better than it did with the original shocks and springs (42 K). The ride is actually much more comfortable. Firm yet very precise and smooth. I set the shocks for "cross country" about 1/2 firm in the front and for "street" or just slightly over the softest setting in the rear. The shocks have three positions of ride height and we chose to start with the "highest" setting. This resulted in the car lowering about 1" from stock. Looks good and feels very nice. I will continue to play around with the shock adjustments to find the setting that I like best. I can't wait for my supercharger to come so I can finish the transformation of my Miata. As for the work this far I can heartily recommend all the modifications so far as a definite and well worth improvement.

Reviewed by: Steve Sharp - steve.sharp@xilinx.com

Set of 4 yellow "Special D" single-adjustable Koni shocks for Miata. Ordered from Performance Buyer's Club @ $440 + shipping for the set. Not only is this price the best I found anywhere, PBC had them in stock (which can be a problem with Koni's). Service was great, the shocks arriving in 3 days along with a bunch of little goodies (like a shop manual).

I've done strut shock swaps before (using spring compressors), but never a Miata. It took me just over 4 hours working alone to install all 4 shocks. I used the technique for the fronts shown on the tech pages of Dealer's Alternative. It involves popping the top ball joint stud loose by hitting the upper casting of the front upright/steering arm with a ball peen hammer after loosening the castle net a few turns. The blow deforms the taper just enough to allow the stud to pop loose. This avoids trying to use spring compressors on the car. Other than that, the worst part of the installation is the long time it takes to work two threaded spring compressors for each spring.

After installation I set the shocks full soft. Ride was smoother than by 20K mile old stock shocks, but better damped. My favorite twisty road with lots of bumps was much easier to negotiate without the front end pogo-ing around now. I also ran an autocross with setting between 3/4 turn out and 2 full turns out (full stiff). At full stiff the rebound is VERY slow, but transitions are very crisp. I'm still going to experiment with auto-x settings. At 1/2 turn out from full soft (what Koni calls "touring") the ride is stiffer than stock but very crisp responding.

I'd heartily recommend Konis to anyone wanting better suspension control at a quite reasonable price. The adjustment range of the Konis should satisfy most people's needs. Performance Buyer's Club is also a quality outfit with good prices, product in stock, and knowledgeable people to help you out.

Now if I could only figure out how to beat those pesky Miata-R's on the auto-X track!

Reviewed by: Craig Davis - ydavis@cwis.com

These are an adjustable shock absorber (re: stock to super stiff) THey are also height adjustable, with a lowered (3/4") spring perch. Quite expensive for my circle of friends (non-believers!) at apx $700 a set, they came with more features then any shock readily available to me. Rebound control is adjusted via a valve on the top of each unit. Two knobs nessecary to do this are included.

Height adjustments are made by moving the snap ring support for the spring perch. This is pre-set out of the box. PLEASE NOTE! During install I found out (the hard way) that the bearing plate mounting stud is at least 2mm bigger than stock! Not having the right size drill bit sure helped (1/2" should bang-on) so I used the old drill and file routine. Very tedious. THe stock shock boots will also need to be drilled out to correct size. Install probs aside, Li'l Red turned into a different car. Handing was night and day, with an amazing difference on turn-in. I've kept the setting on "cross-country" which is the mid setting, and the ride is only slightly harsher than the 60,000 mile originals the Konis replaced. Looks pretty slick about an inch lower too...

I can't wait for the first dry day to crank these babies up to the "GT" setting and have at 'er. Should be fun. The price seems to be on par with other performance shocks and I'm quite happy (Though I do cry and whimper whenever I see a rat tail file...). HIghly recommended upgrade.

C. Davis CEO Sea to Sky MCA Vancouver, BC

Back to Product Reviews

22 November, 2008