Matthew became an FCM Elite customer back in summer of 2011. He wanted a setup for his NC Miata that gave him comfort as well as good backroad handling. At the time, we were still using Schrader valves to recharge the monotube Bilstein dampers with nitrogen. The upside is that Schraders allow user-serviceability if needed. The downside is that the seals have the potential to leak over time and the damper would not be functioning at its full capacity. So, 5 years down the road, Matthew's setup needed a refresh and we had advanced our technology and valving methods significantly in that time.
We made a revision a few years ago to his rear dampers to improve the initial softness as the road he was dealing with had very sharp expansion joints, runoff ditches and weren't always well-maintained. That improvement helped but I knew still was more possible as I kept learning and developing new technology.
Then, in early 2016 during a Socal road trip, I met Matthew near his home in Central California. We took his car for a test drive so I could feel it on his regular commute. It certainly was firm and I knew immediately what I'd change to make it really supple. Since 2013 we'd already had our novel and incredibly elegant KBO (Kerb Blow-Off)
technology added to dozens of street and track Elite builds. In early 2014 we'd introduced Ripple Reducer
which is the highest bang-for-the-buck technology we offer. Matthew had neither in his current Elite setup and I was confident this was a perfect time to retrofit and upgrade his original Elite coilovers since we've reached a high level of refinement with both technologies. I felt we could further soften the overall front damping plus at the very least add Ripple Reducer to reduce jitter and roughness on the very uneven pavement he had to deal with.
After we drove his car, I suggested a ride in my BMW 330i sedan which was overall stiffer in terms of spring rates but better tuned in terms of damping vs. his Miata. I knew it would ride better than his car on those same roads. He felt it himself and was curious how we achieved that result. I told him most of the improvement was from our KBO (Kerb Blow-Off) option and the balance came from the Ripple Reducer along with improved balancing of rebound force / compression force / internal gas force. They all worked together: RR at smaller displacement / higher frequencies; KBO at larger displacements / lower to medium frequencies; the rebound / compression / gas synergized to give maximum suspension travel over rougher roads and a softer initial up-take by the suspension compared to higher pressurized dampers. I sought to minimize harshness / jolt / disturbance that irregular surfaces would transmit through tire into the suspension and the chassis PLUS keep the suspension always resetting to its 'neutral' point so it was ready for the next bump or dip. Better ride quality, more confidence pushing the car to the limit and more grip would be the results. So he decided to save and add KBO, Ripple Reducer, and an updated FCM Elite revalve to his Elite Project wish list.