Make a donation

Author Topic: ST suspension review  (Read 571 times)

Offline Pudding

  • Global Moderator
  • Just look at my post count
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2
  • -Receive: 539
  • Posts: 6388
ST suspension review
« on: April 17, 2021, 04:11:20 am »
So welcome to the fold Mr ST, aka 'Suspension Techniques', to those unfamiliar.  Made by KW don't you know  :smiley: 

KW meaning Krafty W@nk, or maybe Klaus Wohlfarth who founded the company 25 years ago?

Anyway, purchased from Mr Damian at DPM performance for the princely sum of £449 of your olde English pounds.

The cheapest, dirtiest, full of mayo and hydrogenated fats kit they do  :happy2:

This is what the -20mm kit looks like after 500 miles of settling:





Yeah, and?  Didn't you have some silly money Ohlins on your car?

Erm, yeah, I did, but they failed in a bad way.

But f'ck them, and let's focus on the the now......

Well, this is the thing folks, you're fully expecting the ST is going to be utter dog shyte for 4 fiddy notes vs 2.5K Ohlins, right?  Haha, you'd be wrong in that assumption.

Yes the Ohlins are the ultimate in damping and body control at the limit (whilst they last), but you know what.....

No one is going to believe this, but on a daily basis on dual carriageways, beastly B roads and the bumpy urban yawn fest, it's actually not far off the Ohlins at all! Can't believe I'm saying that, but it's true.

For additional context, I take corners at maximum attack (plebs getting in my way permitting) and average 90mph on my local DCs, in other words, I drive the sh1t out of this car, so I know what's good and what's sh1t. I don't mean to sound arrogant but I just drive the car as intended.

I also have Eibach ARBs, along with SuperPro's horribly stiff 90 Shure console bushes, SuperPro BJs, 340mm brakes etc, so not exactly standard, and yet the ST remains composed and sure footed throughout.  Nicely judged spring and damper rates, imo.  Those used to the stock suspension may find it a little harsh over crap roads but you can't eat Chocolate Eclairs every day without putting weight on.  The trade-off is a much more composed experience on back roads, free of the wallowing and floatiness of the stock suspension.

I don't know how they did it for the money tbh, considering KW's build costs, R&D, drop shipper's cuts etc etc.  Compared to the soggy VWR kit that brake dives for England and flops over too much on hard corners, this is kit is £100 cheaper and 100x better, imo.

Anyway, if you're not averse to a little extra stiffness in your life, but without shaking out your dentures, this is the kit for you  :happy2:

In case you're wondering, I'm not a shill. Neither ST or DPM know I'm posting this.  I'm just an enthusiast trying out different stuff for sh1ts and giggs and passing on my thoughts.  I don't give a toss what Ohlins or ST think about my opinions, if a product is sh1t, I will call it out.  I have no vested interests.

Quite honestly, my car is probably on the harsher side than most would tolerate with the aforementioned mods, so I reckon this kit on an otherwise standard car would probably suit a lot of folk.

I don't know if the springs are linear or progressive, they're kind of weird looking.  They feel linear to drive, which is what you want for predictability.  VWR's progressives and woefully inept dampers spat me off a corner the STs, Ohlins and OEM didn't even notice, so take from that what you will. I'm only mentioning the VWR kit because it's in the same price range as the ST and I believe in transparency and real world comparisons, having owned both.  Yes the VWR kit is more comfy and less jiggly at 30-40%, but get up to 60-70%+ and OMG, the ST absolutely p1sses all over the VWR.



« Last Edit: April 17, 2021, 04:53:48 am by Pudding »


2007 ED30 | Ohlins Coilovers | Revo Map | Plus some other stuff | Is all a GTI needs :-)

Offline rich83

  • Just look at my post count
  • ******
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 164
  • -Receive: 783
  • Posts: 13235
    • MK5 Golf GTI
  • My Ride: https://www.mk5golfgti.co.uk/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=gg20neptpo4hi6c3d8b0crc42n&/topic,19740.0.html
Re: ST suspension review
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2021, 06:00:24 am »
What happened to the ohlins?

Offline bobby_fodge

  • Won't Shut up.
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 12
  • -Receive: 27
  • Posts: 659
    • Email
Re: ST suspension review
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2021, 11:27:08 am »
Aren't the ST shocks the same and the KW ones but just not made out of stainless?

Offline Pudding

  • Global Moderator
  • Just look at my post count
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2
  • -Receive: 539
  • Posts: 6388
Re: ST suspension review
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2021, 08:58:38 pm »
What happened to the ohlins?

They use a nylon sleeve as a bearing surface on the front dampers, which wears out and causes and almighty knocking/clunk.  They've since upgraded it to a better material but it's too late on one of mine.  Metal on metal has chipped away some of the chrome plating, so that damper is written off.  Out of warranty, typically.

To be fair, all mono tube struts wear out faster than OEM style twin tubes.  Bilsteins have done the same thing to me in the past.  I should have known better really  :grin:



2007 ED30 | Ohlins Coilovers | Revo Map | Plus some other stuff | Is all a GTI needs :-)

Offline Pudding

  • Global Moderator
  • Just look at my post count
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2
  • -Receive: 539
  • Posts: 6388
Re: ST suspension review
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2021, 09:03:04 pm »
Aren't the ST shocks the same and the KW ones but just not made out of stainless?

Yes and no.  It's common practice these days for start-ups to use an established facility's factory for production, for a fee obviously.  It's the same as Foxconn making iPhones for Apple.  Apple don't actually make anything, they just design it and send off the specs to Foxconn or who ever.  Same with ST.  "Dear KW, please make these kits for us, to this spec out of these materials.  Fanks!"

It's a bit misleading to use "Made by KW" as a marketing tactic as KW.  Technically that is true, but KW have nothing to do with the R&D, they just churn them out of the factory.  It's the same as Yamaha in Japan making the Road & Track kits for Ohlins.  It's far more cost effective to contract production out to other companies.

BTW, it's only KW's Inox line that are made of stainless. They do cheaper kits with regular plated steel also.

I've never been a fan of KW tbh.  I had some V3s years ago and they weren't amazing by any means. A bit over rated imo.  The STs are good for the money though.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2021, 09:05:11 pm by Pudding »


2007 ED30 | Ohlins Coilovers | Revo Map | Plus some other stuff | Is all a GTI needs :-)

Offline rich83

  • Just look at my post count
  • ******
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 164
  • -Receive: 783
  • Posts: 13235
    • MK5 Golf GTI
  • My Ride: https://www.mk5golfgti.co.uk/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=gg20neptpo4hi6c3d8b0crc42n&/topic,19740.0.html
Re: ST suspension review
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2021, 09:26:03 pm »
What happened to the ohlins?

They use a nylon sleeve as a bearing surface on the front dampers, which wears out and causes and almighty knocking/clunk.  They've since upgraded it to a better material but it's too late on one of mine.  Metal on metal has chipped away some of the chrome plating, so that damper is written off.  Out of warranty, typically.

To be fair, all mono tube struts wear out faster than OEM style twin tubes.  Bilsteins have done the same thing to me in the past.  I should have known better really  :grin:

Well that’s a load of crap. If it’s any consolation one of my rear PSS10 shocks has rusted on the adjuster so it’s stuck on setting 7  :laugh:

Offline bobby_fodge

  • Won't Shut up.
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 12
  • -Receive: 27
  • Posts: 659
    • Email
Re: ST suspension review
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2021, 10:17:25 am »
hmm, good info on the relationship between ST and KW, I just thought they were a lower spec coilover by KW under a different brand name.

I had the KW v1 on my old Jetta, they were more comfy than sporty.

Offline LC5F

  • Always Involved
  • ****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 10
  • -Receive: 31
  • Posts: 493
Re: ST suspension review
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2021, 03:10:10 pm »
Nice write up Pudding - I am saddened to hear some of your ohlins have died.

On thing I have to correct is ST are owned by KW:
"In 2005 KW took over the US-American suspension brands Belltech Sports Trucks and ST suspensions"
https://www.kwsuspensions.com/company/history

This brand replaces their middle of the road Weitec suspension - suspect the name does not have the history of billies or koni to trade on - nobody knew what or who they were.  It makes sense to start again, with a re-brand and big marketing push.

The important thing to remember that like VW the KW brands operate as a group with all their brands.
Unlike other manufacturers, who apparently now only design suspension from their desk - KW still do a lot of testing on track with the real cars - the results are valving and spring rates shared within the group - but quality of materials reducing with price point for each brand.

Offline Pudding

  • Global Moderator
  • Just look at my post count
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2
  • -Receive: 539
  • Posts: 6388
Re: ST suspension review
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2021, 10:21:03 pm »
Yeah it's super annoying as Ohlins have an unshakeable reputation in the bike world, but clearly they have some more R&D (and testing!) to do in the car world.
Never mind.  This is the cost of modifying cars.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose  :grin:

I wish Fox would make suspension for road cars.  Like Ohlins, their bike forks & shocks are incredible.  Nitron are another good brand for cars, but I suspect they're another candle in the wind suspension - great for 5 minutes  :doh:

That's why I took a step back from the big bucks brands and looked at what the cheaper end of the market had to offer.   The ST achieves a lot of what the dearer stuff does, but that extra level of control and consistency at the limit is where it falls short, but at 500 quid, it's to be expected.

I've put 3000 miles on them now and no nasty surprises, wet or dry  :happy2:   They're a bit choppy at town speeds as per most kits, although some of that is down to the F1 SuperSport tyres, but at high speeds they're great.  No aquaplaning or weird front/rear mismatching and more importantly, no veering under heavy braking.  I'm not a fan of progressive springs as they can be unpredictable, but these ones aren't too bad.

If I have one complaint, they don't deal with closely packed bumps very well.  I can feel the road wheels flapping about when things get busy down there, but not to the point where they lose grip.  Again, they just lack that extra level of iron fisted control the more expensive dampers have.  They also have the extra weight of the MK7R brakes to deal with, which ST/KW didn't factor into their tuning.

I'm normally go/no go within 100 miles with suspension, so the fact they're still on the car after 3K says something  :grin:

Cheers for the correction on the company history.  I got the 'Suspension Techniques' name from a video about them on MotoIQ's YouTube channel (Mike Kojima, he is quite the automotive engineer  :notworthy: ) so I guess that was a rebrand of Sports Trucks at some point.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 10:24:50 pm by Pudding »


2007 ED30 | Ohlins Coilovers | Revo Map | Plus some other stuff | Is all a GTI needs :-)

Offline Pudding

  • Global Moderator
  • Just look at my post count
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2
  • -Receive: 539
  • Posts: 6388
Re: ST suspension review
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2021, 10:29:30 pm »
What happened to the ohlins?

They use a nylon sleeve as a bearing surface on the front dampers, which wears out and causes and almighty knocking/clunk.  They've since upgraded it to a better material but it's too late on one of mine.  Metal on metal has chipped away some of the chrome plating, so that damper is written off.  Out of warranty, typically.

To be fair, all mono tube struts wear out faster than OEM style twin tubes.  Bilsteins have done the same thing to me in the past.  I should have known better really  :grin:

Well that’s a load of crap. If it’s any consolation one of my rear PSS10 shocks has rusted on the adjuster so it’s stuck on setting 7  :laugh:

On previous cars I ran H&R Coilovers (rebranded PSS10s) and Billy Bob PSS10s and they both seized solid.  Couldn't move the adjusters at all after 2 winters  :grin:
The H&Rs also blew their seals and dumped damper oil out after only 40K, so nearly as crap as the Ohlins  :grin:


2007 ED30 | Ohlins Coilovers | Revo Map | Plus some other stuff | Is all a GTI needs :-)