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Old 01-08-2013, 05:21 AM   #1
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Tein SRC Coilover Review

Tein SRC (Super Racing Circuit) Coilover Review

Introduction

Welcome to our impression of the Tein SRC (Super Racing Circuit) coilovers for the BRZ and FR-S. We have compiled an exhaustive amount of information we hope will answer all questions that you may have about these highly anticipated coilovers.


Table of Contents:

1. About the coilovers
2. The setup
3. On-track experience
4. Street experience
5. Conclusions
6. Acknowledgements
7. Photos and Videos


About the coilovers

The Tein SRC is Tein's high end, two way adjustable coil-over for the BRZ/FR-S. The goal with these coilovers is threefold: offer an acceptable ride on the street, offer exceptional performance at the track and canyons, and a wide range of adjustment to suit everyone's needs. The stock spring rate with these coilovers is an eye-popping f10k/r12k. Don't let the spring rates fool you into thinking that these coilovers will give your car a bone-jarringly stiff ride; damping is what sets one shock apart from another, and that is one area where these coilovers excel!

The front is an inverted monotube strut, promoting exceptional cooling (yes, shocks can overheat!), offer more resistance to lateral loads (in case you ever spin out or fly off track sideways), and most importantly, provides for faster displacement within the shock for maximum damping flexibility. Compression damping is on the top of the shock, while rebound is at the bottom.

The rear is a standard monotube with an external reservoir. This construction design promotes cooling, and again, allows for faster displacement within the shock for maximum damping flexibility. Compression damping is on the external reservoir, while rebound damping is on the top of the shock.

All adjustments can be easily reached. The front wheels should be turned to easily reach the rebound adjustment, while compression adjustment can be accessed by opening the hood. Rear compression can be accessed by reaching around the rear wheels, and rear rebound can be accessed directly into the trunk.

Factoid: Subaru/Toyota conveniently put a hole where the rear adjustment for rebound is, so there's ZERO permanent modification necessary to install coilvers with adjusments on top of the shock...


Our testing setup

2013 Subaru BRZ
Tein SRC coilovers
Enkei RPF1 17x8 +45 with 225/45/17 Hankook Ventus RS3
Berk Axleback Exhaust prototype (because we love the sound)
AP Racing Sprint BBK
Everything else is stock!

Alternate wheels/tires:
Wedsport TC105N 17x9 +35 with prototype Maxxis Victra RC1

We followed Tein's recommended right height drop of -1.4"


On-track inpressions

Simply superb. Whether you're making the tires howl at the limits of adhesion on a smooth sweeper, or you're hitting a berm at the apex of a turn, this combination of spring and camper simply keeps the tires in contact with the ground.

Our track testing was held on three separate days: one day at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, two days at the Streets of willow springs, and a brief visit to Willow Springs international raceway. Buttonwillow offers a wide variety of conditions, including mid and high speed sweepers, slaloms, and berms that can upset badly damped cars. Streets tests cars on a highly technical, low speed road course, while WSIR subjects cars to very high speed turns. Buttonwillow revealed an ideal setting for our setup, which proved to also be ideal at the other two tracks, allowing us to break the street tire record at all three courses.

Buttonwillow 13CW
2:04.99 - 225 RS3, stock suspension, "BeltedBiscuit"
2:01.41 - 225 RS3, Tein SRC

Streets of Willow Springs CW
1:29.24 - 225 RS3, stock suspension "BeltedBiscuit"
1:25.86 - 225 RS3, Tein SRC

Willow Springs International Raceway
1:38.00 - 215 Z1SS, Stock suspension, "CSG Mike"
1:36.91 - 225 RS3, Tein SRC

We also planned on testing higher spring rates with stickier tires, but unfortunately, we were rained out of that track day. That testing is still yet to come!

However, at the end of the day, suspension is about the overall balance of the car. All of the modifications that are on the car need to be considered, and the suspension has to match that. Tein's goal here is to offer a coilover that provides balance to a car that will be driven hard. A delicate balance of under and oversteer is achieved with the SRC, and the car simply responds to the input you give it.


Street impressions

The high spring rates come with an expectation of a harsh ride, and this is understandable given that the majority of enthusiasts have never experienced a truly well damped suspension. The SRCs can be adjusted to offer a firm, but refined ride that hugs the ground without disturbing the occupants of the vehicle. There is neither excessive harshness, nor bounciness.

We gathered feedback from enthusiasts at meets, driving on any and all roads and conditions that we ran across, and even performed "the girl test". Most people asked if we were on lowering springs since the car sits lower than stock, but nobody had any idea that they were riding on spring rates roughly FOUR TIMES stiffer than a stock BRZ until we told them!

Again, suspension is about the overall balance of the car, and that balance is maintained with the SRCs, even with our street damper setting.


Conclusion

This is, simply the best all-around damper available for the BRZ and FR-S for it's price point. Yes, it is a bit pricier than some options, but this is a perfect example of "you get what you pay for". Here, we have a coilover that is fully height adjustable, and offers a damping range wide enough that it vastly enhances both performance and stance on the street, while being track worthy, perfect for the weekend warrior.

MSRP for the Tein SRC damper is $3650.00. This includes everything BUT the springs. Spring choice is left to the end user for maximum flexibility. The dampers can handle springs ranging from 8k-12k front and 10k-14k rear.


Acknowledgements

A special thanks to our sponsors. The CSG BRZ build would not be possible without them.

Berk Technology
Essex Parts
Extreme Speed Track Events
Fit Motorsports
K.R.O.P.S.
Maxxis Tires
Tein USA
West End Alignment


About Tein

TEIN USA (TUSA) was first established in August 2001 to meet the demands of North and South American consumers. Our original location was in Paramount, California, which is about 25mins outside of Los Angeles. This office handled all US operations including product testing. By 2003 we had outgrown our building, and moved to our current facility in Downey, California. From this location we perform all sales, operations, marketing, repair/ revalving, new product testing, demo vehicle preparation, and West Coast warehousing. TEIN USA is dedicated to providing high quality products at reasonable prices.


About CounterSpace Garage

CounterSpace Garage is the brainchild of a few passionate grassroots enthusiasts with a mission to spread knowledge. CSG builds are shared on public forums for everyone to see, and CSG is always willing to answer any and all questions. CSG believe that carefully selecting high quality parts that synergize is key, and every part selected for the CSG BRZ is a readily available, off-the-shelf part.


Photos

The coilovers.


Stock front vs SRC front


Front compression adjustment


Front rebound adjustment and camber plate


Rear comparison


Rear compression adjustment


Rear rebound adjustment




At recommend drop of -1.4"



Tein product engineer and our driver discussing damping adjustment changes (that's the Tein engineer's s2k...)


Chasing down the big boys...


Willow Springs


Rain ruins a day of testing alternate spring rates and tires...


Dampachi, Tein's mascot


[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYG_jGxgvCw"]BRZ/FR-S/GT86 SoWS street tire lap record - YouTube[/ame]

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGBZWkoQO-s"]CSG BRZ Buttonwillow 2:00 lap - YouTube[/ame]

Last edited by CounterSpace Garage; 03-08-2013 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:32 AM   #2
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These are some general settings with 10k front, 12k rear springs.

Adjustments are made starting from the stiffest setting, clockwise all the way, and then turning back until the adjustment knob settles into the first groove. This first groove or click is "0". Each click from here increments the setting by 1.

All setting are in the following format: front compression/front rebound, rear compression/rear rebound.

track: 5/6, 5/6
"looser" track setting: 5/6, 7/7
"tighter" track setting: 6/6, 5/6
Canyon: 7/7, 7/7
Daily/comfort: 8/9, 9/10

My personal preferences are 5/6, 5/6 on track, and 7/7, 7/7 on the street (all the time).
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:43 AM   #3
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great review mike! damn those things look sexy! haha
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:49 AM   #4
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damn...that was some good driving
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:04 AM   #5
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I've been in his car... All I can say is that the ride is excellent.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:15 AM   #6
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Questions are welcomed! The more specific your question is, the more specific our answer can be.

We've put on over 6k miles with these coilovers on now, including some canyon miles
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:29 AM   #7
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Thanks for sharing your impressions. That is a very thorough review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CounterSpace Garage View Post
This is, simply the best all-around damper available for the BRZ and FR-S.
I don't doubt they are very good, but that's ... umm ... a big call.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:02 PM   #8
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quality review
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:38 PM   #9
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Thanks Mike & David. Saw this on FB at 2am!

I'm glad you guys are putting some credence to the importance of damping. I much prefer a stiff spring on a high quality damper. My other car is 2800~ lbs and runs on 9k/14k DG-5 coilovers. At the softest setting it rides like a Cadillac on 80% of the roughest conditions a lowered car will see in LA. It's actually too soft and I bump up the firmness just a bit for DD duties. On the track I can dial in plenty of stiffness. The range is so drastic that it's certainly enough to tune in/out oversteer and understeer in conjunction with playing with tire pressure.

I say all this because the SRCs remind me of the DG-5s. I'm very interested in experiencing these one day. I love the inverted front shock and the external reservoir in the rear!

Questions:
1. Springs are not included, are they an extra costs? What if someone wanted Swift springs instead? (as an example)

2. At a conservative 20mm drop (my preferred street ride height) will the SRCs still be within the optimal operating zone? Shock travel looks shorter than stock but these still look longer than some of the "cheap" coilovers I've seen for the BRZ. ~20mm also appears to be the recommended drop from Tada-san to maximize suspension and steering geometry on this car? <-- I could have read this last part incorrectly somewhere though.

3. How's the weight of these compared to the JRZ which seem to be the logical competition in this price range? More importantly, these are monotubes vs. the twin tube JRZs. Any comments on this difference?

4. How do these compare to the RS*Rs (on my consideration list) & KW V3s (I don't like that they're designed for a soft spring but seem to be liked by many)

5. I must admit, my experience with the Monoflex, S-Techs, and especially the RAs have been less than stellar. Has Tein really turned things around here? The price seems to reflect it.

6. Glad you mentioned canyon runs. Our local mountains have a few bumpy patches mid turn. Really unsettles lesser suspension packages. This is a OT but maybe related question.. with all that spring stiffness do you guys notice a decrease in need to upgrade into stiffer sway bars for the BRZ and let the superior damping handle these high load, bumpy turns?

A few folks, including myself, are waiting to see what the BRZ/FRS has in store come March. The rumor is Eibach, Bilstein, Koni, etc... are coming out with their offerings as well. I'm very happy to read your satisfaction with the SRCs. I'm sure they're quality...now it's just a price consideration. Thanks for putting Tein back on my radar.

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Old 01-08-2013, 12:46 PM   #10
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Good writeup!
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RYU View Post
Thanks Mike & David. Saw this on FB at 2am!

I'm glad you guys are putting some credence to the importance of damping. I much prefer a stiff spring on a high quality damper. My other car is 2800~ lbs and runs on 9k/14k DG-5 coilovers. At the softest setting it rides like a Cadillac on 80% of the roughest conditions a lowered car will see in LA. It's actually too soft and I bump up the firmness just a bit for DD duties. On the track I can dial in plenty of stiffness. The range is so drastic that it's certainly enough to tune in/out oversteer and understeer in conjunction with playing with tire pressure.

I say all this because the SRCs remind me of the DG-5s. I'm very interested in experiencing these one day. I love the inverted front shock and the external reservoir in the rear!

Questions:
1. Springs are not included, are they an extra costs? What if someone wanted Swift springs instead? (as an example)

2. At a conservative 20mm drop (my preferred street ride height) will the SRCs still be within the optimal operating zone? Shock travel looks shorter than stock but these still look longer than some of the "cheap" coilovers I've seen for the BRZ. ~20mm also appears to be the recommended drop from Tada-san to maximize suspension and steering geometry on this car? <-- I could have read this last part incorrectly somewhere though.

3. How's the weight of these compared to the JRZ which seem to be the logical competition in this price range? More importantly, these are monotubes vs. the twin tube JRZs. Any comments on this difference?

4. How do these compare to the RS*Rs (on my consideration list) & KW V3s (I don't like that they're designed for a soft spring but seem to be liked by many)

5. I must admit, my experience with the Monoflex, S-Techs, and especially the RAs have been less than stellar. Has Tein really turned things around here? The price seems to reflect it.

A few folks, including myself, are waiting to see what the BRZ/FRS has in store come March. The rumor is Eibach, Bilstein, Koni, etc... are coming out with their offerings as well. I'm very happy to read your satisfaction with the SRCs. I'm sure they're quality...now it's just a price consideration. Thanks for putting Tein back on my radar.
Funny you bring up the Cadillac feel... these can get that way too if you go deep off the soft end of damping. I personally prefer a firmer ride because I feel that the car's handling gets slopping when it's so soft, but a setting of 12/12, 12/12 definitely achieves that. I never experimented with going full soft.

To answer your questions:

1. Yes, springs are additional. Tein springs are $140/pair MSRP, you'll need two pairs to complete the coilovers. The springs are not included by default to offer end users maximum flexibility in selecting springs.

2. Due to the higher spring rates (which lead to shorter shocks to achieve the same height when at loaded at rest), Tein's recommended height is a drop of 25-52mm in the front, and 25-59mm in the rear. I'll ask them directly if the shock is usable with a 20mm drop.

3. I haven't had a chance (yet) to hold a set of JRZ RS in my hands for the BRZ and FR-S, but I would imagine that they would be similar or slightly lighter in weight. The twin-tube construction of the JRZ allows for a more compact design (note no external reservoir), but that comes at the cost of decreased piston diameter. The monotube RS-Pro would be a more similar comparison with the Tein SRC in terms of construction type. The RS-Pro should definitely offer at least comparable performance to the Tein SRCs, albeit, at a higher price point. JRZ makes spectacular dampers, and while I personally would pass on the RS-Ones, I have no hesitation recommending the RS and RS-Pro to those that are interested. We have access to the entire JRZ lineup for those that are interested, but our objective here was to look for, and find a viable cost-effective alternative to the ultra-high-end (and admittedly, deservingly well established) brands.

I do look forward to working with Frank of JRZ North America again We were offered the opportunity to review the JRZ RS for the BRZ/FR-S, but felt that the Tein SRC is a more relevant product; anyone serious about motorsport is already aware that JRZ makes an excellent product, and reviewing the JRZ would only reinforce that, rather than expose the BRZ/FR-S enthusiasts of a product that is relatively unknown.

4. Those systems have a different target audience from the Tein SRC. The RS*R I-sport and KW V3 coilovers are high performance street coilovers that have acceptable performance at the track, similar to the Tein Monoflex, while the Tein SRC is a high performance circuit coilover that has acceptable ride on the street.

The construction of the Tein SRC allows for both higher spring rates and larger spring rate stagger than the RS*R and KW dampers. While it's difficult to quantify street testing, which is mostly subjective, the track results speak for themselves.

5. The SRC is not a coilover that is typically marketed, or even offered to the North American market, as Tein did not believe that there is a market for high-end dampers here. It's REALLY easy to understand that viewpoint when you see how many sub-$1k sets of coilovers are sold (BC Racing, Megan, Yellowspeed, Stance, etc.). As can happen with any company, some Tein products have developed a less-favorable reputation due to a combination of a market that cares less about their cars (late models) and lower price point, allowing broader access to their product line. When it comes to motorsport, the results simply speak for themselves, and you seem to already be familiar with the extremely flexible damping range of high-end dampers.

As always, we will never recommend a product that we would not be comfortable running on our own cars.

-Mike
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSG Mike View Post
5. The SRC is not a coilover that is typically marketed, or even offered to the North American market, as Tein did not believe that there is a market for high-end dampers here. It's REALLY easy to understand that viewpoint when you see how many sub-$1k sets of coilovers are sold (BC Racing, Megan, Yellowspeed, Stance, etc.). As can happen with any company, some Tein products have developed a less-favorable reputation due to a combination of a market that cares less about their cars (late models) and lower price point, allowing broader access to their product line. When it comes to motorsport, the results simply speak for themselves, and you seem to already be familiar with the extremely flexible damping range of high-end dampers.
What does this mean when it comes to warranty and servicing? We would go through Tein USA or Japan? Also, did you mention the release date?
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanakuso View Post
What does this mean when it comes to warranty and servicing? We would go through Tein USA or Japan? Also, did you mention the release date?
Everything would be through Tein USA. They have a fully staffed and equipped facility local to us in Downey, CA.

The SRC is available now! We reviewed a production unit, not a pre-production prototype
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:39 PM   #14
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Fantastic feedback Mike. You did our little community heaps of good by showcasing a viable and competitive option here. Thanks man! Like I said, you put Tein back on my, admittedly shortsighted, radar.

Hope to hear back about the 20mm ride height issue. 20mm is barely just enough to clear most parking blocks (as a point of reference) not to mention steep driveways and speed bumps. All of which I encounter daily.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSG Mike View Post
Funny you bring up the Cadillac feel... these can get that way too if you go deep off the soft end of damping. I personally prefer a firmer ride because I feel that the car's handling gets slopping when it's so soft, but a setting of 12/12, 12/12 definitely achieves that. I never experimented with going full soft.

To answer your questions:

1. Yes, springs are additional. Tein springs are $140/pair MSRP, you'll need two pairs to complete the coilovers. The springs are not included by default to offer end users maximum flexibility in selecting springs.

2. Due to the higher spring rates (which lead to shorter shocks to achieve the same height when at loaded at rest), Tein's recommended height is a drop of 25-52mm in the front, and 25-59mm in the rear. I'll ask them directly if the shock is usable with a 20mm drop.

3. I haven't had a chance (yet) to hold a set of JRZ RS in my hands for the BRZ and FR-S, but I would imagine that they would be similar or slightly lighter in weight. The twin-tube construction of the JRZ allows for a more compact design (note no external reservoir), but that comes at the cost of decreased piston diameter. The monotube RS-Pro would be a more similar comparison with the Tein SRC in terms of construction type. The RS-Pro should definitely offer at least comparable performance to the Tein SRCs, albeit, at a higher price point. JRZ makes spectacular dampers, and while I personally would pass on the RS-Ones, I have no hesitation recommending the RS and RS-Pro to those that are interested. We have access to the entire JRZ lineup for those that are interested, but our objective here was to look for, and find a viable cost-effective alternative to the ultra-high-end (and admittedly, deservingly well established) brands.

I do look forward to working with Frank of JRZ North America again We were offered the opportunity to review the JRZ RS for the BRZ/FR-S, but felt that the Tein SRC is a more relevant product; anyone serious about motorsport is already aware that JRZ makes an excellent product, and reviewing the JRZ would only reinforce that, rather than expose the BRZ/FR-S enthusiasts of a product that is relatively unknown.

4. Those systems have a different target audience from the Tein SRC. The RS*R I-sport and KW V3 coilovers are high performance street coilovers that have acceptable performance at the track, similar to the Tein Monoflex, while the Tein SRC is a high performance circuit coilover that has acceptable ride on the street.

The construction of the Tein SRC allows for both higher spring rates and larger spring rate stagger than the RS*R and KW dampers. While it's difficult to quantify street testing, which is mostly subjective, the track results speak for themselves.

5. The SRC is not a coilover that is typically marketed, or even offered to the North American market, as Tein did not believe that there is a market for high-end dampers here. It's REALLY easy to understand that viewpoint when you see how many sub-$1k sets of coilovers are sold (BC Racing, Megan, Yellowspeed, Stance, etc.). As can happen with any company, some Tein products have developed a less-favorable reputation due to a combination of a market that cares less about their cars (late models) and lower price point, allowing broader access to their product line. When it comes to motorsport, the results simply speak for themselves, and you seem to already be familiar with the extremely flexible damping range of high-end dampers.

As always, we will never recommend a product that we would not be comfortable running on our own cars.

-Mike
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