Adjustable suspension review - Improve Hyperflex II

Izso

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Izso

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Fact of life : As you get older your requirements change. Whether it be your taste in wine, your spicy chili tolerance levels or even your fashion sense, this will change given enough time. Pretty much the same can be said with your comfort requirements. No longer yearning for the railroad-like cornering characteristics of my old suspension and having a pretty much worn out spinal cord, I finally gave in to my spouses constant nagging about how uncomfortable my car was compared to her Myvi.

Because race car!

Well, not any more. These days I'd rather just waft along in comfort and enjoy a bassy Tiesto CD or the ever haunting voice of Sarah Brightman. I opted to replace my height adjustable Hotbits suspension set with a 'fully adjustable' Improve Hyperflex II suspension. Now it's debatable whether this can be considered 'fully adjustable' or not. You can get loads more adjustability on a very much more expensive set of Ohlins or Aragosta, but for the sake of this review I will refer to it as a fully adjustable since damper rates and ride height were both adjustable.



You might ask : "Why fully adjustable? I thought you wanted comfort?"

Well yeah! I do! But I'm a car nut at heart. If I ever get the chance to go track again, I can't be having stock suspension now can I? Sure, one can go on a track with stock suspension but it just won't be the same. Those with rock hard suspension can attest to this. So why not have the best of both worlds? Performance when I want it and comfort when I don't.

The Improve brand hasn't been around for a very long time and sure, it's a Malaysian brand. But why is that a problem? If the price is right and the quality is good, I wouldn't think twice about buying Malaysian. Having said that however, the Hyperflex II model is fully imported from Taiwan whereas the Hyperflex I is made in Malaysia. The difference between the two? The damper adjustability, with the Hyperflex II being more flexible (more clicks). The Hyperflex II features 30 damper settings with the first 10 clicks being linear dampening, anything above that it's relative to your speed courtesy of a technology called "durable valve control stability". Being fully serviceable is also a plus (both I and II are serviceable) and being sub-RM3,000, it's practically a steal.



The Hyperflex II features this thing called "bodyshift technology". Some of you might know what this is and probably would have noticed it in other brands of suspensions. If you don't know what it is, it basically means the outer shaft of the suspension that holds the spring is moveable at the same time it doesn't compress the spring like conventional height adjustable suspensions. What does that translate to? The cars height can be adjusted without changing the characteristics of the springs. Without bodyshift, you would have to adjust the height of the suspension by compressing the spring since the adjuster gear is supporting the spring. With bodyshift the adjuster gear just adjusts the shaft only (see picture above, the adjuster gear for height adjustment is the lower gear. The spring compressor is the one at the top).



Um... dude, it's too high

Some tuners (as they like to be called) use corner weights to adjust damping rates and height. Others like my friend DrexChan prefer the old school way of measuring tape and good old bump-butt-feel adjustment. Being the old friend he is, he knew I'd be messing with the damper rates so he didn't bother with the damper adjustment too much and focused more on the ride height. After several painstakingly slow (hydraulic) jack-up/jack-down adjustments, we finally got the height at the perfect height plus a little bit. Why plus a little bit? Because brand new suspension will need some time to settle in and once it does, it'll sink a few centimeters/inches. So never forget that when you are DIY-ing your own ride height for new suspensions.



Damper adjustments were quite easy, the knob is right at the top and all you do is either turn left for soft or right for hard. From my own testing, I found the ideal damper clicks for "spirited driving" on windy roads is 23-hard for the front and 18-hard for the rear. If you're completely not in the mood and want to just drive slow and steady, 7-hard front and 5-hard rear. For my humble Wira Aeroback, the soft-mushy setting is as comfortable as stock suspension - I kid you not! Even with 6k front springs and 4k rear, the car drives like it's on stock suspension. You can just waft along and go over uneven surfaces without breaking your bones, and the car will roll like a magic carpet - very comfortable! With the I-wanna-drive-like-a-madman setting the suspension firms up and provides so much road feedback it's scary. Turns are instant, any response from the steering is almost immediately translated onto the road.

Note : It must be mentioned however I have the Racetech chassis alignment kit installed so that probably amplified the steering response.

Braking and acceleration response improved quite significantly since there was no rear sagging (when accelerating) or nose diving (when braking). And body roll - what body roll? I need a more supportive seat. That's all I need to say for body roll. What's interesting however is how it wasn't bone jarring even at this setting. Sure I could feel every nook and cranny of the road and bumps were directly translated into me jumping out of my seat if I went over one too fast, but none of this was harsh. With some of the earlier height adjustable suspensions I've tried the car vibrated like it was going to fall to pieces and going over bumpy roads made the car sound like it had no suspension. The ride was just unbearable! But I was younger and my bones were made of jello. With this Hyperflex II, even though now my bones are made of glass and have cracks in them, I was quite comfortable even with the hardest setting that I cared to try. Then again, comfort is relative. My comfy might be your bone jarring.

BUT....

The Improve Hyperflex II totally took the cake when I ferried my wife around with the softest settings :

"Eh? You changed back to original? Good lah."

Conclusion

Product : Improve Hyperflex II "fully adjustable" suspension
Price & seller : Sub RM3,000 - Drexchan from EA Autoworks
Rating : 9/10
Wife approvability : 10/10
 

beatnik

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beatnik

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Looks identical to the BC Racing.. More and more "adjustables" are coming from the same factory, be it a taiwan brand or japanese.. Not sure if this is good or bad.. I doubt the valving has a trick setup, as most shock dynos (rebound & compression adjustable combined) from this particular suspension maker show a rather linear and very flat rebound, at any 'click' of the soft-hard setting.
 

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You know, it's rumoured to really be from BC Racing. Same factory and all. But honestly - I don't see a problem with that. Price wise last time I checked was very similar depending on the shop you inquire with. So 1 + 1 = 1 in this case, regardless.

Also, unless I have $ to spend on bench testing these suspensions, whatever I'm told and whatever I feel when I use the product is what I'll post up. Whether these have a trick setup or not, I am not able to verify unfortunately
 

beatnik

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You know, it's rumoured to really be from BC Racing. Same factory and all. But honestly - I don't see a problem with that. Price wise last time I checked was very similar depending on the shop you inquire with. So 1 + 1 = 1 in this case, regardless.

Also, unless I have $ to spend on bench testing these suspensions, whatever I'm told and whatever I feel when I use the product is what I'll post up. Whether these have a trick setup or not, I am not able to verify unfortunately
I could list out a few brands that are manufactured by BC, and the numbers are increasing lately. Some are established brand and some have dubious names :biggrin: This is not necessarily a problem for several brands coming from the same factory.. heck, even KW has a few sub-brands but all of them are actually owned by KW.

I love the fact that the height adjustment is separated from the spring preload, but this by design shortens the suspension travel.
 

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I could list out a few brands that are manufactured by BC, and the numbers are increasing lately. Some are established brand and some have dubious names :biggrin: This is not necessarily a problem for several brands coming from the same factory.. heck, even KW has a few sub-brands but all of them are actually owned by KW.

I love the fact that the height adjustment is separated from the spring preload, but this by design shortens the suspension travel.
Hmm.. the rumours I heard are the same as yours :biggrin: Oh well. Ultimately I guess it's the consumer that gets the best deal since they are all the same? Just the price is the key thing here. Different sellers have their preferred prices. I actually got mine from EA Autoworks at a steal mainly because Drex is an overall nice guy. Lansi but nice. :biggrin: He'll probably grill me for saying that! (Not lansi la. Just a personal joke between him and me)

I'm trying to understand how the height adjustment affects the suspension travel? I assume you mean the absorber itself? That would make sense, now that you mention it. But comparing this system to say the original D&D (the one that Marty used for his drift car in MCM) it's the same no? I'm trying to dig out more info on other brands to see how the height adjustment is done and whether it affects absorber travel
 

beatnik

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I'm trying to understand how the height adjustment affects the suspension travel? I assume you mean the absorber itself? That would make sense, now that you mention it. But comparing this system to say the original D&D (the one that Marty used for his drift car in MCM) it's the same no? I'm trying to dig out more info on other brands to see how the height adjustment is done and whether it affects absorber travel
Sorry for the confusion bro.. What I'm trying to say, adjustables with bodyshift tend to have shorter strut travel as compared to non-bodyshifter. the strut travel is limited due to the bodyshift design (the body shifter takes some space).

example:

(source: anyone used megan coilovers? - NASIOC)

this limitation becomes more apparent for separate springs & struts design, like this:
see how much space the bodyshifter is taking on the rear coilover?
 

Izso

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Ohh.. that's a good question. Hope some sifu will come in and explain. I need to read up more on the physics of adjustable suspension
 

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Sorry for the confusion bro.. What I'm trying to say, adjustables with bodyshift tend to have shorter strut travel as compared to non-bodyshifter. the strut travel is limited due to the bodyshift design (the body shifter takes some space).

example:

(source: anyone used megan coilovers? - NASIOC)

this limitation becomes more apparent for separate springs & struts design, like this:
see how much space the bodyshifter is taking on the rear coilover?

but in overall picture this also have their good side....being a short body absorber while maintain enough stroke length so comfort is still the while keeping our car as a low rider :driver:
 

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beatnik : I have a thought, in my case the height was adjusted about half an inch lower than its stock height, how much is half an inch compared to the strut travel to have it affect ride comfort?
 

beatnik

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but in overall picture this also have their good side....being a short body absorber while maintain enough stroke length so comfort is still the while keeping our car as a low rider :driver:
Correct :biggrin: a lot of women prefer longer stroke though :listen:

beatnik : I have a thought, in my case the height was adjusted about half an inch lower than its stock height, how much is half an inch compared to the strut travel to have it affect ride comfort?
As long as you lower by using the bodyshifter, then it should not affect ride comfort at all, unless the coilover is uncomfortable to begin with :biggrin:
 

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So this shortened strut travel you were referring to is what exactly then? I mean, how does it affect the suspension, if at all?
 

romen_

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Fuh, glad you finally bit the bullet! :D

I believe beatnik's shortened strut travel statement is not absolutely untrue, it does not paint the whole picture :)

All springs have a unloaded height (typically 200mm or 160mm for adjustables, printed on the springs) and what the strut needs to do is to cater for this.

Yes, stock springs are typically taller, hence the stock absorber struts has to cater for this.

But specific to comfort, it's the high-speed compression damping that is most crucial.
That's why absorbers with digressive valving (RCS, Ohlins, top-range Bilsteins, KW v3) are awesome in track conditions and yet comfortable on the streets.
 

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Fuh, glad you finally bit the bullet! :D

I believe beatnik's shortened strut travel statement is not absolutely untrue, it does not paint the whole picture :)

All springs have a unloaded height (typically 200mm or 160mm for adjustables, printed on the springs) and what the strut needs to do is to cater for this.

Yes, stock springs are typically taller, hence the stock absorber struts has to cater for this.

But specific to comfort, it's the high-speed compression damping that is most crucial.
That's why absorbers with digressive valving (RCS, Ohlins, top-range Bilsteins, KW v3) are awesome in track conditions and yet comfortable on the streets.
Finally sifu Romen came in to comment. I wanna ask how on earth did you get your gf to agree with your sibeh-rock-hard suspension la? I know seeing her bounce a lot is entertaining (ahem :biggrin:) but how do you keep your eyes on the road? hahahah!

That unloaded height is a good point. Didn't think of that. With bodyshift the height isn't affected at all. I'm just trying to picture this in my head. I guess the lower the car the lesser the strut travel even with unaffected pre-loaded spring, meaning if I want more comfort I should make the car higher? :confused: I gotta test this theory. Later go back I try raising the height of the car.
 

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I think they are priced comparably the same. Just a matter of aftersales service and the person whom you're dealing with. I don't think you'd want to spend 2k with a salesman who doesn't even want to layan you or talk to you right?

I personally wouldn't mind paying a bit more for better service.
 
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Improve hyperflex II for proton preve.

Just installed this adj on my proton preve. With cost rm2800 including alignment.

First they set the click to max hard. Feel like driving a tanker. But great cornering stabistability.

Thanks to your post on smooth setting. I changed to 7 hard front 5 hard rear. It does feel like stock suspension.
 

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Is there any difference between DII brand and Improve? Seem like they used the same model name hyperflex ii.

And.. The damper clicks count from hardest or softest?
Clockwise should be softest to hardest......:driver: