The technology is simpler than you might think. And that's what makes Bilstein shock absorbers so great.
The only job of a shock absorber is to dampen the up and down motion of the vehicle they're attached to. The goal is ride comfortAnd even though the task itself is simple, the technology behind it comes in all different shapes, sizes, and flavors. 89 years ago, though, Bilstein came up with something that was more innovative and better than all the rest.
The way shock absorbers work is by turning the kinetic energy, or the vertical motion of a vehicle, into heat and then dissipating that heat into the atmosphere. Traditional shock absorbers have two tubes—one inner, and one outer. The inner tube holds the shock fluid which provides the resistance and damping, and the outer tube holds that inner shock. And this suspension component technology seems fine, until you look at what Bilstein came up with so many years ago.
It's called the "monotube" system, and instead of using two tubes, Bilstein designed the entire shock absorber to be the tube itself. Removing the inner shock allows for a larger tube, a larger tube means more fluid, more fluid means the easier heat can dissipate within the system, and that means the transitions between up and down are smoothed—resulting in a more controllable vehicle.
Furthermore, Bilstein shocks are pressurized, so no matter how many up and down motions the vehicle has, the pressure remains the same—perfect for every type of driving style. Traditional twintube shocks, which are not pressurized, provide a "floatier" feel due to the creation of air bubbles after hard use.
For this reason, Bilstein shock absorbers are the only choice for FCP Euro's racecars—a Mercedes C300 and BMW E30 325i—for providing uncompromised performance throughout the nine-hour endurance races our cars endure. They're equally great for off-road use and the supremely popular 5100 model of Bilstein shocks is a go-to option for lifted trucks and SUVs.
Click the video below for a full demonstration of how Bilstein shock absorbers work, and follow the link at the end of the page to learn see which Bilstein shock absorbers are right for your vehicle.
My Avatar picture was taken in 1980, and I've been playing with BMW's ever since. BMW CCA Driving Instructor since 2001. Track Rat, Club Racer, general tinkerer, and Brand Director at FCP Euro. Driver of the FCP Euro sponsored #710 e30 and #720 C300 in AER.