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Best Suspension Review Project

 © 2014 Chris Shenefield and RedShift Motorsports, Inc.  All rights reserved.

 

2006-11 Honda Civic

Buddy Club N+ Coilover

Part Number: BC02-NP06FG

Adjustable-damping, adjustable-length monotube shocks

Street Price $1,100

Report Card

Subject

Grade

Notes

Overall

A-

Comfortable and composed on the street.  No slouch on the track.  Very good all-around option at a decent price.

Comfort

B

With shocks at full soft, this coilover is surprisingly comfortable.  Great for those who want good control without being beat up behind the wheel.  Not the most comfortable coilover though.

Street Performance

A

Excellent Manners.  Fun.  Inspires confidence.

Track Performance

B+

At home on the track.  Inspires confidence.  A good option for a daily driver that doubles as a weekend track warrior, and it won't break the bank.

Slammed/Stance

B+

Everything is perfect except for the rear spring perch, which is not designed as shipped to allow more a 2.0" drop.  If you modify the rear spring perch setup, then this kit slams great, but that's a pain.  If you want a slammed look more easily (no fab), then go with D2 or Skunk2.

Specifications and Measurements

   

Photos:

Overall

I like this kit.  I really like it overall.  It rides nicely... not stock and certainly not for people who want real comfort.  But for anyone wanting a good performance coilover, this one is quite nice and comfortable....not a harsh coilover.

 

The upper front mount provided in the kit does a much better job than the stock upper mount of transferring the shock damping to the chassis of the car.  So, you feel the shocks more....better if you like to feel the road but bad for comfort.

The springs rates are 375 lb/in front and 400 lb/in rear (+88% front and +82% rear over stock).  This puts the spring rates in the medium-hard stiffness range, which is one important reason this coilover is more a performance than comfort kit....  but slightly softer than the D2 and quite a bit softer than the Skunk2 coilovers.  But not as comfortable as a KW V1 (or it's twin ST Coilover), the Tein Street Basis/Advance, and way less comfortable than Koni STR.T shocks with just about any lowering spring.  But the Buddy Club N+ is a nice riding coilover in the performance coilover segment.

It's not a good "slammed" kit out of the box, but many have made modifications to make it lower in back.  So, if you like the rest of what you see in this kit and a little work or fabrication is ok with you to fix the rear spring perch not going low enough, then purchasing this kit to run super-low is a good option.

 

Overall Concerns 

Only major concern is that the rear shocks are too short for the standard rear spring setup.  If you want to run the car above a 1.5" drop, then you start having to put a bit too much preload into the springs.  Not the end of the world, but not the best thing either.

 

What's interesting is that many people purchase this kit to run low; so the rear shocks work great for that.  If you want to do something custom in back to run is super low, it can do that quite well.  For all you guys/gals who want to run this kit as delivered with all it's parts, you'll just want to run it quite low.... which most of you want to do anyway.  So, be happy....this kit works great for you.

 

As best I can tell, many people running this coilover who complain of ride-quality issues are having problems because they are setting the front and/or rear shock bodies too short, a setting that causes excessive preload on the spring (and lack of droop travel) that causes the shock to top-out prematurely and doesn't allow the spring to move through it's full intended stroke....and this makes for a car that rides like total crap if it's way off.  So make sure the shock lengths are set correctly.  Please see out 2 videos in our Tech Section (bottom of front page).

Comfort

 

The Buddy Club N+ is a great coilover for those who want to run their cars fairly low (1.5-2.0" drop) and be fairly comfortable.  This is not a back breaking setup at all.  It's somewhat stiff, but the shocks are tuned to provide a very nicely damped feel that isn't harsh.  Not rock hard and no bouncy.  Just right. Set the shocks to full soft, and you have a nice ride that is firm but not harsh.  Then turn the shocks up a bit and the feel tightens up a bit, but still feels good.  Even as far as 8 of 16 total clicks, the car still feels reasonable; although it is noticeably stiffer at 8.  By the time you get to 16 clicks (full stiff), the car starts to beat you up bad on the street....  but that's normal.  Full stiff should really be reserved for the track, where it can pay dividends in how fast the car transitions and how well you can feel what the car is doing at speed.

Note the comparison of the Buddy Club N+ to the KW Variant 1 (comfortable coilover) and the Koni STR.T shocks (ultra comfy shocks).

FRONT SHOCK DYNO

REAR SHOCK DYNO

Both front and rear shock dyno results show that at full soft, the Buddy Club N+ is actually quite similar to the most comfortable shocks on the market... although a little stiffer, especially with regard to small movements; so you feel more of the road than you do with most twin-tube based coilovers (like KW V1/V3 and ST, Tein Street Basis/Advance, and so forther.

But again, this is quite a comfortable kit as coilovers go.  If you are looking for something stock-like, this is not exactly it, although it's not bad.  If you want something like stock or even more comfortable, there is not a coilover on the market that will really do that.  To be as good as or better than stock comfort, you need to run Koni STR.T Orange shocks on stock springs or a good set of lower springs (like Tein H.Tech/S.Tech, Swift SPEC-R, or H&R).

 

Street Performance

 

This is a a good street performance kit that is reasonably comfortable and feels very much like a serious performance kit....  not just stiff for stiff sake that feels like a "racecar", which some people think is what performance feels like....  This Buddy Club N+ is done right.....it's actually quite a confidence inspiring setup that does a good job of bridging 1) a strong performance street car with 2) a comfortable daily driver, and 3) fun weekend or track car.

 

Still, it's  more of a street kit, and it does that really well.  While it has a nice feel and inspires confidence, you are stuck with only 1 spring rate available for the rear; so there is no ability to fine tune the balance, and that automatically reserves it as a street kit that will feel great at a weekend track day, but anyone there that day with a more track oriented setup will probably be faster and you won't win any national events with it.....  still, most people don't care about that.  Really nobody wants the kind of car that can win at the national level as their daily driver..... even if they think they do, they really don't.  This kit is what you actually want..... fun, reasonably priced, decently comfortable, and can hold it's own against most other kits on track.

 

Track Performance

 

This is not really a track kit.  Still, it will work well for you on the track, and not just for fun.... you can really put in some decent lap times with this kit.  So, in short, you'll love this kit on track.  The only glaring issue for a track setup is that you cannot change the rear spring rate to anything else because it's not a standard race spring... so you are stuck with what you got with this kit... no ability to change it.  And that means nobody wanting a serious track setup will purchase this.  It's more of a street kit that can be run on the track for fun, and will be quite fast when you do.

 

Slammed/Stance

This kit is almost perfect for a stance kit.  Why is it not perfect, because the rear spring and adjustment collar setup our of the box doesn't allow it to go all that low in back.  It allows a 2.0" drop out of the box, with all the parts it is designed to us.  That's a great drop for most people, but it's not a slammed or stance drop.  Yes you can get down closer to a 2.25" drop by removing the lock ring without any major issues.  And you can probably get it close to 2.5" drop if you remove the threaded perch too, but then your spring won't sit right and will start to destroy the collar threads.... so no going back at that point.  So, yes it can go reasonably low without too much trouble, but to really get the car stanced you have to do much more.... like remove the threaded collar completely and just run the perch in the stock rubber upper spring isolator (which some people do), but that makes the car WICKED low and almost undriveable.  Others have machined material off of Buddy Club's threaded collar and others have done totally custom "Frankenstein" things.... or that's what one forum member called it.  :)  So, if you are willing to mess with the rear collar and perch configuration, then you can stance with this perfectly.  You'll love it.

Specifications and Measurements

****Our own measurements (not manufacturer's specifications)****

FRONT SHOCKS/SPRINGS

Shortest Shock Config (inches)

Body Length: 10.625

Max Length: 15.625

Min Length:10.625

Longest Shock Config (inches)

Body Length: 13.125

Max Length: 18.125

Min Length: 13.125

Weight (shock/spring, 1 corner): 12.0 lbs

Construction: Steel shock body, aluminum perches, plastic upper bearing, aluminum tophat.

Spring Rate: 

Spring Length:  8.0"

Spring Inner Diameter:  2.57" top and bottom

Max Drop (as designed with all parts): -4.0

Max Drop (modified configuration, no warranty): Standard config allows you to drop a TON!

Notes: Lower strut bracket has slotted hole that provides up to -2.5 degrees camber.

Notes: Front shocks provide camber adjustment slots in the strut housings, which allows 0 to -2.5 degrees camber per side.

REAR SHOCKS/SPRINGS

Shortest Shock Config (inches)

Body Length: 11.75

Max Length: 16.25

Min Length: 11.75

Longest Shock Config (inches)

Body Length: 14.25

Max Length: 18.75

Min Length: 14.25

Weight (shock/spring, 1 corner): 9 lbs

Construction: Steel shock body, aluminum lower body, perches, and spring collar/perches.

Spring Rate:  

Spring Length: 7.25"

Spring Inner Diameter: 4.39" top, 2.75" bottom (for stock perch)

Max Drop (as designed with all parts): -1.625"

Max Drop (modified configuration, no warranty):  -0.375 more drop if removing spring perch lock ring.

Notes: Rear shocks seem to be a bit short for the springs; so best results are when this coilover is set to its max drop of -1.625 inches.  Anything higher than that requires more preload than is necessary.  This coilover would probably be ok at a 1" drop (higher stance than the max -1.625" drop), but it would require significant spring pre-load, which is not idea.  The upside is that the shock length is great for going even lower than these coilover are designed for; so if you plan to modify the rear to lower it more than the standard configuration allows, then these shocks would work great because they are fairly short.