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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me summarize this review by stating that the Shine Real Street suspension is simply incredible! It has transformed my GTI from an undersprung, underdamped, and understeering plow into a true sports car.
MY EXPERIENCE AT THE SHOP: Dick Shine and the rest of the crew at Shine Racing Service (located in Walpole, Mass. in the Boston area) are friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. Overall I had a very positive experience there. I watched with great interest as my suspension was installed (springs, shocks, + Shine's own rear sway bar). Installing the rear sway bar is probably the most involved part of the procedure because it involves some drilling and bolting of the factory bar. The result is well worth the effort, as the installed rear sway bar rests entirely within the factory piece (and does not hang down and stick out like other aftermarket products). I highly recommend SRS for any work on your VW!
General note: after removal, we checked the compression damping on the stock Sachs shocks and it was simply pathetic -- you could easily compress the shock by applying minimal pressure to the rod.
REVIEW OF THE SUSPENSION: As stated earlier, this system has tranformed the character of my GTI entirely! Thus far I have had the new system for about 10 days and have driven on many narrow, twisty, potholed and frost-heaved Vermont roads in dry and wet conditions, in addition to highway miles. The car literally feels like it is cornering on "rails" as the proverb goes (even with my factory Michelin MXM all season tires). Compared to the factory "sport" suspension, turn-in is greatly enhanced, the handling is much more neutral (versus the significant understeer that characterizes the factory suspension), quick transitions feel much more assured, there is much less dive when braking and squat under acceleration, and the car bump steers MUCH less and handles uneven road surfaces much better. In all conditions the car feels much more confident, and it is now much more fun to drive (and I believe much safer, especially with the significant reduction in bump steer). At low speeds (under 20 mph), the car does ride more harshly over bumps and holes, but at speed and on highways I think the ride quality is actually better than with the factory system as road feel is greatly enhanced (to me the factory suspension felt "dead" and unreponsive). Dick Shine has some compelling arguments for why his suspension system works better than other aftermarket kits (http://www.srsvw.com/page5.htm), and I have been transformed into a true beliver based on how his system performs in real world driving situations! I will put my GTI against any H & R / Eibach / Neuspeed equipped vehicle in a canyon carving contest.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Shine Racing Service also installed a GIAC chip and some Porterfield (sp.?) front brake pads while I was there and I have been very impressed with the performance of both of these products.
I encourage questions or additions to this post. Thanks for reading!
Micah -- '01 GTI VR6 (Silver with factory 17'' wheels), Shine Real Street, GIAC chip, TT exhaust (by fastvws.com)



[Modified by micahbones, 8:31 PM 4-9-2002]
 

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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (micahbones)

2 questions, please:
Do the rear tires make noise when doing slow, sharp turns?
How does the car respond when you hit a bump right in the middle of a hard turn?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (drader)

quote:[HR][/HR]2 questions, please:
Do the rear tires make noise when doing slow, sharp turns?
How does the car respond when you hit a bump right in the middle of a hard turn?[HR][/HR]​
Hi. I have not noticed any extra noise from the rear tires in any driving situations so far. When you say slow, what approximate speed do you mean here?
I have encountered numerous instances in which the road surface changed in the middle of the turn, and the car behaves beautifully in these situations -- in re-driving roads before and after the Shine suspension was installed, the car feels much more planted and much less affected by these mid-corner bumps and dips. At the same time, the car has much better road "feel" -- it feels much more connected to the road. This is a huge improvement over the stock suspension, which felt comparatively unresponsive, dead, and disconnected.
I hope this information helps.


[Modified by micahbones, 8:23 PM 4-9-2002]
 

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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (micahbones)

*ANY* H&R-equipped vehicle? Are you sure about that?

How much did the whole thing run you (parts & labor)?
-VA

quote:[HR][/HR] I will put my GTI against any H & R / Eibach / Neuspeed equipped vehicle in a canyon carving contest. [HR][/HR]​
 

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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (A3VR6)

With having a very similar setup to Micahbones i can attest to what he has said, granted i have a Jetta but very similar. The road feel is great, especially now that i have new tires. The car is not upset by bumps mid turn, unless the bump is very large. I did get bounced by a large frost heave, but again that frost heave was very large. High speed stability is very good, and predictablity is very good. You start to learn how little you have to turn the wheel to get the car to react. With decent summer tires there is almost no sidewall flex and the suspension can really do it's job. I can't wait to take it to Lime Rock to try a open course event with it.
I think for a 'street' setup it is very good. Completly different than the H&R's and Eibachs. The feel of these 3 setups are totally differnent. But the Shine really fit the bill for my needs here in the North East with our snow and frost heaved roads. I may not fit the bill for someone that is running 17" or 18" wheels down south. The suspension is designed around 16" wheels..
Eric
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (A3VR6)

quote:[HR][/HR]*ANY* H&R-equipped vehicle? Are you sure about that?

How much did the whole thing run you (parts & labor)?
-VA

I will put my GTI against any H & R / Eibach / Neuspeed equipped vehicle in a canyon carving contest.
[HR][/HR]​
ABOUT THE COST: parts were $895 (4 of Shine's own springs, 4 Bilstein shocks, Shine's own rear sway bar), labor (about 4 hours) was $240 -- for a total of about $1200 with tax. This is comparable to the price of other aftermarket kits with springs, shocks, rear sway bar and labor at a VW dealer or suspension shop (I do some of my own work, but was not willing to tackle this project).
ABOUT THE COMPARISON TO OTHER SUSPENSION KITS: I have not had the chance to do any direct side-by-side comparisons, but having driven with the Shine real street system in my GTI, I am confident that it will out-perform other aftermarket systems (Dick Shine also has some compelling theoretical arguments related to the roll center of the vehicle posted on the website -- and I believe that his theory is consistent with real world driving experience). I look forward to the opportunity to test the Shine system against other systems at some autocross events (of course this comparison is confounded by driver skill, the most important variable in the equation -- and I have not attended any race schools). Unfortunately the magazines do not often do side-by-side tests of various suspension systems. In addition they tend to review only those systems which spend lots of cash advertising within their pages, so I doubt that Shine's kit would even be included in such a comparison. It always makes me laugh when magazines' "best" products awards just happen to go to the companies that spend the most money advertising within the pages of the magazine (the term objective review simply has no meaning here). For example, in a recent European Car, H&R was awarded the "best suspension tuner" award, and accompanying the actual magazine was a mini-magazine advertisement for H&R products that cost H&R a fat sum -- could there possibly be a connection between the two? So the overall lesson is: don't believe everything the magazines tell you about the products they review -- if they slam a product, it is unlikely that they will receive any advertising $ from the company that makes that product.
Again, thanks for reading. I encourage additional (and contrasting) opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (EBG 1.8T)

quote:[HR][/HR]It may not fit the bill for someone that is running 17" or 18" wheels down south. The suspension is designed around 16" wheels..
Eric[HR][/HR]​
Hi Eric:
Glad to hear that we have had similar experiences with the Shine suspension. Perhaps I will see you at Lime Rock -- how much $ for laps there? I do not know if that is an accurate statement about the system being designed only for 16'' wheels (we would need to ask Dick Shine). I am running the factory 17'' wheels (with Michelin MXM all seasons -- I really look forward to some summer rubber) -- so all of my comments above relate to a GTI with 17s.
Micah
 
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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (micahbones)

During the summer of 2001 my friend and I did a direct comparison between a GTIvr6 and GTI1.8t both mk4s. It was an archived post but seems to be lost in the vortex since its a pretty old topic. His GTIvr6 was fully shine equipped, identical setup to yours with Bilstein HDS, Shine springs, and all important Shine rearbar. My GTI1.8t had and still has Koni adjs, H&R sport springs, and same Shine rearbar. From what I can remember.. my driving impressions were the Shine springs were definitely more responsive due to the linear characterisitics. As opposed to my H&Rsportsprings with progressive setup. & my Konis were set at levels for dailydriving comfort at the time (half stiff rears and full soft fronts).
After driving each others cars for a good hour and so minutes. My initial impressions when going back to my car was definitely just a tiny bit more bodyroll and suspension setup just felt softer as a whole with my H&Rs. The shinesetup had razorsharp steering response and less initial lean. Car definitely felt more alittle more stiffly sprung.
I would have to give the edge to Shinesetup during an autox. But the H&Rs are definitely no slouch neither. They can hold their own at the autox as well. I personally think the Shine setup is just a littlebit better in terms of an canyon carving and autox setup. That difference is definitely offset by the driver behind the wheel. I say only alittle bit better because shinesetup is still a "Shine Real Street" suspension. The spring rates aren't too different between the Shinesprings and H&Rsportpsprings. I think its what.. 270lbsfront and 220lbsrear for shinesprings? Well its somewhere in that range. And H&Rsports are in the range of 230# front and 175#rears. If you want to outperform H&R/Neuspeed/Eibach products you'll still need higher springrates in an coiloversetup to cornerbalance.
For the past couple months I cranked up my Konis to full stiff at all 4 corners and would like to test drive a ShineRealStreet setup again. Why don't I go back to my friend with GTIvr6 shinesetup you ask? Well since then he went with Koni adjustables with Eibach prokit springs and still has shine rear sway bar. I've been having some pretty good results at the autoxes so far this season with my H&Rsetup. The key incredient here is the 28mm Shine rearswaybar.
Results from recent autoxes here http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=315098
 

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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (beetle and gti 1.8t lover)

i can attest to the huge improvement that the SRS suspension has over factory. one of my friends has an mk3 jetta equipped with the shine suspension and it handles like a dream. i, however, have nothing else to compare it to until i get my H&R coilovers in the summer time. The SRS suspension is def a huge improvement over factory and dick shine and the rest of the guys definately know their stuff. they are great guys that do awesome work. SRS suspension gets a http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (micahbones)

It may not fit the bill for someone that is running 17" or 18" wheels down south. The suspension is designed around 16" wheels..

I think Eli was telling me that they used higher spring rates in the real street kit and it worked well with 16" wheels with the higher profile tires. Something to due with straight rate springs and flex out of the sidewall of the tire for small road imperfections. I can't honestly recall now, i am doubting myself. HUmmm... Where did i hear that???.

None the less the kit works awsome with my jetta and my 225-50-16's.

Eric


[Modified by EBG 1.8T, 6:35 AM 4-11-2002]
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (beetle and gti 1.8t lover)

Thanks for the comparison information between a Shine setup and an H&R/Koni setup (with a Shine rear bar). See Ian's post (forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=310880) and Shine's information (www.srsvw.com/page5.htm) about how roll center is affected by lowering (in vehicles with MacPherson struts like our VWs) -- I think that this information helps to explain why lowering a VW is not an effective strategy to improve handling. Everyone talks about wheel well gap like it is some huge evil problem that must be abolished at all costs, but let me ask VW owners out there whether they are more interested in achieving a "slammed" look or improving how their car performs? Personally I am much more interested in function than fashion. This is not a personal indictment directed toward you (it seems like you are also more concerned with function), but an observation about the misplaced priorities of many VW owners whose first concern is to eliminate any "unsightly" wheel well gap -- personally I think that most slammed street vehicles look cheesy. Spending hundreds to slam your vehicle and make it handle worse is like installing a grapefruit-thrower exhaust canister below your rear valence so that your vehicle sounds loud and scrapes every speedbump and incline you encounter.
By the way, I think that Shine's spring rates for my VR6 GTI are 300 lbs. up front and 200 lbs. in the back, but I am not absolutely sure about that (Shine also claims that there is often a large discrepancy between claimed and actual spring rates).
quote:[HR][/HR]During the summer of 2001 my friend and I did a direct comparison between a GTIvr6 and GTI1.8t both mk4s. It was an archived post but seems to be lost in the vortex since its a pretty old topic. His GTIvr6 was fully shine equipped, identical setup to yours with Bilstein HDS, Shine springs, and all important Shine rearbar. My GTI1.8t had and still has Koni adjs, H&R sport springs, and same Shine rearbar. From what I can remember.. my driving impressions were the Shine springs were definitely more responsive due to the linear characterisitics. As opposed to my H&Rsportsprings with progressive setup. & my Konis were set at levels for dailydriving comfort at the time (half stiff rears and full soft fronts).
After driving each others cars for a good hour and so minutes. My initial impressions when going back to my car was definitely just a tiny bit more bodyroll and suspension setup just felt softer as a whole with my H&Rs. The shinesetup had razorsharp steering response and less initial lean. Car definitely felt more alittle more stiffly sprung.
I would have to give the edge to Shinesetup during an autox. But the H&Rs are definitely no slouch neither. They can hold their own at the autox as well. I personally think the Shine setup is just a littlebit better in terms of an canyon carving and autox setup. That difference is definitely offset by the driver behind the wheel. I say only alittle bit better because shinesetup is still a "Shine Real Street" suspension. The spring rates aren't too different between the Shinesprings and H&Rsportpsprings. I think its what.. 270lbsfront and 220lbsrear for shinesprings? Well its somewhere in that range. And H&Rsports are in the range of 230# front and 175#rears. If you want to outperform H&R/Neuspeed/Eibach products you'll still need higher springrates in an coiloversetup to cornerbalance. [HR][/HR]​


[Modified by micahbones, 7:28 PM 4-12-2002]
 

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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (beetle and gti 1.8t lover)

quote:[HR][/HR]During the summer of 2001 my friend and I did a direct comparison between a GTIvr6 and GTI1.8t both mk4s. [HR][/HR]​
I am that friend

I could not live with the look and on NJ roads the 17's were transmitting too many vibrations into the car so I had to go to 16's. Later Shine told me that they had tested the Mk IV kit on a GTI with 16's and optimized it ... btw the VR6 rates are 250 front and 200 rear. The handling was very solid and sporty and the steering response is something I miss sometimes even now ... an all out handler that did well on daily roads with 16's.
I like the Koni/Eibach/Shine bar setup I have now and it seems to work well for me at the autox too ... and I like the look (~1.2" lower) and can run 17's again. Definitely not as sporty as the Shine but I like the entire combination- looks, 17's and handling/ride with 17's.
Suspension is a very personal thing and what works for one person may not for another as different people want different things from a suspension ... so figure out what u are looking for, try some other dubbers suspensions and then decide
 

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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (pal)

quote:[HR][/HR]During the summer of 2001 my friend and I did a direct comparison between a GTIvr6 and GTI1.8t both mk4s.
I am that friend

Suspension is a very personal thing and what works for one person may not for another as different people want different things from a suspension ... so figure out what u are looking for, try some other dubbers suspensions and then decide

[HR][/HR]​
I think that sums it all up right there. Why I think is great might be crappy by someone elases standards. Suspension is a very personal thing and everyone likes something different.

Eric
 
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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (micahbones)

Well my car is certainly not slammed by any means. These H&Rsports don't lower a damn
and the drop is very subtle. Nobody notices is lowered
but since it handles very well I'll deal with the wheel gap and retain the proper suspension geometry

All in all, Shine is marginal better handling setup but definitely not by leaps and bounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (EBG 1.8T)

quote:[HR][/HR]During the summer of 2001 my friend and I did a direct comparison between a GTIvr6 and GTI1.8t both mk4s.
I am that friend

Suspension is a very personal thing and what works for one person may not for another as different people want different things from a suspension ... so figure out what u are looking for, try some other dubbers suspensions and then decide


I think that sums it all up right there. Why I think is great might be crappy by someone elases standards. Suspension is a very personal thing and everyone likes something different.

Eric[HR][/HR]​
Hi Eric and Mistral,
Thanks for the correction about the spring rates Mistral. I agree with both of you about the suspension decision.
The decision is a very personal one, and I hope that the information that we post will help others to make more informed decisions. For example I only learned about Shine by reading these forums. My main point is that I think too many people make decisions based on what they see in magazines and advertisements without even considering viable alternatives. I do not doubt that H&R, Eibach, Neuspeed, and others make fine products, but I do often question the validity of their claims that they are the pinnacle of automotive suspension performance. I would just like the data to make an informed choice (for example, where in the magazines can you find information about power gains from intake systems -- they always claim that intakes costing hundreds significantly boost engine output, but I have yet to see any numbers that verify this -- is that because these intakes do not add a single hp? -- certainly the magazines have the resources to do some testing).
Despite my rather strong language and opinions at times, I do not intend a personal attack against anyone. Like you, I am interested in increasing the performance of my VW.

Micah
 

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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (micahbones)

Thanks for the excellent review which, once again, confirms that the boys over at Shine have put out one fine suspension setup. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
I had a hard time deciding between the form vs. function, as both are important to me. In the end, I opted for what general consensus felt was the best overall setup: H&R Coilovers. Fantastic handling (from what I read), and a nice, adjustable drop too. I'm not planning on slamming my car, but I do want it ~1.5" lower all around.
When they arrive and I install, I'll definitely write up a review and let you all know how they work out!
--noah


[Modified by noahlh, 11:23 AM 4-15-2002]
 

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Re: review of Shine Real Street for '01 GTI VR6 (noahlh)

now this is the kind of review I wanted to see for a long time....especialy the comparison to the eibach pro kit and 17s combo.
http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif for the reviews!!
 
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