Suspension set ups

I currently run a 2008 NC1.

I’m keen to buy a newer NC in the 13-15 plate range.

In terms of suspension set ups, can anyone tell me is there is a difference between the Sport Tech and Venture editions? Additionally, are they adjustable? My knowledge of all things MX5 is pretty thin, but I seem to shine in comparison to some of the retailers I have come across - hence asking on here.

Appearance package on the Venture is different, or better depending on how you look at it.

Sport Tech and Venture have the same suspension setup, which are the Bilstien dampers. There is no adjustability, for that you’re going to have to get lowering springs or coilovers.

EDIT: Assuming you’re looking at 2.0 engines sorry, the 1.8s don’t have the LSD and really is the only mechanical thing worth considering it if you’re going to be replacing suspension anyway.

Thank you for your reply. Leading on from that, from a position of total ignorance, what do Bilstein dampers bring to the party? Is it just an expensive word for ‘hard’? I know it’s a sports car, but I’m getting to old for go-karting!

It stiffens the ride up really. Some argue they are meh while other say for road the standards are better due to comfort. I have them on my NC and yeah they are pretty rough over rubbish roads compared to the stock suspension on my NB but different chassis so not like for like.

Unfortunately all the sport models with the 2.0 engine have the “sports package” which includes the Bilstien dampers so it’s not like you can get the benefits of the sports package (LSD, 6 speed) without the harsh suspension. Then again, if all you want is a road car to cruise in then a 1.8 without the sports package might be right for you.

No one should really be driving on the road in a way that an LSD will be more benficial over an open diff imo lol.

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That’s very helpful. Many thanks.

This website may be of use to you. Any questions just keep dropping them :+1:

Bilsteins looking under the car are yellow coloured and are non adjustable as said above.
Most owners if they want the lowered look and a firmer ride would possibly opt for changing out the suspension completely and go for adjustables too. That can be done on the 1.8 or the 2ltr models with the standard suspension or Bilstein set up.

Depending on where you buy from, some dealers are oblivious to what mods car could have. I noted one I looked at around 3 years ago had had an engine tune, changed manifold, lowered non standard suspension and a BBR back box. When I mentioned to the salesman about what remap had it got he was surprised it had one. Later they told me the car wasn’t for sale, only a few days later it was with the screen price increased.

So always have a look under the car and down at the oily bits, you never know what mods have taken place with the last owner(s)

It’s a very subjective thing. I personally thought the original bilstein setup was too soft. The car handled well but was a bit bouncy and too much roll for my personal liking. The next person might say they are too firm and focussed for the road. It’s definitely worth getting out for a test drive in one. If insurance isn’t an issue I couldnt personally understand the point of going for the 1.8 over the 2.0.

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I think we share the same experience? They are too soft for a sports car, too firm for a road car and the rebound on them seems to be pretty excessive and is far too progressive to recover, which turns the car into a pogo stick over sustain uneven roads.

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This is really helpful - thank you.

And then there is the difference between supposedly identical cars.

One of the reasons I bought our Niseko (at 17K miles and 6 years old) was that it went like a scalded cat compared with all the other NCs I tried before (including two other Nisekos), and the apparently standard suspension was sufficiently stiff that I worried about bending a wing if I tried the usual shocker-bounce test.

The 25AE (11K, 10 y/o) with yellow shocks (they look like standard Bilsteins) FEELS much less peppy than the Niseko did and while the bounce test is still not worth attempting, it also definitely feels as if the suspension is a lot softer, maybe more sedate. But is it really?

Both 2 litres, both spotlessly clean and rust-free, and un-molested and “standard”, and both grab(bed) the road like a limpet with nice new tyres.

BUT they have different gearing; 5 speed Niseko, 6 speed 25AE. Could this be as significant a difference in feel as the suspension?

I never tried to find out if the Niseko had been chipped - because then I might have needed to mention this to the Insurance.
However, I’ve done a quick spreadsheet to see what the differences might be with the gearing. It’s just numbers and does not really explain the difference in urge I felt between the two cars.

As a side note I found an interesting website aiming to catalogue all (!) car specifications, essentially one man’s work, and it feels new to me. I’ve only found a few mistakes, and they are understandable when one considers the vast scale of the project.

Also wasn’t there a change by mazda to throttle mapping at some point between the nc’s to supposedly remove flat spots in acceleration?

Also found this:

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Good point on the mapping.

The Niseko was very poor on low rev pick-up on the test drive, but that was with at least six-months-old cheapest fuel with the low fuel light showing.

I filled it up with V-Power for the trip home and all the flat spots and hesitations were gone.

This was exactly the same scenario as with our old Vextra-B, it thrived on V-Power but was awful on el-cheapo. So while I knew it would fix the Niseko, I haggled a bit more off because “it desperately needed a tune-up” despite them having “serviced” it.

It only happened again on our road trip around Ireland where there was no choice but low-octane for two tank-fills. Fill up with V-Power at LL59 5EB by the old Menai Bridge in Anglesey on the way home and the good old scalded cat was punching us in the back again.

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I’ve seen a couple and test drove one that have been sat on a forecourt for over a year (still there actually, albeit reduced). When I test drove it the fuel was on fumes so presumably it’s stale than stale and can’t be good for the cars.