An Open Discussion – Static Versus Bagged : Where’s Your Allegiance?

-April 11, 2013-

An Open Discussion – Static Versus Bagged : Where’s Your Allegiance?

Andrew Ritter

It's an argument that finds its way into discussions in every car show parking lot and enthusiast garage. Spanner wrenches and elbow grease are pitted against control switches and compressors. The debate gets heated as claims that your car isn't low enough until your subframe hits asphalt are met with remarks that "airride is cheating". Some guys will never give up the springs that rest on the perches of their coilovers, while others have swapped them out with their rubber counterparts to abolish that last quarter inch of gap in their wheel well. In this low lifestyle, enthusiasts often pledge their allegiance to a side. Which side are you on and what you draws you there?  We sit here in the StanceWorks office and we've decided to kick off the discussion ourselves...

Mike Burroughs: I've built cars with air suspension and I've built cars with "static" suspension, and I think they've both got their place - points like cost, style, capability, performance, and practicality are all valid. However, I think one stands above the rest: ask any hardcore static guy and he's going to tell you one thing - bags are the easy way out, and I think it's a hard one to argue. There's something inherently more impressive when two cars sit side-by-side, both with mind-blowing wheel and tire fitment, and you discover that one is on air and the other is static. Simply put, when it comes to a static car, what you see is what you get.  While both cars may look phenomenal, the air-ride owner simply pressed a button to achieve his look while the coilover owner is committed to his look. There's no "drive height" and "show height," they are one in the same.

Andrew Ritter: While both are impressive, airride allows you to squeeze out that last bit of height that would otherwise leave your car un-drivable. It allows fenders to be tucked in between lip and stretched tire. Bumpers can come in contact with the ground. With the press of a switch owners can tuck those large wheels up against the wells while laying their subframe on the ground. The "drive height" and "show height" you mention allow the car to have an insane fitment and then be driven rather than simply parked at a show. With static cars you wear away subframe bolts on a daily basis and that tight fitment leads to burnt fenders.  Every speedbump and steep parking lot entrance slows static cars to a crawl as they scrape their way over, leaving bits and pieces of their undercarriage behind.

MB: While some guys take pride in the damage their cars receive, I think most people can respect a smashed oil pan as a certain "badge of honor," whether its in jest or seriousness. While it's silly, there's an obvious level of commitment that comes with "living the low life." Smashed oil pans, worn frame rails, burnt paint, et cetera. To some, they're earned. Not to mention that if needed, coilovers can, with relative ease, be cranked up to realistic heights suited for harsh roads. Or better yet, the track. In many ways, it's the best of both worlds. A large portion of the car scene prefers a balance between aesthetics and performance, and I think most would agree that coilovers offer the better balance. Dedicated track cars use coilovers for a reason, and you have that capability with the turn of a spanner wrench. Sounds like the better end of the deal, no?

AR: While nearly all track cars enlist coilovers for their competition needs, airride has improved a great deal over the years and it offers the performance that most enthusiasts need. Competition race cars need the finite adjustments of a coilover to dial in turn-in, corner balance the car, and address and handling needs. For 99% of car enthusiasts who are simply looking to enjoy their car on twisty roads and back mountain streets, this is overkill. With a quality airride setup, you can still have a car with fun sporty handling.

MB:  To be fair, even if airride offers good enough handling, it sure seems like an expensive way to more or less "compromise." Air ride systems can get into the thousands of dollars when it comes to struts, lines, management, and the like. While coilovers can exceed $10,000 for a set, it's not hard to find a solution for less than a tenth of that, which in turn will get you down the road, having fun, and looking good.

AR: Airride can be expensive, but it's a modification that will let you truly enjoy your car. We all know someone who is unable carry multiple people in their car without rubbing, or have seen someone who rubs down their tire sidewalls with every turn taken at speed. Those are true sacrifices, as you trade off many of your car's functions for a low static height. Soon you are left with a car that can only be used with gentle care. The comfort, adjustability, and the care-free nature that an air suspension allows you to have that insanely low car while still having a car that you can use day to day without any stress.

The arguments for each side are endless, and we're sure there's much more to be said. From performance to practicality, each point is valid. With the introduction of threaded air struts for newfound adjustability, will air continue to grow in popularity with the previously "static only" crowd? Or will the proven method of coilovers make a comeback? We're eager to hear your opinions - which side are you on? What suspension is under your car, and what's your reasoning?

 Use the comment section below to share your opinion.

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Comments on An Open Discussion – Static Versus Bagged : Where’s Your Allegiance?

  • DarioSerino

    I feel like some cars are ment to be bagged, (vws, some audis, vip cars) while some just belong on coils, (bmws, supras, skylines, stis, etc). I could never bag my m3, it just feels morally wrong. Even though i destroy my car more and more every day driving an inch of the ground in Boston.

  • DaveSchonrock

    While I’ll never hate on bagged cars, I feel that static is the way to go.  Especially as performance oriented cars become less expensive and more readily available to the “regular folk”.  You get to keep and even improve on all the handling features that the vehicle’s engineers had in mind from day one.  And now with a company like us at Broadway Static, you can get even lower than before and still have amazing handling.  Coilovers are often viewed as a cheap way out, because there are some very inexpensive companies out there that just will slam you car.  But we go out of our way to hand design every kit we make individually for the car.  Ours get so much lower than other because we use significantly shorter shock bodies and they all full thread into the bottom mount.  This helps you keep preload, and still get very low.  For those who aren’t aware, when you lose preload you can certainly get lower but it’s at the cost of some of your handling and overall ride quality.  It’s also a big step forward in the static side of things that we use high spring rates, but also have the shocks completely custom valved by hand to properly match the specs of the springs.  
    Even as bags become more sophisticated and developed further, they will never handle like a static setup will.  That is unless you’re driving fully aired up at a high PSI, rather than on partially deflated bags.  We take a lot of pride that our cars look like they could be bagged, but are most certainly static.  And our customers love every second of the great ride that they have.  To me, there’s no greater feeling than taking a high speed corner or doing some spirited driving on a twisty road and hugging every corner perfectly.

  • Stephen Sayer

    For me, it comes down to the car, and the goals. Some cars are begging for that rockerpanel dragging drop and tuck that only a fool would roll static.There are setups that you can only roll with air, and you can enjoy the car more freely without concern for oilpan or fender paint.
    Other cars though, coilovers fall more closely in line with the personality. Sure, coilovers can be bottomed out and fitted with an aggressive fitment, but as Mike touched on, you’re only a few threads and tire sizes away from a fantastic handling beast. Furthermore, while modern air can be adjusted to get to “good enough” handling, Its hard to fine tune anything with those sorts of variables air brings to the table. Not to mention complication and weight will always be worse with air, which cuts into the “peace of mind.”So to me, its all about what vision you have in your head, and using whatever means necessary for that to come to fruition.

  • TheNeek

    My E21 was static. Quality coilovers, which have now found their way onto two other E21s. After I restored the car and had it repainted, the thought of dragging it all over and rubbing tires on fenders kept me up at night. After a dinner trip and picking tire bits out of my fender yet again, I decided that air bags were the way to go. I agree that certain cars don’t need bags.  Mine does. I designed the setup to drive at a respectably low height while still requiring significant PSI. The performance from this should be easy to feel. I’m not too proud to tell people that I’d drive it aired up mostly. Call it “posing” call it “selling out”, you won’t hurt my feelings. I’ve been down a long road with this car that will continue for quite a long time and keeping it looking good is my main goal.
    The Bavaria on the other hand was destined to be bagged from the beginning. The wife and I cut the springs, but knew that it was only temporary. Adjustable suspension makes the car so much more approachable and flexible. We can put 3 of our closest friends in the back, go to an eating competition, and drive home with out a care in the world. Stella Sparks is supposed to be a fun car and it’s my belief that air is just more fun that coils. It’s funny but going “up and down”, as childish as that may sound, is tons of fun.
    I won’t ever get in an argument with someone about static vs. air. Coke or Pepsi. Ford or Chevy. Everyone has their preferences and for me it’s air all the way.

  • JeremyWhittle

    While both static and bagged cars both have their place, and the only real thing still going for coilovers on most street cars is a cooler “feel” to the whole build. I had my car static about an inch off the ground, and my fender clearance significantly less than that for nearly a year while it was my only car and daily driver. I ended up taking trips to Tennessee in it (and busted my oil pan twice that weekend), which led me to raising the motor, and it became driveable without issue as long as there were only myself and a maximum of one passenger in the car, excluding beating up the underbody and fenders. I took it to Maryland and back from Georgia for H2O and countless other trips, and got the car down to a point where not much would be able to stop it, but it was, to be frank, a bit annoying to drive with the biggest issue being I had a 4 door vehicle I could only take 2 people in, with light cargo. The year or so of being static grew old quickly. It was at this point my only car and daily driver still, and I decided to bag it via an airlift crafters pack. I spent a lot of time researching which struts to go with, as well as countless measurements to have it setup so my drive height would be just slightly higher than my static (about 1/2″ or so) and at a high enough pressure to yield a stiff ride. All the hard work payed off and the car turned out beautifully, allowing my to drive it every bit as low as before (and I still do typically) but also pile myself, 4 friends, and all our luggage into the car and go anywhere I want with a simple push of a switch. The car still handles great, on par with, or better than most vehicles I have ridden in with coilovers, and gives you on the fly adjustability.  If this was a dedicated track car, I would likely still go with a coilover setup, but for a car that might see 1-2 events a year, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it out on the bags, and have no doubts it would keep up with the static cars without issue. Which brings us down to why exactly anyone would want a street car that was static instead of bagged, funds being ignored. It really just comes down to the cool factor in my opinion, and the fact that a static car is just more impressive than a bagged car, as it is constantly driven as you see it sitting.  I am even guilty of giving a static car more “Credit” than a bagged car, and if I had a weekend or “fun” car it would certainly be static, but with the technology of the available bag setups on the market today, the decision to go air is a much more obvious one. Although there is the itch in the back of my head to build a set of coilovers for my car, staying with my air setup, which is really fantastic, is the smarter choice, and the desire to go back to static is just the inner kid in me. At least as long as I only have a single vehicle.

  • ktfright

    If it was more affordable, I would say bagged for comfort, but I just love static more. not everyone can be static, and it isn’t for the faint of heart, but it seems cooler.

  • Xavier

    Bagging looks great, but it is more invloved than static(and expensive).  Static can be done by most folk in thier driveway with simple tools.  I know this because I did it myself on my E30, and I am a rank amatuer.  Also a set of springs are not too expenisive.  You can even find good second hand lowered springs on ebay.  So I guess I am saying, I like static because it is easier, cheaper and as a result more accessable for most folks. Having said all this, If I did have lots of money a bagged early 5 series would be nice.

  • negativecamber

    There are two discussions being mixed into one when on the subject of air ride vs. coilovers, which is the performance aspect and the aesthetics aspect.  Putting performance aside, I never understood the reasoning behind the argument that one is “cheating” or taking the easy way out when it involves suspension, unless you feel that setting up a vehicle’s ride height is a competition. (Who is the winner and what do they win?) Even if it were a competition, I, personally, would not be involved that that said discussion, as that is not the reason I build my vehicle’s for.  I understand that many take pride in having to develop a skill to drive at a lowered ride height at all times, in all types of street conditions. That excitement/frustration translates into discussions about how air ride owners do not share their driving experiences. Whilst that may be true for some individuals, I believe that is where these types of discussions originate and are centered upon.  For me, the end means does not matter, just as long as its a safe and reliable method that is centered around your budget and vehicle’s main duty.

  • MarkOstrowski

    Burrough’s first point in the discussion nailed it for me. A static car at bagged height is something awe inspiring

  • IvanAprilano

    Bags or coilovers the two main subjects of “fitment” with coilovers even though you can adjust height and dampening with the twist of the wrist sometimes we don’t have time for that making bags win for that comment. Like in bag terms drive low but park lower for example. But being on air can have a downside the bag can rip then what will you do depends on the situation your in. Now talking price wise most people on air spent $3000 little or more depending on what setup you have which means saving up more but on coilovers aka static only costing around $1000 ish for example bc racing “extreme drop kit”. The only reasonable answer is if your down to spark freeways grind your subframe coils is the way to go hard parked and drive hard. If you want to save your subframe and drive low and park lower go bags. Whatever floats your boat

  • KelliKOatman

    @DarioSerino While you feel like it’s “morally wrong” to bag your M3, I felt it was morally wrong to drive mine an inch off the ground at all times; you know first-hand how expensive parts are for that car. Luckily, I never even broke anything that needed to be replaced on my M3, but I did do irreversible damage to the underside of the car, and there were way too many moments when I would cringe switching lanes on a highway or getting into a parking lot. To me, I felt like I was putting my car under unnecessary stress and potential damage. That’s why I decided to put mine on bags.

  • ArmandPranadi

    Whatever you do to your car, you don’t have to justify it to other people.It’s your car, registration is under your name, you decide what gets installed on your car without having to defend your decision.Static could be better for some people, while at the same time bags could be better for other people.Depends on the usage of the car and amount of sacrifice one is willing to go.Currently I am static, but if one day I get a VIP platform car, I’d get bags

  • Spaghetti

    Some people have no option. Such as those of us in some Australian states where air ride is illegal(go QLD!)… while it is an option, you run the risk of defects, so in the case of which is better, I guess coilovers/static due to the fact that you can get away with it with a simple wind up and clear the defect at stock height. You can’t pump the bags up to stock height to clear the defect because the bags are still there and still illegal. So there’s another side to the argument to take into account.

  • Luis A Rodriguez

    Alot of contradictions when it comes to this discussion.. Its up to you to decide what your about and what suits you.. Alot of factors play into it such as where you live, the weather, the roads, your budget, what car you drive..  Living in new york, a really low static car is very very impressive .. it gives you that impression that the person is “About that life” and is committed to it..  where as when you see a car on bags, its just like .. hes on bags…  The beauty about being into cars is the variety of things you can do and routes you can go ..   Seeing a fully functional clean looking car with meaty tires on coilovers is just as fun as seeing a completely slammed car on bags ..  Just follow your own style. We all love our cars .. and unless your a hater, we also all appreciate seeing a nicely done car whether its on bags or coils.

  • AllenIsakson

    @KelliKOatman  @DarioSerino 
    I agree with Kelli, I never understood being proud of breaking parts off of your car, crunching fenders, or rubbing tires.  I love having my car on the ground 99% of the time but having the option to not damage it when roads get bad.  Driving a static car as low as I do on air takes the fun out of it for me as I am always cringing and worrying about the next pebble in the road.

  • Option86

    I have to say static. All my cars have been “stanced” to some extent, and they were all done with coilovers. My logic is simple, you won’t catch any legitimate performance vehicle relying on air for suspension on the track… Not WRC, DTM, formula drift, or anywhere else for that matter. So, why do it to your car? Bags are just too cosmetic. If you’re down for that then go nuts, it’s a great look and a nice ride, but I just can’t go along with it.

  • mrg7243

    Coils and bags belong on certain cars. Would I put coils on a 65 t bird. HEELLL NO. With a car that heavy and coilovers the ride would suck. Bags would be more of the preferable option. But for most everything else it deserves coils.

  • Jaze Silverio

    For me, it boils down to one thing. At the very low ride heights and on the cars that I enjoy, a quality static suspension that is set up to ride low, will ride and perform better. I personally choose not to compromise my handling because there are a few speed bumps here and there. For the 3k that an air ride set up will cost you, you can have a world class set of coilovers with custom spring rates, springs from a leading spring manufacturer, custom valving, and custom lengths with air cups to get over any speed bump, obstacle or rough road. That way when i want to have a spirited drive i can have a predictable, firm ride that is designed to make my car faster and handle better, I can. And when i need to get a milk shake at any drive thru, or get in any driveway, i can do so just as easily as any bagged car and still be able to keep up with any car around any turn. 
    On the flip side some people just don’t feel the need to drive fast or have big HP. I understand that, 100%. But like i said, a well set up coilover system with the option to lift the front for an obstacle or bad road will rub less, and hit the ground less etc. than a bagged car.

  • ollie

    For me it’s partially a sense of pride since I’ve been dailying static cars throughout NY year-round for quite a few years now. I can truly understand and connect with the dedication that others share with me.  It’s also partially because of that magic something that a static car posseses. To me cars just look and feel better to me “driveable.” Of course this isn’t your typical definition of driveable. A car resting the fender inbetween the lip and tire can look good but I know it’s not being honest with me even though it’s very driveable with a flip of a switch. If a car with just mm’s of clearance rolls away like that and hops on the highway, though, it has an indescribable presence and integrity to it. With everything else held constant, a static car will always beat a bagged car in my book. Even if it’s a bit rougher around the bumpers and fenders, I would still prefer it because it earned the title.  If you can relate to that feeling, then you’re probably a static guy. Plus no air set up can do what a static car can in regards to unreal ride heights and wheel fitments. People are always associating air with vip. Most of these vip builds we see across seas wouldn’t be possible on air. Aircups, however, are a great alternative for some practicality while retaining the static feel. In my opinion, the idea of a vip styling, such as radiused fenders to match the proportions of the insane ride height/wheels/body, aligns perfectly with the idea of static. Everything is built around one finely tuned vision, one height, one wheel gap, one bumper clearance, one perfected look with no sacrifices in its execution.
    On the other hand, it’s one thing not being able to pull into Burger King and another thing when the static life starts effecting your real life. Stuff breaks that you can’t afford, you need a presentable vehicle for clients, you’re wife and kids don’t like when your car gets beached and they have to get out and push, etc. are all great reasons to give up the static life without any shame. I’ll own bagged cars in the future when my priorities change but I will always be a static guy deep down. We don’t have to judge each other for what suits our lives best. There isn’t a universal “best” for everyone. But at the end of the day, the cool factor, that feeling a car gives you when you spot it rolling, and the dopamine rush that puts a huge smile on your face, static always takes it.;-]

  • JustinJadunath

    Understand that I do not own a car yet. But if I did…For me, and for me only (it is MY opinion) I’d go with bags. Being a family guy, I have a daughter and a Girlfriend that I would love to take out on drives all over the place. To Whistler, to Victoria, the Interior of BC and more. I also ride bikes and love to get outside. Bags would be my option primarily because I can raise the ride height when carrying folsk and stuff, but if I’m out on my own and just crusing then I an drop her down and show off the cars lines, wheels and more. I realize that there are two schools of thought on this, and that there are many opinions and idea as to what’s better. But as it’s been said many times it is up to the individual to go for what makes them feel good. I firmly believe in this and I’ll never berate soemone who thinks that static is the way to go. If the shoe fits…

  • KelliKOatman

    @Option86 I’m sorry, but the “track vs. street” argument just does not cut it here. We are on Stanceworks! A site that praises coilovers which have been absolutely maxed out, deeming them COMPLETELY unfunctional. Basically, the only thing thats supporting your car is the fact that there’s a solid metal rod (which used to be a shock) with about .5″ of suspension travel. You might as well just put a 2×4 piece of wood in there, because maxed out coilovers serve zero function to a suspension.

  • Jaze Silverio

    @KelliKOatman  @Option86 That is incorrect. It is possible to have your car extremely low, without negative effects you’ve mentioned. Take a look at my car, I drive lower than any bagged car, and due to the design of my BWS coilovers, i do not lose suspension travel when i lower my car. I also corrected my roll center and bump steer, giving my car extremely close to stock suspension geometry.

  • Option86

    @KelliKOatman  @Option86 Actually, it cuts it pretty well. Why? Because, pretty much any coilover company worth a damn has track tested coilovers. KW, BC, Bilstein, H&R….. Megan, and so on. Street and track go hand in hand. Why would you buy ANYTHING vital, like performance suspension from a company who doesn’t have track time and experience?? You must be confused, my “solid metal rods” are in fact KW threaded shock bodies, with the correct amount of travel for daily street and track days. Btw, look into spring rates and dampening, as well. I wasn’t hating on bags, I support, this is just my OPINION. And S/W has featured much more than slammed or dumped rides. If you’ve been around longer, you might have caught that.

  • heavystarch

    Both bags and coils can give any car a proper stance…bags perhaps a bit more proper when parked.  ;^) I just think it really depends on the goal of the owner of the car.  Do they want to have the ultimate stance for their car?  Is it all about looks?  Go bags. Or does the owner think about tracking their car and going around twisty mountain roads?  Then go coils.

  • KelliKOatman

    @Option86 I dont really understand how street and track go in hand; theyre completely different things. When a company designs coilovers, they arent designed to be maxed out. They arent designed for the helper springs to be removed and the perches spun all the way down like many people do with them. When theyre tested on the track, Im sure theyre at a reasonable height, not maxed out with .5″ of shock travel. And if someone’s car is stanced to the point where you are touching wheel to fender, that car is probably not seeing the track. I’d like to see how low your car is, because it’s probably not that low if it sees both the street and track (and if you adjust the coilovers for each of those environments, then your argument is invalid).

  • Jaze Silverio

    Plenty of suspensions are tested low, plenty of cars that would be considered stanced are tracked, and lowering your car doesn’t reduce shock travel if you choose the right suspension. 
    Take a look for yourself…

  • Option86

    @KelliKOatman  @Option86  So you’re point is that slammed cars with stretched tires, siting on the lips don’t drive well with coilovers at the track. No kidding… My point, AT THE BEGINNING, was that coilovers are better for “the car” cause many are well built and track tested. You chimed in hating on people that are dumped and static, like I started this… The discussion is: “what do you prefer and why?”

    I didn’t say I was slammed, either. My sedan is built to handle. Who the f**k are you, anyways?

  • Option86
  • Option86
  • Option86

    @KelliKOatman  @Option86 So the moral of the story is that people should avoid somebody who has a narrow understanding of stance culture (you).

  • plokijuhyg1

    I love em both. Both have their advantages and disadvantages just like comparing the actual cars that is running each setup. It all comes down to what you as an owner wants out of it, simple as that.

  • mrg7243

    @Option86  @KelliKOatman 
    You did not just ask who Jaze was?? AKA Jesus Christ himself.

  • ChristianVrancken

    there’s no need for discussion it’s just depends on what the owner wants if he wants to be a static and stay true to his stanced look or he’s is seeking practicality to cross a speed bump more easily it’s up to the owner of the car nothing more nothing less just his vision of how his car should be

  • DaveT

    @Option86  @KelliKOatman There’s been a lot of advancement in air setups lately and a lot of people are actually tracking on air. I know for a fact that Air Lift does a lot of track testing on their more recent setups.

  • SamMauri

    I have to say that both forms of suspension setups deserve a lot of respect. If you really think about it, they’re probably just as expensive (up front cost of airride vs more repair work to your bumpers and fenders in the long run) but I don’t know if that really matters. What matters is, as many here have said, the goal of the driver. For me, I would love an insanely low car with some good HP to rip on the track. With that car, I would have to go static. But my car, a 1976 BMW 2002, has less than 100 horsepower and with that, I really don’t need insane handling. I just need a comfortable setup that would still look good and that I would be able to customize depending on how many people were in the car so my nearly-40-year-old frame doesn’t end up torn up on a speed bump. That’s why I’m saving up for an airride setup…. Plus I’ve already had to deal with the “no one is allowed in the back seats or my tires will rub” situation for two years and it’s honestly kind of annoying!

  • Jaze Silverio

    @DaveT  @KelliKOatman 
    There are no bagged cars in any major or professional racing organizations.

  • DaveT

    @Jaze Silverio  @KelliKOatman Jaze I never actually said there was? That wasn’t the point of my statement.
    I was responding to this statement you made “Because, pretty much any coilover company worth a damn has track tested coilovers. KW, BC, Bilstein, H&R….. Megan, and so on”At least two air companies are doing these exact same tests IE both of these cars were raced by AirRex in the Option Cup GTand Air lift basically tracks the hell out of these two:×682.jpg Now if you want to further refine your statement that no air company has professional race organization proven set-ups then yes it’s valid. But I think at that point you are splitting hairs because I doubt that anyone with a dedicated track car is going to make the switch to air. But we are not talking dedicated track cars here now are we?

  • Stephen Sayer

    @Option86 Please stop posting pictures of your car, this is a discussion.

  • KelliKOatman

    Lol. That’s cool about your “built to handle sedan,” but I’m not talking about cars that are built to handle. This entire ‘static vs. bags’ debate was founded on the principle of staying centimeters off the ground at all times because it looks cool and carries more pride, or driving aired up and parking low because that’s an intelligent thing to do. We’re not debating which one is better for the track, because if we were, then I would be on the same side as you, and I would agree that coilovers are most likely better for the track than bags. The fact of the matter is, in the STANCE scene (not the race or track scene which is what you’re talking about), all it really comes down to is the scene points. If you drive static, you get more scene points because you “work harder” to achieve that look, and bags get a negative rep because its the “easy way out.” All I’m doing is defending bags and stating why they’re not a dumb choice. I never said bags are better for every single driving situation, but I AM saying that bags are better for the driving situation which 90% of everyone else on this discussion is referring to; DAILY DRIVING. You have lost the entire point of the debate. Your side would be a great one in a discussion other than this one here, but your car isn’t even low, so of course you can preach “static all day” because you’ve never had to go through the hardships of driving a static car that’s 1 inch off the ground. And as far as I’m concerned, until you have owned cars with both suspensions, you can’t honestly say which one is better.

  • lastexile

    I completely agree with Justin Jadunath, being a family man with a wife and 2 kids bags is really the best (and really only) option for me. My car is currently static and not as low as I would like and I want to go lower but I can’t see myself going out and adjusting the coils every time I pack in the whole family, on top of the fact that my car is my dd. I need that adjustability that bags offer. Don’t get me wrong I love static and respect the people who choose that route but I think there is no clear winner here. Jaze & Dave Schonrock both pose good arguments but so does theneek and Jeremy Whittle. I think it all depends on your situation and what your are going for.

  • KelliKOatman

    @Option86 Also, don’t get me wrong that bags are always better than coilovers. On a set-up like yours where you can get into driveways and parking lots and over speedbumps, you dont need a bag set-up. When your car is so ridiculously low that you cant do any of those things, then it really just becomes stupid and impractical, which is why I went with bags! Again, though, it all comes down to the scene points. If bags and coils were the same price, then I guarantee more people would be on air, but until people stop shunning and looking down upon bagriders for taking the “easy way out,” there will always be die-hard centimeters-off-the-ground static fans… who really cannot justify why their suspension is so great. I have nothing against people who roll static, I know first-hand how difficult it is and how much dedication it requires. But to say that coilovers in that suspension are better than air bags is really just absurd (and I’m not talking a $3k coilover set with adjustable spring rates, dampening, and shorter shock bodies; I’m talking completely maxed out, Raceland coilovers with zero shock travel and blown shocks).

  • ollie

    @Option86 No offense but your car is as static as a car rolling off the dealer lot. As a rule of thumb, if it’s obvious you’re on springs, labeling as static is just silly. That’s just my opinion but the argument here isn’t air suspension vs. traditional suspension in general. This is SW. It is a dumped, obnoxious car on coilovers versus a bagged car, both maximizing fitment and aesthetic capabilities. You’re truly static in an SW sense when you can’t get over speed bumps or steep driveways without getting stuck or wrecking stuff. If you’re not slammed, you essentially chose a completely different route with your car, which is perfectly fine mind you, but still arguing an irrelevant point.

  • DaveSchonrock

    @KelliKOatman  You can get a fully custom set of coilovers for much less than $3000.  Custom spring rates using Swift springs, having the struts perfectly valved to match the rates, 2″ (or more) shorter strut bodies, front camber plates and rear upper mounts (speaking specifically in your case with an E36 M).  You don’t need to spend Moton money to get a great set of coilovers these days.

  • KhalilKassem

    Being on coils for me atleast is somewhat of a thrill from time to time. The funny moments where you are in unfamiliar grounds and somewhat on the edge of your seat staring down at the road infront, aimlessly searching for the smallest imperfection in the road as to be able to calculate your next move so you do not damage anything haha. 
    It takes more effort and commitment to drive low on coilovers, not saying that it’s less effort on bags because you can drive pretty low on bags too if you’re setup for it, but it’s easier for bagged cars since they can always air up when they are about to encounter some sort of trouble as for the static guys they have to bite their lip and deal with it. Coils also have a more connected feel to them, hard to explain but I’m sure most people get what I mean. It’s a lot more work to setup your car how you want it on coils and in the end it’s alot more satisfying then just adding or dumping air by way of button. 
    I can appreciate airride as I did have a bagged car myself, it’s definitely alot of fun playing with switches and what not haha. But for me static is the way to go.

  • KelliKOatman

    @DaveSchonrock I was just saying that because Jaze was referring to what coilover setup you could buy for the same price as an air setup (which is apparently $3000) :) Yes, some air ride kits are $3000+ but I only paid about $1000 for mine.

  • Flaktwo

    I have done the static/coils and recently did air ride. My personal view is don’t knock it till you have tried them both, I had the some concerns about air ride when i ordered it but it has surprised me time and time again. They have come a long way and the same cost as a decent set of coils. While the install took 50+ hours and something I did myself to cut cost, it has been worth it. I have to agree driving in a static car has is thrills and badges of honor/damage in a way, it becomes stressful as a daily driver to deal with a busted oil pan and pump, wear on the tires from rubbing etc…Air ride for me gives back that pleasure of jumping in a car and driving it without a worry and reducing costs associated with being static. Plus it’s kind of hard to drive a lowered car when we get tons of snow. I’m going to finish by saying that if i had a weekend car/track car there would be coils in it but for my dailies i will always resort to Air Ride.

  • BavarianStance

    I tend to drive my cars pretty hard. I always find my self pushing it just a little more. My current car is a 1986 325es slow yet, a fun car. It’s very rigid and stiff. Very opposite of the newer plastic feel cars. I spend most of my time driving it. It’s barely ever parked! I love the challenges that come with a static low car. I don’t go to many “scene events” just a few local meet ups. I am not into the whole parked car thing. I love to find a fine point between function and low! When this is achieved one has a good feeling about self and car. The looks on faces of everyday people is priceless when I drive by. For me a car must remain low while driving or parked!

  • TaylorMenezes

    People are failing to realize that you can do burnouts on bags AND coils. Mindblown.

  • George C

    If the boot is too small then static. Else bagged :)

  • TimBaker

    each have a place, but i’m so for static I crackle with it

  • braaap76

    low=lifestyle. lifestyle=commitment. commitment=static. Therefore low=static

  • JakWhite

    My car is low on its hydro’s and I get annoyed when I hear a bang or scrape on the road as it means potential cost. But my engines in the rear so its slightly higher and hasn’t gotten damaged so far so I feel I ‘can’ run static and the only thing that gets damaged is the bar that runs across the belly pan and two loops on the front subframe, All my bolts are fine, however I’m awaiting for one or all of the bolts on the subframe to sheer due to a rather large pothole one day. Personally I prefer coils as you can always put them up a few rings so the cars more driveable/trackable depending on how much you spent on them. But if my car was for shows I’d have air, its something cool to play with and looks good when installed right. But like I said, my cars on hydro’s so I can’t have either. I just pump it up or let gas out depending on what I feel like and adjust the stiffness of the damper to accomodate. (Good ol MGF)

  • volvosome

    Who cares what anyone says. It’s your car so build it how you want it. If you want bags, use bags. If you want coils, use coils. Screw what the community says. What we’re all doing is ridiculous when you boil it down regardless if its on air or coils.

  • DylanPhillips

     Love the last sentence haha

  • JackKeller

    Throughout my life I’ve built a great deal of custom cars, my early days were about lowriders, not just sitting low but hopping and dancing, then i went the boosted static “racecar” route for a while, now I drive a bagged car and I’m completely happy. That said, I give props to the static guys for the dedication however I have things to do and no time to remove my bumper to get in and out of my driveway, while you’re limping to a meet or show I been enjoying that scenery for some time.

  • AndreasKuehn

    Here in Germany we have people like AH Suspension, who built insane Coilover Setups based on H&R Clubsport Coilovers and Racing springs, with which you can get insane low, without rubbing tire or something. Ride Comfort ist really OK (and not tooo Hard) and Track Performance is also way better than in most Coilovers which came from factory. With coilovers you can get really low setups which are daily driveable with good performance. You only have to know how and where you can get the parts, the companys that can offer you ultimate static solutions. The time of “limits” of static suspensions is over. And for me, i am from germany, and for me the challenge is not only to get low, but too get low “street legal”, with permission of the german TÜV. And this is much more difficult than simply slam your car!

  • Alex182

    I bear no ill towards bags. Living in a city with notoriously bad roads, I myself have looked towards them with serious consideration. I just don’t think it’s cool to need a couple planks of wood, a few mates, and a whole hour to get out of the driveway.

  • Caseyculby

    Air rides are more for show cars, it’s not as much of the “Low lifestyle” but they rep it at shows cause they like the look.  It not as committing as a “static” driver. Right now I’m on KyB struts and cut/lowering spring on my s13.  Yes it rides a bit rough in some occasions but do I love the way it looks and handles?  Hell Yes.

  • PR0PH37

    I bet the more hardcore old school enthusiasts had this same dilemma except it was: Cut or coil? The cuts would say the coils cheated and blah, blah, blah. You can ride on static heights on a bagged set up and then park even lower. If you can afford it, bagged is the only way to go and the future. BTW, people still cut the springs and think its cool. Lol

  • LukeMartinez

    I have a ’90 Civic Wagovan on coilovers. Can’t wait to get air ride!

  • DarrenNt

    I’ve had my car on both coilovers and air and tbh for me air wins hands down.
    I have several large speed bumps in my road and on coils I couldn’t get anywhere near the height I wanted to be at. With the air I hit the switches and just glide over them, easy. Once onto the main road I can lower it right down to where I want it and drive.
    I can’t imagine how much money I’ve saved by installing the air and the time gained through not being in the garage replacing sumps. It’s a laugh when you do the first one but after a few it soon becomes tiresome to be dragging it back to the garage again.
    Then again anyone who thinks air is like a magic wand to ultimate lows is sadly mistaken as well. Most cars take a lot of modification to get anywhere near putting subframe down. I know personally I’ve had to have a lot of custom parts made to sort out the stance properly.
    But as the saying goes each to their own. I don’t predujice against either because if the end result looks good who cares what’s underneath.

  • AKdub914

    I ran coils for about a year or so living here in the NYC/ Tri state area. But driving static low on HR ultralow coils through urban city areas that often have unforgiving roads and construction, can be destructive to your cars under side so i had to go air. After taking my coils off and inspecting my car… being so low with a stiff suspension i ended up actually bending bolts and damaging important parts of my car. the switch to air has been the best choice so far and believe it or not the car performs and handles just the same. I say air for function and security when parking your car, coils for the track and racing…. if you have a racekor

  • NGiles

    I can appreciate any car for whatever it is as long as it is built nicely and with quality parts; bags or coils, if its nice, I like it. I have always considered bags “cheater buttons” and will continue to rock coilovers for as long as i own my mkiv. Driving around static low takes much more on-road attention and driver ability than pressing a button when you see a bump or pothole.

  • KyleCrisham

    I honestly could care less if a car is on air or coils, it doesn’t matter to me, its how you pull off either with the look you are going for. My only gripe with air in these last few years is at shows. It seems like it’s impossible for someone without air ride to win a show. And I’m not speaking of myself, my car is not a show car by any means. But I have seen cars with hundreds of hours of work into them; in their bay, rewiring, custom body work, rare euro parts, functional/ professionally balanced suspension and maxed out N/A motors or freshly turbo’d monsters that have lost to a car with bags, $3k wheels, and option lips/side skirts. THAT is the problem with air, in my opinion.People hold these $2k-$3k bolt on kits in such high regard that they win over someones blood, sweat, and tears.
    I drive my car daily on ISC coilovers maxed out with my damping set to a mid-level stiff setting. And I live in NH. Bad roads are not an excuse for not lowering a car or going with air instead. I have broken one pan in the last 5 years, and it was because my FKs were blown. Yes, my rear fenders are burnt due to 10″ wide wheels poking a bit. And yes, I do cringe every once and a while as I lift my butt off of my seat in preparation for an oncoming hump or pothole. But I know that my car can out-handle any of my friends cars that are on air ride, I know that I get just as much looks rolling down the street as those friends, and I know that I will never pop a bag when I’m 500+ miles away from home. If I blow a strut, who cares? I can still drive on it and fix it later. I personally would never buy an air ride setup unless my only goal with that car was to lay my subframe on the ground. But for any car enthusiast, if that’s your main goal with your car, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. As my father and many other car guys say, “a car is meant to be driven” and for real car enthusiasts, driven hard.

  • Han

    Static… the art of driving.

  • Stephen Brewer

    I have built plenty of vehicles. Everything from 768 AWHP evo. To the oldschool 1985 Chevy c10 laying on the ground in 22s. In all my experience, I have learned the decision of air or static really lies in “what do you want your car to do?” If you want a tight suspension, and only a slight drop but want great feedback and adjustability every now and then, GET COILIVERS. They can ride great if you buy reputable ones. If you want your car to sit on the ground and ruck rim, and still be driveable just as soon as you start it up, GO PHEUMATIC. Air is very fun and a cool thing to have. My 2001 Lexus GS 430 is almost tucking rim all around on a 19×10.5 up front and 19×11.5 in the rear, and I am on Megan coilovers with custom spring rates. I am about to ditch those and get more drive ability out of my car by going air ride. I hope this helps someone.
    What do you want?

  • Hevymet

    it doesn’t matter if you’re on coils or air….lowered is lowered. (Dom’s tone talking to Brian in F&F. “winning is winning” line)

  • HussainMumeni

    air ride suspension has come along way since the 90’s. I’ve done my re-search. air lift has a video of a couple cars tracking and comparing them to coilovers. Seemed like the air ride got better lap times. it’s not just you show car anymore. The rubber used now is much stronger and handling is so much better. With quality bag bag struts, you will get a ride quality similar to coilovers. I wouldn’t mind going either route. But for daily and reliability, and the occasional track day i’ll prob be going with a bag set up.

  • Richard

    From the old way to the new way, Now the new trend is putting the UAS Aerosport bag on the coil overs like BC, Megan, Stance, D2, and many more, with the adjustable dampening and the adjustable body you can achieve the best of both worlds, great road handling, desired stance, and still lay it out for show. there are cars using these bags on track and daily use all saying they love the new way and how they handle. the aluminum brackets are already threaded for a direct fit to the coil overs that they have applications for. definitely something that has entered the market for the coil over guys.

  • am2can

    easy fix for a lower. stiffer ride that allows rear passengers with no sagging rear suspension issues: Use Bilstein sport shocks, remove the Nader-mandated spacers, find decent sway bars (3/4 of an inch, I have 1 inch, kind of rare) and you have the best handling 02 that goes over speed bumps and wails flatly around corners!

  • jaytoolman92

    I think when deciding on your suspension set up it’s necessary to realize that neither one is going to allow you to keep your fenders stock. Everyone has to roll them and sometimes even cut some pieces out. I would prefer air bags for the ease of day to day use but the budget might not allow them.

  • Ed Maple

    You forgot to mention that both are lame, and do not make your car actually DRIVE nice.

  • Andrew_StanceWorks

    @Ed Maple – A properly setup suspension, whether static or adjustable-height, certainly allows the car to DRIVE nicely. If the damping, spring rates (or air pressure), and travel all work together, you can get a very well balanced, comfortable car. If improperly setup, any suspension can also hinder the suspension’s performance…but it’d be silly to cast such a broad generalization across ALL suspension.

  • StevenGrech

    Coils only. What’s the point of air suspension when you can’t drive it that low anyway.. It may look good at a show but I’d rather see the drivable lowest height not just touching the road for photos

  • Bob

    Sorry I’m a newbie to the static and bagged terms used nowadays as I used to be from way old school swap engine and put in shocks, springs, stronger sway and tower bars, etc.    So after reading the interactions, static equals simply employing coilovers while bagged equals air suspension … right?

  • JorgeLozano

    Are you a show garage queen or are you about the “GO!” ???
    thats the argument here

  • JackKeller

    StevenGrech I drive my bagged cars lower than I did on coils, 30-way adjustable dampening and tuning it out means I never bottom out and I can still air up to get into my parking garage at work, for some folks that’s considered win win, fwiw I have 1.75″ between me and the pavement on my normal drive height, seems pretty low to me but I’m also and old dude pushing 40 so I’m likely out of touch :)

  • TaylorMenezes

    JorgeLozano You can have air ride and “GO.” Plenty of people do, myself included.

  • JorgeLozano

    TaylorMenezes JorgeLozano plenty of people out bolt on stuff and do a highway pull on occasion or whatever….the bag over coilovers help, compromise but its still just show oriented. Rack is that I do not know anybody that really drive their cars goes to tracks and usesbags, just the guys with performance modsthat go meets and car shows…I didn’t put a PT7675 and fully done engine just for shows and do a 5 second highway pull….

  • aleaf94

    HussainMumeni this video literally proves nothing since it was made by a super biased source.

  • Dkillahster

    I have had coilovers on my 9th Gen Si, and loved them .. but until I researched more and more about Air. i figured I’d give it a try… so why not? 
    Welp I’ll tell you this.. 

    After buying several axles, and 1 oil pan. and severely notching down my subframe + the bolts…. I couldn’t have screwed my car any worse than it is now, broken bumper clips, and all. 
    I decided to opt for Airlift Performance. And to be able to have my car at normal stock height and have comfort while driving + not having to worry about bumps and other things, and being able to enjoy my ride, vs having to worry about ripping axle boots or worry about unseen rocks at night smashing my pan, i am able to have the best of both world with Air. 
    As stated in the debate above. Both have their pros and cons. But as of now, I have NO cons with my air kit, been riding for a month and Absolutely love it! 

    But to each their own.

  • smittykidwilliams

    I have had the benefit of using both types of setup over the years. One of my previous rides was a Subaru Impreza sti on expensive coil overs. They had rebound and compression adjustments as part of the set up. The air ride set up was installed on a B7 Audi RS4 with a stage 2 engine tune. The most obvious difference straight away in the comparison is the compression. If you want to drive an air ride set up quickly on back roads and choose a low stance to help the handling the suspension would bang on every bump as if there was no suspension at all. The handling due to the ride height was some of the best I have experienced in any car I have owned however.
    I do drive hard when the moment presents itself and due to the poor road conditions and obstructions in the UK is the very reason I will choose air ride again for my latest ride over coil overs.
    The comfort on motorway cruising with a fully loaded car is far better in my opinion as well. I would be able to drive any air ride as quick as a static set up with my own personal abilities. If you happen to have exceptional skills and enjoy track days and drifting then coil overs for sure.
    In conclusion it comes down to your personal use and what you aim to use your ride for. I don’t want to run over my carbon splitter every time it gets knocked off for instance when the car beaches. I do understand the cost implications though coil overs are less than half the cost of air ride for my next car im just fortunate enough to be able to afford to choose one or the other which helps.

  • Budgetstunts

    How could anybody argue or compete with this comment said it

  • Budgetstunts

    Its about the car… i have a slammed widebody stick shift convertible mustang ..coilovers or wat u kiddies are calling static nowadays pshhh lol
    And i have a 2012 mercedes benz c250 on 20’s bags all day..

  • maqbool

    hi iam maqbool from india . iam restoring my mercedes w123 200D 1981 model . in my car i want install good airbag suspension to lowering . is that avalabel for w123?

  • Nikolaus Cain

    I have always owned coilovers. From day one of slamming my cars, I have always thought coils have been the way to go, and bags were a dream out of my reach. My most recent set of coils that I have bought for my newest project car are Broadway static. They not only have the most comfortable ride of coils I have ever had, but they also allow so much more slam than any other coilover I have run on my cars. I personally think like stated above, that coils are hard work and dedication, and yes air bags are cheating in a sense, however bags are way more convenient and not only that, but way more practical especially if like me and so many others, your show car is your daily. I still do not run air suspension, mostly because of the cost, but one day the dream will become a reality.

  • Derek Runyan

    Obvious point that was never said , is that static can be tuned to handle high performance driving capabilities that air ride just can’t do yet.
    Air bags however can go way lower and look better while obtaining the convenience of adjusting ride height while driving .
    There, I solved the case .
    Fight me.

  • Derek Runyan

    Air has gotten WAY, cheaper Yo.

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