Ride Quality on the Icon Stage 2 Suspension Vs. Stock 4Runner Suspension
We had a question come in from an owner with KDSS on the difference between the Icon stage 2 suspension Vs. stock shocks. After a couple of months of hammering the Icon’s digressive suspension, we now have the ability to give some realistic “what to expect” expectations.
The only thing that we have to say here is that the customer service with Icon is not that great. They make a great product but it’s difficult to get anyone on the phone. When you buy a $3000+ product, you would think you could get ahold of someone. With Icon, this is something to consider. It’s difficult, to say the least. We stopped calling them eventually and just started calling YotaMafia.
What’s The Difference Between Stock & Icon Suspension?
Really enjoying your site! I’m a newbie to any 4×4 vehicle mods and I have a question about the Icon Stage 2 suspension for 4Runner with KDSS. What was the ride like after install compared to stock? My stock suspension is shot on my 2012 Trail Edition 4Runner and rather than have the dealer install another set of stock shocks I’m considering the Icon’s. My 4Runner is mainly used on dirt roads around New Mexico with a good amount of highway miles as well. I work as a photographer so I travel a fair amount around the state. This vehicle is not a showpiece for me to parade around town, I want shocks that are durable and good off road but don’t rattle my teeth off around town. I have stock size BF AT’s if that matter at all in this equation? I will do install myself.
Icon Stage 2: What is the Ride Quality Like?
From stock suspension to Icons, there are some features/ benefits and downfalls depending on what you call a downfall. The benefits, however, highly outweigh the downfalls of this suspension. From on-road to off-road, there are some real differences that you should note before you buy this $3000.00 suspension.
After Icons or any digressively valved suspension for that matter, everything is tighter and much more firm on-road. Some people like the feeling of a stiff suspension and others do not. The digressively valved suspensions are known for being very stiff and firm while progressively valve suspensions (King and OME BP51 for example) are known for being very plush and loose. With the Icons, you will see less body roll, tighter cornering, everything feels much more responsive. Also, when it comes to braking on the 4Runner, you have a pretty harsh nosedive with the stock suspension. With Icons, your nose dive upon braking is almost eliminated.
- Stiffer than stock
- Cornering is great
- Less body roll
- Less nose dive
- Feel all the little bumps
- Can be too stiff sometimes
Freeway driving is much better. At high speeds and big drops, the icon definitely performs. Freeway driving with the Icons is smooth and incredibly responsive. Because the suspension is tighter, your lane shifting, braking, and feeling of the road are much more responsive. Lane changing is smooth and tight. Braking is quick and responsive (given you have good brakes) with less nose dive and the feeling of the actual road is much smoother at high speeds.
Driving Around Town
The only downside I see is around town while at low speeds you can feel more of the road. It’s like driving an AMG Benz. It’s just tight and you can feel everything. Keep in mind, I am referencing a KDSS package that is already tighter all the way around but if you buy a set of digressively valved shocks, expect to feel all the little bumps. Large, medium, and small bumps, you feel it all. Around town at low speeds and medium speed, you just feel more of the road. But, the Icons also remove much of the existing body roll so it is a win in my opinion.
While off-road, the big dips, whoops, and washouts are butter.
The suspension does what it’s supposed to, and works as advertised for the most part. This suspension performed well at high-speeds on/off-road and low-speeds off-road.
Off-road, the Icons are obviously much better than stock. If you buy the extended travel kit, you will see an increase in shock travel which is one of the main reasons you buy a kit like this; more shock travel. The shocks do their job in soaking up the compression and rebound hits very well. On every trail you hit, there is going to be some erosion, washouts, dips, and ruts. Whether you come to these sections at low speed or high speed, the digressively valved piston makes it feel smooth and buttery instead of tight and uncomfortable with factory suspension. When you hit these sections in a stock suspension, however, you and your passenger jump up in your seat.
Icon Stage 2 Vs. Other Stages
Here is another question we got on the Icons
Message: Hi, I was reading through your website on ideas for my 4Runner which is currently stock. I have a question in regards to the stage 2 icon lifts you use. Why did you choose the stage 2 as oppose to stage 3, 4, and so forth? Aside from costs, would you say that a higher stage would be better? Thanks for your help. I love this site! So helpful.
Stage 2 Icon Vs. Icon Stage 3-7 Suspension Systems 5th Gen 4Runner
- Icon Stage 1: Check Price
- Icon Stage 2: Check Price
- Icon Stage 3: Check Price
- Icon Stage 4: Check Price
- Icon Stage 5: Check Price
The reason was money and extended travel. It’s not cheap by any means but there is a big difference between the stage 1 and stage 2 with the extended travel coilovers.
The stage 2 is probably the best bang for your buck in terms of a “quality” aftermarket suspension. With the extended travel coilovers and the UCAs being the highlight of upgrades.
Everything else and all the other stages of the Icons are just beefier and can take a bit more abuse. The billet UCAs, for example, are just straight bling. Can they take “more” abuse, articulation, and pressure, maybe but not by much, but I also do not have them installed so I cannot really speak on them. We know a guy that runs the billet UCAs and he thinks they are just about the same. Again, bling. But this is pure speculation. You can buy a set and determine this for yourself. I personally don’t think the billet warrants the extra cost.
If you add the remote reservoirs, your ride quality may be a bit smoother on and off-road but mostly off-road as you can push the shocks further, harder, and longer as the heat dissipation will be better (the shocks can handle harder hits for longer). With remote reservoirs, you can smash your suspension for longer periods of time without your coils/shocks getting too hot. If you plan on going through 50+ mile trails with lots of whoops and ruts, buy remote reservoirs. If you frequent 6-10 mile rocky trails, and you like going slow, standard extended travel shocks will be just fine.
Going up in stages, you are really just saying “I want to crawl harder or race through abusive terrain”. By adding each new component of the Icon stage, you add more strength, control, and stamina. Also, you are putting less stress on the stock components. If you are not taking your 4Runner on extreme trails (let’s be honest, few of us really are) and you are not racing through the Baja, then grab a stage 2 extended travel shocks and call it a day.
Again, this is only my personal opinion, and if you ask 10 guys the same question, they would probably say something different (that’s why we have 100’s of authors on Trail4R.com). Just do your research and make sure you don’t overspend on something you won’t use.