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Beginner's Guide to Off-Road Shocks & Springs

Hosted by Blue Ridge Overland Gear

Blue Ridge Overland Gear stopped by and had a chat with Jillian about choosing a suspension for your overland rig. Check out the video! (or scroll further for a bit of a breakdown of what we talked about)

Hi, I’m Jillian from Apex Overland. Today I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to get started with vehicle suspension mods, what’s out there and who it’s for.

Suspension is the foundation of your build so ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you plan to use your vehicle, daily driver or do you plan to go offroad, if so what types of trails?

  • Do you plan to add extra weight like winch or bumpers, etc?

  • Do you have plans for larger tires or upgrading your wheels? Do you have a preference on ride quality and do you have a budget in mind?

Shocks - When choosing shocks think about these characteristics:

  • A shock absorber uses different valves and springs to adjust the dampening force of that particular shock.

  • There are three types of valving characteristics that dictate how the shock will perform. They are progressive, linear, and digressive. Progressive shocks start out soft and get stiffer quickly as the shaft speed increases. Linear shocks uniformly increase stiffness as the piston speed increases. It is similar to the progressive valving but does not make dramatic changes at higher speeds. Digressive is just the opposite of progressive. It starts out stiff, then it tapers off.

  • Remote Reservoirs & Compression Adjusters - big benefit of remote reservoir shocks is their extra cooling capacity. But, another significant advantage is that a remote reservoir shock can offer more suspension travel than a non-reservoir shock of the same size. Compression Adjuster will give you the ability to adjust shock compression from super soft to super firm with the simple twist of a knob, typically on the end of the remote reservoir.

Springs - When chosing springs think about these characteristics:

  • Amount of lift

  • Weight rating

  • Springs are usually Linear, but some are variable rate, sort of like a progressive shock

Tips and Tricks

  • It is easy to get sucked into information overload when researching suspension, the best thing is to talk to someone who has been doing this for a long time and has a lot of experience with different types of suspension on different vehicles. A lot of shops will just sell you whatever is in stock and not take the time to consider your long term needs for your build.

  • Something that we have found is on the forums and facebook groups, most people that are recommending suspensions are recommending what they have because that is all they have experience with.

  • Biggest tip is plan for the future. Consider your overall and long term plans for your rig when choosing suspension. You don't want to have to redo your suspension each time you change something else in your build because the spring or shock isn't rated for the weight.

  • But also find the balance: if you are also daily driving your rig then make sure you consider that you may sacrifice some on road manners for off road performance - so finding that balance is crucial.

  • This is what we take a lot of pride in at Apex Overland - taking the time to chat with you, talking about planning out your long term goals and finding the balance in your build! So do not hesitate to reach of you need help or advice choosing your suspension. We do offer installs at our shop in North Carolina, but we can also ship your suspension kit directly to you.

I hope you enjoyed this dive into the world of overland rig suspension mods. Hosted by Blue Ridge Overland Gear. And if you need good organization inside your rig, check out or shop online at

If you need your rig outfitted, we are a full service installer and upfitter located in Reidsville NC. Just reach out via our CONTACT US page and we’ll help you find exactly what you need.



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