This is one that’s been on Sharka’s bucket list for a long long time – a set of XIDAs. Many (including me) think of it as the ultimate Miata suspension. And, while you can always spend more money on a MORE ultimate suspension, for the dollars spent I have always considered 949Racing’s XIDAs to be at the top. I’ve always wanted a set.
And now Sharka has a set.
Many manly noises were shrieked at high volume from my garage when I opened the box. So very many high pitched and manly noises.
Sharka’s set is a Gen2 Xida (pronounced Zee-dah apparently) with the helper springs and NB top hats. I ordered mine with the 550/350 spring combo for a better street ride. While I enjoy killing cones and HPDEs, Sharka is primarily a street car. I will gladly give up some track performance in search of the ultimate Miata ride.
Spoiler: I have found it. There cannot be any possible improvement on this ride quality. I am in love.
But first, some install pix.
My old TEIN HAs have been in service for something like 11 years. I had them rebuilt once, have upgraded them multiple times, and have generally loved them. I still love them. They were a fantastic suspension. However, they were old and ready to be upgraded.
Before you ask, they’ve already been sold off. And before being sold, they were cleaned quite thoroughly thanks to my awesome and amazing wife.
This might be my 20th suspension install? Some ridiculous number like that. Miata suspensions are easy, even with turbo parts in the way. I’m a huge fan of the long bolt method. Just remove the long bolt and the A-arm hands the shock to you. Super simple.
Ignore the electric impact. My adorable assistant is scared of air tools. The electric impact doesn’t bother her so much.
My little girl played and helped and generally made it the best suspension install ever. I’m the luckiest. Seriously.
When the first shock was installed there were more manly noises. So many.
My big tip to anyone who may be reading along: put some load on the suspension and try to get it near your ride height before torquing whatever bolts you loosened. This puts settling at a minimum and makes it easier to set ride height.
The tops of the shock bodies are even in the shot, even if I didn’t frame it that well. This gives a good comparison for shock body length. My TEIN HAs were slightly shorter than stock. The XIDA? Much shorter. That means more travel. We like travel.
I did not actually measure this difference, I only took a photo. Doh.
Shorter shock bodies are more important on the rear, and holy crap look at the difference. Again, the bodies are even. There’s quite a bit of gained travel in that part alone.
The top is pretty even. It looks a bit crazy with the DP6061 tophat installed, but the bump stops are roughly in the same spot. The extended top hat allows the shock to enter the hat and get more travel.
You might have noticed a lot of dirt in the earlier shots. I took care of that. I scrubbed off some surface rust too. I might need to do more in the near future.
Also, holy crap that suspension looks pretty! The orange, black, and blue are very nice.
A dude on the forums named Ferdi made this beautiful XIDA spanner wrench. I sent him a note asking about it and he sent me one of his personal wrenches. I’m… still pretty amazed and shocked at the kindness. Again: thank you so much Ferdi!! I hope to repay the favor someday soon.
The XIDAs are honestly super easy to adjust. You can turn the spring perch with your hands until the tender spring is about halfway compressed. The official tool to use is a 6mm hex wrench, but this spanner just makes it so much nicer.
It took me 3 tries to get the ride height where I wanted it. I actually went up in height slightly from my TEIN ride height.
Old ride height: 3.5″/3.75″ front/rear pinch weld height. Or 11.5″/11.75″ F/R hub-to-fender height. That’s pretty low. That’s lower than 949 recommends for a dedicated track car. I honestly didn’t realize I was that low. I’ve not measured the ride height in years.
New ride height: 3.75″/4.25″ front/rear pinch weld height. That still gives me some tire tuck in the front (11.75″ hub to fender) and a bit more suspension travel in the back. And the .5″ of rake might just look a bit better than the flatter stance.
How are they to drive? Insane. Nirvana. Perfection. There are not enough words. They are as I always hoped and dreamed: the ultimate Miata suspension.
I’ve only covered around 100 street miles on them, but they’re endlessly surprising. Bumps that used to kill me are now hardly noticeable. Turning on uneven pavement is not at all difficult – the suspension just stays composed. I mean, it’s not magical. Huge potholes that go through the travel and hit bumpstops should still be avoided if possible. But 98% of surfaces are just dealt with in a drama-free manner.
XIDAs are amazing. I should have bought these ages ago.
Build Quality: The time spent putting this kit together is evident immediately. Emilio of 949Racing has put a ton of work into it, and it shows. The quality is truly outstanding. A+
Kit Completeness: This… could have been more complete. I got a suspension and all of the components. I didn’t get any sort of packing list, build diagram, instructions, or anything. There were also no tools included. It was not a hardship for me. I mean, the shocks were fully built and I have a garage full of tools. Still… I was a bit surprised to only get the shocks in the box. I’d have to give this one a C+
Installation: Extremely easy. Miata suspensions install themselves. Setting the ride height is almost funny it’s so easy. And, I mean, the kit was built. A+ for this one.
Function: Why I bought them. They are, possibly, the ultimate Miata suspension. I’ve sampled a few in my time. This one is the most impressive. An A+ is not a sufficient grade.
Style: Can a suspension have style? They let me have a decently low ride height with an enormous amount of travel and composure. A+
Overall: A+. One of the best upgrades I’ve made in recent memory. The XIDAs are up there with my Blackbird Fabworx rollbar.
Thanks again Emilio!!! I love my new suspension.