FCM Elite Consultation and Design Q & A

Our mission is to bring more harmony into your life which our detailed Elite Consultation amd Design process helps us achieve. On this Elite Question and Answer page, we address many common questions here; the balance we'll answer during your Consult.

'Ready to Buy' Q & A

'Why Join the FCM Elite?' Q & A

Earn $75 credit on FCM Elite services
by taking our Ride Harmony survey!

Q1 - What do I need to provide you to get started on my Elite Project?

First, please fill out the Elite Project form with information about your vehicle and your needs. Then, submit an Elite Consultation and Design payment of $125 for 30 minutes. If you have a more unique or exotic application, we may invoice you for additional consultation fees based on the estimate from our 30 min Elite Consultation and Design consulation.

Q2 - I'm definitely excited to experience an FCM Elite suspension but am not technical about cars. What kind of information would you need?

We'd need basic information like your vehicle make, model, any significant modification to weight or power, your usage, any passengers or cargo- things like that. Also, please tell us what ride or handling behaviors you want to improve.

From the data we've gathered on real-world roads and race tracks, we've found there's a lot of useful information in descriptions like 'I want it to absorb frost heaves better' or 'the ride is very jittery driving downtown'. So rest assured that plain-English answers are exactly what we're looking for as part of our Elite Consultation and Design process.

The end result of our Elite Consultation and Design process is a commissioned automotive work of art that is unique for you and your vehicle. In some cases you will only need new FCM Elite dampers, in other cases you may need a complete FCM Elite 'coil-over' package, including springs, top mounts, dampers, etc. This depends upon your vehicle, intended use, and how hands-on you want to be in the process. We'll discuss details during our Elite Consultation amd Design session.

If you're ready to begin, fill out your FCM Elite Consultation form!

Q3 - How long until my Elite Project is finished?

Lead times vary based on seasonal demand and Project complexity. Expect anywhere from 4 to over 8 weeks. We can't give an exact time and will not work under pressure so please plan ahead. We'll discuss estimated lead-times with you during your Elite Consultation and Design session.

Q4 - I'm not sure what kind of shocks to use for my Elite Project? What do you suggest?

This is a great question that takes us back through all our experience across every brand in existence. We have literally tested and evaluated essentially everything on the market. Our damper of choice, for many reasons, is the Bilstein monotube. These are available in various styles across a wide range of vehicle platforms to suit needs for street, sport, or race driving. It is the exceptionally flexible 'canvas' for the automotive art we will be inspired to create for you, if we mutually decide to engage in this Elite process.

Q5 - I'm not sure kind of FCM Elite services to get. What do you suggest?

There are several technologies we've developed, but most people aren't interested in those nerdy details. If you are, we can discuss them during our consultation conversation. When you fill out the consultation form and make your 30 min consult payment, you will have our undivided attention for that time. We'll listen to you to decode what about your suspension is falling short of your needs. Then, we'll advise you on what we recommend to correct and enchance your experience. In short, we are the solution to your ride and handling woes.

If you're ready to begin the process, fill out your FCM Elite Consultation form!

Q6 - Do you have any discounts or incentives?

No, other than our Ride Harmony survey credit. We are strong advocates for community blood donation and there always seems to be a shortage of blood, especially type O-negative (our founder, Shaikh, is O-neg). We recommend all who can donate this live-saving resource to do so. Contact your local blood bank for more information on how.

Q7 - Why should I Join the FCM Elite? What's wrong with the factory suspension, or the common aftermarket replacement parts? There are some very expensive suspensions that have more knobs and other fancy features. Surely these are better than what you're doing?

Please answer this basic question: did you pop from a mold? Are you a clone, like in a sci-fi movie? No? Then you deseve to have your individual needs and concerns addressed when putting your safety and enjoyment into the hands of a vehicle. A mass-produced factory or even lower-production aftermarket unit will always overlook some aspect of the design. We have scientific proof of this. This is why we share so much of our methods on our Youtube channel, as a yardstick to measure other products by.

Keep in mind that production lines are driven by cost-reduction and most automakers would like to sell you new shocks every 30,000 or 50,000 miles. This is part of their business model and they'd prefer you spend big bucks on a factory replacement. On the other hand, if you buy an aftermarket unit, you are selecting a part that may or may not work harmoniously with other parts of the suspension. It may not be tuned as well as the factory, either. It may not be rebuilable so again, you need to throw it away at some point. With our Elite Consultation and Design process and exclusive use of the rebuildable and durable Bilstein monotube damper, we ensure all the necessary parts of your suspension upgrade work together in concert, so you don't end up with a 'Frankenstein' suspension!

Our Ride Harmony Method, crafted over many years of study, experimentation, testing, racing, and over a thousand unique Elite build, focuses on designing and craft for you ONE set of FCM Elite-optimized dampers to last the life of your vehicle. They will be designed to handle your roads, cargo loads, and driving preferences. We do not provide a warranty as circumstances may arise completely outside our control. However, from over 1,200 Elite customers in the past 15 years, we have had fewer than 1% failure rate.

We believe this makes our products and services and excellent long-term investment. Join the Elite for yourself, or for a loved one.

If you're ready to begin, fill out your FCM Elite Consultation form!

Q8 - Why do you only work on Bilsteins? And why don't your products usually have knobs?

When we began our journey as enthusiasts, there were a few names we heard as good quality damper builders. Bilstein was always highly regarded, although the fact that most Bilsteins were not adjustable for damping force seemed a drawback. However, we've come to find out that the Bilstein monotube construction, efficient design, plus continual improvements Bilstein has made have created the most durable, effective, and easy-to-work on damper in the world.

Bilsteins are avaliable so most vehicle, and there is a wide range of high-performance Bilsteins as well for racing applications. So choosing to work with Bilsteins is like starting a delicious recipe with the very best quality ingredients! Why wouldn't you?

The capabilities of a common twin tube Koni or KYB or Tokico are much more limited compared to the monotube Bilstein. Many 'high-end' monotube have design deficiencies such as excessive nitrogen gas force (like too much air in your tires), too much compression or rebound (causing undue ride harshness and reduced grip), or poorly chosen spring rates (which create uncomfortable oscillations that also compromise braking and handling).

The brands you might think of or consider (incorrectly) comparing us to have multiple failure point and short service intervals. This is unacceptable whether on a street car or a race car. Often people buy a name without having any idea of the build quality, or actual degree of optimization put into their suspension.The key element of every Elite Project is the physical rebuilding of Bilstein monotube dampers for your vehicle. You can either provide us with Bilsteins or we can purchase them for you. We only work on Bilstein monotubes because nothing else provides the confidence, durability, availability, and are designed to accept our innovative FCM Elite technological enhancements!

If you're ready to begin, fill out your FCM Elite Consultation form!

Q9 - Why do you charge for consultation? No one else seems to.

No one else creates a sublime suspension experience as we do. As professional automotive suspension artisans, we have taken decades to develop a deep, practical, proven Ride Harmony Method which our FCM Elite customers are ecstatic about. Companies who sells 'parts' will happily tell you why their off-the-shelf generic product is correct for you. You know better.

From years of experience with customers, we know that a 30 minute paid conversation with us will answer myriad questions you may have, and give you confidence in our ability to achieve a superlative result for you. We encourage you to listen to customer testimonials on our Suspension Truth Youtube channel to hear what some of our customers have to say - and why we know our time and experience are worth charging for.

Then, there are companies who have credentials in the motorsports world but seem to overlook a detail (or two or three). We've seen this from experience. Names like Penske, AST, MCS, KW, Ohlins, Koni and the like. You can pay lots of money for multiple knobs and long hoses attaching sexy-seeming reservoirs - until you start to really feel that something is still not quite right. We know, we've been there and done that - and many of our customers have come from those very brands. They have often spent scandalous amounts of money on a product that failed to deliver despite the marketing hype. We offer solutions instead of hype.

In fact, the genesis of our company was the answer to a question - 'how do suspensions work?' The answer is what you see and will (perhaps) experience - our proven philosophies of Ride Harmony and Race Synergy. Our products are the natural result of applying the scientific methods and our relentless curiosity to further refine our understanding and improve our results for our customers.

'We are happy to answer a few questions if you call us, or send an inquiry (see our Contact page). You can fill out our complete Ride harmony survey for a 15 minute Q&A period. For more extensive conversations, we require a consultation payment. This helps us determine who is serious about experience our Art, and who simply wants to glean knowledge for free. Our Suspension Truth Youtube channel, this website, and our 'The Perfect Ride' blog are all free resource all are welcome to use.

If you're ready to begin the Elite process, fill out your FCM Elite Consultation form!

Q10 - How does it compare to semi-active, computer-controlled suspensions that can switch modes for different driving styles or environments. Aren't those the best possible suspension?

In a word, no. Read what our FCM Elite BMW customer Pete C. had to say about a solution we provided for him (FCM Elite-tuned Bilstein HD dampers on his E90 M3): It's very easy to be beguiled by the idea of a computer being smarter / faster than a human. While it's possible a computer-controlled suspension can be faster or smoother in certain situations, you are relying on the engineers and the MARKETING department to have actually decided to deliver ultimate comfort, or ultimate performance, instead of an EXPERIENCE of sportiness. From what many users have reported, conventional 'Damptronic', 'PASM', 'EDC', and similar semi-active suspensions yield excessively stiff rides in 'Sport' mode and even in 'Comfort' mode.

When you are selling tens of thousands or millions of a product, where is the individual-tailoring? The adjustments for weight, environment, driving style? This takes a sensitive suspension expert to incorporate into how a suspension behaves, which we have never seen on a typical production vehicle.

Then, you have the issue of what happens when that fancy set of dampers fail. You get expensive-looking lights on your dash, a buck-board ride until the problem is solved. Those dampers are also typically NOT serviceable - so they get thrown away. You are paying for the privilege of an engineer justifying their existence. We love engineers - many of our customers are engineers - but we are physicists, and empiricists, and have a love for the environment as well as truly optimized performance.

We give you our VERY BEST in each and every build - no holds barred. The factory assumed every driver is an idiot and designs accordingly. This may be a reasonable assumption, but our assumption is that an Elite customer will be able to responsibly enjoy the enhanced capabilities of our Art. If we wanted to make more money, we could add knobs and fancy electronics. But that is unnecessary complexity and cost. The amazing result we get are largely due to the elegant sophistication of our Ride Harmony and Race Synergy approah.

We love this quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

Got a question before scheduling an Elite Consult?

Use our Elite Inquiry form or ring the shop. We will respond within 24-48 hours. To request a shop visit or demo ride, please contact us before dropping by - we might we out testing or racing!