Ive been happy with them on the road so far. Havent had a chance to do much offroad with them yet.
2013 JK - Metalcloak 3.5" coils and control arms, Bilstein 5160s, Prorock44, Synergy high steer, drag link, track bar and tie rod, PSC hydro assist, RCV front shafts, Reid knuckles, TEN factory rear shafts, 4.88s, 37" MTR, Tom Woods front and rear, antirock front and rear, etc.
The AEV tuned 5160's are great. On road and off road they really shine.
I cannot speak to the standard Bilstein valved shocks, as AEV's is totally different.
I had a Ford Raptor and I think the 5160's that I put on my Jeep (with the AEV springs) work better than the stock Fox shocks that were on that truck. The Raptor's stock Fox Shox (while excellent) would fade in the front after a while.
I ran Mojave Road recently, and there are sections of that trail that are horribly spaced whoopdeedoos and my shocks did not fade at all after hours of go up, bounce down, compress, rebound, etc
Also ran Lanfair road and parts across the desert out here west on some gnarly graded road at 60 Mph with no issues. The road to the Racetrack in Death Valley is a good example of where you can fly with this setup, vs. stock where you slog along at 15-30MPH and the Jeep sounds like it's going to fall apart.
I think they look fantastic too, especially paired with the optional billet reservoir clamps.
Is there a similar 'best choice' for non-lifted JKs?
get in--buckle up--hang on
"soothing agricultural implement/personal servant/Walter Mitty multidimensional access utility device conveniently travels on pavement when necessary and often keeps me warm/cool/dry/soothed as needed."
They are just as great on the pavement. My jeep is a DD, I drive on a lot of different types of paved roads, from small German farm roads to the Autobahn. The ride is a lot better then stock. The 5160's I have are for a Jk with a 0 to 3 inch lift according to the Bilstein information, so you can still use them if you do a 2.5 BB or a leveling kit, like those by TF.
They allow for rapid cooling of the fluid inside, which prevents shock failure. They also come with a lifetime warranty, which is awesome. Expensive, but definitely worth the price. I am sure the cylinder also helps preventing from damaging seals inside the shock.
So shock failure due to heat is common? It's never happened to me.
These shocks are overkill for most applications. They are more for like a prerunner racer. Where the shocks are really getting a work out. For street use and most avg 4 wheeling situations these shocks are not needed. They look awesome though and thats mainly the reason I want them.
I have to disagree, when I was in Iceland I did a lot of 4wheeling with the Arctic Four-wheel Drive Club. I had gone through 2 sets of shocks, the first set were a pair of Rancho's, the second set was by Rubicon express. The seals went bad in both sets causing the shocks to leak and failing my vehicle inspection.
The I went to the Bilstein reservoir shocks, i have never turned back. They are a great shock with a lifetime warranty. Just my opinion, yes they are expensive, but you do get what you pay for.