Say hello to J-Rated. A visual terrain scale and collection of suspension systems that take the guesswork out of building your Jeep’s chassis. It’s like asking a JKS suspension tech to join you on your next Jeep adventure. They could ride along and evaluate your Jeep’s performance. With that knowledge, that same JKS rep could point you towards the ideal lift kit for the way you drive your Jeep. JKS has done just that its new J-Rated Terrain Scale and complete suspension packages.
The team at JKS has been testing, driving, wheeling and, in general, “adventuring” our Jeeps for years. We’ve been hanging out with you on the same trails, at the same events and riding along with our customers. The JKS testing team has a motto: Driven, never trailered. They refuse to put their Jeeps on a trailer and drag them to an adventure. From Michigan to Moab or Michigan to the Rubicon Trail, JKS has probably been there, had a blast and driven home.
The sum total of JKS Manufacturing’s on and off-road experience has been translated into a range of suspension systems designed for every style and usage of Jeeper imaginable. The J-Rated terrain scale compares the performance of suspension across a wide variety of terrains. JKS focuses on 4 main categories that challenge your suspension in different ways. The ratings are based on the performance of each category, but also include any compromises that might affect one of the other categories.
The J-Rating Categories
ROAD J-RATING: “How good is your suspension on-road?” Often overlooked by many enthusiasts, JKS has mastered the art of maintaining on-road manners while improving off road performance. Engineering systems that perform better-than-factory on road while improving benefits off-road is what a complete suspension system is all about! The JKS “Road” rating factors in ease of component maintenance, ride quality on traditional road surfaces and stability at highway speeds. A system with a high road rating is great for a daily driver that gets out on mild trails a few times a year. You and your Jeep can even explore some more difficult terrain from time to time.
TRAIL J-RATING: For such a small word, “Trail” casts a wide net of performance driving scenarios. Trail is what Jeepers spend most of our off-road time on. It’s the space between the obstacles and the backcountry where we overland. Trail driving encounters speeds up to 25mph (and sometimes faster) off road. It’s the terrain that can make you embrace your suspension choice, or make you regret it. Small rocks, potholes, slight ruts and small ledges can test the “tune” on shocks and springs, and the life and performance of bushings and arms. Its were your buddies cheap, squeaky lift kit is driving him nuts. Systems with high Trail Ratings will also have good Road Ratings based on vehicle speed, however Trail Rated Systems also have more robust strength upgrades and improved wheel travel.
CRAWL J-RATING: JKS does not take the term “Crawl” lightly. This is where your Jeep encounters the big, nasty rocks, ledges and boulders. It’s the hardcore stuff that many of us dream about. This is where skill and experience meet geometry and wheel travel. It’s where we need big flex and the right combination of strong parts to work in unison. To earn a big Crawl J-Rating, a suspension system must make some compromises in other areas. If you and your Jeep play with rocks, those compromises are worthwhile.
BAJA J-RATING: This category might be the most fun type of driving to “test”. The word “Baja” brings thoughts of wide-open throttles and blasts through sand and dirt at speeds exceeding 25mph. The Baja category is for sand dune runners, desert lovers and anyone that likes to go fast in their Jeep. A high Baja J-rating mean that the suspension system includes serious shock absorbers. Valving must soak up movement, but also have the fluid capacity to stay cool and consistent for miles and miles of action. Suspension geometry is key here. High speeds require careful engineering with respect to angles and handling. You get to focus on the trail and the fun rather than worrying about your suspension system.