Every modification in the custom car industry goes through a maturing process.

The technology is refined, heavily critiqued, and maybe if the modification is lucky, the public will approve and it gets mass produced (the really lucky ones get outsourced to China where it is cut and trimmed until it can be sold at the low-low discount price of $19.95 on late-night TV). In one way or another, this holds true for just about anything you can do to a vehicle. From a chop top, to a custom intake, to Lamborghini doors, there is a natural progression of things. You might even go so far as to call it survival of the fittest. If an intake manifold is produced that doesn't provide any performance gains, but it looks really nice, there is a good possibility that someone will keep tweaking with the design until it does produce horsepower. Certain modifications have been proven to work for so long that they become scripture. Take replacing your stock exhaust manifold(s) with headers for instance, that is a staple engine modification, no one would argue with you if you did it.

Air springs are not immune to that same cycle of things. I'm not exactly sure how far air springs go back, but I know that GM used them in the late '50s on passenger cars, but only for a short time and I can only guess at their reasons for not continuing the use of them. In the early '80s Randy Davidson manufactured one of the first air spring "kits" for the front of the Chevrolet 1/2-ton fullsize pickup. It was an easy truck to kit because the shock was already located on the outside of the A-arm, so it was a true bolt-in kit and NO it didn't lay frame. In 1992 Brian Jendro used airbags on a Toyota pickup for Jason Pang instead of using the then popular air shock, thus setting the stage for an industry revolution (in my opinion, it has developed into THE defining modification of the minitruck).

So for over 17 years minitruckers have been installing airbags in order to slam their vehicles lower than any other custom automotive clique. In fact, it has become such a mainstream modification that numerous companies have spawned out of the need for better quality or easier-to-install air suspension parts. Yet through all these years, it seems that there are some people who escaped the grip of evolutionary progression. How, after all these years of custom suspension advancement, can anyone still believe that you don't need to run a shock with airbags? And to make things worse, these same people (you know who you are) will tell others that their truck rides great without shocks. What I believe started this phenomenon of ignorance is that many people had their trucks static-dropped way too low without a notch or proper installation, making them nearly intolerable to drive. Then, once they installed 'bags and notched their frame, the truck rode wonderful in comparison. Many will say that using a Slam Specialties airbag and 'bags with stiffer spring rates work great in the front without shocks. But that's just it, a truck without shocks will ride great compared to a truck that is constantly banging the rearend against the frame and viewed in the same light, a broken finger feels great compared to a gunshot to the abdomen. So if you insist, you can continue to tell everyone how great your broken finger feels, but in the meantime let's ask the experts what they think about not running shocks.