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Ride Report: 2021 Silverado 1500 Z71

Ride Report: 2021 Silverado 1500 Z71

Time for Something New

It was when I found out that I have a new baby on the way that I decided that I not only needed a newer, larger truck, but one that was also more comfortable, more apt to handle towing duties, and also be a bit more fuel efficient. I took a few months to do research and scour the new truck market in Southern California and decided on a new 2021 Silverado 1500 Z71 with the 3.0 Duramax. The “new truck feeling” wore off after a few hundred miles of driving around and the one thing that stood out to me the most was that the factory Rancho Twin-Tube shocks that are included with the Z71 package were not up to par for my intended usage.

First Impressions

As the miles rolled over on the new truck, I began to notice how the stock Rancho shocks felt soft and “boaty”. The drive feel they provide reminds me of cruising in a big body sedan whose shocks are on the way out. This may be a plus for some people, and while I did want the truck to feel comfortable as a daily driver, I still wanted the truck to drive like a truck should. This floaty feeling I was getting only got worse when the trailer was connected. The body roll was terrible and while you shouldn’t be making sudden steering movements in a truck, some obstacle avoidance maneuvers seem almost dangerous in the factory setup.

The Z71 package is GM’s off-road essentials package. When towing the CanAm out in the desert we oftentimes have to drive a few miles on a dirt road to get to our staging area or camp site. The soft floaty suspension made going over the small irregularities on this type of dirt road quite comfortable, but the suspension would easily bottom out on larger ruts or bumps. Once I was driving around and exploring the desert landscapes, with the trailer disconnected, it was immediately noticeable that the factory equipped Rancho’s were designed more for comfort and less for performance and control.

Going Forward

I don’t need the truck to be an off-road machine, that’s what my Tacoma is for, but I do need the Silverado to handle the towing and daily driving that I will be doing with the truck. For these reasons I am going to be swapping out the factory Rancho shocks for a set of Bilstein 5100 monotube shocks. While a set of the Bilstein 6112’s paired with the 5160 reservoir shocks would be an excellent option, they would be a bit overkill for what I need the truck to do; get me from point A to point B safely and comfortably.


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