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Re: suspension

R. Tonge wrote:
> If you have to give up comfort for a "handlin' machine", how come the new
> lotus elise rides and handles better than the new caterham 21 - you do not
> have to sacrifice handling for comfort until you get to the very far
> reaches of suspension technology - its all about understanding and design,
> a setup that doesnot roll does not have to be stiff and uncomfortble !, a
> spring only suspends a vehicle but it is the damper and suspension
> geometry that keeps the wheel in contact with the ground.
> Rob

Lotus is a very "high end" make of auto! It is expected that their 
suspension be excellant! However the Lotus I have driven, had quite a
"firm" ride. 

I do believe gravity  keeps every thing on the ground!

Suspension geometry and design is by no means as simple as you refer.
Very few individuals ever truely understand the dynamics and engineering
involved in making a car handle. Let alone taking a street car, and 
making it track worthy!  

If suspension design was truely simple, then all cars would have the 
same setup, and their drivers would be totally happy!
Just as putting on a set of H&R springs, evaluating them, them switching 
to Eibachs, or Spax.  You will find quite a difference in how each 
spring acts on your car. The same is true with switching dampners, tire
profiles, wheel size & width, offset, caster, camber, toe, bushings,
etc, etc... 

It is also widely known that a cars construction, weight, and component 
layout will dramatically effect suspension design and function. The 
"unsprung" weight of the front brakes, for instance.  Linear & 
progressive rate springs. Anti-sway bars and strut tower braces. All 
these components play an important part in a vehicles suspension.
Most auto makers build cars as inexpensively as possable.(macphearsons) 
This, by far, effects your cars suspension design more than anything 
else! This is why "high end" cars such as Lotus have nice suspensions.
Your expected to pay more here! 

Lotus with their "mid engine " layout, have a "great advantage" for
handling with this design. Audi's have a lot of overhanging front end
weight! The Quattro system helps lessen this effect, by putting more
weight in the rear end. Front wheel drive Audi's have an "inherant"
type of handling, familiar to all cars of this type. The new A4 has 
its front suspension radically redesigned, compaired to past Audi's!
The factory did this for a reason, and spent many Marks in research
and engineering!  Alot of folks just "love" the way the A4 handles!
Alot dont! 

My Coupe, with its "stiffer & lower" setup is just peachy, for me!