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ky13
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Discussion Starter #1
To my surprise, there are very few threads in this subforum regarding suspension setups; what is the 'best' (possibly subjective) entry level coilover? My car will be ~85% street driven/15% track. TIA

-Kyle
 

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Absolute power does what?
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My car is almost exclusively track, I'm an instructor, run slicks and am rather fast for my run groups (run with 911 Cup cars, etc.). I'm on the stock '06 Exige suspension.

My point - for what you're doing mod other parts of the car first. The stock suspension setup is great.
 

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My car is almost exclusively track, I'm an instructor, run slicks and am rather fast for my run groups (run with 911 Cup cars, etc.). I'm on the stock '06 Exige suspension.

My point - for what you're doing mod other parts of the car first. The stock suspension setup is great.
You don't find that you're bottoming out your stock suspension? In long sweepers, my Elise would bottom out completely on the LSS suspension on Toyo R888's. I'm running Nitron singles now with the "soft" springs from S111, which are almost double the spring rate from LSS, and it's a night and day difference in terms of how the car handles at the very limit.

I do agree with you that it takes a lot of practice to reach this point, though, and I only upgraded suspension because I had to install a new one anyway due to damage.
 

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Absolute power does what?
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You don't find that you're bottoming out your stock suspension? In long sweepers, my Elise would bottom out completely on the LSS suspension on Toyo R888's. I'm running Nitron singles now with the "soft" springs from S111, which are almost double the spring rate from LSS, and it's a night and day difference in terms of how the car handles at the very limit.

I do agree with you that it takes a lot of practice to reach this point, though, and I only upgraded suspension because I had to install a new one anyway due to damage.
Actually yes, I do bottom out from time to time and mostly as you say in high speed sweepers. I'm pulling up to 1.7G laterally and yes, I've grown beyond the stock suspension. I'll most likely be replacing mine over the winter break.

My point was meant as you're on a fantastic entry level system already, anything you'd upgrade to would be beyond entry level - so if that's what you're looking for the great, you already have it. If you're looking to do some mods and spend some money on your car my advice is spend it in other areas...

-Ross
 

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My point was meant as you're on a fantastic entry level system already, anything you'd upgrade to would be beyond entry level - so if that's what you're looking for the great, you already have it. If you're looking to do some mods and spend some money on your car my advice is spend it in other areas...

-Ross
This, I can agree with. The stock lotus suspension is excellent, and IMO, you would replace it once you absolutely know that this is what limits you, and when you know it's your suspension that limits you, you know why :D I tracked for three years on the stock suspension, using my car probably 50% track / 50% street in terms of mileage driven.

One thing that surprised me about the Nitrons, is that despite much stiffer springs, the street driving comfort improved, as did track grip. Win-win (minus the loss to the wallet).
 

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Great advice for OP. Just a s a personal observation, rosscarlson always seems to post rational, well-articulated posts about track-related topics, and I'd take his advice more seriously than most.

My 2 cents: You're starting with a setup from one of the greatest suspension engineering firms in the world. The stock setup is biased a bit towards ride comfort, but just a bit, the LSS towards compression for the track. You can go pretty freaking fast on a track, not to mention the road, with either. Or put another way, a good to very good driver on a stock suspension with the skinny front wheels will very likely be some seconds faster than a newbie+ with all the Nitrons in the world.

If you feel like the need to change something out though, and boy do I know that feeling, another option for pure fun and ability to dial in a bit of road comfort is the Lotus Ohlins double adjustable setup.
 

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Absolute power does what?
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Great advice for OP. Just a s a personal observation, rosscarlson always seems to post rational, well-articulated posts about track-related topics, and I'd take his advice more seriously than most.

My 2 cents: You're starting with a setup from one of the greatest suspension engineering firms in the world. The stock setup is biased a bit towards ride comfort, but just a bit, the LSS towards compression for the track. You can go pretty freaking fast on a track, not to mention the road, with either. Or put another way, a good to very good driver on a stock suspension with the skinny front wheels will very likely be some seconds faster than a newbie+ with all the Nitrons in the world.

If you feel like the need to change something out though, and boy do I know that feeling, another option for pure fun and ability to dial in a bit of road comfort is the Lotus Ohlins double adjustable setup.
Thanks Andy, while I get called a lot of things during the day it's rarely rational :)

I completely agree with wanting to change something on your car - good lord look at mine (and most of ours) and I've spend many thousands on her. I just hate seeing people waste (in my opinion) their upgrade dollars on things that aren't going to make them or the car any faster.

Put a slow driver in a fast car - he's still slow.
Put a fast driver in a slow car - he's still fast.

So which driver are you?

In this case we're talking something in the $3k range to swap out the suspension, my guess is the OP is no where even close to the limit so I see no reason in doing this (now if something was broken and needed replacing already then go for it). If you want to be fast spend that $3k on a 2-3 day racing school or take yours out to the track with a local group that offers instruction.

-Ross
 

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I will offer one additional view point. If your goal is to be frugal, and make the car faster, then all advice seems consistent and solid. If you're goal is unrelated to money spent, but to change/improve the ride of the car (where making the car faster isn't necessarily the goal, but maybe just a side benefit), then you're more in my shoes...

At around 50k miles i switched from the LSS to the lotus sport double adjustable ohlins.
I spent 1500 on a used set. WOW do i wish i bought them a LOOOONG time ago... even if purchased new. I was also considering single adjustable, but i just don't like the idea of only having one adjustement from my experience with mountain bikes, it's too much of a compromise because i could never get it set how i wanted it, I believe the compression and rebound settings should always be kept separate, but that's my preference... it's pretty clear that there's some great single adjustable suspension on the market for the lotus.

I hesitated buying double adjustable suspension becuase i didn't want to fuss with the settings (i didn't want them to become a hobby), but the reality is that i do understand a fair bit about how damping systems work so it's proven to be a pretty quick process for me in street set-up anyway. Where i've ended up with my settings for street is to run nearly full soft on compression (well below recomendations) and keeping the stock settings for rebound... minus maybe a couple clicks on the fronts. The extra spring stiffness keeps it under control on compression as well as keeps the chin farther off the ground when navigating steep driveways (my nose isn't set any higher in ride height, but the stiffer springs absolutely do keep the nose heigher when angling through driveways, which means i'm on 3 wheels on most driveways now as it lifts the low side front tire off the ground). IT IS WAY more comfortable and still feels perfectly fun and under control (you need to be darned careful on dialing back rebound becuase you can quickly end up with an unstable system)... yet i can still crank it all up to recommended settings if i take it on track or autocross... As my suspension is currently adjusted... it should be slower than stock suspension... at least that's what i would expect. I could care less, it's adjusted how i like it, it's still a blast to drive, and i don't feel like i'm beating the hell out of it on rough roads.

Do i "need" double adjustable? Not at all. I've only been on track once with this car and never done an autocross (though i plan to do my first autocross this weekend), but it's probably one of the very best and most worthwhile changes i've made to my car... one i wish i made from nearly day one. The purpose of my suspension choice had precious little to do with track worthiness, or my driving skill, but that doesn't invalidate the huge benefit i've received with a daily driver that gets at least 10k miles per year of seat time... and on some pretty poor roads.

If the goal is mostly track... then i might argue to stick with stock un-adjustable suspension or stick with factory settings at least, becuase then you can't make a mistake on settings that will upset the car.

I also wish i had put 15/16 wheel set on the car from day one... or at least the first time i needed tires for the car... and then you have a back-up set of wheels if you ever get a flat... or so you can take your wheels to the shop for balancing separate from the car (so the shop can't screw up your car and drop it off a lift).
 

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^ Can't argue with any of that at all ewalberg - well written. I use my car very differently so I don't care at all how comfortable (or not) it is on the street so I never give that any consideration. I was going at this from a pure performance standpoint - you write a nice counter to that.

Man do I wish all threads at LT were this well written out and helpful....
 

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Since I will probably get flamed for this, I will risk it anyways as this particular set up has done QUITE well in the NSX, S2000, WRX, Honda...etc forums. BC Racing. I have been doing a lot of research on these, and for $1000 with the ability to pick your spring rates and revalve for the original price, it is a pretty sweet deal, personally speaking. Also a great rebuild program as well.

Here is a link to the Lotus set up: INC. BC Racing Coilover Kit - Import Auto Performance

And you can upgrade for not much for Swift springs.

Here is a Review of them on LT: http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f172/review-bc-racing-coil-over-shocks-75035/
 

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Since I will probably get flamed for this, I will risk it anyways as this particular set up has done QUITE well in the NSX, S2000, WRX, Honda...etc forums. BC Racing. I have been doing a lot of research on these, and for $1000 with the ability to pick your spring rates and revalve for the original price, it is a pretty sweet deal, personally speaking. Also a great rebuild program as well.

Here is a link to the Lotus set up: INC. BC Racing Coilover Kit - Import Auto Performance

And you can upgrade for not much for Swift springs.

Here is a Review of them on LT: http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f172/review-bc-racing-coil-over-shocks-75035/

No flaming, but an observation.

When you buy what the Lotus factory sells you, you're buying, in effect, the results of their testing. Shocks and springs are really pretty simple things, so, really, the only variables are compression/rebound and spring rates. How would you know what's the best spring rate on the coilovers? Where do you set the compression? Rebound? Aren't you getting the results of a lot of very competent people's knowledge? Heck, I didn't buy a Lotus for their interior refinement. The chassis setup is the very core of what makes the car unique, IMO.

Like ewalberg, I've got the Ohlins Lotus setup too. After some experimentation, I use it at, guess what, the factory street setting. Even a couple clicks for either rebound or compression introduces movement I don't want, or affects the ride in ways I may not want. THeir recommendation for the track is pretty sound too, but there, I can fine tune a bit if I want more or less understeer. But even with that setup, I know that the rates for all of the variables were designed to work right.

My point is, in a long-winded way, that unless you're a really good chassis engineer and really, deeply understand chassis dynamics, buying suspension pieces where you get to pick all the variables doesn't seem like the best way to go. Not to mention potentially seriously screwing up your safety (does the company selling you their parts understand what role spring stiffness plays in the overall suspension? Bump steer when your suspension loads up and has nowhere to go?)
 

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Lotus builds a competent car, but they have to choose a particular usage scenario, since there are tradeoffs. Do you make it soft and comfy for public roads, or hard and grippy for track? The factory also keeps costs down as much as possible, sacrificing good components to cheap ones.

Under different conditions, we will put the car outside of its design parameters, and there are plenty of people out there who understand suspensions to make the car better for your particular usage scenario.

For example, I outgrew the LSS suspension's spring rates on R-comp tires at the track - hitting the bump stops makes the handling really stink. Harder springs fixed that, but harder springs don't work in tandem with the Bilsteins lotus includes with their springs, so I had to get different shocks. Those shocks have far better behavior on the track, and surprisingly, they are comfier on the street too, because of more modern valving designs which don't dampen high frequency stuff much, but really clamp down on the lower frequency oscillation.

The biggest mistake I see people make is lower the car - that affects suspension geometry, and you have to take that into account too. However, you can do quite a bit better on shocks/springs than the factory did, given the years of R&D that have happened since then, and if you're willing to spend the money that Lotus didn't.
 
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