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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am going to order my Elise next month and I am pretty sure I want the sport pack. I have heard some complain that it's really painful on CA roads. Pain is a relative thing though and aren't the shocks and perches adjustable? So a decent commuter ride can be had by softing things up a bit right? I hope to get a few track days in once in a while but a softer ride otherwise might be nice. Anyone have a sport pack here in CA? I'd like to know what you think of it. How much are you able to adjust the suspension and how much time/work does it take to do it.
 

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California roads are painful not the sports suspension. When I am on a descent asphalt road,I love it. Have not adjusted it. If I had it to do over again,I would still have the LSS.
 

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P.S. I forgot to mention.......you can't soften it up except through driving,it, like any suspension will soften up a little with break-in. If you want softer......get LTS.
 

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Crash said:
aren't the shocks and perches adjustable? So a decent commuter ride can be had by softing things up a bit right?
The shocks are not adjustable.

The Elise really doesn't have adjustable spring perches. On both the standard and sport suspensions, the springs can be installed in several positions in 5 mm increments (5 positions???) - but this requires removing the springs, moving the collars, and reassembling. It's not something easy or necessarily quick to do. Additionally, if you are going to adjust the spring height, you also need to move the steering rack to the proper position each time to keep the proper bump steer curve. This requires remove some bolts, and drilling out a pop-rivet on each side in the foot well of the car. A new "shim" (really a locating plate) is then pop-riveted into place, and the rack is re-installed.

All in all, it will take some time to adjust the suspension height - not that difficult, but not that quick or easy either...
 

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This subject has been talked about extensively but I can't find the threads. I've driven both and I bought the NonLSS. I don't think they are very different really. Most of the difference in feel may come from the tires, more than the stiffness of the suspension as it is 10% stiffer with LSS.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So it sounds like "adjustable" is the wrong term. "Possible" may be more accurate then. Even then it's only possible if you really want to spend some time doing it. I just came back from a trip back east and the freeze/thaw out there does horrible things to roads. I can't see CA being worse. In any event I want the Lotus drive and I think that means "order the sports pack".
I suppose it's always better to have the option and not need it then to want it and not have it. Besides I have an M3 buddy that needs a clinic on driving a sports car. He doesn't think Americans know how. We'll see if his lilly white british bum can take it. :p
 

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Irish bum to be technically correct.

I'd wait a few years until you adapt from driving that Dodge Urban Assault vehicle and get used to cornering at over 15 mph withough crying like a little girl until I take your lotus for a run :)
 

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Crash said:
... I can't see CA being worse. In any event I want the Lotus drive and I think that means "order the sports pack". ...
The general problem with "California roads" isn't the pothole / patched pothole problem common in the freeze / thaw areas, it's the concrete freeways where each section has a slight lengthwise concave surface plane. At the right speeds, with a car of the right wheelbase and the right shock tuning, it can be like riding a four-wheel jackhammer down the road. And it may not end for miles.

You will get the "Lotus drive" in the standard suspension. Lotus doesn't develop world-class suspensions by taking an econocar suspension and putting really stiff springs and shocks in it like many other manufacturers do. They do it by designing it for performance in the first place. Much of the benefit of the LSS is in the tires, and on a cool damp road, they may be surprisingly poor.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Chris,
Did you get the standard version? I am beginning to think this is a drive it for yourself and decide kind of thing. I have heard so many different opinions. Only problem with that is finding a dealer that will let you drive one without already having an order placed and worse still... finding one that has a standard and an LSS version to demo.

The drive in SD isn't miles of endless concrete, usually. But I would be making a run out to Palm Springs or Vegas or up the coast a few times a year and had planned to do it the fun way in the elise. Back roads would be the order of the day on those trips when possible. Some long stretches of the 10 or 15 freeways might have lots of expansion joints, I can't remember. Been on any of those roads?

Anyone know a place that will let you drive both before ordering? I have been talking to Desert Motor out near Palm Springs.
 

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Crash said:
Chris,
Did you get the standard version? I am beginning to think this is a drive it for yourself and decide kind of thing. I have heard so many different opinions. Only problem with that is finding a dealer that will let you drive one without already having an order placed and worse still... finding one that has a standard and an LSS version to demo.

The drive in SD isn't miles of endless concrete, usually. But I would be making a run out to Palm Springs or Vegas or up the coast a few times a year and had planned to do it the fun way in the elise. Back roads would be the order of the day on those trips when possible. Some long stretches of the 10 or 15 freeways might have lots of expansion joints, I can't remember. Been on any of those roads?

Anyone know a place that will let you drive both before ordering? I have been talking to Desert Motor out near Palm Springs.
I did order the standard suspension. Just ordered yesterday, so won't have it for a while yet. It is my personal opinion that if you are, primarily, going to be joy riding, doing some canyon/mountain carving and for-fun tracking, the standard suspension is the best alternative. And, if it will be a second or third weekend car, you're fairly skilled on a track and into semi-serious tracking, the LSS may be the better choice. If you're seriously into tracking or autoxing, the standard suspension with the $2500 spent on mods instead may be the best option.

For me, it will be my daily driver mostly on city streets. I love to drive on the mountain roads, but kids and other family commitments don't allow for much time to do that. Besides, to get to where I can do an hour of mountain driving, I have to drive two hours each way over some of the worst Elise roads in existence (stop and go freeways). Kind of takes the edge off of it.
 

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The biggest difference between LSS and standard really comes down to the tires. The LSS basically has race rubber, and expected life is very short - estimates are less than 10,000 miles. For me, I simply can't see buying new tires that often in exchange for the little margin of improvement in handling that I will not be able to use 99% of the time.

I have the factory "sport suspension" on my other cars (when possible), because I like a stiff suspension instead of the normally "wallowing" ride. But this is a Lotus. The base suspension is far and away much better than any other car's "sport suspension". It will be a long time before I can use up all the car's capabilities as is - I will probably never see the extra that the LSS could give me. As other's have said, if you plan on tracking the car extensively you might consider the LSS, but otherwise, the standard suspension is more than "adequate".
 

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I've driven both cars now. The standard suspension is a bit too soft for my liking (think Miata sport suspension for you Miata people). The LSS felt very much like a Miata on KYB AGX's set all the way up to eight. The Lotus had a lot less body roll though.
My second test drive sold me on the LSS. It really feels like a great suspension. Some road features can be quite jarring. I particularly remember driving over one of those sheets of 1" steel plate that they put down on the road occasionally. Quite a shock. But most of the time the ride was really reasonable even driving around in Downtown Birmingham (Detroit == not good roads) for a half hour.
 

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If you're not sure then the answer is don't get it. Buy aftermarket later.
The question to you would be what are you going to do with the car? If it is just for the street don't get LSS
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It would be an every day car for me and I plan to take it to track days as I get better in it. Eventually, I would replace it as the everyday car and it would be just a fun shoot up a mountain and track car. But for a couple of years after I get it it'll be an every day driver. It will also be the choice for weekend getaways up the coast or out to vegas/palm springs kind of things. I really hate wishy washy suspensions that roll around on you though. The feel of the road always make me a happy driver. I was thinking that since they call them "adjustable" I could have the best of street and performance when I wanted it. But now I am hearing that "adjustable" isn't really what they are. If I am going to make an error in decision making here, having not been able to drive or get a ride in both, then I'm thinking I will make it on the side of getting too much car and wanting to adjust perches/springs/shocks rather than getting a softer setup and wishing I hadn't. :confused:
 

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Crash said:
I really hate wishy washy suspensions that roll around on you though.
The Elise does not have wishy washy suspension, by any means.

My previous daily driver is a Miata R package. Most people think that the R package's suspension is way to hard and unacceptable for normal street usage. The standard Elise is very close to that, but much better.

Again, Elise does not have a wishy washy suspension/ride. The biggest difference between LSS and standard is probably the tires, and the LSS tires will wear out in 5,000 to 10,000 miles. The LSS tire also will not be very good in cold weather (they won't get warm enough), and might not be very good in wet weather.

The Elise's standard suspension is very good.
 

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TimMullen said:
The Elise's standard suspension is very good.
I'll have to agree.

I'm going through the same decision making process regarding standard vs LSS. When it comes down to it, I know that the standard car is more capable than about anything on the road & if I ever do get serious enough to out drive the standard suspension, I'll want to get really serious with something more than LSS can provide - at which time I'll start looking to the aftermarket (see my thread in the suspension section).

That said, all that may change if when I drive the standard car (hopefully this weekend) I feel it's too soft - even if it does handle like nothing else, if I feel it's too soft, I still won't be satisfied.

Besides, $2500 gets you a stage II and most of a hard top. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That said, all that may change if when I drive the standard car (hopefully this weekend) I feel it's too soft - even if it does handle like nothing else, if I feel it's too soft, I still won't be satisfied.

If you drive one this weekend be sure to mention what you thought of it.
 

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Crash said:
... I'm thinking I will make it on the side of getting too much car and wanting to adjust perches/springs/shocks rather than getting a softer setup and wishing I hadn't. :confused:
I'm not interested in influencing your decision either way, just trying to help you get the information to make whatever decision is the right one for you.

There isn't anything adjustable in either the standard suspension or the LSS that will affect ride quality. The only adjustable part of the suspension, and it is identical in both versions, is the spring perch height (and steering rack). This merely affects the ride height. The LSS comes set at the factory 5mm lower than than the standard suspension. Either suspension can be adjusted higher or lower, though it is not a quick or easy process. The car is already pretty low and several people have already damaged the front clam on driveway inclines.

The better handling characteristics of the LSS are, primarily, due to the tires. The slightly stiffer springs and shocks are to keep the chassis dynamics from changing too much (i.e. bottoming out) due to the higher G forces that can be produced with those tires at 9/10s and above. When cold, these tires may actually perform at a lower level than the standard suspension tires.
 

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ChrisB, excellent post.

I have driven both a lot now and I think people are giving the LSS too much credit frankly and not enough credit to the non-LSS car.
 

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BrianK said:
I feel it's too soft - even if it does handle like nothing else, if I feel it's too soft, I still won't be satisfied.
Take care not to equate "soft" suspension with lesser performance.

The Lotus philosophy has always been lightweight, rigid chassis, compliant suspension. Lotus cars have been said to roll more than some may like, but rarely has a Lotus been said to be unresponsive and lack cornering ability. Softer springs are desirable even on track. Typically softer springs will give the car superior mechanical grip. (There's not much grip available if the tire is spending more time off the tarmac than on it!)

Just keep in mind a Lotus was designed and tuned by engineers and race drivers for performance, NOT the typical designed by marketing to fit a particular demographic and just enough performance to appeal to that buyer.
 
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