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Discussion Starter #1
I've read a couple of reports now that mention understeer... The fact that at least one of these was a test drive, when one would imagine people aren't near the limit, worries me!

My old 111S was a little this way but the problem was solved with slightly wider front tires (S02's at the time). Does anybody have any suggestions as to what might be suitable rubber for the STANDARD front rims that would help in a similar vein? It only took an extra 5mm last time to make a dramatic difference.

Hopefully

Paul :)
 

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You know Paul, I think the "understeer" that people think they feel is actually their unfamiliarity with a MR setup. In my 3 weeks in my car, I haven't been anywhere near the limit (which I don't think is possible on the street). As with any car, corner entry balance is important. I've noticed that the Elise requires a little percision at turnin. If you are a little late coming off the brakes, the car will understeer for a fraction of a second as the weight transfers. For comparison, my heavily modified A4 on coils only understeers from apex to trackouts (and only at a few difficult corners).

I think a more experieced driver would understand why this occurs and adjust accordingly. For the rooks, break in a straight line and be off the brakes before turn it. At turn in, be on the gas (enough to manage the weight transfer) and on it all what way at apex. Again, tough things to learn on the street.
 

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>>>I've read a couple of reports now that mention understeer... The fact that at least one of these was a test drive, when one would imagine people aren't near the limit, worries me! <<<


In another thread someone mentioned that they did a 7000 RPM dropped clutch launch during their test drive. Aye Carumba!

>>My old 111S was a little this way but the problem was solved with slightly wider front tires (S02's at the time). Does anybody have any suggestions as to what might be suitable rubber for the STANDARD front rims that would help in a similar vein? It only took an extra 5mm last time to make a dramatic difference. Hopefully <<

You can always drive the car a bit differently to compensate. As in trail brake into turns and follow a late apex slow in fast out line.

I'm sure that going up a size would make a noticeable difference. Maybe 195/50s up front on the stock rim might be one way to go.

You can also play with the tire pressures.

A lot depends on how much understeer is present, and under what conditions.
 

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Stan said:
[BYou can always drive the car a bit differently to compensate. As in trail brake into turns and follow a late apex slow in fast out line.

I'm sure that going up a size would make a noticeable difference. Maybe 195/50s up front on the stock rim might be one way to go. [/B]
My point exactly. The Elise is a MR, obviously with most of the weight in the rear. I just don't think trailbraking is necessary. I think balancing the car with the throttle is a better approach.
 

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You can also modify the sway bar. I took a look at my LSS sway bar and the mounting area is large enough for two additional holes. These can easily be drilled to make the sway bar stiffer or less so. I'll bet a dollar this will become a frequent mod in the near future. BTW, I have induced understeer coming in too hot on a decreasing radius off-ramp. I only have 175miles on the car so I still have a long way to go before I become comfortable with the handling characteristics.
 

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The problem for me is the opposite: i come to corners too slow for the great grip of the car, i don't know it's limit and i come to corners in a very slow speed, so very soon i put the gas pedal down and the car became oversteer!
On a track the car is little understeer but also you can play with the gas pedal and reequilibrate it.
The car is more simple on a track that on the road, i can't undestand it on the road after 5 months!
 

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I agree with the above post...the balance of the car is critical in it's handling. Slow in, fast out until you really learn the car. Question, can you fit a 195 tire on a 5.5" wheel? I don't think you can. Even the LSS car looks as though the 195 tire on a 6.5" wheel is pushing it.
 

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In the sports pac car I have been driving over the past 300 miles can easily be found understeering at the entrance and exit of every corner. The front tires were just a tad over inflated for the Texas heat, just anohter factor... Personally I liked the understeer to grip ratio on the road and high speed curves, it makes for a easy car to drive!

Adam p
 

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Just curious Stan>>>

>>>I've read a couple of reports now that mention understeer... The fact that at least one of these was a test drive, when one would imagine people aren't near the limit, worries me! <<<

Why are you worried?
 

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Since my 1000 mile checkup/service I have been in vtec a little in the corners (gentle throttle) and found that the car will oversteer slightly. I'm sure it will oversteer a lot if given too much throttle but really the understeer shouldn't be considered a problem. The car can be pushed to do either. Knowing a car will understeer can be a good thing as you can scrub off speed if you enter a corner too hot. Lotus really has made an awesome car!!!
 

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>>>Just curious Stan>>> >>>I've read a couple of reports now that mention understeer... The fact that at least one of these was a test drive, when one would imagine people aren't near the limit, worries me! <<< Why are you worried?


I think this was Paul MD's wording. He'd have to clarify it but it was my impression that he was concerned about understeer during *normal* street driving conditions and speeds.

I suspect that this was *not* the case here, that is any understeer took place at much higher than typical street speeds. Some test drives seem to be pretty aggressive - for example, I again note that someone did a 7000 RPM dropped clutch start during their demo ride! This is hardly normal driving...
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Hmmm, it sounds like we have a hung jury e.g. both understeer and oversteer occuring in equal measures. That smacks of a perfectly balanced car that can be pushed one way or the other through the use of throttle as you would expect.

I can certainly vouch for the fact that reducing understeer on the S1 111S was benefical and made for a far more pleasant drive without worsening oversteer in all but excessive lift-off situations.

In truth it made for a more pleasant drive, hence my concern that the new car might be a backwards step in that regard. I certainly had the front of a 'stock' S1 proceed in a straight line when inconvenient on a few occassions, especially on damp roads (Stan is correct - I'm talking about typical road driving). Wider fronts meant that the car would turn 'in' to anything - getting out was down to driving skill... I preferred it that way, hence my question.

Thanks guys for the views/experiences.

Paul :)
 

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If I remember correctly in both the Best Of Lotus video and the S2 review on Top Gear they mentioned that the S2 was being released with 195 front tires instead of the 205 stock on the S1's, a big complaint of Clarkson. Main reason is that novice drivers lost control, crashed, where injured and complained. As a result Lotus tested, and built the car with perfect handling using the 205 front tires and then stuck the 195's on to give the car some understeer (although I beleive with an MR setup a novice could find themselfs in a whole world more hurt with this setup then simple oversteer) . If UK customers want the 205's they need just ask their dealer and the 205's will be factory installed. The Exige and 111R come with the 205 stock. Don't know what holds true for the US Elise.
 

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The UK 111R comes with the same size tires as the US base car. The S2 Exige comes with the same tires as the US sports package. Most responses from the UK indicated that they thought 205s would not fit.

Greg
 

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I autocrossed mine on Sunday (see thread in the Elise Experience) and I did not have a problem with understeer in general. I pounded it, and was on the edge of losing it through oversteer more than anything. The car was absolutely amazing, though. I am a rank amateur, 1st time autocrossing, and I put up at least one time that was competitve with most of the cars there. It wasn't because I am a great driver; I have to thank my baby for that!!:bow:
 

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jtanner said:
Wouldn't dialing in a little more front camber help with understeer?

Slightly OT: what is the Elise's stock alignment?

Jim
Chris had scanned the specs from the manual for us, you might try a search. Sorry, too busy to find it for you. :(
 

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Speaking only for myself, I would prefer that the Elise not leave the factory deliberately set up to understeer, whether that understeer is mild or moderate. I would prefer that it be neutral. I don't want the car to steer less than the input I give it, nor do I want it to steer more than the input I give it. I would rather not have to compensate for the car's handling behavior with some action on my part.

I can see that Lotus may have felt for liability purposes that understeer would give them fewer problems. But from a driver's perspective I don't see it as an ideal setup.

In the end I guess it isn't really a big deal because I expect it can be cured, probably with wider tires up front and a little bit of tinkering.
 

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lotus1 said:
Speaking only for myself, I would prefer that the Elise not leave the factory deliberately set up to understeer, whether that understeer is mild or moderate. I would prefer that it be neutral. I don't want the car to steer less than the input I give it, nor do I want it to steer more than the input I give it. I would rather not have to compensate for the car's handling behavior with some action on my part.

I can see that Lotus may have felt for liability purposes that understeer would give them fewer problems. But from a driver's perspective I don't see it as an ideal setup.

In the end I guess it isn't really a big deal because I expect it can be cured, probably with wider tires up front and a little bit of tinkering.
Every production street car sold in the US is set up to understeer, Porsches, Ferraris, Yugos, etc, because its safer for the driver and for the factory ( less chance they'll get sued when someone screws up!) It is an unfortunate side efect of a litigation happy society. Just look at all the controversy here on this board over the "legality"of requiring a post sales service by Lotus. Its just plain sad that one cannot open a business or even throw a party these days without worrying about liability issues.
 
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