Independent rear suspension

Independent rear suspension

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Discussion

the av8er

Original Poster:

98 posts

87 months

Sunday 15th November 2020
quotequote all
I believe that not all caterhams have the de Dion rear end. Some have fully independent double wishbone rear set up. Or am I wrong ?
Nothing is mentioned in the model description or extras list on the cc web site.

I've also noticed that it's not mentioned in private ads either. If some do have double rear wishbone set up, how would you know ? And how many are there / how common are they ?
Or is asking the seller the only way to find out ?

Murph7355

28,880 posts

220 months

Monday 16th November 2020
quotequote all
CSRs have independent rear suspension.

I don't believe Caterham sell this any more.

Murph7355

28,880 posts

220 months

Monday 16th November 2020
quotequote all
PS So to know if the car you're looking at has it, check if it's a CSR smile

(I think these might have all been SV chassis too - so bigger).

A deDion car is hardly lacking in terms of performance on the road...personally it wouldn't be a deciding factor for me. Indeed SV dimensions would put me off - a 7 is meant to be intimate.

DCL

1,141 posts

143 months

Monday 16th November 2020
quotequote all
As said above the CSR had independent rear suspension. And one or two clever individuals have successfully converted some S3, and SV chassis.

Although independent rear suspension may give a better ride, and properly set-up, better grip and traction, it does move the car away from what is essentially an extremely easy geometry for amateur enthusiast to play with. You have a fixed roll centre at the rear and can move the car's balance around that, rather than shuffling 4 corners all at once (something major manufacturers still struggle with today). And that is why the the Caterham has remained the way it is for so long.

the av8er

Original Poster:

98 posts

87 months

Monday 16th November 2020
quotequote all
With this set up I presume you can't adjust rear camber and toe angles.

DCL

1,141 posts

143 months

Monday 16th November 2020
quotequote all
the av8er said:
With this set up I presume you can't adjust rear camber and toe angles.
It's not a live axle and you can point the wheels in any direction you want. There's various versions of 'ears' that fit at the end of the De Dion tube for different set-ups (road or race) and the fine adjustment is made with shims. The De Dion tube is just a way of connecting the wheels together and the geometry acts through the A frame (it's like one big wishbone). From a geometry point of view the car is effectively a tripod so tends to be very easy to setup.

the av8er

Original Poster:

98 posts

87 months

Monday 16th November 2020
quotequote all
I think wishbones with tie bars sounds much better.
I know your all big caterham fans, but the de Dion set up doesn't seem great.
I've had an early 1700 super sport from 1989, and 2 Westfields. Both makes have certain bits that are better than the other and I think the rear set up of the westy is better. You say that Caterham have fitted this set up to their higher spec car, so perhaps they agree. If that's true, why don't they offer it on their options ? Or have it as standard ?

Murph7355

28,880 posts

220 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
the av8er said:
I think wishbones with tie bars sounds much better.
I know your all big caterham fans, but the de Dion set up doesn't seem great.
I've had an early 1700 super sport from 1989, and 2 Westfields. Both makes have certain bits that are better than the other and I think the rear set up of the westy is better. You say that Caterham have fitted this set up to their higher spec car, so perhaps they agree. If that's true, why don't they offer it on their options ? Or have it as standard ?
They don't make it any more. So maybe customers didn't agree wink

I would think the cost of the end product versus the gains didn't make it especially viable. I also think, as mentioned above, that limiting it to the SV chassis (packaging?) gives downsides too.

A standard deDion equipped 7 is a fantastic piece of kit to drive. Getting hung up on technical potential that in the real world is over-shadowed by all manner of other considerations in such a package is a bit of a waste IMO. You'd be talking such potential marginal gains on track that you'd never see them in any meaningful way.

One of the biggest advantages is better ride quality...but worrying about that on a 7 is something of a stretch smile

BertBert

14,879 posts

175 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
the av8er said:
I know your all big caterham fans, but the de Dion set up doesn't seem great.
I know you don't like Caterhams, but it's a really good setup. It's very simple, very effective and produces rather good cars on the road and track which you may have noticed? biggrin

KN02LEY

72 posts

83 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
I read somewhere that, while the CSR isn't marketed in the UK, it is available in other European markets. I've no idea whether this is true.

the av8er

Original Poster:

98 posts

87 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
To say I don't like caterhams is simply not true. What does annoy me are companies, all companies that focus on marketing rather than product.
Due to marketing, customers are sold on the idea that the product is better than all competition and that it's the best that it can be.
Caterham owners have bought that idea, but is it true ??

I have worked in engineering and I love the whole concept of the 7, but for a product that is so simple to produce, I don't see why caterham should skimp on spec when the price is so massive. Or offer things as extras that should simply be included in the price, in order to extract more cash from the customer who has already paid an arm and a leg.

I'm currently comparing the spec of caterhams with other, hence the question about rear suspension set up. I know the de Dion works well but others offer an independent double wishbone rear end. It's known to be a better set up. Even caterham agree by the fact they offered it on their more expensive cars rather than their cheapest.( Apparently )

I don't even think it's more expensive to make, so why don't they have it.
Bert - I love the cars, I have a problem with Caterham because I think they could do better. They should produce a car to match the price. We all know that they can do it but they choose not to. That shows a lack of respect for the customer, and that's you !

HustleRussell

19,065 posts

124 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
If you believe that other manufacturers offer better value then it'd seem sensible to vote with your feet.

De-Dion has it's advantages. Fewer parts, lower weight, repeatability, less opportunity to set up poorly...

It also locates all of the hard points on the rear bulkhead which means that the chassis rear of the bulkhead can be constructed lighter.

Lotus / Caterham developed and offered it to the customer with the pros and cons that come with it and it didn't supplant the De-Dion.

Murph7355

28,880 posts

220 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
the av8er said:
To say I don't like caterhams is simply not true. What does annoy me are companies, all companies that focus on marketing rather than product.
Due to marketing, customers are sold on the idea that the product is better than all competition and that it's the best that it can be.
Caterham owners have bought that idea, but is it true ??

I have worked in engineering and I love the whole concept of the 7, but for a product that is so simple to produce, I don't see why caterham should skimp on spec when the price is so massive. Or offer things as extras that should simply be included in the price, in order to extract more cash from the customer who has already paid an arm and a leg.

I'm currently comparing the spec of caterhams with other, hence the question about rear suspension set up. I know the de Dion works well but others offer an independent double wishbone rear end. It's known to be a better set up. Even caterham agree by the fact they offered it on their more expensive cars rather than their cheapest.( Apparently )

I don't even think it's more expensive to make, so why don't they have it.
Bert - I love the cars, I have a problem with Caterham because I think they could do better. They should produce a car to match the price. We all know that they can do it but they choose not to. That shows a lack of respect for the customer, and that's you !
Caterham offerED it. Ask yourself why they don't now.

What benefits do you think the independent rear end is going to give you? Do you go down the pub with mates (post-lockdown) and all discuss the suspension systems you have?

They've been using the deDion set up for nigh on 40yrs. More costly than the live axle used before but also significant benefits in handling.

They tried to use independent suspension and now don't. The logical assumption, bearing in mind it didn't last that long, was that the added cost/complexity (it's not about the raw parts...they needed to make different chassis as far as I'm aware) wasn't outweighed by the advantages.

Compare the cars you are considering by driving them and choose the one you like the most. But please don't choose based on a paper spec sheet of what gives theoretical advantages. The Caterham has been around for a long time and continued to sell units galore. It's the benchmark against which all cars of this type are compared. Ask yourself why smile

BertBert

14,879 posts

175 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
the av8er said:
To say I don't like caterhams is simply not true. What does annoy me are companies, all companies that focus on marketing rather than product.
Due to marketing, customers are sold on the idea that the product is better than all competition and that it's the best that it can be.
Caterham owners have bought that idea, but is it true ??

I have worked in engineering and I love the whole concept of the 7, but for a product that is so simple to produce, I don't see why caterham should skimp on spec when the price is so massive. Or offer things as extras that should simply be included in the price, in order to extract more cash from the customer who has already paid an arm and a leg.

I'm currently comparing the spec of caterhams with other, hence the question about rear suspension set up. I know the de Dion works well but others offer an independent double wishbone rear end. It's known to be a better set up. Even caterham agree by the fact they offered it on their more expensive cars rather than their cheapest.( Apparently )

I don't even think it's more expensive to make, so why don't they have it.
Bert - I love the cars, I have a problem with Caterham because I think they could do better. They should produce a car to match the price. We all know that they can do it but they choose not to. That shows a lack of respect for the customer, and that's you !
It's very interesting, but I don't think I understand. I think you are saying that the Caterham is too expensive and somehow Caterham customers are taken in by the "marketing" and don't get value for money. Also you say they skimp on spec. I don't really know where that comes from.

I think your understanding around the IRS on the CSR isn't quite right. It is more complex and more expensive. It is also very hard to package in the space available in the S3 size chassis. If it was cheaper and better, or even the same price and better why would it not be offered any more? It would have taken over much like the DD took over from the LA cars. I think that it also wasn't right for the ethos of the 7. It made the ride too comfortable in a way. So, more expensive, hard to package in the mainstream model and no real performance advantage. Sounds like exactly why it didn't succeed and was dropped to me!

You overall have a problem with them, because in your words, they can choose to do better, but choose not to. Well I completely disagree. I think they have the right to package their cars as they see fit. market them and sell them. There's no lack of respect. If the product was poor (and where it is poor especially in the area of quality) they should improve. But I don't many people view the rear suspension design as remotely one of those areas.

Cheers
Bert

the av8er

Original Poster:

98 posts

87 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
Please. Take off your caterham hat and view the rear end components from an un biased viewpoint.
If you were designing a track car / fast road car from scratch, you would not choose or design that set up. It would be fully independent and fully adjustable. I can't think of one single seater race car, track car, saloon track car etc that has either a de Dion tube or some type of set up where one side is directly connected to the other ! (Except an anti roll bar ). Even Colin Chapman himself , when designing a race car produced a double wishbone fully independent, fully adjustable rear end mounted on a rigid center structure ( in that case it was the gearbox casing ). BRILLIANT !!! And won the F1 championship more than once.

Just because it's been in use for decades, doesn't make it the best choice now. If that were true they would still have a single overhead cam cross flow engine on Webber carbs........ Or perhaps horse drawn! They were once VERY popular !!!

Caterham were granted a licence to continue making the Lotus 7 back in the 80s. But don't kid yourself in thinking that the current car is in any way the same as those cars, other than the fact that they look strikingly similar. ( A trick Porsche uses...... Their 911 is a totally different car to their 80s version, though also looks strikingly similar). I've seen many people use the word "fakerham", which I hate. Some of these car more closely resemble a caterham, than caterham resembles an original lotus 7 !!

Again. I started this thread because as I'm interested in buying a 7, I wanted to know what spec is available. Most details are easily found on the net, but very little about rear set up. Hence the original question. I thought the de dion was one of two or more options, I didn't expect it to be the only set up as it's not the best solution.

For someone to reply that " because I love caterham and that's how they make it and always have , i therefore believe it MUST be the best design. Is more than a little odd
If caterham feel that this is the view of most of their customers, they could make just anything and put their badge on it.
At this price point, it's important to expect the world and then compromise. Rather than just settling for a poor offer.

DCL

1,141 posts

143 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
You are demonstrating a limited knowledge of the Caterham concept. It is still beating most things on track and here is one professional driver who thinks it is very cool. Here he his is driving my car - listen to the appraisal at the end https://youtu.be/Qglr6TJ9Wr0 and it is now is lapping quicker than his 1/4 million pound BTCC car ( https://youtu.be/37rmGbQBlL4 ). So your opinion is simply misaligned with reality.


Edited by DCL on Tuesday 17th November 20:30

andy97

4,151 posts

186 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
If you don’t like the De Dion, surely the answer is to just buy a CSR?

Murph7355

28,880 posts

220 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
the av8er said:
Please. Take off your caterham hat ...

Just because it's been in use for decades, doesn't make it the best choice now. ...

...I didn't expect it to be the only set up as it's not the best solution.

For someone to reply that " because I love caterham and that's how they make it and always have , i therefore believe it MUST be the best design. Is more than a little odd...

At this price point, it's important to expect the world and then compromise. Rather than just settling for a poor offer.
In reverse order, then simply do not buy one. Buy a Westfield, or an Atom or something else that suits your engineering preference.

Nobody has responded to you in the way you note ("because I love Caterham") but to come into the "Caterham" part of PH (clue is in the name) and then come at it from a frankly bizarre angle (I"'m thinking of buying one but don't like the rear suspension design") is bizarre smile

So..."best choices". Caterham have been evolving the 7 for nigh on 50yrs. They're tried the IRS concept and it quite evidently did not give enough improvement for customers to lap it up. If only all customers were engineering hypothesists like you, maybe things would be different.

Doing a bit more reading, the CSR may still be available on the Continent. If it is, I would guess the biggest issue for them was multiple RHD chassis lines being too expensive to continue with if RHD customers didn't flock to the IRS equipped CSR. As I noted earlier the fact that it is SV dimensions only would be a 'no' from me. That and cost, complication etc etc likely nailed its coffin (here at least). I doubt it's a huge seller elsewhere either frankly, but don't have the numbers.

As I said, the car has been *the* track benchmark for most of its life. Point out a new production car at the same or less price point with the engineering purity you are after that is fundamentally *better* on track (or for fast road summer use) and I will doff my cap. (btw, "better" doesn't have to mean "faster". The 7 is more than that. It's tactile, it's delicate, it's balanced. It's part of you when you drive).

The fact that you're still considering a Caterham despite your gripes suggests you're struggling. We're all in here because we own the cars because we know how good they are. Could they be improved? Possibly. Could they be without compromising other features of the car? Unlikely. Could they do so without ruining the price? Unlikely also.

I can understand when people dismiss cars with laggy turbo engines, or heavy cars for being too ponderous. So rather than engineering purity, what really is it that you're looking for that the current 7 doesn't give. Because adjustability really isn't it. Is it just that you would like a top spec Caterham at a Westfield price point?

And what cars do you think do it better as a package? (Or, God forbid, are you just trolling wink).

BertBert

14,879 posts

175 months

Tuesday 17th November 2020
quotequote all
Definitely a perspective that I don't understand. You want a caterham but the product design is poor and the company insults its customers.

Tell us again what it is you actually like about caterhams that makes you want to buy one?

Bert

the av8er

Original Poster:

98 posts

87 months

Wednesday 18th November 2020
quotequote all
When I feel I have the solution. I'll let you know .