Establishing optimal suspension settings is, in many ways, a more complex
task for road vehicles than it is for competition vehicles. There are several
reasons for this
- Road vehicle structures are complicated because they tend to have a
lower integrity, and include compliances (suspension bushes, damper and
power train isolators) not usually found in competition vehicles.
- The payload variation of road vehicles tends to be substantial, and
the vehicle is required to be safe for the range of payloads.
- Ride quality and impact harshness tend to dominate a development program.
As a result much, if not all, assessment is traditionally executed by
driving the vehicle.
Rig tests cannot replace the test driver. However, tests occupying an
hour or so (per visit) can provide quantitative measurements to supplement
subjective assessments, and can highlight fundamental vehicle limitations
that may remain undiscovered by more traditional methods.
It has been concluded that rig tests are a useful and economic supplement
to a traditional suspension development program for production vehicles.
They can be expected to realise a reduction in development costs, and can
help to deliver more consistent products.