Ride Quality

Ride quality is measured in terms of the level of isolation from road inputs the suspension transfers to the vehicle without compromising vehicle control. How well a suspension isolates a trailer and its cargo is measured by the level of forces that act on the cargo and trailer in normal operation. Minimising these forces results in less cargo damage and lower trailer maintenance costs.

Two major influences on trailer cargo protection are suspension natural frequency and travel. As a rule, suspensions with lower natural frequencies reduce the level of forces transmitted to the trailer and improve ride. The travel of the suspension complements natural frequency such that, as the natural frequency is reduced, the amount of suspension jounce or up-travel must be increased in order to maintain acceptable levels of force isolation.

Suspension natural frequency is controlled by the relationship between the spring rate of the suspension in the vertical direction and the amount of weight the suspension is supporting. The spring rate of the suspension is a measure of the vertical stiffness of the suspension, or how much the suspension deflects under load. For a given payload, the natural frequency of a suspension will be increased, and it will be decreased if the suspension spring rate is decreased.

See also: Secondary Ride.

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Subjects: Noise & Vibration