When people think performance and aftermarket modification they normally think of horsepower, torque, acceleration and top speed. But all of the power generated by an engine is useless if the driver can't control the car. That's why vehicle engineers turned their attention to the suspension system, almost as soon as they had mastered the internal combustion engine.
The purpose of a car's suspension is to maximize the friction between the tyres and the road surface, to provide steering stability with good handling and to ensure the comfort of the passengers. Suspension has evolved massively over the years culminating in huge ranges and types for the discerning consumer to choose from.
Most vehicle engineers consider the dynamics of a moving car from two perspectives:
- Ride - a car's ability to ride smoothly over a bumpy road
- Handling - a car's ability to accelerate, brake and corner
There are three fundamental components of any suspension: springs, shock absorbers or dampers and anti-roll bars.
Springs - There are various types, sizes and rates of suspension springs. The size and strength of a spring can help alter the ride height of the car. The spring rate will adjust the level of firmness of the ride and the rigidity of the cars handling. Vehicles with worn out or damaged springs ride lower to the ground which reduces the overall amount of compression available to the suspension and increases the amount of body lean. Performance vehicles can sometimes have spring rate requirements other than vehicle weight and load.
The shock absorber damper is a device that controls unwanted spring motion through a process known as dampening. Shock absorbers slow down and reduce the magnitude of vibratory motions by turning the kinetic energy of suspension movement into heat energy that can be dissipated through hydraulic fluid. To understand how this works, it's best to look inside a shock absorber to see its structure and function.
Another common dampening structure is the strut or coilover - basically a shock absorber mounted inside a coil spring. Struts/Coilovers perform two jobs: They provide a dampening function like shock absorbers, and they provide structural support for the vehicle suspension. That means struts deliver a bit more than shock absorbers, which don't support vehicle weight - they only control the speed at which weight is transferred in a car, not the weight itself.
Because shocks and struts have so much to do with the handling of a car, they can be considered critical safety features. Worn shocks and struts can allow excessive vehicle-weight transfer from side to side and front to back. This reduces the tyre's ability to grip the road, as well as handling and braking performance.
Anti-roll bars (also known as anti-sway bars) are used along with shock absorbers or struts to give a moving automobile additional stability. An anti-roll bar is a metal rod that spans the entire axle and effectively joins each side of the suspension together.
When the suspension at one wheel moves up and down, the anti-roll bar transfers movement to the other wheel. This creates a more level ride and reduces vehicle 'roll'. For this reason, almost all cars today are fitted with anti-roll bars as standard equipment, although if they're not, kits make it easy to install the bars aftermarket.
The geometric apex or clipping point is an often used term in motorsport, though other racing sports such as skiing and cycling have similar concepts of an ideal line. The apex is often but not always, the geometric center of the turn. Hitting the apex allows the vehicle to take the straightest line and maintain the highest speed through that specific corner. It is also the tightest part of a corner. Apex is also the brand name of a famous suspension and suspension part manufacturer. They began in the early 80's by supplying springs for Group A Touring cars. Since then Apex have manufactured high quality products under the stringent DIN ISO 9001:2008 quality control system offering 5-year, unlimited mileage warranties.
An APEX Sport Spring kit replaces the standard springs on your car. They usually lower the car by 30-40 mm. Not only will this improve your cars' handling, response and grip, but will add that extra touch of style that will make your car look different from the rest of the crowd. The ride will be a little firmer, but never too harsh providing a great balance for road and race enthusiasts alike.
APEX uprated high performance gas front shock absorbers increase stability, improve handling and ride quality. They are a great upgrade on their own, but are at their best when combined with a set of APEX Sport Lowering Springs. This will dramatically improve the dynamic driving qualities including handling of your car whilst retaining driving comfort. Apex shock absorbers are ideal for fast road use, have superb handling qualities and will significantly reducing body roll.
The Gas Shock Absorbers in Apex kits are shortened to ensure precise control of the sport springs. Ride height is lowered 25-60mm depending on application.
Apex RDX Coilovers
Apex RDX Coilovers are the best kit APEX has ever produced. The APEX RDX Coilover offers complete height adjustment. The drops range from 30-80mm which may vary on application. The damping is fixed and uprated by 30%.
The kit benefits from full on car height adjustment, once fitted simply jack the car up, remove the wheel and rotate the spring seat to adjust the height. These kits are ideal for fast road or race track days.
The piston rods in these RDX Coilovers are short allowing you to run the car low with complete safety. Built in bump stops reduce wheel and tyre contact. Anodised locking rings ensure no corrosion and reduce the chances of the adjuster collars seizing.
Apex RDX Coilover Kit Features
· A quality height adjustable suspension kit
· Height adjustable from 30mm-80mm
· 30% uprated damping
· Built in bump stops and helper springs
· Short piston rods ensure full suspension travel
· Ideal for fast road or track use
· Gives the car a fully adjustable ride height
· Superb handling and ride
· Reduces body roll