Soft suspension may be preferred by the majority of motorists, but keen drivers can’t stand this.
To most drivers, a cushy and comfortable ride, thanks to pliant dampers, is most welcome.
But enthusiasts feel differently. Here are several reasons why.
1) SOFT SUSPENSION USUALLY RESULTS IN POOR HANDLING.
Generally speaking, stiffer springs and dampers enable a car to better cope with body roll.
A softly sprung car will tend to lean and roll more, especially if the driver takes higher cornering speeds.
As a result, the entire vehicle feels like it is “wallowing” and unresponsive.
In contrast to soft suspension, stiffer dampers and stout anti-roll bars resist leaning and body roll much better.
They make the car feel more nimble or agile, and more willing to change direction.
2) SOFT SUSPENSION CAN CREATE AN UNEASY “FLOATING” FEELING
A car whose suspension settings are too soft can sometimes feel like it is “floating”.
Keen drivers feel uneasy because the car seems “detached” from the road.
And if the driver cannot get much feel or feedback, he or she will eventually start to worry.
Because if you cannot feel what the car is doing, you lose a sense of control.
3) SOFT SUSPENSION CAN MAKE FOR A BOUNCY RIDE
A vehicle with very soft suspension (which may have long travel, too) usually results in a bouncy ride.
Being jolted up and down whenever the vehicle rolls over undulations isn’t just unpleasant.
It can make passengers feel carsick, too.
A good example of this bounciness can be seen in monster truck videos.
Watch what happens when the monster trucks, which have soft suspension (and long travel) jump over and crush other cars.
Both the truck body and the driver end up bouncing up and down when the vehicle lands.
Obviously, this level of bounciness doesn’t happen to normal cars.
Nevertheless, it is uncomfortable even to the majority of drivers.
SO, HARDER DAMPERS ARE ALWAYS BETTER?
No, not necessarily.
Very hard dampers work best on a smooth racetrack, not regular roads.
If you lowered your car and fitted very stiff dampers to it, the ride would literally be painful.
Without some degree of pliancy, the bump from every undulation and pothole would be transmitted directly to your bum.
Instead of soft suspension, keen drivers prefer something a bit firmer, but with some “give”.
That way, they don’t lose too much in terms of handling.
Or sacrifice too much in terms of ride comfort.