Elka Suspension is testing the part, which it describes as ‘a fully integrated, ready-to-install spring-shock combination with a composite spring’
February 2, 2023
BOUCHERVILLE, QC (Canada)—Shock absorber manufacturer Elka Suspension expects to commercialize a new composite spring for off-road vehicles in the fall of 2023, the company said in a release.
Because composites can store more energy per unit mass than steel, they make it possible to produce lighter springs without compromising durability or performance. Composite springs can be up to 30 percent lighter than comparable metal springs with the same rate. For a racing application, such as a UTV, this could mean close to 14 pounds in weight reduction, half of it constituting unsprung mass, according to the release.
Also, due to its stiffness-to-weight ratio, the natural frequency of the composite spring is different from that of steel springs. This, combined with the unsprung mass reduction, may enhance the responsiveness and behavior of the suspension, the company said.
“We see a great opportunity to benefit from our 20-year experience in racing to bring a high-performance product to market that will also have recreational applications and improve the driving experience for all types of users,” said Elka Suspension Director of Sales and Marketing Jean-Francois Leclair, in the release.
In February, Elka Suspension said it would be testing a prototype of the composite spring at King of the Hammers 2023, an off-road racing event in Johnson Valley, California. The company was planning to test the new technology on a Can-Am Maverick X3 driven by former King of the Hammers champions and factory racers Cody and Hunter Miller in the UTV Pro Stock category.
Following successful validation of the prototype on the King of the Hammers racecourse, Elka will test various spring settings—in the lab and in the field—over a period of several months. In the field, the company will test spring settings on different types of vehicles and in different riding conditions. Elka said it expects to complete testing protocols by the end of summer 2023.
Elka Suspension, acquired in 2021 by the large-scale automotive spring manufacturer Liberty Spring, said it is leveraging in-house knowledge and manufacturing capabilities to bring to market a fully integrated and ready-to-install spring-shock combination with a composite spring.
“Liberty Spring’s experience in supplying OE manufacturers in the automotive industry, joined with Elka’s formidable craftmanship and capacity to tune products to perfection, is what allows us to develop a product with large scale potential,” said Elka Suspension Vice President of Business Development Martin Lamoureux, in the release.
The first models offered will be for high-performance fully adjustable shock models designed for high-end UTVs. Liberty Spring and Elka will continue to manufacture metal spring products for all vehicles covered in their shock absorbers lineup for OEMs and the aftermarket, Elka said in the release.
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