Tuesday, May 15, 2012

English weather, and caster

English weather befuddles me. Today could only be described as a beautiful Californian style spring day, Bright sunshine with blue sky and fluffy billowing white clouds. How cruel that the magic of England is the ability to go from all that glory, to hail, in half a mile. Yes, half a mile.

Today I played with the caster angle on the caterham, adding some positive angle (fig. 1) to aid in keeping the car in a straight line. Positive caster makes the car drive in a straight line smoothly, but makes the initial turn of the steering wheel harder. Negative caster means the car needs more work to drive in a straight line, but requires lighter hands to turn into corners. Coming from old BMWs, where positive caster seemed to be the norm, I'm use to a very heavy turn in, and previously my Caterham wasn't set up for that.

Anyway, it's now set, and after a test drive, it feels really good, it no longer wiggles in grooves in the road, and goes arrow straight without even thinking about it. It also has a nice heavy turn in, which is perfect :-). I feel however, I should return the subject of weather, and how you can be in bright sunshine one second, and the next, being pelted by hail at 60mph...

Fig. 1

In a Caterham you adjust the caster by moving the lower A arm backwards or forwards, then filling the gap with washers. Before moving it forward, it had two washers either side of the arm, now it has four at the back.




  1. I take it you've noticed how many of your fellow competitors who (a) grew up here and (b) planned to drive to the Academy events have... specified a hood? ;-)

  2. Haha, but being a Californian, it's nice to experience new things, even if it's cold and wet. It's also nice having the 200-400 quid for track days instead :).

  3. Very true.

    Typically, we become used to being cold and wet during the part of the year called (for reasons lost in the mists of time) "Summer" such that it is no longer a "new thing" by the time we reach the age of, oh, say, about 1?

    1. Haha, yes, "summer" here, as far as I can tell means "rainy with a chance of rain"... though, it hasn't been too bad so far... Supposed to be sunny most of this week.