Here is where we will explain why Tom Pro Design Buggies are superior to the competition but before we point out the differences let’s go over a brief summary on the science of long-travel suspension and the ins-and-outs (pun intended)
of shock technology…

The purpose of a dune buggy is obviously not just for accelerating straight down a drag strip but they require the ability to stop, turn, handle bumps and holes, and climb and descend hills at the same time. Most people desire a comfortable ride while tackling these kinds of conditions but without the teeth jarring effects. In order to satisfy that need while providing a safe and enjoyable experience, proper design and fabrication is crucial.

Wheel travel, whether 12 to 36 inches, is where the wheels don’t just go up from ride height but go up and down following the terrain. The compression-to-rebound ratio is similar for most dune buggies but some have even more droop than upward travel; droop is a major factor in keeping the wheels on the ground for improved traction and control. Therefore, proper engineering of a correct suspension system requires proper strength, geometry, shock valving and spring rates.

Geometry design dictates how well the suspension system will perform; however, without proper A-Arm and Trailing Arm connecting/pivots points, shock mounting points, valving and spring rates the results will be far from desirable.

Wheel alignment is another key factor in the way a buggy will handle; the following is a brief explanation on three common factors that determine proper alignment. First is Camber: this is the vertical angle of the wheel in relation to the chassis; in other words, how much the top of the wheel tilts towards (negative Camber) or away from (positive Camber) the chassis. For a buggy application zero or slightly negative Camber is ideal since positive Camber would result in poor handling and stability. Second is Caster: this is the pivot point angle in relation to vertical; in other words, the top of the spindle leans towards the rear of the chassis resulting in positive Caster. Positive Caster will provide that steering feel due to the centering effect and straight line stability; most buggies have positive Caster ranging from 7 to 10 degrees. Third is Toe: this is measured by how much the front of the wheels point towards or away from each other. Toe-In is when the front of the wheels are closer together than the rear and Toe-Out is just the opposite; most buggies have 1/8 to 1/4 inch of Toe-In.

There are two other factors that affect handling that should be mentioned here. First is Kingpin: this is the axis around which steered wheels pivot; in other words, the spindle assembly is designed where the top of steering knuckle leans toward the chassis but the spindle shaft remains horizontal. This is so that when an imaginary line is drawn through the upper and lower spindle pivot points it will intersect the ground where the center of the tire makes contact. This results in the wheel pivoting at the center of the wheels contact point rather than scrubbing or pushing though an arc. Second is Ackermann Steering Geometry: this is named after Rudolph Ackermann, who designed a solution to the turning problem in London in 1817. The idea is to angle the steering arms of the steering linkage towards the center of the vehicle so that the tie rods change the wheel angles by different amounts resulting in the inside wheel taking a shorter path than the outside wheel following the correct radius without scrubbing or pushing through the turn. Calculating of the exact angle of each steering arm is complicated but angling the steering arms so that a line drawn from the centre of each arm meets at the centre of the rear axle provides the desired result.