Sprung vs unsprung weight - Saab General Bulletin Board - Saabnet.com
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Sprung vs unsprung weight
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Posted by Paul from Palmyra, PA [Email] (more from Paul from Palmyra, PA) on Tue, 21 Sep 2021 12:43:02 Share Post by Email
In Reply to: My personal reflection, SWEDECAR [Profile/Gallery] , Sun, 19 Sep 2021 07:19:43
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As I recall, it has always been advantageous for handling and road holding to reduce unsprung weight, which is the tire, wheel, hub, brakes, suspension arms, and the rest of the car not held up by the springs. A heavier wheel and tire will have more mass and inertia when it hits a bump and be harder for the suspension to keep in contact with the road which is of primary importance for handling. Less wheel and tire mass also reduces rotational mass which is what the engine must overcome to move the car forward. That’s probably one of the reasons it’s harder to push cars than it used to be, although my age might be another factor. A lighter wheel and tire are the best way to reduce unsprung weight as many of the other components are not available in lighter versions. A larger brake rotor than necessary is also undesirable from the standpoint of unsprung weight as rotors are quite heavy. Increasingly larger diameter wheels and tires seem to be undesirable from a standpoint of unsprung weight. I would guess that the same model available with 18 or 20 inch wheels would have the same brake rotor diameter so the larger wheel could not be justified by reason of improved braking. The justification for larger wheels seems to have more of a fashion than engineering basis.

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