How the Ariel Atom Works

Ariel Atom Suspension and Brakes

Image courtesy Brammo Motorsports / Ariel Atom
CAD illustration of the engine, gearbox, suspension and braking systems

The Atom features a double-wishbone suspension front and rear, which consists of a short upper control arm and a longer lower control arm that hold the wheel to the frame. The control arms operate much like a hinge, allowing the wheel to move up and down. Rubber bushings at the inboard end of the control arms allow the wheel to pivot. The bushings also help to absorb road shock and reduce noise entering the vehicle. Overall, the double-wishbone suspension allows for more control over the camber angle of the wheels. Camber angle describes the degree to which the wheels tilt in and out. It can also be tuned to ensure minimal "dive" under braking and minimal "squat" under acceleration.

Koni-manufactured dampers at each wishbone provide additional adjustability. The Koni performance system includes adjustable mono-tube gas shock absorbers with nine compression and rebound settings, as well as progressive rate springs that allow for adjustment of vehicle ride height and center of gravity. Without removing the suspension, ride height can be adjusted from one to almost two inches, making it easy to prepare the Atom for any road surface or driving condition.

The braking system of the Atom offers another opportunity to fine-tune the driving experience. Brake bias, which refers to how the total braking force is distributed between the front and rear tires, is completely adjustable front and rear via a Tilton balance bar. A balance bar, or a bias bar, divides the force from the brake pedal to the Atom's two master cylinders, making sure a higher braking force is applied to the tires that need it the most. Power brakes are not used because of the extra weight they would add to the vehicle.

Next, we'll take a look at the origins of the Atom.