Cobra Buggy 2.0 Interview with Designer Billy Easton
Serpent is just introducing the 2.0 version of the Cobra buggy. As main Off-road Designer, developer, test pilot and Factory-driver for Serpent, we like to know from you the reasons of the development in that direction, going through the news step by step.
Q: Can you explain on the new Cobra wider rear end with new geometry ?
A: The rear end geometry has been changed slightly over the original 811, in a few aspects. Originally the arm was supposed to be a little different length, but due to material we had a hard time getting it where we wanted the first time around. On the new rear end, the arm has been adjusted to optimize the track width as well as improve the handling over the original arm. The roll center has also been changed along with a few other mechanical parts.
Q: Why are the rear shockabsorbers moved to the back of the shocktower ?
A: A lot of customers really wanted to see this. Depending on the track condition one way could indeed have an advantage over another. The handling was not a major issue but more of a mental game for consumers. With so many people wanting something new, when you give it to them, they are unsure they want it. In the end, this change was more to appeal to other drivers that did not like the idea of having the shocks on the front. It does change the handling of the car, but is only beneficial at certain times.
Q: Whats the main advantage of the longer rear shockrods and larger volume rear shock-housing
A: On the original car we had a shorter shock as well as mounted it in a different position on the suspension arm. In order to maximize the new arm and the new geometry, we needed to use a shock that had more stroke, in turn more volume. Larger volume shocks have there advantages as well as disadvantages. When you have a shorter shock, it would be more reactive over a longer one. All these things add up in the end. This is a better configuration over what we had before.
Q: What effects have the longer rear lower arms, new higher carbon shocktower, longer rear shock, new upright for the performance ?
A: As mentioned in the Geometry as well as the new longer shock absorber, these things all kind of go together as a package. The new upright has adjusted positions on the camber links as well as we relocated the leverage point of the driveshaft.
Q: we see new lexan mud-guards to mount on lower rear arms ?
A: I think a lot of customers will like this. They can now paint them with there own paint job or leave them clear. They have a nice shape and serve their function really well.
Q; You made a solution for muddy conditions ?
A: Yes, we added nylon mud-scrapers mount on the new uprights . This was something when I designed the car I didnít think I really needed, but after racing in a few events where rain and mud were a problem, I felt this time around I would like to have those on there if I wanted. It helps reduce the mud collecting in the inside of the wheels.
Q: Whats has been changed on the differentials ?
A: When we made the first set of gears, a lot of this was new to us, and the profiles we chose for the first gears were really not as good as we would have liked, so we improve dthe gears. In doing so, we changed the profile and shape. A bi-product of the new gears was the need for thicker oil in the differentials. The typically amount needed to be thicker is 3000 to 5000 heavier than you previously used.
Q: You made the Cobra drive-train even more durable ?
A: yes as already in the TE version we use larger bearings in steeringblocks and uprights 8X16X5 (2) and 15x21x4 (2), transmission is using larger bearings 8x19x6 and 13x19x4 and new couplers with m5 setscrews too. We have actually really listened to the customers here as well as tried to bullet proof our drivetrain and reduce maintenance. The idea of going to the larger bearings was really to give the car a more durable bearing that would prevent the need to change them more frequently. I think now we are definitely in the ball park as one of the most durable drivetrains out there.
Q: Explain us on the design of the included Serpent Avenger cab forward body ?
A: This body was actually a fun project. Its always cool trying to create a body. Its not just a body, its kind of artwork really. I mean you have to create a shell that covers the car, but also add your idea of cool and all the style to make it more appealing. This body really gives you the best of profile and performance. The body is extremely sleek and improves steering and improved balance in jumps.
Q: whats is the main difference in car set-up compared to the TE version of the Cobra ?
A: The front end setup is mostly the same, and actually the rear is still very close. I mean you can pretty much take your old setup and put it on the new rear end. You might find you want a softer spring than before as well as dampening, but most all the other adjustments you use to know and love is still there. When it was made, it was optimized so that the things that were familiar to you before still seem to be the same.
Q: The Cobra 2.0 comes out well in time before the World Championships , so this will leave enough time for lots of testing before the WC in Argentina in december 2012. At the 2010 WC in Thailand you did very well, finishing 5th at the Thailand track, so I can imagine you hope to do even better this time. You have tests planned before the WC, or other main races before that ?
A: Honestly, there is never enough time to test. For me duplicating track conditions is so tough and I can go to the track and run by myself, but often find the things I learn on test days do not always work when im racing other high profile drivers. The things you do as a driver on test days, are not the same demands when you are trying to defend the line in a final with another pro. I think you have to just always be working at it, race, try things and so on. I hope to have a good setup and settle on some things for the worlds in Argentina. This year will be very tough, as last year, the track came to our car on final day. Hopefully things will go the same way and my chances of making the final will come to fruition.
Thanks a lot for your explanations, and good luck in the next races and preperations for the Worlds.
Thanks I appreciate the opportunity and hopefully this will be a great year for the S811 2.0.
Full info on the Cobra 2.0 here: http://serpent.com/product/600008/