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Thread: How is the comfort level of a ride in an Atom?

  1. #1
    Down Quark
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    How is the comfort level of a ride in an Atom?

    I have been lurking for a while, and I see a lot of the Atoms for sale have low mileage on them.
    As I have never had the privelage to actually ride in one, I was wondering how comfortable the ride is?
    Is it something you could take out on the road and drive two or three hundred miles, or 4 hours or would you get beat up?
    Just curious as the F**king arthritis begins to cramp my style riding sport bikes errrrrg!

    Please let me know how you have done with the whole comfort thing. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    The actual ride quality is fine..however,you are not going to be sitting on heated Corinthian leather. (...well,you could be if you put it there)
    There are no power assisted anything,so bear that in mind.
    The Atom is lacking in most creature comforts…actually ALL creature comforts..although it does have a seat..and if the weather is wet or cold...you may as well be back on your sport bike.
    There are some Atom owners who put many serious road miles on their machines…just as there are iron butt level motorcycle riders. YMMV
    I would consider the traveling experience in an Atom as very similar to a motorcycle,only with two extra wheels and more crash protection around you.You are IN an Atom,not ON it.
    You will attract LOTS of attention vs. a bike or most anything....for better or worse..
    Last edited by MadMaxAtom; January 12, 2014 at 04:37 AM.
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

  3. #3
    Neutrino
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    I have a very bad back and my atom 2 had the individual seating options, I was totally fine driving 240 miles each way. The 2 things that made the drive possible was awesome temperature around 80, no sun, it was overcast both ways. I would say if it had been sunny or much hotter / cooler, then I would have needed some precautions prior to going on the trip to make it as comfortable as it was.

  4. #4
    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMaxAtom View Post
    There are many Atom owners who put some serious road miles on their machines…just as there are iron butt level motorcycle riders. YMMV
    That would be me. 400 miles a day is completely do-able. 550 gets pretty uncomfortable. That's me, driving. Suzanne's limit (as a passenger) is less - 150 is about the upper limit for comfortable, 300 is extremely unpleasant.

    This, of course, depends on what the weather and traffic is like. Contrast this:



    with this:



    You can read a photoblog covering most of my 34,000+ miles here.

  5. #5
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    "There are some Atom owners who put many serious road miles on their machines."

    I had to go back and edit this line...I was thinking of Terry,Lane and Mcfred when I thought of the "many" high milers..but in actuality,it is more like "some" rather than "many". It takes a lot of devotion to put high miles on an Atom.

    250 miles in one day on track is all I can do...but that is usually done in about 2.5 hrs total time...
    Last edited by MadMaxAtom; January 12, 2014 at 07:03 AM.
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

  6. #6
    Electron Lane's Avatar
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    I now have 19,000+ miles on my car, with 5 trips across the country so far. Longest stretch in the car without stopping for anything other than fuel and a quick snack 19 hours (I had a lot of road to cover and a very limited time to do it.) This thread has some good points, but I'll add a few more.

    I have the base suspension option. I have no complaints about it for how I use it on the track (auto-x, HPDE) and it's very civilized on the street. Cracks, bumps, and potholes are no big deal. In fact, my Atom is a more comfortable ride in that respect than my Lotus Exige. I have to give Brammo credit for matching the damping & spring rate for the weight of the car. Now, if an owner chooses one of the suspension options geared more toward the track, it would probably be a different story. Wavy roads do cause a lot of up/down bobble motions though which gets annoying on a long stretch of road with that problem.

    The one-piece fiberglass seat isn't the best when it's more than 3 hours or so in the car. Track events when I'm on the brakes a lot also take a toll. Since the brake pedal requires more effort than a car that has power brakes, I find that the force I press the pedal with pushes the bones in my back into that fiberglass to the point of being uncomfortable if repeated for long durations. Both of these problems were resolved by making a simple back pad about 3/4" thick with closed-cell neoprene foam. Or, a person choosing the options when ordering this car can select the individual seating option which would increase the comfort level.

    There is very little vibration transferred to the chassis by the Ecotec motor in the Atom 2, even though the engine/trans mounts are pretty much solid. No real buzz or vibration to be an annoyance. One thing that has annoyed me on long trips is how loud the whipping sound of the wind is. Even with a helmet on, the stock windscreen bubbles didn't do much to deflect wind or smooth the airflow. The windscreen I've fabricated to replace them (similar to the "gunsight" option offered on the cars today) is slightly better, but I still notice how loud it is. After several hours, I can hear a very slight ringing in my ears if I'm in a quiet space. Even if I had been driving with a helmet on.

    The stock exhaust that came on the Atom 2 included a muffler that was very inexpensive, with almost no packing and virtually a straight-thru design. Even with that, I don't recall there being any annoying drone at highway cruise RPM (or close to it). I have a different exhaust now where I switch between two different mufflers and the same holds true. The sound is more than acceptable, even for hours behind the wheel. In addition, I've tried 5 different sets of tires for street driving and can't report any drone or perceived annoyance from a sound they would make. Might be partly because the sound of the wind is much louder than the sound of the engine, exhaust, air intake, and tires.

    For any duration at highway speeds, a helmet-to-helmet intercom is a necessity if you want to be able to hold a conversation with a passenger. With no helmets, some communication is possible, but I've found that my throat gets sore quickly. It requires speaking very loudly to be heard.

    One thing to keep in mind as you read everything written about the reasonable civility of this car - it all pertains to leisurely driving. Unleash the hounds of hell by by pinning the gas pedal to the floor and the story will change very quickly.
    Last edited by Lane; January 13, 2014 at 01:13 AM.
    Ariel Atom 2, Ecotec 300, owner since 2007. Drive, Detail, Improve, Repeat. Visit my website.

  7. #7
    Neutron
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    That's a bit like asking how's the ride on the space shuttle or a rocket sled

    Where is your arthritis? getting in and out might be the only problem

    Another thing to mention is insurance for these cars is often mileage limited. I have insurance for 3000 miles per year, some get coverage for 1000 miles per year. So this can lead to low mileage cars
    Last edited by bolus; January 13, 2014 at 12:12 PM.
    the high profile toy thrower

  8. #8
    Lepton McFred's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time waiting in traffic. So sitting around waiting in line with temperate weather the park bench is perfectly comfortable. The long haul (≥350 miles) at highway speeds without a bubble/gunsight/windshield your neck may get tired after a while, especially with a crosswind. There's substantial wind and intake noise if you keep the intake behind your head. Earplugs are necessary IMO. Communicating with passengers at speed is easier with established hand signals or written words. I never tried an intercom. You can always catch up on conversations at redlights.

    I'm tall and the fiberglass park bench sits pretty low. So it helps to get out of the airstream. I've not sat in the newer individual seating, but the older individual seats were very tall IMO. I'd prolly puss out and get at least a gunsight if I sat up that high. Maybe even apply adjustable velcro "trim tabs" to a helmet to keep crosswinds from ruddering your head to the side.

    I'm also boney and the parkbench at the track can run the skin raw in places. I notice it most the next day, at my shoulder blades and my hips. It's a minor irritation though and pretty easy to ignore or to add close-cell padding.

    There is no AC and there is no heat. So if you can be comforable on a motorcycle you'll be fine in the Atom. Otherwise, I've noticed on hot pavemnet the late afternoons can be particularly hot, even in comparison to motorcycles. You're so close to the pavement the air is hotter than ambient, even at speed. It's possible that excessive heat may not be an issue for you in Michigan though.

  9. #9
    It's been my experience that I can drive all day in an Atom, with the main point of fatigue coming from being exposed to the elements and not from the ride of the car. The only "negative" observation I can think of with the Atom is that I have to stop every so often to go to the restroom, as the car's vibration while driving literally shakes the pee out of you. On the bright side of this "negative" observation, though, is that I can claim that the Atom is a cleansing experience, both of the mind and the body.

  10. #10
    Lepton Positron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrwoolery View Post
    ... is that I can claim that the Atom is a cleansing experience, both of the mind and the body.
    Yeah because it's a go fast, scare the crap out of you, big ole grin machine..

    My face hurts from grinning so much after I drive it..
    AtomII #73 for sale, PM for details.

    Turning money into smoke and noise since 2006.
    Member "I drove the Brammo mule with Tom S." club.


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