In automotive NVH circles, ride behaviour is often referred to as primary and secondary ride, but what do these terms really mean.
In short, primary ride would describe something like a large bump, which generally would consist of a high amplitude and low frequency event. Often variations in the road surface that are visible to the human eye whilst driving, these variations would be categorised as primary ride.
More technically, primary ride is involved with the suspension movement over undulations, that is primary ride is related to the bound and rebound of the dampers in the vehicle.
Secondary ride is the small imperfections, usually a low amplitude, but at a higher frequency. These can not be seen from a moving vehicle generally.
Again, from a more technical standpoint, secondary ride is a combination of damper and bush control. Generally secondary ride tuning involves the bushes working well with the dampers.
In general, a vehicle at low speed will have good primary ride, but noticeable secondary ride issues. Then, at higher cruising speeds, primary ride issues will feel like a wallowing effect to the occupants, but the secondary ride will be very smooth or perfect.
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