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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After spending an entire day in the Saturn Sky Redline my friend owns, I am unsure if the Solstice is right for me.

He is one of my best friends and let me drive his car practically all day, (thanks buddy), and his modifications include the GMS1, ZZP Catless downpipe, and he has 20 inch rims staggered with 245's in the front and 275's in the rear. After the days event with the top down, and driving the car for hours, my rear tailbone was in agonizing pain beyond belief. The suspension was not as confidence inspiring as I thought it would be either.

But before I go on, let me just brief what I am use to.
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I drive a 2006 Cobalt LS base model with a turbo swap. It has the base cloth bucket seats found on all the rental Cobalt's you see. I am the original owner of that and have taken long trips in that over my 6 years of ownership.
My brother owns a 2009 Cobalt SS Turbocharged equiped with GMS1, Catless downpipe, Vibrant Catback, and K&N drop in filter. His car I drive on occasion as well and I never feel drained or exhausted after driving that either. The car feels good at the limit and the handling feel is confidence inspiring.
My cousin owned a Mazda RX8 Shinka from 2006. Performance wise the Shinka RX8 = RX8 R3. His car handled beautifully and the steering feel was one of the best I have experienced. Power is obviously not there comparatively but I don't mind as much.
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So I am not sure if it was just me, but, the car pretty much wore me out. On top of that, his Sky Redline in the turns seemed to understeer in turns that I felt that it should not have. On one example, a 140 degree turn at about 20 mph and just went straight instead of turning in, forcing me to hit the brakes even more and crawled around the turn at 10 mph. For comparison, the Cobalt SS my brother owns seems to handle the same turns around town much easier at the limit. I have taken test drives in Solstice GXPs before and in a quick sprint it was entertaining, but after a day in one of these I am not sure.

I am open to the idea of the Coupes and Convertable Solstices. I have never been in a Coupe Solstice so I have no idea how that is and I understand the ZOK package suspension makes a difference in handling but I don't know how much. As my username says, I am not closed off to the idea of an RX8 or possibly an S2000 (as I have been in an S2000 and it seemed good)

So anyone have any thoughts? I am open for some discussion.
 

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One thing I have to say is that driving on 20s will hurt the handling, we have a member down here in so cal and we went driving in the mountains and after that he switched back to the stock rims(18s) saying that it wasnt enjoyable because the ride was just do bad with the big wheels, so maybe some of it could have been the rims or not but jut something I wanted to mention, other than that I have not much more to offer, good luck with your search :thumbs:
 

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yeah looks like your buddies sky was more show than go.

If you put decent tires on stock rims, i find the ride comfortable. I take my sky routinely all over the eastern coast each year and never have an issue.

Also I bet he has some kind of aftermarket coil overs on the car to make the 20" wheels fit properly. That can make the ride much less comfortable as well depending on what set you get.

I would try to test drive a stock sky/sol before you pass judgement on them. However the bigger you are, the less comfortable the sky/sol can be. It also can take some time to get the seat setup to be comfy. There is no "gangster lean" that is comfy in the sky/sol. It really does require a change in posture, but that is better for your back anyway!

Also if you want a worse ride, slower, and more expensive car, the S2000 is for you. The sky/sol was built to slay the elusive Honda S2K in every specification. People routinely win AutoX with the sky/sol, so if you set it up that way, you will have a far superior handling car compared to the slobalt's suspension

Good Luck! and look up the members of the Michigan sky/sol club.. I am sure one of them is local to you and could help answer your questions on our cars :)
 

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One thing I have to say is that driving on 20s will hurt the handling, we have a member down here in so cal and we went driving in the mountains and after that he switched back to the stock rims(18s) saying that it wasnt enjoyable because the ride was just do bad with the big wheels, so maybe some of it could have been the rims or not but jut something I wanted to mention, other than that I have not much more to offer, good luck with your search :thumbs:
The Sol has a stiff suspension, which makes it handle very well (check autocross event results). Going to 20" wheels may have required stiffening it up even more - which could account for the discomfort you felt. Just a thought...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I figured the 20's really made a big impact. He is on the stock suspension right now. I just may take the 18's in my basement and throw them on his sky just for feel and see how much it changes.

Does anyone else have more understeer than oversteer at low-to-mid speeds?
 

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There is a reason that the Kappa platform is very capable on the street and the track. You are using as an exemplar a car that has been modified in a number of ways that make it less capable.

Go find a stock GXP or RL and drive it. You will see the difference.

Best is one with a DDM Probeam installed.
 

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The Sol has a stiff suspension, which makes it handle very well (check autocross event results). Going to 20" wheels may have required stiffening it up even more - which could account for the discomfort you felt. Just a thought...
It was a members sol not mine, I didn't take a ride in his but I'll let him know, my sol currently has stock wheels and kappasphere springs :yesnod:
 

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Handling wise I can't comment, all I've ever driven is our GXP (stock suspension and tires), but those who've been around corners in it along with me usually say "wow" after they remove themselves from the door panel.

As far as the ride and comfort are concerned, your experience is probably about right. This thing kills my buttocks and the heels of my feet if I'm in it for hours. There's not enough room to move and shift my weight about. Another six inches of leg room in these cars would have made a world of difference. Then again probably would have upset the handling as well. :willy:

If I could afford to trade up to something more comfortable and still have some of the wow factor I'd consider a Jaguar XK Roadster. I used to be a Vette fan but we see far too many in this part of the country, I enjoy driving something that's rarely seen (i.e. our GXP). I rarely see a XK here, an Astin roadster $$$, never ssen one here. The standard German fare is everywhere to be seen as well. I know many here would argue for some other platform other than a Roadster but I enjoy not having a back seat to lug around.

Roadsters rule...and Pontiac made a great one for the money! A Lotus would be interesting to take for a spin as well, I have no idea if I'd fit into one.

Most of the time I'm in our GXP for less then two hours (well below my threshold of pain)...with a huge perma-grin extended from ear to ear.:thumbs:
 

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So I am not sure if it was just me, but, the car pretty much wore me out. On top of that, his Sky Redline in the turns seemed to understeer in turns that I felt that it should not have. On one example, a 140 degree turn at about 20 mph and just went straight instead of turning in, forcing me to hit the brakes even more and crawled around the turn at 10 mph. For comparison, the Cobalt SS my brother owns seems to handle the same turns around town much easier at the limit. I have taken test drives in Solstice GXPs before and in a quick sprint it was entertaining, but after a day in one of these I am not sure.
The understeer was most likely a result of the 20" staggered wheel fitment. Staggered fitment may look cool, but is not always best for track day.
 

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A while back some owners noted that a wallet in the back pocket was a big issue for them. Some have added lumbar support with a good bit of success.
 

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We have two Sky Redlines (both 2008) and a Cobalt SS (2006 N/A) in the family.

I agree that the 20 inch staggered is probably compounding your uncertain feeling in the Sky.

But, you will also find that the stock Redline/GXP, even on OEM size wheels/tires; will tend to plow the front just a little during a high throttle corner. The DDM backbone pretty much eliminates this entirely. It made all the difference in the world on both of our Redlines. Both cars are now very flat and very predictable as to when the rear end is going to bust loose, with no front "plowing" or "dipping". In stock format, the Kappa does seem to dip the outside front corner a little, during a hard turn.

All of that being said. I would venture that part of your problem is that you have become accustomed to a front wheel drive vehicle. The Cobalt, although a very capable little car; is completely different from the rear wheel drive Kappa platform. Personally, I really prefer the Kappa. But I grew up driving rear wheel drive muscle cars. And the Kappa is the best of both worlds (a decent nimble roadster, but sharing the characteristics of a muscle car). Part of learning to master the Kappa, is understanding that you will be "driving withe the rear wheels" some of the time. And you will find that driving in "Competitive Mode" is waaaay different than driving with the full Nanny on. Comp Mode will allow you to get a little sideways, without taking throttle away from you.
 

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comparing the s2k OEM spec vs the redline/GXP OEM spec is comical. Literally GM took a honda spec and copied it with a little wider trac and a little bit more power... literally ever spec is like +1 or 2 inches here, 20 extra hp there.

As far as modding goes tho, those honda short blocks dominate. some have 700hp off the stock motor! crazy! ours grenade at just over 400whp :(

I will say that I had my eye on an s2k before they came out with the sky. pretty cool little cars, but they cost so much more than the sky.....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
between FE3 and ZOk swaybars and putting a probeam/werksbrace on the back end and a backbone in the center, you can really make the car handle any way you wish.

I would imagine your friends has no braces on the frame either.
Ya he just has the stock Sky Redline suspension.

Handling wise I can't comment, all I've ever driven is our GXP (stock suspension and tires), but those who've been around corners in it along with me usually say "wow" after they remove themselves from the door panel.

As far as the ride and comfort are concerned, your experience is probably about right. This thing kills my buttocks and the heels of my feet if I'm in it for hours. There's not enough room to move and shift my weight about. Another six inches of leg room in these cars would have made a world of difference. Then again probably would have upset the handling as well. :willy:

If I could afford to trade up to something more comfortable and still have some of the wow factor I'd consider a Jaguar XK Roadster. I used to be a Vette fan but we see far too many in this part of the country, I enjoy driving something that's rarely seen (i.e. our GXP). I rarely see a XK here, an Astin roadster $$$, never ssen one here. The standard German fare is everywhere to be seen as well. I know many here would argue for some other platform other than a Roadster but I enjoy not having a back seat to lug around.

Roadsters rule...and Pontiac made a great one for the money! A Lotus would be interesting to take for a spin as well, I have no idea if I'd fit into one.

Most of the time I'm in our GXP for less then two hours (well below my threshold of pain)...with a huge perma-grin extended from ear to ear.:thumbs:
Well I am glad it is not just me that after 2 hours in the car the pain starts. I mean I was in this car from 7:30-9am, then again from 4pm-6pm, then again at 7-8pm, and in between each of these I was walking around the GM Milford grounds. So it was quite a bit of driving lol:willy:

The understeer was most likely a result of the 20" staggered wheel fitment. Staggered fitment may look cool, but is not always best for track day.
I am thinking that as well.

A while back some owners noted that a wallet in the back pocket was a big issue for them. Some have added lumbar support with a good bit of success.
Ya I have always had that issue so I just use the pouch in the front of the seat for my wallet.

We have two Sky Redlines (both 2008) and a Cobalt SS (2006 N/A) in the family.

I agree that the 20 inch staggered is probably compounding your uncertain feeling in the Sky.

But, you will also find that the stock Redline/GXP, even on OEM size wheels/tires; will tend to plow the front just a little during a high throttle corner. The DDM backbone pretty much eliminates this entirely. It made all the difference in the world on both of our Redlines. Both cars are now very flat and very predictable as to when the rear end is going to bust loose, with no front "plowing" or "dipping". In stock format, the Kappa does seem to dip the outside front corner a little, during a hard turn.

All of that being said. I would venture that part of your problem is that you have become accustomed to a front wheel drive vehicle. The Cobalt, although a very capable little car; is completely different from the rear wheel drive Kappa platform. Personally, I really prefer the Kappa. But I grew up driving rear wheel drive muscle cars. And the Kappa is the best of both worlds (a decent nimble roadster, but sharing the characteristics of a muscle car). Part of learning to master the Kappa, is understanding that you will be "driving withe the rear wheels" some of the time. And you will find that driving in "Competitive Mode" is waaaay different than driving with the full Nanny on. Comp Mode will allow you to get a little sideways, without taking throttle away from you.
Even though I drive a FWD Cobalt, my cousin owned his Shinka RX8 for 2 years and I drove that car on a regular basis. I am use to RWD cars as well, maybe not as use to RWD, but I still understand the characteristics of driving with the rear wheels. The RX8 probably couldn't be a better example of that exact lesson.

I am interested to see how this back brace eliminates some of the understeer because I felt that his car didn't have enough transition through the turns. This and the 20s will probably help significantly I presume.

I turned off the traction control on Punisher and had no problem steering with the rear wheels :devil::thumbs:
While driving his car, nearly every time I drove his car the other day I had Traction Control off, Competitive Mode engaged, and then held that down for 5 seconds to turn the ESC Off. (Cobalt SS Turbo has same system) So there was no driver aid when I speak about this understeer.

comparing the s2k OEM spec vs the redline/GXP OEM spec is comical. Literally GM took a honda spec and copied it with a little wider trac and a little bit more power... literally ever spec is like +1 or 2 inches here, 20 extra hp there.

As far as modding goes tho, those honda short blocks dominate. some have 700hp off the stock motor! crazy! ours grenade at just over 400whp :(

I will say that I had my eye on an s2k before they came out with the sky. pretty cool little cars, but they cost so much more than the sky.....
I do figure that the S2000 was a good base for GM to replicate. The S2000's I would be looking at however would be more of the SP2 years as they had massive improvement in drive quality than the SP1.

I have been in one of those for a ride and it is beyond me how by using the S2000 as a base that they lost all that interior space and trunk space :cryin: lol
 

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Discussion Starter #17
FYI - Specs on me personally make me 5'11/6' at around 145 lbs. So I am not some big fella here either.
 

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First question would be is its primary purpose going to be pleasure or sport? The three most most popular mods are the backbone, the probeam and the front brace.

1. DDM Back bone is available in three different thickness
Street 1/4 inch thick
Race, 3/8 thick
Extreme, 1/2 inch thick version.
2. DDM Probeam, ties the rear together.
3. DDM Cross Bay Brace, ties the front together.

Also, the coupe is not a true hardtop coupe (it's a targa), and I'm not aware any structural reinforcements were made for it's production. It's more a looks thing. Others can comments but comfort and long distance driving time isn't something I've heard or read about from too many folks on here.

Not trying to turn you off to the Kappa platform but the Toyota FT86 or Subaru BRZ may be worth checking into.
 

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I have been in one of those for a ride and it is beyond me how by using the S2000 as a base that they lost all that interior space and trunk space :cryin: lol
Because even though the Kappa size specs are similar to the S2000, the design specs for the frame are completely different.

Kappa:



S2000:



You will notice that the S2000 employs an "X-frame" design; so the body has to sit above the drive line. Where as the Kappa is designed with a full frame allowing the body to sit lower around the drive line. Two completely different designs.

And then there is the Miata:



Obviously the design team behind the Miata is relying on the uni-body to support shear tolerances. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks GS Stage 1, and all other members. I appreciate all of your time answering some of my questions and concerns.
 
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