Here's where you’ll find everything you need to get started selecting your Rorty Ultralite Buggy. The most awesome off-road buggies (aka minilites, desertlites, odyssyes, mini buggies...) on the planet!
What makes a Rorty special?
Rorty buggies have been designed to be fast, comfortable, safe and fun. They’re also pretty bullet proof, if not fool proof. When you’re browsing the net and comparing buggies try and look beyond skin deep. Spindly suspension arms, massive suspension ‘travel’, a high nose and massive ground clearance may look and sound cool but they’re not always fast, or comfortable!
Rorty buggies have a distinctive high waistline. This makes them stiff and strong as well as safe in the unlikely event you push it beyond your or the buggy’s limits. It also has the added benefit, if fully sheeted in bodywork, of greater driver protection from dirt and muck in the improbable event you’re behind another buggy!
Ride height & suspension travel
Our buggies appear to ride lower than some. This gives them a lower centre of gravity, less body roll and better handling. It also means the suspension travel has plenty of droop to allow the wheels to drop into potholes and soak up the landings! Check out some of the professional off-road racing trucks and full size buggies, you’ll see they employ the same strategy.
Some buggies you’ll see claim massive suspension ‘travel’ figures. On closer inspection their suspension travel is mostly in bump (upward suspension travel) and often allows the chassis to hit the ground! Alright if you’re building a rock crawler but deadly in an off-road racer.
Well designed buggy suspension should be close to the centre of it’s possible travel (in bump and droop) when at resting ride height.
Minimal bump steer
Bump steer is simply the change of direction of one or both front wheels while moving up or down, but without any input from the steering wheel.
Bump steer is unsettling, and can be avoided in most vehicles by careful location of the steering gear and, in the case of rack and pinion steering, ensuring the rack is the correct length. Rorty buggies commonly have between 250 mm and 350 mm total wheel travel. With these sorts of figures, it's pretty hard to achieve zero bump steer. The solution is to design any bump steer into an area where it's effect will be least felt. The area where you definitely don't want bump steer is from a little below ride height to full bump. That only leaves the area of full droop. On the occasions when the front wheels are clear of the ground, the bump steer is almost instantly eliminated upon contact with the ground again, thus restoring full steering control.
Minimal track change
A vehicle’s track is the distance between the centres of the tyres on a common axle, not to be confused with overall width. One of the secrets to a comfortable and well-mannered buggy is minimal track change during normal driving. When you’re cornering hard and hit a bump with the outside front wheel, if there is a large track change due to suspension travel, the whole buggy can shift sideways.
Setting the normal ride height such that the hub centres are close to the height of the lower suspension attachment points on the chassis (the lower suspension arms will be close to horizontal) minimises the horizontal movement of the wheel for a given amount of bump (upward suspension travel).
Buggies designed and set up with a high ride height and suspension closer to the droop limit at normal ride height will suffer higher amounts of body roll, bump steer and track change. Not comfortable or fast! They will clear large obstacles though, that’s if you can see them with your eyes bouncing in your head. Then you have to be able to steer around them too!
The main structures of the Rorty buggy chassis and suspension are constructed from 1.25" or 1.5" DOM or CrMo tube depending on the model. This provides an immensely strong chassis.
Custom manufactured parts are kept to a minimum and many of the parts required are available from all the usual off-road shops and auto stores.
Many Rorty buggies can be fitted with a mechanical gear shift paddle situated directly in front of the steering wheel which makes changing gear swift and positive. Drawings are also supplied for those wanting a more traditional shift lever.
We have worked with RPM to come up with the best reverse box set-up available with an inboard brake disc and it is, without a doubt, the most reliable reverse box that money can buy.