Off Roading Question:

skyote

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I was led to believe that articulation isn’t an issue since each wheel has its own power and isnt dependent on contact of the the opposite wheel.
Correct, and Land Rover is low key famous for this. Often leaving one wheel in the air in many off camber situations, but still making it through fine.

Rivian should be even better due to increased weight & even lower center of gravity.
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BillArnett

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Correct, and Land Rover is low key famous for this. Often leaving one wheel in the air in many off camber situations, but still making it through fine.

Rivian should be even better due to increased weight & even lower center of gravity.
True IF the software reacts fast enough. And the remaining tires can get enough grip. The undersized tires are going to be the main limiting factor.
 

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True IF the software reacts fast enough. And the remaining tires can get enough grip. The undersized tires are going to be the main limiting factor.
I guess it's all what you're used to. From your perspective the tires are undersized but from my perspective they are an improvement. Our stock 2006 Land Rover LR3 has 18" wheels with tires that are a bit over 30" in diameter. That gives us something less than 6" of sidewall when the tires are inflated per the placard on our LR3. The Rivian 20" wheels with tires that are 34" should give a bit less than 7" of sidewall when inflated per specs.

By using a different strategy when tackling obstacles, I think most people who are used to solid axle 4x4s will be pleasantly surprised by the capability an independent height-adjustable suspension provides. Over the years we shocked quite a few people on trails who were using dirt bikes, modified Jeeps, modified Toyotas, and side-by-sides. They were incredulous that we were able to get where we got, usually with 4 or 6 adults on board. In the meantime, we got there a lot more comfortably than they did: both off-road and at above-legal freeway speeds, which would probably be terrifying in a lifted solid-axle vehicle.

Because of the way we use our vehicle, I don't want a street-legal off-roader without a height-adjustable independent suspension. If you haven't driven both types of suspensions in similar conditions and while using the techniques which leverage their strengths, try to put aside preconceived notions. If the Rivian products deliver the specs they've published so far, I think they are going to exceed conventional wisdom expectations with their capability, comfort, and serenity of getting to remote locations in relative quiet.
 

BillArnett

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I guess it's all what you're used to. From your perspective the tires are undersized but from my perspective they are an improvement. Our stock 2006 Land Rover LR3 has 18" wheels with tires that are a bit over 30" in diameter. That gives us something less than 6" of sidewall when the tires are inflated per the placard on our LR3. The Rivian 20" wheels with tires that are 34" should give a bit less than 7" of sidewall when inflated per specs.

By using a different strategy when tackling obstacles, I think most people who are used to solid axle 4x4s will be pleasantly surprised by the capability an independent height-adjustable suspension provides. Over the years we shocked quite a few people on trails who were using dirt bikes, modified Jeeps, modified Toyotas, and side-by-sides. They were incredulous that we were able to get where we got, usually with 4 or 6 adults on board. In the meantime, we got there a lot more comfortably than they did: both off-road and at above-legal freeway speeds, which would probably be terrifying in a lifted solid-axle vehicle.

Because of the way we use our vehicle, I don't want a street-legal off-roader without a height-adjustable independent suspension. If you haven't driven both types of suspensions in similar conditions and while using the techniques which leverage their strengths, try to put aside preconceived notions. If the Rivian products deliver the specs they've published so far, I think they are going to exceed conventional wisdom expectations with their capability, comfort, and serenity of getting to remote locations in relative quiet.
Oh, don't get me wrong: I'm all in for independent suspension. IMHO, articulation is over-rated, probably because it looks cool :) And I'm very much looking forward to Rivian's vastly superior on-road performance compared to my Jeep. The sad truth is that my Jeep spends more time on the freeway getting to the trails than it does on the dirt. I don't expect my Rivian will be able to do everything my Jeep does on the rocks. I'm just going to take it as a challenge to see what I can get it to do. The first bit of body damage is going to feel bad. Second bit not so much....
 

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Oh, don't get me wrong: I'm all in for independent suspension. IMHO, articulation is over-rated, probably because it looks cool :) And I'm very much looking forward to Rivian's vastly superior on-road performance compared to my Jeep. The sad truth is that my Jeep spends more time on the freeway getting to the trails than it does on the dirt. I don't expect my Rivian will be able to do everything my Jeep does on the rocks. I'm just going to take it as a challenge to see what I can get it to do. The first bit of body damage is going to feel bad. Second bit not so much....
We are in exactly the same situation: we spend more time and mileage on freeways getting to trails (low desert, high desert, and mountains) than we do off-road. The on-road manners of our LR3 are amazing given the height of the vehicle and nearly 3-ton weight. This means we arrive at trails refreshed and not stressed/beat up.

We use different strategies compared to our old Discovery 2 when off-road, though. Without diffs hanging low on solid axles, we discovered that what works best for us is to straddle obstacles when possible and proceed slowly. If the Rivian behaves like our LR3, when you put it in rock crawl (or whatever Rivian will call it) mode the suspension raises the vehicle, low-range is required (N/A with Rivian because of the torque from 0 RPM), throttle response is damped so jostling doesn't cause inadvertent changes in engine speed, and the center + rear differentials are locked (N/A with Rivian because the software could command all 4 wheels to spin at the same speed regardless of traction, basically emulating locking front, center, and rear differentials).

I think proceeding slowly is important because I don't want to create a lot of bounce (jounce?) in suspension travel. This keeps us from crashing down on obstacles under the vehicle. It's not nearly as showy as driving on the obstacles, but the lack of drama makes things more comfortable and enjoyable for passengers. They see a giant rock in the road ahead and, provided we chose the right path, 10+ seconds later they can see it out the back window.

When tackling rocky hills in this mode we typically use light throttle and again choose a path to straddle the large rocks while it just calmly takes us to the top. I know it's not impressive in a brawny chest-beating way,, but this method has worked really, really for us. Because we are going slowly, if we hit/scrape something we back up and try a different line through.

I am really curious to see what the RIvian Engineers provide to the driver for off-road adjustments. The flexibility and control of one electric motor per wheel should be a game-changer. The self-steering and sensor suite should allow interesting capabilities, too. I can picture a back-out feature which would allow the vehicle to back itself out of a narrowing slot canyon or sketchy shelf road by relying on the sensors. Even when there's not enough space for a tank turn the vehicle's tech could still help some folks. The Rivian products could redefine capabilities and techniques for off-roading. I think the possibilities are exciting.
 

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...we discovered that what works best for us is to straddle obstacles when possible and proceed slowly..
Sure. But that doesn't work if the rock is too big. Then the only choice is to put a wheel on it. Then the problem becomes clearance beneath the rocker panels (under the doors) which on a Jeep is far higher than in the center. Hence the need for rock rails to protect the body at that point. Will Rivian have a way to attach rock rails?
 

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Sure. But that doesn't work if the rock is too big. Then the only choice is to put a wheel on it. Then the problem becomes clearance beneath the rocker panels (under the doors) which on a Jeep is far higher than in the center. Hence the need for rock rails to protect the body at that point. Will Rivian have a way to attach rock rails?
I was wondering about rock rails/sliders, too. We don't have them on our LR3 and there was one time they would've come in handy, but we only damaged a plastic trim piece which was $113 and I did the installation.

Another off-road accessory that some people may want is auxiliary lighting. Our LR3's headlights are outstanding with bi-xenon plus halogen for the high beams doing wonders off-road. If the RIvian lighting isn't as good it would be nice if they'd sell an auxiliary lighting kit for front and/or rear. I picture something with provides a relay controlled and fuse-protected circuit plus infotainment update to control the relay. Maybe even mounting brackets or the entire setup with lights.
 

BillArnett

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I was wondering about rock rails/sliders, too. We don't have them on our LR3 and there was one time they would've come in handy, but we only damaged a plastic trim piece which was $113 and I did the installation.

Another off-road accessory that some people may want is auxiliary lighting. Our LR3's headlights are outstanding with bi-xenon plus halogen for the high beams doing wonders off-road. If the RIvian lighting isn't as good it would be nice if they'd sell an auxiliary lighting kit for front and/or rear. I picture something with provides a relay controlled and fuse-protected circuit plus infotainment update to control the relay. Maybe even mounting brackets or the entire setup with lights.
I'm hoping there will be a relatively easy way to simply remove and replace all the plastic bits below the bumpers and doors.

Extra lights are nice. Way, way better than the best headlights. (There are lots of rules about headlights that make a lot of sense on the highway but severely restrict their usefulness off-road. I'm happy to do the electrical work to hook up some on the roof or the bumper but I hope Rivian provides an easy way to do the physical attachment.
 

SoCal Rob

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I'm hoping there will be a relatively easy way to simply remove and replace all the plastic bits below the bumpers and doors.
I'm glad they made the bits most likely to get damaged out of black plastic. Easier to maintain stock and less expensive to replace than painted pieces which match the body color.
 

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My friend used to have an LR3 and I led him around hells revenge trail in Moab with my 4runner. I was impressed with how well it did while managing to avoid scraping the bumpers on the abrupt climbs and descents, although he did avoid the more serious obstacles. For trails like that and in the mountains, the shorter wheelbase of an suv makes it easier to negotiate tight switchbacks and get lined up for the next obstacle in the trail.

If/when I get an R1S I definitely plan on taking it on the milder trails in Utah and the Colorado mountains and save using the more built up 4runner for the tougher trails (our four wheel drive trips have become more toned down since having kids). I really hope the larger pack R1S will still get close to 400 miles since I'm 220 miles round trip from Moab so I can potentially get there and do a bit of exploring on one charge (and charge at home with solar power).

I'm curious if it will be possible to add body mounted rock sliders. That's what I built for my 4runner using the side step mounting holes and adding extra nut-certs into the body.

20210503_174236.jpg
 

BillArnett

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Not an offroader, but I believe it's to avoid sinking deeply into sandy terrain, similar to wearing snow shoes in deep snow (Also a reason to air down your tires).

I think it also makes it easier to rock crawl over larger rocks.
Here’s a good example of why tall sidewalls are good off-road. You can get much better traction on slippery surfaces with the tires aired down:
EDA29726-F114-48E5-9D39-2229900AC0B2.jpeg
 

SoCal Rob

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Extra lights are nice. Way, way better than the best headlights. (There are lots of rules about headlights that make a lot of sense on the highway but severely restrict their usefulness off-road. I'm happy to do the electrical work to hook up some on the roof or the bumper but I hope Rivian provides an easy way to do the physical attachment.
I think it would be slick if Rivian had a light bar accessory that is incorporated into a crossbar and uses the forward-most roof crossbar mounting position, probably offset forward to get the light positioned properly above the windshield header and low enough that the crossbar remains usable. Ideally they could incorporate the connection contacts into the physical mounting locations with positive on one side and negative on the other. That would make things easier since mounting it simultaneously makes the electrical connection.

When I get to an off-road area, I'd install the light so I don't take a range hit from the reduced aerodynamics on the way there. If people like the look and don't mind the extra wind resistance then they could just leave it installed.
 

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That’s going to be a pretty big market, soon. Light bars that are easily removable for the aero.
 

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BillArnett

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Another possibility is a light bar that installs INSIDE the windshield at the top out of the driver's line of sight (mostly). No aero problems!
 
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