In February of 2023, two friends wanted to test the differences in handling between a 2016 Open Road 35 QBA with a four-corner LiquidSpring Smart Suspension and a 2021 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40IP without a LiquidSpring suspension. Brian, the Open Road owner, went first – writing his review and overall thoughts on upgrading an RV suspension system to LiquidSpring here, and Bill, the Bus owner went next.
We’re happy to share their experiences in this two-part series. Below, you will find Bill’s review.
In Bill’s Words:
This post is a follow-up to the recent review by Brian, who wrote about his experience test-driving a friend’s 2021 Allegro Bus 40 IP on Tiffin’s PowerGlide chassis with independent front suspension. Brian normally drives a 2016 Tiffin Allegro Open Road (AKA Qubie) with a LiquidSpring suspension upgrade. His assessment last week was that “Qubie has the edge in handling and comfort.”
I’m the friend who owns that Allegro Bus. I used to own an Open Road 32 SA and co-created this Tiffin Open Roaders Facebook Group six years ago. And I was an early adopter of LiquidSpring in 2017, which at the time was only available for the rear axle. I drove with that LiquidSpring upgrade for 40,000 miles and have now driven our Allegro Bus for 20,000 miles. And today, Brian let me drive his Qubie — which has both front and rear LiquidSpring suspension — on the same 30-minute route that he drove last week in my bus.
So after this direct comparison, what’s my conclusion? I largely agree with Brian. And I’m not surprised that I do — even in 2017, I could see how LiquidSpring stabilization of the rear axle motion had a noticeable effect on the ride and handling in the front of the coach (for data, see https://tinyurl.com/22nnkncf).
With Qubie’s additional upgrade of the front suspension, I noticed even more lateral stability through turns. In all those miles I drove with rear-only LiquidSpring, I never felt as rock solid while turning — and Qubie’s stable response through turns felt very comparable to my Allegro Bus.
Because we drove the same route today, I could also see that Qubie had a better response to the same potholes that the Bus encountered last week. You can feel a bit of a jolt in both motorhomes, but that jolt was more subdued in Qubie. And the airbag suspension in the Bus results in a noticeable “floaty” rebound that is just not felt in Qubie. Again, this highlights the LiquidSpring smart suspension system which (unlike a passive airbag suspension) is constantly monitoring the road conditions and dynamically adjusting the suspension’s spring rate.
I firmly believe that there’s a lot of mythology about an airbag suspension — that it’s the only way to have comfortable ride in a motorhome. That legend persists in part because almost no diesel pusher owners have driven a LiquidSpring-equipped motorhome. If they’ve ever driven a Class A gasser, it’s typically one with a conventional leaf spring-based suspension on a Ford chassis. After today’s test drive, Brian asked about the overall comfort comparison between Qubie and the Bus. I tried to frame my response in terms of what one experiences in different luxury cars: Qubie has a little more “road feel,” sort of like a BMW, while the Bus has more of a Lexus-like ride that is smooth but with a reduced sense of the road surface. They’re both comfortable, but in different ways.
All that said, I have to point out some limitations about the dual matched test drives by Brian and me in each others’ motorhomes. The route we took was on level roads in good condition, with moderate curves, little traffic, and little wind. Long stretches of rough roads, crosswinds, passing trucks, or mountain grades would likely reveal more differences in comfort, steering, noise, power, and braking. On today’s rather tame drive, the biggest difference I noticed was in steering wheel play: the Bus has tight steering that requires little driver input for straight line travel, while Qubie requires bigger steering wheel arcs for minor corrections. This doesn’t surprise me at all — it’s exactly how my Open Road behaved too — nor am I surprised by the higher engine noise level in Qubie compared to my rear engine Bus.
Importantly, what Brian wrote — based on a head-to-head ride comparison between a LiquidSpring-equipped Open Road and an Allegro Bus — is accurate. Both suspensions will give you a satisfying ride on most roads . . . but only one of these choices is substantially cheaper to purchase and maintain.