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Roll cage for TT - options?

Old 10-12-2018, 11:37 PM
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Default Roll cage for TT - options?

Looking to set up an NB for HPDE/TT, want a cage for safety, but donít need full safety of a W2W cage. Hard to pass up spec Miata cages since they are refined and effective. Was thinking of either Advanced Autosports or Miatacage without door bars. Questions:

- Can I keep heat and a/c with either or other cage? AA says no a/c, not sure about MC
- Most spec Miata cages donít seem to have room for a passenger seat, was thinking this would be good for instructors
- I want the car to look nice inside, not a pure track car, so want a bar that fits tight to the edges of the car

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-13-2018, 12:56 AM
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How fast is your car? In the S1/ST4 cars, we are quickly trending towards the realization that Spec Miata cages are grossly under-built for the speeds we're seeing.
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Old 10-13-2018, 02:47 AM
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A cage should be a one time thing, don't think of it as something that you'll later upgrade.
Do it once, do it right.
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Old 10-13-2018, 10:08 AM
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I am using the Miatacage and still have A/C and heat but it requires some adjusting behind the dash. They include instructions for this. I used only the lower door bar so I didn't have to cut the doors. I did raise the lower door bar to a higher position since not using the upper.

It was getting to be too fast for no cage at all but this is a compromise. Be as safe as you want to be. It's not as safe as staying home.
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Old 10-13-2018, 01:54 PM
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Thanks sixshooter, I actually was using your set up as an inspiration. I’m only looking at TT5 at most right now, so staying N/A. May have a k swap in the future though.

Anything you you regret or would do differently? Can you get a passenger seat in there? If you’ve got working a/c and heat that’s what I want.
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Old 10-13-2018, 02:16 PM
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As Andrew observed, if you are not otherwise limited by rules, go big. Traditional Spec Miata cages are floor mounted only. They provided only the minimal roll over and intrusion protection. Beyond that, they offer only the minimal amount of torsional stiffness increase compared to a fully integrated cage. NASA ST rules allow almost a full FIA cage in ST5. In Supermiata, we are adopting more open rules for cages even in S2 (140whp). S1 goes a step further by allowing a full integrated FIA cage with extensions to the front shock mounts. The merits of a 12+ pt cage attached to the firewall and door jambs go far beyond mere intrusion protection but that should be enough. In most cases, the cost and weight only increase slightly and the car is future proof for additional power/grip/ aero loads.
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Old 10-13-2018, 06:02 PM
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Good point Emilio, I didn’t think about the additional rigidity. I do agree on only doing it once. Another thing leading me in the direction of a SM cage though is resale value should I want to go in a different direction down the road. I could add the NASCAR door bars and sell pretty easily.

Question on the additional cost. My perception was that a FIA spec cage was more along the lines of a custom cage, which I was thinking would be in the $4-5k range, where as a Miatacage + install could be half that. Do you think that is right?
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Old 10-14-2018, 01:41 AM
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A good cage Builder will charge you enough labor on top of the cost of a generic Miatacage to cover the cost of a custom cage generally. So that the perception that you can just buy the $900 Miatacage kit and be done overlooks that it will cost more than that to actually put it in by a competent fabricator. It only takes one flawed weld to compromise the entire cage.

In Supermiata here in California we often tech cages of cars that were approved by scca and NASA for spec Miata. Not a single one of them was properly installed. Not one. We have failed several due to incomplete welds or the structure simply being incorrect. This exposure to the general low quality standard of most cages in Miatas concerns me.

The true challenge is finding a competent fabricator, not designing the cage. Shop around but I often hear prices between 1700 and 2500 for a custom cage.
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Last edited by emilio700; 10-15-2018 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 10-14-2018, 03:23 PM
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I agree with the statement that a good fabricator is hard to find and worth the money when you find him. My shop had an expert welder come in after it was tacked together to finish it.

Mine has a passenger seat.
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Old 10-14-2018, 04:06 PM
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I like the advanced autosport cage a lot and have seen them tested.

Not sure I’d want that in my street driven TT car though. Where are you located? CA has a couple good options, the Midwest has a great builder in STL.
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Old 10-14-2018, 09:40 PM
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I’m in Cincinnati, willing to drive to find a good cage builder. From an earlier thread:

Mark McMahan is the guy to go to for a cage in the Mid-West. He is in Akron.
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Old 10-14-2018, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Maxhouse97 View Post
I’m in Cincinnati, willing to drive to find a good cage builder. From an earlier thread:

Mark McMahan is the guy to go to for a cage in the Mid-West. He is in Akron.
Take the car to Mark. I did a miatacage in my first miata and was never happy with it. After seeing a few of Mark's cages, I sold the car with the miatacage, bought a new NB, and took it to Mark. So much happier now. He does really great work.
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Old 10-14-2018, 10:53 PM
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Let an expert build it from scratch his way if he's really good. Discuss your wants and needs and see if you're comfortable with him. Look at some of his completed work for quality. Be sure he's right for you.
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:16 PM
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You really have to decide if you want a street car? IE Blackbird Fabworx and airbag. Swapping seats for HPDE & TT. HANS if using 6 point harness.

Race car / track car full cage, spec Miata as a minimum FIA nice but then cant use for spec? They really should revise the spec cage to a more modern cage setup as Emilio suggests.

IMHO I really cant see using a full cage on the street without a helmet and HANS?
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Blkbrd69 View Post
You really have to decide if you want a street car? IE Blackbird Fabworx and airbag. Swapping seats for HPDE & TT. HANS if using 6 point harness.

Race car / track car full cage, spec Miata as a minimum FIA nice but then cant use for spec? They really should revise the spec cage to a more modern cage setup as Emilio suggests.

IMHO I really cant see using a full cage on the street without a helmet and HANS?
I'm with you Blkbrd69 I think a full cage on a street car is crazy.
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:26 PM
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Forgive me for skimming the OP too much. Agreed that a full cage for a street car is a very bad idea. Our general protocol for HPDE safety is to go either full OEM or full race & trailer. Don't mix. To that end, I switched my HNRS to a Simpson Hybrid-S that works with 6 pts in the race car or the 3 pt OEM in the GT350.

Full OEM means all the airbags, stock seat so airbag sensors are still active.

Full race car means 6 pts, 6pt bar or full cage. Padded tubes, race wheel w/o airbag. FIA seat with halo. Nets on both sides. Fire system and hand held. And a trailer to tow it because those bars and lack of airbags are just asking for trouble on the street if you get hit.
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Last edited by emilio700; 10-16-2018 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by emilio700 View Post
General protocol for HPDE safety is to go either full OEM or full race & trailer.

Full race car means 6 pts, 6pt bar or full cage. Padded tubes, race wheel w/o airbag. FIA seat with halo. Nets on both sides. Fire system and hand held. And a trailer to tow it because those bars and lack of airbags are just asking for trouble on the street if you get hit.
I think you mean absolute ideal and not general protocol. I don't think I've seen anyone just starting in HPDE go from none of it to all of it as it's simply not realistic for most people. More often than not you see stages of safety improvements based on how fast someone is going. I will agree that once you change seats or remove airbags you need to, at a minimum, have fixed back seats, harnesses, race wheel, some sort of neck support, and a good roll bar or cage as these systems work together.

How far you go beyond that is really up to your personal risk tolerance for the pace you currently drive. I don't think full halo seats, nets, and complete fire suppression system is really necessary if you're not wheel to wheel. Are these things a good idea? Yes. But they are not imperative.
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jpreston View Post
Take the car to Mark. I did a miatacage in my first miata and was never happy with it. After seeing a few of Mark's cages, I sold the car with the miatacage, bought a new NB, and took it to Mark. So much happier now. He does really great work.
This. He did my cage and it is brilliant.
He has amazing attention to detail, ability to adapt, and to customize anything to what you want with over 20 years of experience.
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Old 10-18-2018, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by emilio700 View Post
...Nets on both sides...
I'm getting very close to doing this as well. Seems most impact deaths these days are from occupant side pancaking against concrete.

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Old 10-18-2018, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by FatKao View Post
I'm getting very close to doing this as well. Seems most impact deaths these days are from occupant side pancaking against concrete.
I've been watching a lot of IMSA this year and noticed all the cars ran triangle nets on both sides and the lower classes with open windows still run a window net. Has 2 nets caught on at the amateur level yet?
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