MV Agusta F4 R 312 and Popko-Kawasaki ZZR 1400

MV Agusta F4 R 312 and Popko-Kawasaki ZZR 1400

Speeding at 300 km / h

"You shouldn’t have any other road users in front of you." Holger Aue, the gifted illustrator of the MOTORRAD cartoons, anticipated the motto of these two speed bikes in issue 9/2007 (page 134). Is cracking 300 km / h on overcrowded motorways, eight years after the Hayabusa, really the order of the day?

Shift one last time, sixth gear. It just doesn’t want to falter, the propulsion. 250, 260, 270, the digital speedometer of the MV Agusta continues to change the bars as if unleashed. Only at the very top does the acceleration become slower, the liquid crystals finally stop at 310, 311. The analog rev counter reports 13,000 turns. Is that the 312 km / h top speed that the abbreviation for the new F4 R 312 refers to? No, these are "just" real 291 km / h. But we don’t know that at the moment. More than 295 will not be there even after repeated measurements. Enough is enough.

It’s 7 a.m. on Sunday morning somewhere in Germany. Experience empty lanes without a speed limit. Because MV Agusta is promoting the F4 R 312 as supposedly the fastest production motorcycle in the world. Special conditions are required for a high-speed test. A Kawasaki ZZR 1400 that was electronically "uncorked" by the Braunschweig dealer Popko is also included. One without the speed cutter intervening at 299 km / h and without torque limitation in the lower gears.

Total concentration! There is no right, no left and no back. Just the narrow tunnel in front of the front wheel. A kind of intoxication at full throttle, the complete decoupling from real events. A new dimension opens up. While hellfire rages beneath you, the engine is working at its absolute limit at the highest speeds.

The pupils are constantly taking new bearings, focusing on the world as it rushes past them at around 80 meters per second. The view goes far ahead, briefly back to the instruments, and far ahead again. The horizon is shadowy, as a narrow gap at the upper edge of the visor. The bewitchingly beautiful machine zooms in on him at lightning speed. This motorcycle is a work of art, a mechanical sculpture ?? based on a pattern almost ten years old. Sin on Wheels. The MV full of grace, her driver full of humility. He sits high on the extremely hard, heating up seat cushion, his neck hurts. Comfort? forget it.

As agile, aggressive and precise as a scalpel, the MV pulls its course. The carbon-coated 50s upside-down fork is extremely fine, sensitive like a seismograph. The suspension strut reproduces the asphalt texture one-to-one in a sporty and taut manner. However, the 220 kilogram 1000 meter twitches the handlebars uncomfortably on bumpy sections of the route. Therefore, the Ohlins steering damper quickly closed, and then it only begins to fidget.

The loud, grumpy-hoarse exhaust sound from the four organ pipes in the rear is accompanied by grumpy-throaty intake snorkeling. The four-cylinder hangs ultra-directly on the gas. What can not be accused of this motorcycle. The poorly metered clutch, the lousy view in the mirrors that are far too narrow, the criminally scintillating light. At least the huge turning circle does not play a role in the highway boom.

Sven pushes himself even deeper behind the slightly raised MV disc on the 312, crouching extremely folded. Don’t lift your head. He evades an opponent out of nowhere, offers as little resistance as possible to the air. Double speed means four times the air resistance. And the 48 throttle valves are still on draft, the signs of a storm. The hurricane rages at 300 km / h.

Small modifications are supposed to make the 312 faster than the standard F4 1000 R. Good filling of the combustion chambers, that’s the point. We need gasoline and a lot of air. Extremely light intake valves made of titanium, like the cam lift, grew by one millimeter and the diameter of the throttle valves by two millimeters. In addition, the speed limit increased by 500 tours to 13500 rpm. More torque, but less torque at low speeds, are the logical consequence. MV promises 183 hp peak performance, MOTORRAD measured 177.

In addition to the slim MV, the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 like a cockchafer next to a hornet. But this is not a good tourer, but the most powerful production motorcycle in the world. The ZZR is not sluggish, but relaxed. As standard, it goes to work tame up to 4,500 turns. Then, at 5000 rpm, the beast suddenly wakes up, as if someone has kicked its tail. Storms forward with a force that can cause fear and anxiety.

This annoying “turbo effect” mainly affects gears one to four. In them, the power has been reduced significantly, especially at low speeds. So that the enormous power remains manageable, says Kawasaki. With every gear, the 1400 increases in performance. But at the very top, the speed cutter strikes at just under 300. Because of the voluntary self-restraint. The display ends at 299 km / h. Popko counters this with a power order. And leads the engine management to believe that it is always in sixth gear. After a lot of tuning on the dynamometer, the torque curve is surprisingly full and smooth. Now there is pressure in all corridors, always and everywhere.

What remains is the pure anger beyond 6000 turns. The speedometer needle scurries so rapidly from 220 to 290 km / h that you think the scale has slipped. Also applies to the consumption display. It shows over 20 liters per 100 kilometers at full throttle. After the speeding, the test consumption averages 10.1 liters / 100 kilometers, the MV even burned 11.4. Express surcharge for a lot of filling. The reserve lamp lights up after 132 kilometers. “Your personal jet”, MV’s slogan, may mean the maintenance costs. The thoughts sweep by just as quickly as the overtaken truck: more than 200 km / h excess speed!

At some point there will be 10400 tours in the sixth. No speed cutter intervenes, that’s a measured 306 km / h. On average, very briefly, the 310 is scratched. More is not possible. In purely mathematical terms, it only takes ten minutes for 50 kilometers. Around 100 liters of air flow every second through the ram-air throat into the airbox, to increase the power at Vmax from 190 to an incredible 200 hp. After all, 187 horses are actually trotting. Construction site in two kilometers. So in just under 25 seconds. Guard rails on the left and unpredictable drivers on the right. The world mutates into a hose. From around 250 km / h even experienced high-speed drivers pass a limit. From then on there is tunnel vision. All of a sudden, a motorway poses demands like driving on a racetrack. It is important to aim far, far into the corners, to find turning points. Almost paradoxical: of all things, the super-fast speed bikes are constantly confronted with tightness.

It’s crowded on our highways. And if there is a gap, the road beyond 270 becomes damn narrow. You shouldn’t allow yourself to make mistakes. Was the curve so tight yesterday? On the straight, a truck suddenly shifts from the right to the middle lane. Loaded “supplementary concentrate for dogs”, freight in a hurry. The truck sets off a chain reaction. A fiery red Ford Transit suddenly turns to the far left. Estimated distance: 250 meters. Estimated speed: 120. The ZZR races towards the minibus two and a half times as fast. Touch down in 3.5 seconds. Adrenaline flows freely, stress, it gets tight. Now everything has to go really fast. Accelerate and straighten up, even that delays immensely.

At the same time fully throw the anchor until the front tire whimpers. The beneficial ABS regulates immediately. From 290 to 200 km / h in 2.6 seconds! To do this, fade in. Fade in? More like floodlights. The ZZR’s headlight battery is a real safety plus. The person in front must realize that this is being taken very seriously. Well gone again, the transit driver pulls over to the right. Tempo: 130. Pulse: 160. You think you are standing.

Anyone who drove just under 300 perceives Tempo 220 as a harmless rolling around. There are good reasons why MOTORRAD usually refrains from measuring top speed. There is hardly any free run for 300 km / h today. And the risk is high, given the density of traffic in Germany.

Especially the ZZR 1400 wraps its driver in a deceptive security. It is unspectacularly fast, pushing endlessly up to real 306 km / h. Much later than on the MV, you have to duck down on her. The Kawa virtually glides over the railway, stoically and unswervingly. On the other hand, react wide awake to necessary course corrections. Your spring should be called filter elements, as comfortable as they fish the expansion joints and frost cracks out of the asphalt. This power tourer decouples a little from true speed. Advantage or disadvantage?

The MV Agusta is different, you can feel the speed with every fiber. Those who switch from the 260-kilogram ZZR to the filigree super sports car turn inwards at the first corner. But where everything or nothing is at stake, at high speed, it also slavishly follows the chosen line. That creates trust. The four-piston calipers of the MV can be metered excellently, unfortunately in line with their class without ABS.

Only one question remains: does it make sense to drive at 300? Being faster than others has always driven people. Between fascination and madness. Experience once what is going on, how the motorcycle hisses off like a projectile leaving the muzzle even at 200 things on the opening track. Even a Porsche Turbo is left with nothing. In terms of top speed and braking, it is faster, but in terms of acceleration and pulling power, it loses out. Measured against a basic price of 137,000 euros for the sports car, the 140,000 euros for the 1400 ZZR in series trim almost seem like a bargain.

But 11th commandment or not, the "Autobahn" is called that for a reason. Because motorcycles are not really at home on it. Real life is elsewhere. Better 100 km / h and winding terrain! When driving quickly from A to B over long distances, cars and especially the ICE are hard to beat (see MOTORRAD 16/2006), travel averages of more than 150 km / h are hardly possible. You are fast with these two-wheeled missiles only for a moment. Even if one that can appear forever.

MV Agusta F4 R 312 and Popko-Kawasaki ZZR 1400

Speeding at 300 km / h

High-speed hype about Hayabusa & Co


This is what it looks like, the next generation Hayabusa.

It started in 1999 ?? with the Suzuki Hayabusa. The first production motorcycle that ran at 300 km / h. For the sensational press it was found food: "Suicide machine, motorcycle rocket, death device" was the headline. Topped by Toni Mang’s unfortunate highway ride for Pro 7, where he quickly opened a fourth lane with the 1300. Then the boulevard rushed wildly on the first fatally injured Hayabusa driver, who by no means died while speeding, but instead was given the right of way by a car.

Startled by the discussion, the European manufacturers’ association and the Japanese brands ended the arms race by voluntarily restricting themselves to 299 km / h. Triumph stopped the development of a production-ready prototype that should even break the 200-mile sound barrier (320 km / h).

Hayabusa & Since then, Co have been using speed cutters, the display of 300 and more has been banned from the speedometers, and advertising only says: "Top over 200 km / h". So the 300 topic disappeared in the moth box. MV Agusta is currently causing a scandal in the restricted area, aiming with the 312 for air sovereignty over the biker round tables. MV has never signed the voluntary self-restraint ?? technically not without reason. 301 was already specified for the F4 1000 R. However, more of a storm in a glass of water: Even the F4 R 312 does not manage more than 295 km / h.

End of a business trip

The destroyed rear tire of the MV.

Both drivers and tires are under enormous stress at high speeds. The small contact area on the rear tire must transmit the full power of over 180 hp for several minutes. This leads to slippage: the tire permanently slips easily and thus covers a greater distance than the entire motorcycle ?? a grueling job. The data recording shows a circumferential speed of 314 km / h on the rear tire at a real 306 km / h. Added to this is the heat generated by flexing. For this reason, manufacturers of speed bikes such as Hayabusa and ZZR only release tires that have been thoroughly tested. MV Agusta partially equips the 312 with the Dunlop D 208 GP Racer M, a racing tire with a rather soft, grippy compound. A risky choice, this tire is apparently not suitable for the motorway distillery. During the MOTORCYCLE measurements, a few trips at high speed meant that the MV almost completely ruined its series tires over the course of 155 kilometers. The profile in the middle of the 190 has practically completely disappeared, only a very thin layer of rubber still lies over the carcass, individual Kevlar threads already shimmer through.

It is impossible to imagine what a few additional kilometers of top speed could have achieved. An individual case or a general problem? Dunlop is currently investigating the test tire, and a statement will follow shortly. Tea driver hadn’t felt the decomposing surface. Fortunately, the MV had to go to the gas station. The tire was new before the full throttle tests. All he had to do was warm up, determined speedometer deviations, measure acceleration and pulling power values. In the full-gas tests, the asphalt temperature was 15 degrees Celsius, the tire was 70 degrees. During a second test session, MOTORRAD converted the MV to the Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa, so there were no problems. The Bridgestones of the Kawasaki were also unimpressed: BT 014 with special code "SL" and "L".

Aero drama and power requirements


A questionable way to improve aerodynamics.

On the atmospheric moon, a feather and a hammer fall to the ground at the same speed, but this is not the case on earth. Everything that moves here has to displace air. One cubic meter of air, i.e. 1000 liters, has a mass of 1.3 kilograms at sea level. No combustion engine will run without the oxygen it contains, 290 grams.

Whoever scurries better through the airstream with a streamlined shape and / or a small frontal area has a clear advantage. Because it either needs less power for the same speed or achieves a significantly higher top speed with the same power. Good aerodynamics are much more effective than engine tuning! In 1957, the legendary Moto Guzzi V8 with full fairing and a highly complex 500cc eight-cylinder engine reached around 80 hp for around 280 km / h. If you want to be fast, you have to make yourself as small and streamlined as possible. On a motorcycle, the driver’s sitting posture influences both the surface area and the drag coefficient. Tea teardrop shape is ideal in terms of aerodynamics: it enabled the Ducati Siluro (»Torpedo«) 100 to run 171.9 km / h with just once 98 cm³ and 12 hp. Modern motorcycles without aerodynamically effective duck tails and clad front wheels ("all-round front fairing") are far removed from such a streamlined shape.

The entire driving resistance is made up of rolling and air resistance. While the rolling resistance increases only slightly with speed, the air resistance increases by the square: At 200 km / h, the braking forces of the wind are already 16 times as great as at 50 km / h. Conversely, the air resistance drops to a quarter if you halve the speed. The exact calculation of the air resistance includes the air density, the flow velocity, the frontal area and the air resistance coefficient (drag coefficient). The Cd value is a measure of the aerodynamic qualities of a body that only depends on the shape of the body, not on its size. The projected face A corresponds to the area content of the body outlines. Since MOTORRAD was in the wind tunnel with the 750 MV Agusta, the frontal area and drag coefficient (with the rider lying down) of the optically identical, petite 1000s are known: The frontal area with the rider lying down is 0.64 m², the product of the drag coefficient times the area is 0.326. These values ​​can be used to calculate the power requirement. Mathematically, the measured 177 hp of the F4 R 312 are not enough for a speed of 312, but theoretically only for just under 300 km / h. Incidentally, with the standard gear ratio, the MV cannot reach the specified 312 km / h even downhill with a tailwind because the rev limit puts an end to propulsion at 306 km / h. The vehicle weight, however, hardly plays a role in the maximum speed. This is why the aerodynamically particularly sophisticated, but 40 kilogram heavier Kawasaki ZZR 1400 even reaches Vmax 306 ?? unless the speed cutter strikes. The air resistance also has a pleasant effect, because it also brakes when it matters: Simply accelerate and straighten up, decelerate at 300 km / h with five m / s2. This corresponds roughly to what less experienced drivers can achieve in the event of an emergency stop. And if both brakes are used does this add up to a negative acceleration of around 15 m / s2 ?? much more than is possible at low speeds.

Passage in the last gear

50 ?? 60 km / h 1.15 sec / 1.15 sec
50 ?? 100 km / h 5.25 sec / 5.20 sec
50 ?? 140 km / h 8.80 sec / 9.00 sec
50 ?? 180 km / h 12.40 sec / 12.60 sec
50 200 km / h 14.30 sec / 14.40 sec
50 ?? 280 km / h 26.10 sec / 28.00 sec

Deceleration from 290 to 200 km / h:
only roll out 6.9 sec / 4.7 sec
with brakes 2.6 sec / not measured

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