What does the performance race bring?

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What does the performance race bring?


What does the performance race bring?

What does the performance race bring?
Hard on the limiter

Almost 30 years ago, the motorcycle industry decided to voluntarily limit peak performance. For safety reasons. Today she should do it again for the joy of driving.

Stefan Kaschel


Valentino Rossi does. Nicky Hayden does it all the more. The assembled Formula 1 drivers have been doing it for a long time. “Downsizing” is the motto of the hour in motorsport. Not always full lot, everything that is possible. Why show off with 250 hp when 230 is easily enough? If you are even faster with it! Always bigger, always stronger, always more: the trend has finally had its day. Even in civil life. Especially since the long overdue CO2 discussion was underway.

Only with us, in everyday motorcycle life, is the arms race going into the next round. “Oh God,” some will moan, “now this CO2 number is going on for us too.” And you can calm down again immediately, because the debate can be held safely, but not here, not now. The question of performance, on the other hand, is more pressing than ever with regard to the current development of the 1000cc sports cars. With 180 horsepower and some unwanted side effects in particular, it’s time to finally say stop! Are we going to put an end to the madness? and give the fun a chance.

Because that’s the best part of the whole thing: less power has nothing to do with doing without. On the contrary. Just as the wealthy entrepreneur’s wife would experience a noticeable increase in her quality of life if she got into a commercially available small car to shop in the city instead of the 500 hp and two and a half meter wide SUV, super sports pilots would have more fun with less performance. Guaranteed. Why is explained relatively quickly.

First of all, the technical level, which is based on two fundamental issues
is based. The first: In the age of Euro 3, even the best engineers have reached a point where they can no longer resolve the contradiction between the highest possible power output and homogeneous power delivery in a satisfactory manner. The consequences of this mania for performance, which runs through all motorcycle categories, are particularly noticeable in the youngest generation of Japanese super athletes: the latest Yamaha YZF-R1 and the current Suzuki GSX-R 1000, both around 180 hp, have obvious weaknesses when it comes to throttle response and ample power delivery at medium speeds. The performance plus, on the other hand, is not accessible even to professionals on closed slopes. It’s no wonder, because it is consumed again by the increased weight of the bolides. An accumulation of material that is partly necessary on the chassis side in order to master this performance.

Fact number two: The driving dynamics in daily life does this
Not developing well at all. On the one hand, of course, because of the pounds (in this context we should remind you of the first R1 generation, whose sensation was not its 150 hp, but its phenomenally low weight). On the other hand, because physics has long been setting limits in the two-wheeler sector that have nothing to do with maximum performance. When accelerating from traffic light to traffic light, it is the fundamentals of driving physics that give you the urge to move forward
Make reaching peak performance a collective upward and rollover movement, at the top speed it is the voluntary 300 km / h limit and above all the current traffic density that slows down ambitious speed freaks.

So what’s left? Only the ability to accelerate shaken off the wrist, the easy overtaking maneuver, the heavy pressure from the corners, the playful management of excess. That is the real supreme discipline, there is still potential here? And with this exercise, top performance is nothing, but a sensitive response and a full, even and calculable performance development is everything.

So much for the facts. Added to this is the ?? we say ?? »Intellectual level«. The exact analysis of what you really do on the motorcycle. And what others do. A good example: the Grand Prix season that has just started. The new burners, reduced by 200 cm3, run considerably faster from standstill than the old 1000 series. Namely among the best racing drivers on the planet. This works because the equation “more power equals more speed” only works on the straights, even with the cracks (which Casey Stoner impressively demonstrated in Doha / Qatar), while other virtues apply in the curve.
For those who classify themselves as a »good average« in a critical self-diagnosis and who are preferably between top and bottom spots (and not in a head-to-head duel), this applies under all conditions. This clientele? so we all ?? It is where the average throttle position of a Supersport 1000 on the country road leaves it at just over a quarter of the maximum possible opening and the engine speed between 5000 and 6000 rpm. Even more: the average speed is on average around ?? Attention ?? 70 km / h. That is the one, pure truth. The other: At this speed, a current 1000 cc didn’t even reach the speed range in first gear, in which the mail is going. Not to mention the other five courses.

This is what it looks like! And now? What does that tell us? The answer is not that simple. Either we continue to play the game happily, buy the racer with another four horsepower every two years and refresh ourselves with the awareness that we have the strongest again. Or we limit ourselves to the lower aisles, load properly there and are happy if the load doesn’t get up too early after the corner and comes down in time before the corner. The third alternative: We continue as before and are annoyed by the increasingly waning performance of our top athletes whenever popular sport is in demand. And finally, possibility four: We urge loudly and demand what the technicians would like to have anyway, while the marketing departments cannot do much with it. Namely sports motorcycles, which like to get lighter and lighter, always more confident with a kiss on the hand, but certainly not always have to get stronger.

What should such a motorcycle look like? Petite, compact, weighs 180 kilograms with a full tank, with an output between 140 and 160 hp (plus minus a few hp), because that really doesn’t matter. In addition, a powerful torque surge beyond 100 Nm, a gentle throttle response and a linear power development. An ambitious goal, indeed, especially in times of Euro 3. But certainly no less feasible than 200 hp, which then have to be limited at every corner. Incidentally, many MOTORRAD readers also agree. When asked what they would prefer, a full two percent voted for more top performance in a survey (see page 8). 96 percent preferred a homogeneous performance characteristic.

technical basics

Anyone who wants to combine maximum horsepower yield with optimal drivability has a problem. Therefore: down with the performance.

There are two subject areas that play a decisive role in the search for top performance on the one hand and drivability on the other. One is the basic design of the engines, especially the bore-to-stroke ratio, the other is the exact coordination of the gas exchange and the flow processes in the intake and exhaust tract.
The same rule of thumb applies to both areas: Top performance is not free. It is achieved by filling the combustion chamber as well as possible at the highest possible speed, which in turn is achieved through a short-stroke engine design, large duct cross-sections and short intake paths. For example, the extremely short-stroke design of the R1 engine (77 x 53.6 millimeters) is a tightrope walk. The huge bore makes extremely large valve diameters possible, and the short stroke reduces internal friction. Together with the high speed stability of the engine, both enable real 179 hp on the crankshaft.
However, this configuration is a full torque curve
obviously not beneficial. What
This is primarily not due to the short stroke per se, but to the large bore and the corresponding large diameters, especially of the intake valves and the intake ducts. The gas exchange at low and medium speeds is not as efficient as with smaller diameters because of the lower flow rate of the gases, the flame paths are due to the
large bore longer, the combustion is less effective.
In addition, there is another relevant manipulated variable, namely the tax-
times. A longer opening time with a correspondingly later closing of the inlet valves shifts the maximum torque of the engine in the direction of higher speed. This results in higher performance. Why? Because the kinetic energy of the gases is high at high speeds and fresh gas can continue to flow into the cylinder even if the piston is moving upwards, increasing the charge. The opposite is the case at low engine speeds: Due to the low kinetic energy, fresh gas that has already been drawn in is pushed back into the intake manifold through the open inlet valve. The torque therefore decreases noticeably.
Are there ways out of the dilemma? Theoretically yes, namely variable intake manifold lengths (see picture) as with the R1 or variable, speed-dependent timing (Kawasaki GTR 1400). The disadvantage of these measures: They require a lot of space, are mechanically complex and weigh heavily. In view of the fact that the current engine outputs are more than sufficient anyway, but dimensions and weight optimization remain central issues, they are only of limited use in the motorcycle sector.


What really matters is what arrives at the rear wheel. That traction-
diagram provides information about this. In this case, it’s from the Honda
CBF 1000 and the Yamaha FZ1 because both represent against-
Additional engine designs are in one and the same category.

Pulling force ?? this is the force that the rear wheel really does (i.e. after primary and secondary over-
setting and the respective gear step) on the asphalt. It’s in low gear
High tractive effort, low in high gear. The example of the CBF 1000 / FZ1 makes it clear that the Honda with its design for high torque at low speeds
in the everyday-relevant area always delivers significantly more tractive power to the rear wheel than the FZ1, which shines with high peak performance at high speed. Specifically: you have to
On the Yamaha, for example, you can already travel at over 80 km / h in first gear or over 172 km / h in last gear, so that you can effectively convert your increase in performance into traction on the rear wheel.
However, the
CBF 1000 has more traction on the rear wheel than the nominally 52 HP stronger Yamaha.


Power is the product of torque times speed. This just becomes the importance of torque too
clear at low speeds. Little torque in the lower and middle speed range inevitably results in little power. It is therefore worth taking a look at the following curves.

Power and weight

The development from the FZR 1000 to the R1 exemplarily shows that super athletes are getting stronger
became. And that weight
the more crucial size is.

The power to weight ratio? a magical size. It influences driving dynamics like no other. It is measured in kilograms per horsepower. The graphic shows that the decisive step was made between 1996 and 1998. With the model change from the YZF 1000 R Thunderace to the R1. But not because it was much stronger, but much, much lighter. The weight dropped from over 230 kilograms to good
200, the power increased nominally by a full five hp. Increased between 2004 and 2007
the performance, however, by ten PS? and
the power-to-weight ratio remained practically the same because the weight also increased.

Competitive competition in motorcycle construction: report

Fritz Schwarz, 38, heads the Fritze Tuning team and works intensively on tuning high-performance engines. Among other things, he looks after the Yamaha Austria Racing Team in the World Endurance Championship and has gained valuable experience with KTM’s MotoGP project.

180 hp or more are only available in a street legal 1000 if other factors suffer?
Basically certainly not. The big hurdle is the Euro 3 standard. That makes things extremely difficult. Example Yamaha R1, with which we have a lot of experience:
All I need is a different control unit, and the drivability improves immensely.
Does that mean there is no context between top performance and drivability?
Of course, no question about it. But Euro 3 is the bigger chunk.
Now we will have to live with Euro 3. So what can you do?
The matter of responsiveness and performance will undoubtedly become easier if we turn the remaining screws. Around 50 percent of what we have lost through the emissions standard can be recovered through a different design, for example the cam profiles and the intake tract. But that comes at the expense of top performance. If you let it be good with 165 or 170 hp, a lot could certainly be done. But not 100 percent like before Euro 3.
But 170 hp wouldn’t be enough?
I’m talking about high top performance in racing. In the city, on the country road, on the highway? That is probably not a question. Everyone just rolls around in the lower speed range.

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