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Trevitt's Blog: Backing it in

We see all the time now road racers "backing it in" to corners, sometimes with the rear end of the motorcycle out of line with the front just as much as dirt track or supermoto racers. Using engine braking or the rear brake, these riders are skidding the tire just enough that the rear end kicks out a certain amount under braking. Done properly with careful manipulation of the controls, this manoeuvre starts the motorcycle turning before the corner, effectively reducing the arc of the turn that must be completed.

How sideways the bike goes on the entry is determined partly by how much load is on the rear tire, and partly by the amount of slip (how much slower the rear tire is turning that the bike's actual speed). The wheel's load depends on how hard the rider is using the front brake to unload the rear end, and while some of the rear braking force can be provided by the rear brake itself, most modern four-stroke race bikes have more than enough engine braking for the desired amount of slip. While a very good rider can modulate the front and rear brakes and the clutch all at the same time for a beautifully controlled slide all the way to the apex of the corner, the goal is to have close to the right amount of skidding provided automatically so that the rider need only fine-tune the action.

One method to accomplish this is to use a slipper clutch, which reduces the effect of the engine braking to manageable levels so the rider does not have to be so precise with letting the clutch out. On most units, the amount of clutch slip and the point at which the slip initiates can be adjusted by changing the rate of and the preload on the clutch springs. Another method is similar to the old racer's trick to reduce engine braking by increasing idle, and current electronics systems slightly open a ride-by-wire throttle on deceleration. These systems can offer anything from a simple 1-2-3 level of adjustment to fully variable engine braking based on rpm, gear position, and more.

In series that don't allow elaborate electronics for engine braking control, however, we have to look to the chassis and ways of adjusting rear tire load in order to control how the motorcycle behaves on corner entry as the rear tire slips. In general, with more load the rear end will track straighter entering the corner, with less it will kick out more sideways. One way to address this is to raise or lower the whole bike, which affects how much load transfers under braking; with the motorcycle lowered slightly, for example, less load transfers to the front on corner entry and the rear tire stays more in line.

Another option is to make changes to the rear suspension to adjust the rear tire's reaction to a given load, rather than trying to adjust the amount of load. As an example, consider a rear shock setup with an amount of preload such that it takes 20 kg of load to even move the suspension; under braking, the rear tire will begin to skip and float across the pavement and go sideways if load goes below that 20 kg, because the suspension is topped out. By adjusting the spring rate or preload, we may be able to change that value so that the suspension begins to move with less or more load, altering when and how much the rear tire skids. Going a step further, we can even get creative with the top-out spring inside the shock to make that adjustment and influence corner entry behaviour without affecting the remainder of the suspension travel.

It all becomes a juggling act, with the slipper clutch, electronics package and suspension setup each playing a part. In an ideal setup, the bike backs into the corner just the right amount without requiring those precise clutch and rear brake inputs, allowing the rider to focus on more important aspects of the corner entry.

- By Andrew Trevitt

Friday, 27 May 2016 17:47 Published in Andrew Trevitt


Kawasaki Ninja 300 Exhibition - CTMP (Mosport), 2015

To celebrate the start of the 2016 CSBK season, enjoy this onboard video of the full Ninja 300 exhibition race #1 from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 2015!

Friday, 27 May 2016 10:43 Published in Multimedia


Trevitt's blog: Ducati's MotoGP wings

Over the past several seasons of MotoGP, Ducati has occasionally experimented with wings on the side of the Desmosedici to influence its aerodynamic characteristics. Yamaha also used wings in the latter part of last season on the M1, and wings have sporadically appeared on other bikes in the past. Until late last year the wings in use have been quite small, but during testing this year the Ducatis have sprouted two very large wings on each side.

Friday, 26 February 2016 17:21 Published in Andrew Trevitt


Dan Kruger's International Race Blog - Endurance Racing: Giving Up is Not an Option

When it comes to endurance racing, you never know what you will have to deal with until the checkered flag is out. I have seen pretty much everything, and what I haven’t seen for myself I have heard about from friends or other teams. You can nearly destroy your superbike, rebuild it, and finish in the top five in a 24-hour endurance race. The secret to success? NEVER GIVE UP!

Tuesday, 02 February 2016 12:19 Published in Dan Kruger


Michelin to launch six new motorcycle race tires in 2015

GREENVILLE, S.C. (March 11, 2015) –Michelin will be revamping its range of motorcycle racing tires in 2015 with the introduction of six new products, available in the U.S. and Canada starting in May. Designed to meet the needs of all riders, from the professional racer to the track-day enthusiast, the range incorporates the latest cutting edge technologies tested on the track in order to provide maximum safety, performance and riding enjoyment.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 15:40 Published in Products


Stacey Nesbitt Sweeps RACE Amateur Championships

October 8, 2014- Stacey arrived at the track on Friday night of the RACE season final (Sept 27-28) at Shannonville Motorsports Park in time to do a photo shoot requested by RACE. While that was going on the final preparations were being completed on the primary OCM Racing/FTR/Honda Canada CBR600RR.

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 14:40 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Schuberth expands SR1 race helmet line

Schuberth is proud to announce the arrival of new graphics and colorways for their premium racing helmet, the SR1. The SR1 Stealth will be offered in red, orange or blue color options and is now available through Schuberth dealers.

Monday, 17 March 2014 12:44 Published in Products


RACER Race Carbon fall/winter glove now in Canada

Looking to extend your riding season this year? Motorcycle Innovations introduces the RACER “Race Carbon” glove to its fall/winter line. Combining race level protection with a layer of insulation means you can ride even when the conditions get quite brisk.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:51 Published in Products


Max Mercier Foundation and Dion Device to give away free brake lever guards at R.A.C.E. finale Sep 20-22

During the R.A.C.E. Superseries season finale at Shannonville Motorsport Park on September 20-22, the Max Mercier Foundation, in collaboration with Dion Device, will be giving away free Dion Device Brake Lever Guards to every Pro and Amateur racer in every class.

Thursday, 05 September 2013 15:58 Published in Industry News


Good times on-track and off for Steve Hoffarth and Doc Walker

Race fans will have the chance to shoot the breeze with Canadian Amateur Superbike Round 1 race winner Steve Hoffarth and see his BMW S1000RR Superbike at Serpa BMW in Newmarket, ON this Saturday from 10 am to noon. Hoffarth was the victor on a weekend that began in the rain but ended with sunshine and smiles at Shannonville Motorsport Park. 

Thursday, 20 June 2013 09:57 Published in Reports, Results & Points


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