The Yellow Bike 1.1
The new motor showed its potential on the 3rd break-in run on MD Cycles dyno.
I was up to 6,500rpm on light throttle and could feel the new found torque and looked forward to seeing where the motor would end up once break-in was completed. When I had finally completed enough easy heat cycles to whack it with gusto, there was no question that the lower compression 840cc configuration was going to be a big improvement in rideability. And when we did the horsepower pull, the results were quite frankly; shocking… The motor developed the same horsepower it had as a 13.5:1 800cc, but with torque numbers that were very close to the old 853 that I sold to Paul Robbins. Mario and I looked at the air/fuel readings and the performance graph on the Dyno Jet display and I pronounced us ‘done for the day’. There was simply nothing to be improved upon.
That night I plugged the 853 and Yellow Bike numbers into Excel and made a graph that let me overlay the two bikes power and torque characteristics. It looked to me like the 840 was going to be a riot to ride at the upcoming Show-up, Shut-up and Ride (SSR) event at Grattan (in Michigan).
And it was. While the serious HP hit was softened a bit, the newly-found bottom and mid made the bike a joy to ride. If I got a good drive out of the last corner, I could hold-off a standard 1098 for most of the front straight (not kidding). Handling was flawless once I added just a tad more compression to the front end.
Gary joined me with his new (and outstanding looking!) F1 on Thursday and even with the “street” motor, the bike had impressive speed. And to call Gary fast would be like calling Einstein smart. He was in a class of his own and simply ran away and hit from everyone else on the track (regardless of what they were riding). We swapped machines in the afternoon and it was remarkable (or maybe not) how similar the two bikes felt. If you started splitting hairs you could say that the Yellow Bike’s rising rate had the advantage over Gary’s cantilever set-up and that the Bridgestones offered better front end feel than the Pirellis, but essentially the two machines handled and felt the same. Gary’s only observations after getting off the Yellow Bike were that my front brake sucked (didn’t like my MC ratio) and that the new motor rocked. If there was any difference in turn in with my switch to a 180 section rear, he couldn’t feel it.
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So in terms of the engine failure, I guess it was truly a case of one door closing and another one opening.. It gave us the opportunity for a displacement increase and took the Yellow Bike from being a hard-edged, machine that didn’t exactly sit well with my lazy old fart riding style to something that is pure magic.
And SSR (the 10th Anniversary) had an almost mystical quality to it. …Perfect weather and an environment that seemed to bring out the best of everyone in attendance. Quite possible the best track event I’ve attended in the last 10 years, it was also my first real vacation since opening the loudbike Store.
As I droned through the 10-hour trip back to Ottawa, I was struck by how utterly fulfilled I felt by the experience. It was one of those rare weeks where absolutely everything went right – and then some.. Like the Candlestone Inn employee who brought me a coffee while I sat on the front steps; slapping mosquitoes as I checked my email. Guy Pike’s brilliant 45 minute stand-up routine Thursday Night. The spontaneous comedy that prevailed in our riders’ meetings. The thunderstorm that rolled in blew the oppressive humidity out of the area just as I unloaded the last of my gear from the trailer. The track surface that looked like crap; but offered exceptional traction. Fifty-two riders running flat-out for three days and only two very minor off track excursions. A 1988 Ducati 750 F1 that let me run with the fast guys on their 1098s.
..Completely unexpected and totally appreciated.
A public shout out to Gary Palmer for turning the motor rebuild around in record time and delivering a package that completely exceeded my expectations. And to John Scholl (and everyone who attended) for making SSR one of the most amazing track experiences in North America.
The Yellow Bike is based on a 1988 Ducati 750 F1. loudbike is a state of mind, a weblog about fast, loud Italian motorcycles and an internet store offering more vintage Ducati parts than you can shake a stick at.
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