Code Break by Keith Code

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Code Break by Keith Code

#1 Post by CrashDummy » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:49 am

I 'm going to get my wish, This year at the California Superbike School, students will ride the new
BMW S1000RR. While the world around us spouts off about speed being dangerous, you might
recall my column about 1000cc bikes being statistically no more dangerous than 600s. Some
readers took that to mean "liter-bikes are safer," which I didn't say. What I said was, there is no hard
evidence that liter-bike horsepower, or their potential speed, is an easily identifiable cause of crashes.
Then, as now, my theory has been the opposite: that riders tend to be intimidated by gobs of power and
respect the bike. But theories are only as good as they hold up in reality. So statistically speaking, I'll
have the grandest liter-bike vs. 600 experiment ever done on earth under "laboratory" (the tracks we run
across America) conditions.

Earlier this year, I rode the new Ducati 1198, Suzuki GSX-Rl000
and Yamaha YZF-Rl with the boys here at the mag, and now I've
ridden the BMW S1000RR we'll use at the schools. It is impossible
not to be impressed with these phenomenal motorcycles.
Each has a definite character, each has stunning power and
each has its own feel and handling. All have proven themselves
in competition, all bring something to the table and none can be ruled out.

As time goes by, big bikes don't
feel that big anymore. Pulling one
of them off the sidestand isn't
substantially different than a
600 of not so long ago. Between
your legs, there is an immediate
lack of intimidation-with the
BMW, more a sense of securitybecause
the weight and feel of
liter-bikes is no longer proportionate
to power.

Take a Yamaha YZF-R6
weighing in at 417 pounds
wet with 109 horsepower and
compare the S1000RR at 450
Ibs. wet with 193 bhp. A scant 23
Ibs. heavier but 2.3 Ibs. per bhp
compared to 3.8 on the R6. The
question of what happens when
you roll on the throttle shouldn't
need to be asked, but go ahead.
One answer is 1000s come away
from a stoplight with a feather
touch of the throttle. With fewer
gear changes and far more linear
power, there is no wait time for
power. To me, that makes them more manageable than 600's.

For nearly 30 years the California
Superbike School has employed
Kawasaki 550s-600s, but for 2010
students will get to ride the new,
high-tech BMWSlOOORR.

Not to shamelessly promote
our new bikes, but honestly, if I
had been blindfolded and put on
the S1000RR, I would not have
been able to tell right away if it
were a 600, 750 or 1000. The
handling is that good and that
neutral. I would compare it to a
Honda CBR600RR, and that is a
very nice bike to ride. It passed
my personal test, which is: How
many corners does it take for
the bike to become less important
than the riding; for it to feel
like an extension of me; for it to
disappear as an object and carry
out my wishes? It's a lot to ask
of a bike not built just for me,
but they are out there and the
S1000RR is one of them.

For me, it's all about training riders in their cornering skills.
Having bikes that meet those criteria has spiked my excitement
levels. Of course, that's all aside from the massive adrenalin wow
factor that our students will experience on the straights. For
the faint of heart, the answer is in the highly sophisticated
electronics these bikes have. We can put the traction control
in "rain mode," which limits the engine output and power
characteristics to a very mild-mannered machine. Do you see
what is becoming available to every street rider now? You can
set the dashboard computer to have your bike behave the way
you feel, or to comply with the conditions. Power is rising, but
so is our control over it. Honda introduced ABS to its CBRs,
and now BMW has upped the ante with "Race ABS." So will
everyone else.
That is the future. Welcome
to it. MC

The preceding article was from Motorcyclist magazine. Keith Code writes a regular column called Code Break.
How to make a small fortune racing ... start with a large one.

Go into a corner with a little less speed and come out faster

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Re: Code Break by Keith Code

#2 Post by HoneyBadger » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:22 pm

Interesting, and yes, I agree completely. Granted, my own bike is a twitchy one (especially with the mods I've put on it), but it did generate a lot more respect from me - not fear, but respect. This made me take the time to be smooth, controlled, and really get to know the bike. I have seen the benefits of the time I've spent doing this translate directly to my husband - since I'm nearly always leading when we are in the twisties, my work and knowledge have accelerated his abilities far more quickly. He's forced to be smooth and I like to think I'm pretty good with my lines, in addition to the other things I've learned that I've passed on. I'm kinda jealous in the fact that he got the information a lot faster with quicker results, but then again, I know for me it's now habit, for him it will take time before it is habit over reaction.

In some ways, the liter is easier - I almost never have to worry about shifting, I have plenty of torque for slow down and acceleration, it's actually probably lighter than my '99 ZX6R (not sure, haven't compared the specs), but it feels lighter and is better balanced. I'm sure the even newer bikes are worlds better than what I have right now.

Unfortunately for me, the 600 didn't demand as much respect out of me - I'm not sure why, but it just didn't. Maybe it was the fact that it never felt like the bike would take control over the situation just because I dropped one gear too many - I did that once on my 10R, and it damn near bucked me off. I sat back and realized this bike didn't tolerate stupidity, so I took a step back, analyzed things, and took my time. I think it will pay off in the long run, and it will be interesting to see where my riding goes in the next couple years, and especially once I finally make it to the track (keeping my fingers crossed for June - just gotta save my pennies!).

On another note, the CBR I had for a short time didn't force that respect from me - it did generate some respect, but not enough to really slow me down like the ZX did. I would still describe that as a much better first liter bike than my ZX, and have actually started to encourage my husband to consider the Honda (or other liters in general) when he is finally in a position to get a new bike.

Along with that, his riding on my shirt tails in abilities has also shown him that he doesn't necessarily feel the need for a larger bike (other than for long rides), a year ago, he was chomping at the bit for something larger - now his song has changed greatly.

Although I would still say a 250 is one of the better starter bikes :) that and you don't care if you drop it lol!
"Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul." ~Unknown

2017 Kawasaki ZX10R (race)
2016 Kawasaki ZX10R (street/B bike)

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Re: Code Break by Keith Code

#3 Post by CrashDummy » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:32 pm

Your ZX-6R was probably heavier than your ZX-10R. Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN) which only uses wet weight (all fluids and a full tank of gas) list the 04 ZX10R at 431 lbs. and the 01 ZX-6R at 435 lbs. The ZX-6 got to100 mph in 6.79 seconds and the ZX-10 in 5.65. By the end of a quarter mile the six was doing 126.8 and the ten was doing 145.58. The power to weight was 1:4.52 for the 600 vs 1:2.91 for the 1000.

I agree 250's are better for beginners. You can pick them up. They are also fun to ride. Next month's MCN is doing a comparison of the Ninja 250 and the new Honda 250 sport bike. The Honda has optional ABS.
How to make a small fortune racing ... start with a large one.

Go into a corner with a little less speed and come out faster

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