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Old 11-16-2020, 10:36 AM   #11
Frame Maker
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Livermore
Motorcycles: sportbikes, dirtbikes, and some odd bikes that I've built myself.
Name: Julian
Two additional comments about chassis design that I have come to understand...

First, no matter how good the chassis is designed, individual riders will want change things to fit their riding style. When Shawn and Tom were racing the AK-1s I had the bikes initially set-up identically. As we began sorting the bikes and getting the details dialed in, each rider had their own tire preferences as well as gearing preferences making each bike highly competitive for each rider. The following year I let Zoran take one of the bikes for the season. Even though Shawn and Tom won many races and nearly a championship, Zoran thought the bike was too soft for his riding style and he immediately replaced springs to make the bike stiffer at front and rear. He just had a different preference.

The other thing I recall is our second race weekend happened to be the first time each rider had their own dedicated bike to race. It was a Sears Point event and both riders did very well getting podium finishes in 500 Twins. Needless to say, they were very happy with how the bikes worked. Towards the end of the day on Sunday we began to notice some mysterious bright dust appearing on the rear / left side of the bike. After closer examination we determined that in the rush to assemble the bikes Friday night before the race weekend, the rear wheel on one (maybe both) bike was WAY out of alignment. The wheel was point as far to the right as possible without rubbing on the swingarm. This resulted in the chain wearing the sprocket badly on one side thus creating the bright dust. But the odd thing was that neither rider had noticed anything odd with the way the bikes handled. If it was noticeable, they just adapted and rode the bikes the way they were.

Because of these experiences, I'm convinced that good motorcycle design is more art than science.... and the areas that are science, aren't an exact science.
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