Monday, August 23, 2010


You might think you're watching at a nicely painted track-focused Aprilia RSV1000. But then you will notice the single swing arm and if you were really into RSVs, the frame would also look unusual to you. You would be absolutely right as this bike is actually an RST Futura (you know the tourer) in disguise. Look closer and visit or for more projects like this one.

As a real dash addict I could not miss this last one.

Teammate wanted

You read it well ! I'm looking for a teammate for next year's racing season. You might think "what would he do with a teammate ?", and the answer is : share racing time for a complete season and have the most fun possible on and off the track.
I'm not going to give details on why I have to make this call or name anyone, but the good friend who had the chance to be designated as a volunteer is ... errrrr ... how should I say that ... errrr ... let's say he's "declining my offer" for that life changing experience, this extraordinary once in a lifetime adventure. Ok, maybe I'm overstating this a bit, but he's got to learn to live with regrets (now it's official, I'm a real bugger, don't you think Yvan ?).

If you think you've got what it takes to go racing, do not hesitate a single moment to contact me and I'll tell you more about the plan for the upcoming season. You don't need a bike as we're going to use mine. All you need is to know how to go fast on a motorcycle and the desire to have fun as we're not going to win races ... ;)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Upgrading to standard

With its engine runnning too lean, I have had a bit of work on the R1100S recently to investigate what's wrong and how to cure it. Again, I have to say thanks to Robert from Foster Performance as he lent me a hand to acheive this. I had my doubts about possible causes, but his efforts led to discover actual reasons as to why the air/fuel ratio was so poor.

"Spark plugs remote diagnosis", this is what Robert provided. Along with the fact he knows my bike pretty well - he provided most of the performance parts, he knows how a spark running in normal conditions should look like. Staring at these plugs at each side of the Atlantic ocean, we both came to the same conclusions : the dyno run results were right and the air/fuel ratio is too lean.
Sparks are way too white, meaning the mixture's too lean. They got to be a bit brown.

Now we had to find out why. The Motronic unit first had to be inspected to check if the software wasn't conflicting with the Power FRK module. A racing chip, for instance, could have caused such a problem. None were found and the rest of the unit looks pretty standard, so let's look somewhere else.
Unsealed Motronic unit
 I kept telling Robert about the Nology ignition cables, but he seemed to concentrate on more important parts of the bike first. I guess I twas taking a shortcut and he wanted to make a proper diagnosis. Again, we both came to the same conclusion : theqz Nology cables had to be removed. They are certainly making a huge spark inside the cylinder, but with the standard amount of fuel the mixture is overburning. One of the unwanted side effects is that the engine is also overheating and that makes it prone to break.
Standard ignition cables

Your pipes can get blueish, but when they're turning that blue there may be a heat problem
Since this last decision, the bike hasn't moved much, but standard ignition cables now replace the Nology ones. I'm supposed to do a couple of kilometers with this configuration to see how the sparks' color changes and let's hope it will.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not just trying 2

Another unusual foreign championship spoted ! This time a full bunch of riders are speeding their Triumph Thruton full throttle around tracks in Italy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Brakes ! (at last)

From the time I had made the local BMW dealer rebuild the brake calipers, I had never been able to regain a proper feeling with the brake lever. It felt spongy since, even after several fluid bleeds or nights spent with a strap on the brake lever. To get a firm feedback from the lever, I had to pump 3 to 4 times and it has always felt back spongy a couple of minutes later.

This is a big issue I've wanted to solve for weeks. After all if it goes on tracks (may I remind myself this is the main purpose of this bike ? ...), it is to support heavy braking sequences with high discs and fluid temperatures. This is why I had removed the Integral-ABS system from the bike and prefered a Goodridge braided hoses kit over it. Unfortunately, I've had very little faith in this kit so far considering the soggy feeling since fitting.

Ok, now let's get to the point. Yesterday, I unbolted the calipers one after the other and made each 4 pistons come out almost completely. I then carefully pushed them all the way back into place while preventing the others from moving. some of the pistons were hardly moving when brake was applied. And for those moving, they would come back to their original place when the brake lever was released. This is not what you expect from a brake piston. 

Now I don't know whether if these pistons were kind of blocked or if there still was air in the calipers, but it seems to have cured the problem. Brake lever has never felt so firm and I can't wait to give it a try on the road.

Brake calipers now feel like they actually can stop the bike

(Did someone say "rust" ? Both calipers' bolts look like that even though a BMW dealer is supposed to have rebuilt them. I thought they were going to replace these, but it seems they like troubles)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Not just trying 1

I came across pictures of the XR1200 cup (named the BBQ cup in some countries ... go figure !) last week and thought this might be of interest to some. These guys are not just trying to look cool on their retro bikes, they're obviously trying to win races.

I'm normally not into HDs, but you got to recognize a lean angle when you see one.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dyno runs

I received the results from the last 2 dyno sessions with the R1100S. the other day I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed with the way the figures are displayed. With the performance upgrades put on the bike, I knew the engine would not show a 10hp improvement and was more in a search for a solid torque curve. Unfortunately, as you will immediately notice, the provided power and torque curves use the speed as the reference data. They should have used RPMs.

Here is what I got (all measures at the rear wheel, 13% loss from what the dyno guy said) :

- Session 1 : KN filter, Y pipe (cat eliminator), NGK iridium spark plugs, Nology Hot wires coils

- Session 2 : KN filter, Laser Daytona 2-1-2 system, Power FRK, NGK iridium spark plugs, Nology Hot wires coils, carbon air intake

Not even comparable ... Kind of useless, isn't it ? Even more if you consider the air/fuel ratio sensor did not work at the first session. But it did at the second session and allowed to show the engine's apparently running much too lean. This is something I have to investigate a bit further, because this is a case for an engine failure.