Have you ever wondered about how your bike’s street performance might stack up against another bike. Well, the folks over at Motorcyclist Online are there to help you out. They have the actual dyno results and performance numbers of every bike they’ve tested.
I was reminded of that again, because, after my test ride of the BMW’s, I really wanted to see how they stacked up to each other in street performance. The results are interesting, because one of my concerns about buying an RT–assuming my insurance settlement is enough to cover it, of course–was whether I’d find the performance anemic compared to my FJR.
According to that actual tests that Motorcyclist has performed, the results are:
|Bike||HP (HP @ RPM)||Torque (lb. – ft. @ rpm)||1/4 Mile (sec. @ mph)||Top Gear Roll-On (60-80 MPH)|
||101.1 @ 7500||78.0 @ 6250||11.68 @ 118.8||4.30|
||127.6 @ 8900||79.3 @ 8100||11.30 @123.7||3.80|
|HD V-Rod||109.3 @ 8250||74.3 @ 7000||11.31 @115.0||4.05|
|FJR1300AE||127.2 @7900||89.6 @ 6800||11.86 @ 118.8||4.02|
Well, I must say this comes as a surprise. First, it seems that the AE is slower off the start than the RT, with a 1/4 time that’s 2/10 second slower than the RT. Where the RT loses out is in the grunt at rolling from 60-80 in 6th gear, as the FJR does it 3/10 second faster rolling on in fifth. I suspect that a 5th gear roll-on would be closer on the RT.
Another surprise is how close the performance between the K1200GT is to the Harley V-Rod. That’s about a dead heat. I suspect the K1300GT has some performance increase though. But for a cruiser (sport-cruiser?) the V-Rod is pretty hot.
But, based on the numbers above, I don’t see that the performance difference between the RT and the FJR AE model, like I have, would be particularly noticeable. And based on handling alone, I can already see that I can hustle the RT faster through the corners than I can the FJR.
Can you hear me talking myself into it?
I really want to know what that insurance settlement is gonna be, now.
The Norton post about rotary-engined motorcycles got me thinking about motorcycle engines in general. There haven’t been a lot of rotary motorcycle engines–or car engines for that matter. Frankly, despite the valiant efforts of Mazda, the fact is that the Wankel engine has problems.
The seals at the three apexes of the rotor are always problematic. The seal area is relatively small and prone to breakdown, and hence, leakage. Heat differentials are a problem, too, in that the engine casing receives a big differential in heating. Lots of engineering is required to make it reliable, and give it acceptably long engine life. The heat from the exhaust will bake you as well. And efficiency has always been a problem with Wankels. They just tend to use more fuel. For instance, that old Norton commander only got about 30-35 MPG, which is pretty low for a motorcycle. They also have high emissions due to incomplete fuel burning, which of course, contributes to the engine’s poor fuel efficiency.
But the advantages are really great, especially for motorcycles.
Vibration with a rotary engine is almost completely eliminated, because there are no reciprocating parts like a conventional engine. You don’t have to convert the up and down motion of the cylinders to a revolving crankshaft. That eliminates a huge number of moving parts, and, hence, weight. Manufacturers have tried to reduce this vibration with counterbalancers and the like, but, of course, while they do a decent job, they add even more weight. Conversely, the Wankel engine really has only one moving part, the rotor, and it’s already moving in a circle with the crankshaft. Rotary engines are, therefore, far more mechanically efficient. Conventional engines only have about a 30% efficiency rating. Much of the engine’s power is lost in converting reciprocating movement to revolving movement and whatnot. A Wankel engine’s mechanical efficiency approaches 80%. The Wankel engine also has instant power delivery, since the stroke movement of a conventional engine is eliminated. And, of course, when something catastrophic goes wrong in a Wankel engine, it just tends to slow down to a stop. A conventional engine tends to destroy itself and break large numbers of internal parts.
Still, until recently, the higher cost and lower fuel efficiency of the Wankel engine has made them a non-starter as a standard engine. In recent years, Mazda has addressed the fuel efficiency problems with the RENESIS engine for the RX-8. And even independent manufacturers have come up with more efficient designs that can meet modern emissions standards. For instance, Freedom Motors is a US company that has been working on more fuel-efficient and emmissions-compliant wankels. They produce a 1300cc twin rotor engine that weighs 120 pounds, and puts out 120HP.
Still, the Wankel is comparitavely expensive, and less fuel efficient.
So, how do you get a rotary engine that keeps the advantages of the Wankel engine, while eliminating the disadvatages? Is it even possible?
Well, it may be.
A new concept called the DART engine might just do it.
The DART engine has three moving parts. It has two differently-sized rotors, and a sliding connector.
What makes it such a great concept is that, it uses the Atkinson cycle, rather than the Otto cycle for combustion, so there’s a power stroke in every revolution of the engine. Every revolution also scavenges exhast gas, mixes it with intake air, and reburns it, resultion in more complete oxidation, meaning higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions. The sealing problem of the Wankel is also eliminated since a significant portion of each rotor edge seals to the engine casing, as opposed to the small apex seals of the wankel rotor.
This is a very exciting concept and promises to deliver extremely high power output with excellent fuel efficiency, low emissions, instant power delivery, and no vibration from reciprocation. In addition, it can use gas, diesel, ethanol, or any other kind of internal combustion fuel. There’s even a hydrogen burning variant called the HART concept.
And you get the same power output of a conventional engine, with half of the physical size and weight.
You can learn more about the DART engine here.
This is a very exciting engine concept.
Via RILYSI, it looks like KTM, the respected Austrian Motorcycle manufacturer, has applied for a patent for a 2-Wheel drive, hybrid motorcycle. Even more interesting is that they’ve apparently fast-tracked it to production sometime in the next 24 months.
The word is that it will have an internal combustion engine driving the rear wheel, and an electric engine driving the front wheel.
Coming on the heels of KTM’s expected zero-emissions Enduro racer, it looks like KTM should change its flagship color from orange to green.
Except that Kawasaki already took that color.
The people at Nationwide Insurance are celebrating some cool new tech thingies that not only make the roads safer for cars, but for bikers as well.
Blind Spot Warning Systems. The system identifies vehicles in blind spots. A warning light, sound, or vibration is activated if a lane change is attempted when a vehicle is present in a driver’s blind spot. The system is valuable to riders, who are often “hidden” in the blind spots of other vehicles, particularly large SUVs or trucks.
Lane Departure Warning Systems. The lane departure warning system activates if a vehicle has inadvertently drifted out of its lane. As with blind spot warning systems, a light, sound, or vibration is employed to warn drivers and prevent them from wandering over the lane line. The lane departure warning system protects riders from inattentive drivers, particularly those who drift lanes while talking on cell phones.
Forward Collision Warning Systems. The system monitors the distance between vehicles. If a driver is too closely following another vehicle, the system activates and, with a light or sound, warns the driver of a potential collision. The forward collision warning system helps prevent rear-end collisions, protecting riders from motorists who have turned their attention from the road to a distraction, like texting.
Adaptive Headlights/Night-Vision Assist. A variety of night-vision technologies are available, including infrared headlamps and thermal-imaging cameras. Each allows the driver greater recognition of objects, such as animals, people – even motorcycles and scooters – that are obscured by darkness. Adaptive headlights bend the light around corners, compensate for ambient light, and may also be speed sensitive. Each of these developments makes it easier for drivers to spot riders in the dark.
Notice what all these technologies have in common? They are high-tech ways of telling morons that they’re being morons. “Hey, Moron, you’re changing lanes!” “Look in your blind spot, Dillweed!” “Are you gonna crawl up the ass of the car in front of you, or what?” I’m not sure that bells and lights are enough, though. Maybe they should have some sort of deal embedded in the headrest that gives you a nasty rabbit punch to grab the moron’s attention.
I guess a lot of the danger arises from where you happen to live. As it turns out, here in San Diego, even the inattentive drivers aren’t all that bad. Now, I didn’t used to think that. In fact, when Chris got on the back of the bike for the first time, she was swearing like a sailor at the driving habits of cagers by the time we were finished.
But, I spent this Thanksgiving holiday up in Los Angeles, at her folks’ place. We were in her Vibe–not on a bike–and even then, the sheer amount of stupidity and blatant assholery on display from other drivers was simply astounding.
If I had to ride up there on a daily basis, I think it’d take about a week before I went the full Michael Douglas Falling Down route, and just started chasing cagers to their destination so I could gun them down in the street like dogs.
Of course, a lot of the stuff I saw was intentional assholery, so no amount of gadgetry will help that. But, for the marginal driver, I guess anything that helps them, however gently, to realize they’re being stupid is a help.
The FJR is back in the garage. Apparently, it’s fine. The noise I’m hearing is the air injection into the exhaust system to ignite any remaining unburned fuel. The 2007 and 2008 FJR on their showroom makes the same noise on deceleration.
Part of the problem is that the bike is still stock, so is running lean. To really get that smooth roar, I’d need to do a complete Stage I exhaust and add a Power Commander III.
Maybe I just expected the engine to be a little smoother, soundwise, than it actually is.
So, the guys at House of Motorcycles tell me I have to bring the bike back in during the week. they want to hook it up to the computer, then call Yamaha, to see if they can diagnose and apply a fix.
Of course, since it’s during the week, I have to drop it off, and have my chick drive over to NCHM to pick me up. Right in the middle of evening traffic. And, do the reverse when they tell me I can pick the bike up.
Well, after spending all morning at the dealership, they still don’t know why the bike is popping on deceleration. It’s not throwing an error code. No warning lights are displayed. According to the bike’s ECU, everything is peachy keen.
They’re going to have to call Yamaha tomorrow, and see if the corporate tech boys have a clue.
Tomorrow, the FJR goes into the shop for some work.
I’m having an annoying little problem of misfiring and occasional popping on deceleration.
I’m taking it back to North County house of Motorcycles for this one, since it’s been doing it since I got it. when I first got it, the indicated that the bike had been sitting for about a month, so the injectors probably needed to be cleaned out.
Well, I’ve run a whole bottle of injector cleaner through it (1/3 bottle for three tanks) and it’s still doing it. So, since I’ve got two years unlimited warranty for free–as well as prepaid maintenance–tomorrow is the day for fixing it.
I’m hoping it’s just a faulty O2 sensor, throttle position sensor, or exhaust leak. Maybe a bad injector, and not something more serious.
So, I’ll be spending my morning hanging around the dealership.
So, everyone says that removing the stock throttle tube from the FJR and replacing it with the G2 tube and cam is a 30-minute job.
They are wrong. it’s a 3-hour job. At least, it is for me. I start the job off at about 6:15 this evening. But what I don’t know, is that the things I do know, are wrong.
First misconception: The heated grips on the AE model are heating elements that are wrapped around the throttle tube. Wrong. They are integral parts of the grip itself. I did not know this. I learned this the hard way.
Second misconception: The throttle grip is a discrete piece that does not go into the throttle assembly housing. Wrong. The electrical cable for the heater connects to the grip via a rubber bushing that is an integral part of the grip, is about 1/2 inch in height, and is housed in the throttle assembly housing.
Third misconception: The grip can simply be pulled right off the tube without disassembling the throttle assembly housing. Wrong. See first and second misconceptions.
These misconceptions arose from the fact that I couldn’t find any detailed instructions for removing the grips of the AE model.
So, after various attempts to pull the grip off, and getting some advice from FJR Forum members, I purchased a couple of bottles of compressed air, and jetted some air under the grip while pulling. No joy.
So, I begin to wish for a long, thin Philips screwdriver to stick under the grip, to roll it around and try to loosen it. I go inside the house and tell this to Chris. She suggests I get a wire hanger, cut a piece off, and use it, instead.
Aha! I grab a wire hanger, get my fence wire cutters, and snip off a 12-inch section. Then I get a file, and file one end smooth and round, and bend an “L” into the other end. It slips right in. Now, I can slide the plastic tube from the compressed air way up under the grip.
I give it a good spritz of air, and pull hard. The grip started to come off. It moved off about 3/4 of an inch…then stopped.
It stopped because the rubber bushing inside the throttle housing was now jammed into the edge of the housing. And, I couldn’t push it back in either.
After much futzing around, I pull off the throttle housing, at which time my problem becomes apparent. Also apparent is that I’ve torn the insulating cover on the heater wires. I suspect that I no longer have grip heaters on the right grip, due to excessive wire stretching.
So, I cant get the grip off, and I can’t reseat it on the stock tube, so I pull the throttle cables off and try to remove the whole tube. But, of course, since I’ve moved the grip about 3/4 of an ch off the tube, there isn’t enough slack in the heater cable to pull the whole throttle tube off.
At this point, I call “Neil in Vista”, who is a regular commenter here. His only suggestion, now that I’ve totally fracked it up, is to shoot some WD-40 under the grip, and try to move it. Too bad, I tell him, that I have no WD-40.
Well, I’m two hours into the “30-minute job” at this point, so I decide to hang it up for the night, since it’s 8:30.
At this point Chris comes in, and I commence to whining about the whole deal, and musing about how much it sucks that we don’t have any WD-40. She points to a shelf 10 feet in front of me in the garage, and says, “We have a brand new can right there. In plain view.”
Once again, I stick the hanger into the grip, Chris sticks the WD-40 tube in and squirts it a couple of times, and the grip slides right off!
Holy smokes, maybe I can do this!
And I can. It’s all downhill from there. The grip slides right on to the new throttle tube. I slap it on the bar, hook up the clutch cables, and begin the tedious job of sticking the throttle housing back on.
Neil calls again and asks if the bike isn’t rideable, if I need him to come over to the house and bring his air compressor. Thankfully, I don’t have to inconvenience him with my massive incompetence.
After a while, I get the two throttle cables seated in their respective halves of the throttle housing slap the hex screws in, and, voila! I’m done!
It’s 9:30 pm.
I have to say, though, it appears that the change was really worth it. I took off on 20-minute test ride, and the throttle response is now perfectly smooth, linear, and predictable. No more throttle surging. It vastly improves the ability to handle the bike at low speeds, and makes throttle usage in cornering 1000% more predictable.
Oh, and I still have two heated grips.
It’s really a very effective mod, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an ’06 or ’07 FJR. Just be sure you know what you’re doing before you install it.
To sum up, this eveing I learned, once again, that being a mechanic just isn’t my calling. I think it may be Chris’, though.