Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 7 July 2008

The seductions of speed

Blog-visitors to Works Well who aren’t turned on by motorbikes are having a thin time just now I’m afraid. But Plutarch asked me to explain the visual appeal of the Honda Fireblade (see July 5 post).

Honda admit this Fireblade has very strong links with the bikes they race in MotoGP – the two-wheel equivalent of Formula One. The phrase “street-legal racer” is legitimate. So what are the clues?

First, this is clearly not a two-seater. The distance between the wheel centres (the wheelbase) is too short; this makes the bike more agile round corners. Secondly, note the exaggerated distance between the rear mudguard and the rear wheel to accommodate the springing action of the (horizontal) rear fork. Very much a racing bike feature.

Speed through corners is dictated by the angle to which the bike can be heeled over as the picture on the right shows. Because of this components must be drawn as close to the engine as possible. Especially true of the exhaust pipe which is routed almost entirely under the engine.

High speeds require powerful brakes with most braking effort coming from the front wheel. Note the huge front brake disc. And the grippy fat rear tyre.

Yet despite the tight purposeful contours of the Fireblade’s engine it is liquid-cooled. Oh, and it revs to 12,000 rpm.

Again, thanks to Honda for the pix.

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