RID­ING IT

Classic Racer - - CLASSIC RACER IN DETAIL -

Dur­ing a test ata Ri­jeka thetesi needed to be r run in first be­fore Gian­carlo Fala appa could start cut­ting some hoth laps. I was de­puted to acc com­plish this task, which also gav ve me the chance to get to know th het­esi slowly –- in more senses t that one. Once squee ezed aboard, the first im­pres­sions a re one of com­plete nor­mal­ity – as s on the Bakker QCS, the dummy fork yokes con­vey the sen­sa­tion of a con­ven­tional mo­tor­cy­cle with tele-forks and clip-ons. I moved off care­fully, the dry clutch from theyamaha race kit protest­ing as I tried with­out much suc­cess to slip it, legs dan­gling. Sur­pris­ingly thetesi be­haves just like a nor­mal bike at low speeds.the steer­ing is a bit heav­ier than on a con­ven­tional mo­tor­cy­cle, al­most as if you have the steer­ing damper a notch or two too tight. Even at lit­tle more than walk­ing pace, there’s lots of con­trol and the re­sponse is ac­cept­ably fast – ex­actly the op­po­site of the orig­inal­tesi, which knife-edged in cor­ners quite un­pre­dictably at al­most any speed, yet lacked pre­dictable re­sponse when it mat­tered. As sub­se­quent faster laps proved, the newtesi is not only sta­ble at slow speeds, but it gives a re­mark­able de­gree of road feel at high ones. Not only could I feel the front Mar­zoc­chi com­press­ing and re­bound­ing more or less con­trol­lably as I en­tered and ex­ited Ri­jeka’s sev­eral dips and dives, I could also feel the change in road sur­face trans­mit­ted by the

front tyre, as well as the front end chat­ter when I to­tally screwed up my line in the fast, blind right af­ter the pits and had to crank her over ex­tra hard to avoid run­ning onto the grass. Then again later, try­ing to cap­i­talise on the un­doubted brak­ing ad­van­tages of a hub-cen­tre de­sign by stay­ing on the stop­pers as I cranked into the third gear left-han­der af­ter the pits, I could feel the front tyre start­ing to com­plain as it ob­jected to hav­ing cor­ner­ing and brak­ing forces fed too vi­o­lently into it at the same time.this de­gree of sen­si­bil­ity in a chas­sis-less cen­tre-hub bike with me­chan­i­cal steer­ing is some­thing I hadn’t ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore.theybtesi made a real break­through in terms of trans­mit­ting road in­for­ma­tion to the rider. It’s not per­fect though, and there were two as­pects of the Tesi’s be­hav­iour I def­i­nitely didn’t care for. One is al­most cer­tainly re­solv­able with some suspension fine-tun­ing: the front Mar­zoc­chi felt too soft on re­bound damp­ing, , so that when you re­ally chuck it into a turn, it po­goes slightly even n if you don’t hit a bump, just an un­du­la­tion in the road sur­face such as a dip in the apex. My re­sponse would have been to stiffen the re­bound, but Falappa felt the same thing and thought it ac­tu­ally de­rived from a prob­lem at the rear, which was up­set­ting the front end. Maybe, but there was no mis­tak­ing the root cause of the other prob­lem, which I would say is the fun­da­men­tal as­pect of thetesi’s de­sign that I found un­sat­is­fac­tory – other than re­pro­gram­ming the rider with a new com­puter chip for his men­tal pro­cesses rather in the same way as you might al­ter the We­ber/ Marelli Efi/ems on the Bi­mota’s en­gine, there’s not a lot that can be done to cure this with­out com­pletely re­vamp­ing the steer­ing.

When you en­ter a fast turn, like the first part of the S-bend be­hind the Ri­jeka pits, thetesi can be laid into the cor­ner like a nor­mal bike, with­out any con­cern. But then, sud­denly, when you’re about half­way round the turn, you get a mo­ment of panic – it seems the bike is un­der­steer­ing dra­mat­i­cally – you’ve turned the bars a lot fur­ther than you’d have ex­pected to be nec­es­sary, with­out the ap­pro­pri­ate de­gree of re­sponse from the front wheel and the chas­sis. How­ever, all is well – your re­sponse is ac­tu­ally lag­ging be­hind the bike’s ac­tions – post ipso facto, no wor­ries mate.t That’s all very well but even a fleet­ing sense of vague­ness and lack of pre­ci­sion in the steer­ing can be un­set­tling, and that’s what thetesi con­veys.you ask your­self ‘is this bike re­ally go­ing where I want it to go?’the an­swer is yes – you’re just not sure it is. Since the only lim­its to how late and hard you can brake a bike like thetesi are your own per­sonal mar­gins of brav­ery, that’s a key fac­tor in get­ting the most out of the hy­per-ef­fec­tive brak­ing po­ten­tial of this mo­tor­cy­cle.

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