What sort of bike will keep its cool on a desert ride?
Why are my brakes buzzing? Q Your legal questions Am I to blame if the other vehicle was on my side? Q ‘ The court said the biker should have been closer to the middle of his lane’ Andrew Campbell
I have replaced the front brake pads on my Kawasaki ZX-6R, from stock pads to EBC double-h sintered. They stop the bike a lot better, but I have noticed a buzzing or humming noise from them when I brake. It’s not loud and the brakes work well but it wasn’t there with the stock pads. The standard discs are still in mint condition. Alan Hunt, Walworth
Answered by Ian Edwards, Mode Performance In the same way that a violin bow produces a sound when rubbed across the instrument’s strings, different pad material will resonate with the varying patterns of cooling holes in discs on different bikes. It’s nothing to worry about and you may find that cleaning the discs with brake cleaner will tune it out. Consider re-fitting the standard anti-rattle backing plates if you’ve removed them.
Answered by Chris Scott, Sahara expert and author of the Adventure Motorcycle Handbook
The benefits of one engine-cooling system over another are not clear cut. Liquid-cooled engines don’t necessarily run cooler than air-cooled, if anything the liquid enables them to run hotter, but the internal temperature varies less and is more evenly spread, which enables cleaner, more powerful and more efficient engines. The problem is that the liquid-cooling system causes more than half of engine breakdowns in the desert, and stuck in traffic on a hot day, some radiator fans are barely better than wafting a newspaper.
Before you set off into the wilds, check the condition of the cooling system and consider fitting a radiator guard to prevent flicked stones causing holes.
Air-cooled engines, meanwhile, need to run relatively rich (higher fuel-air mix) to keep the exhaust port cool, which means fumes that con-rods spinning a crank. When a dyno technician talks about torque, that’s what he means (unless he’s bolting down a cylinder head). In the UK 1 lb.ft (or 1.4 metric Newton-metres) is defined as one pound of force acting one foot from its pivot. At 2000rpm, a KTM 1290 Super Duke’s crank will turn as if it had a one foot lever with 32 one pound bags of sugar on the end.
But that’s a snapshot. Engine torque changes with revs, as per a curve on a dyno plot. Two things matter: the shape of the curve, and the quantity of torque. The shape (and where peak torque occurs) is influenced by fundamentals such as the number of cylinders, their layout, the bore, stroke and cam timing. If you’re designing a new engine, these are the foundations for its character.
But quantity of torque derives mainly from engine displacement: ‘ain’t no substitute for cubes, although volumetric efficiency (how well fuel and air get into and out aren’t good for the daisies. But they are simple and they work.
The downside is that there’s no cooling when stood still with no air running over the cooling fins, they run richer than water-cooled, are less fuel-efficient and can wear out sooner than water-cooled engines.
Despite the complication, liquidcooling is best in the long run, they have improved engine longevity, are more fuel-efficient and they offer higher performance and reduced emissions. of the combustion chambers) and thermodynamic efficiency (how well it burns it in between) also matter. I had an off in a near collision with a recovery vehicle on a country road. There was one lane going each way with a double white line. I came round a long bend and the van was a bit over my side of the line. I tried to avoid him but lost control. Unbelievably the recovery company’s insurer is blaming me.
Chris Roberts, email
The starting point is that one should not cross the double white line unless it is safe to do so and is necessary for a specific purpose, for example passing a horse. The recovery driver was over the line so one would think he is always going to be held liable in such circumstances, especially if you stayed on your side of the white line. However, this is not always the case. The Court of Appeal decision in Whiteford v Kubas UAB appears to be relevant although the width of the vehicle may be the distinguishing factor.
In that case it was accepted that the truck was over the white line and that the motorcycle was close to but not touching his side of the white line. The truck was a wide one. In order to drive along the road without hitting the nearside verge he had to be slightly over the line. This was accepted as being reasonable as any closer to the verge and that could have led to an accident from colliding with the verge. The court held that the biker should have been closer to the middle of his own lane and the case went against the biker. You need to consider the full judgment of the case to try and distinguish it from your case and as I say the width of the recovery vehicle should be investigated.