‘THEY HELP YOU FEEL WHAT IT’S LIKE CLOSE TO THE EDGE’

Racing le­gend and boss of the UK’S big­gest race school, Ron Haslam gives his ver­dict on the electronic rev­o­lu­tion ‘A quick­shifter will im­prove your lap time, but on the road it’s point­less’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Mcn Investigation -

Trac­tion con­trol

It’s a good thing, es­pe­cially for the road. It can even save a crash when you roll out of the shop with slip­pery new tyres.

On track it’s nice for the nor­mal road lad to make trac­tion con­trol work. They can safely take it to a point where it comes in and they can feel what it’s like close to the edge. The trou­ble you get with ba­sic trac­tion con­trol is that it comes in a lit­tle bit early and it’s dead hard to get it to racing stan­dards. But as a guide to go­ing fast, it’s re­ally good.

Quick­shifters and au­to­blip­pers

A quick­shifter will im­prove your lap time on track, but on the road it’s point­less and all you’re go­ing to do is wreck your gear­box.

Ev­ery­one gets quick­shifters wrong: it’s not be­cause the gears shift quicker, it’s be­cause you’re not dis­turb­ing the fuel flow into the en­gine where you don’t shut off. Dur­ing a nor­mal gear change you have to close the but­ter­fly or slide down, which slows the en­gine. A quick­shifter keeps the en­gine wide open, which im­proves per­for­mance and is where the lap time comes from.

Au­to­blip­pers are re­ally good, be­cause a lot of peo­ple find it dif­fi­cult to blip and change down at the right time. When you’re do­ing it the old fash­ioned way you un­der­stand how much to blip it and some­times it’s such a small amount on the throt­tle to make it work at its best. A lit­tle bit too much and it pushes the bike forward; not quite enough and it will lock the back wheel.

Anti-wheelie

Not many peo­ple flip a bike, so anti- wheelie is OK, but I think you can cope with­out it. The only trou­ble you get when you start adding all these rider aids to­gether is that one over­laps the other. You can’t tell if it’s trac­tion or wheelie con­trol com­ing in and it’s dif­fi­cult to know what’s hold­ing you back – it’s so easy to slow the bike too much. To get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing go one at time – start with trac­tion con­trol first and wheelie con­trol after.

Racing with elec­tron­ics

Leon [Ron’s son] has gone from rid­ing WSB bikes with full elec­tron­ics to BSB with none and back again with the Suzuka 8-Hours bike last week.

When you’ve got a team that knows how to set the elec­tron­ics and the bike up, it be­comes eas­ier for the rider. You don’t have to take so much care with trac­tion con­trol and you can be ag­gres­sive with the throt­tle. Elec­tron­ics can even help the en­gine char­ac­ter­is­tics of the bike. If the de­liv­ery is quite power­band-ish all the ex­tra elec­tron­ics help to calm it down and make it more ride­able.

Some of the cur­rent BSB en­gines are very ag­gres­sive with­out elec­tron­ics and they can be a night­mare to ride – like back to the old days of the 500cc twostrokes with their vi­cious power­bands, which made them so hard to ride.

Rid­ing on track is al­ways bril­liant fun, but de­cent elec­tron­ics will en­hance your hap­pi­ness and in­crease your tyre life

For­mer racer now coach, Haslam has unique in­sight into the world of elec­tron­ics

The R1 has good wheelie con­trol but Haslam says it’s not needed

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