‘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’
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.
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