3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

1 The early days

The first de­lib­er­ately mass cen­tralised mass pro­duced mo­tor­cy­cle was the 1985 Yamaha FZ750. The cylin­der block was canted for­ward, pri­mar­ily to al­low down­draft carbs and im­proved in­let air­flow but with the added ben­e­fit of shift­ing the bulk of the fuel load back and down to where the air­box resided on the typ­i­cal bikes of the time. The al­ter­na­tor was re­moved from the end of the crank and tucked up be­hind the cylin­der block above the gear­box to re­duce en­gine width but that is also a big lump of mass ef­fec­tively cen­tralised. Fi­nally the perime­ter frame made the chas­sis less top heavy and al­lowed the tank to be formed closer to the pro­file of the bike. But far greater than the sum of th­ese parts was that per­haps for the first time a firm had con­sid­ered the en­gine as an in­te­grated el­e­ment of the chas­sis.

2 What about Honda?

Honda gave us their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of th­ese themes with the CBR600F a cou­ple of years later, chip­ping in with their own idea to lean the rear shock for­ward 45 de­grees with the top mount as far for­ward as pos­si­ble, al­low­ing the bat­tery to be pushed for­ward as well.

3 Was the Blade the bench­mark?

The orig­i­nal CBR900RR demon­strated bril­liantly the ad­van­tage of re­duc­ing mass over­all. The last cou­ple of decades have seen th­ese ideas re­fined – wit­ness the ti­ta­nium fuel tank on the lat­est Fire­blade – so there are not likely to be many more fall­ing out of a pre­his­toric ca­noe mo­ments.

Chang­ing the shock an­gle helped shift the bat­tery

Yamaha started a mass rev­o­lu­tion with the FZ750

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