2017-2018 SERT XRJ-1

Performance Bikes (UK) - - Special | Triumph T765rs -

SERT’S NEW racer rep­re­sents more than just a shift to the lat­est model: a ben­e­fit in it­self, with higher base power and a bet­ter chas­sis to build a bike from. It rep­re­sents the change in at­ti­tude SERT and their ri­vals have un­wit­tingly forced them­selves to make – years of in­cre­men­tal bike de­vel­op­ment and an in­flux of job­bing sprint racers of­fer­ing their ser­vices for valu­able ex­tra rid­ing time, pay pack­ets and spon­sor­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties has el­e­vated the stan­dard of bike and rid­ing re­quired to win.

SERT didn’t de­velop this bike: though they ran a Ju­nior, Su­per­stock­regs new model in 2016/17 (EWC starts at the Bol Dór in au­tumn and the series runs to the fol­low­ing year), the Su­per­bike-spec bike they’re cam­paign­ing for the first time in the 17/18 cham­pi­onship ar­rived in boxes from Suzuki Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion Ja­pan... and Yoshimura.

In fact, it’s not even called a GSX-R re­ally – the code for this true fac­tory ma­chine is XRJ-1. That doesn’t quite mean what it once did: rules for most series dic­tate stan­dard rods, pis­tons, etc, so the en­gine is the clos­est part to stan­dard. But the rest is true money-can’t-buy stuff.

The chas­sis is a Suzuki Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion part – ma­chined at the swingarm pivot and head­stock to take in­serts for ad­just­ment of head an­gle and pivot height. The 24-litre tank has a sub­tle Yoshi logo in the sheet alu­minium: not only does it give vol­ume, but it car­ries the weight low and cen­tral for bet­ter steer­ing. The seat unit and fair­ing are SMC spe­cials: fol­low­ing the sil­hou­ette of the road bike but with big­ger side pan­els (cov­er­ing the tank’s Johnny Ve­gas-style low hang­ing gut) and bel­ly­pan. Mag­neti-Marelli elec­tron­ics are SMC-de­vel­oped to suit. Sus­pen­sion re­mains Öh­lins TTX; brakes are fac­tory-sup­ported Nissins.

The gain in raw num­bers is sig­nif­i­cant: even in 24-hour spec, it’s mak­ing 215bhp, with the ca­pa­bil­ity to dial in 220bhp for the shorter events. That puts it on a par with BMW’s Type 6.2 en­gine. Weight is bang on the 175kg min­i­mum – af­ter SERT got in­volved.

“We had to bal­last the bike to meet the min­i­mum weight, but it does mean we can af­ford to use stronger rearsets,” Do­minique says.

De­vel­op­ment and test­ing has cen­tred around hon­ing the sprint/ Suzuka Eight-Hour-de­vel­oped ba­sics sup­plied by Suzuki/ Yoshi to work over 24 hours. Much of the ar­chi­tec­ture is re­tained – no su­per-strength sub­frame here, and some of the crash-ready touches tra­di­tion­ally used by teams are omit­ted in favour of out­right speed.

“We’ve changed the map­ping for en­durance – for fuel ef­fi­ciency, and also our en­gine brak­ing strate­gies and throt­tle re­sponse. The new en­gine is so much more pow­er­ful. The old bike al­ways com­pro­mised grip and agility, but the new bike main­tains both to­gether. We’ve had to do some work to make it work with Dun­lop tyres, be­cause it was de­vel­oped on Bridge­stones.

“More pre­cise elec­tron­ics al­low us to get the ex­act set­ting we want. The trac­tion and wheelie con­trol sys­tems are bet­ter, with more pre­cise sen­sors; they’re more ex­pen­sive if we break one, but worth it. It’s ready to win races – the base bike is very good, we just need to pre­pare it well for 24-hour races. For ex­am­ple, we sim­pli­fied the light­ing con­nec­tors from three to one to make it eas­ier to work on and re­pair.”

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