PRO­JECT RCV

Who dares to im­prove a bike built by HRC and de­vel­oped by Stoner? Some mid­dle-aged men work­ing out of a brew­ery in the Mid­lands, that’s who...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy Chippy Wood

Meet Rutter’s 2018 Ma­cau GP bike...

WE MUST BE glut­tons for pun­ish­ment here – set­ting up as a stand­alone team this year, we banked on one rider, two bikes (Su­per­stock plus a roads Su­per­bike). That’s since ex­panded to three BMWs, a Pa­ton for the TT, two rid­ers and now an RCV pro­vided by an ex­ceed­ingly kind spon­sor for Michael to race at the Ma­cau Grand Prix. Life is never dull at Bathams Rac­ing, that’s for sure...

The bike landed with us this month, af­ter Johnny had ‘done us a favour’, as he put it, by putting a few break-in miles on it. Michael col­lected it at Don­ing­ton Park, where he did a few laps him­self: even with only 7000rpm to play with, and road chas­sis parts, it was use­ful to give us an idea of what we need to be do­ing.

The an­swer is... not a lot, beyond the ob­vi­ous. This bike is the last one in Honda Rac­ing’s stock, be­fore the re­spon­si­bil­ity for the re­main­ing bikes in the pro­duc­tion run was placed in the hands of Pad­gett’s. The Sport Kit for this bike is sit­ting in a beau­ti­ful stain­less flight case await­ing fit­ment. I’ll take the bike up there to as­sist and over­see the fit­ting, but those boys have done plenty of them, and they’ll work much faster than I can – but it’ll be use­ful for me to learn the in­tri­ca­cies of tak­ing it apart and set­ting it up.

That’ll give us a proper ex­haust, full power ECU and ram-air. I’m not aware of any­one putting one on a dyno yet so I’m cu­ri­ous to see what it makes, though Pad­gett’s bike was fast at the Ul­ster GP. Who knows what Clive’s man­aged to find from the GP paddock for his, though; the man’s got some con­tacts...

But so do I. So I’ve put the feel­ers out for any­thing that might have slipped out of a GP team’s truck and be float­ing around the rac­ing world for us to snap up. The ‘road’ bike is close to the 2014 RCV1000R pro­duc­tion bike Honda built for CRT teams, so I’m hop­ing to get things like race fair­ings sorted that way. I’m not about to sand the paint off a £10k fair­ing kit, or buy spares...

Once the Sport Kit is on, K-Tech are build­ing a shock for it, and it’ll get a set of their forks, too. We’ll use a bil­let mas­ter cylin­der in­stead of the low-spec cast pro­duc­tion parts, plus a mini race rear caliper, and a thumb brake.

There isn’t much more we can, or need to do in hon­esty be­cause it’s so high-spec al­ready. We’re or­der­ing some stan­dard rearset spares – the orig­i­nals are light, strong and in the right po­si­tion so there’s no need to com­mis­sion one-off parts. Michael would like the seat higher – the riding po­si­tion is too cramped for him, so I’ll look to raise the seat it­self rather than us­ing thicker foam. It needs a big tank, too – we can get away with 22 litres for Ma­cau, but a 24-litre tank gives us the op­tion of run­ning it at the TT next year.

The same goes for the wheels – us­ing our ex­ist­ing OZ forged ally wheels from the BMW Su­per­bike saves money now, and al­lows it to be used on the IoM in the same spec: the stan­dard mag­ne­sium wheels are some­thing like £6000 a set, so that’s out of the ques­tion. And while we had good re­sults with Dy­mag car­bon rims on our ‘knock-off HP4’, as Chris kindly puts it, at Ma­cau last year, they’re not race-le­gal any­where else so it would limit us in that re­spect.

I’m in two minds whether to ex­tend the orig­i­nal tank or build a new one (in a past life I had my own com­pany and was a coded welder). The stan­dard tank is a work of alu­minium art; the welds in­side are as flaw­less as they are out­side. It’s been purged and back-filled with ar­gon, which gives op­ti­mum con­di­tions for a per­fect weld. It’s not easy but the re­sults speak for them­selves.

Ev­ery­where you look it’s per­fec­tion – from the ma­chined mag­ne­sium sump pan with a pre-drilled lock­wire tab, through to the swingarm link­age. It’s un­like any­thing I’ve ever built. We’ve got un­til mid-Oc­to­ber to build, test and get it ready to ship to Ma­cau. In the­ory it’s a straight­for­ward build, but that’s as­sum­ing we can get the ba­sics like body­work sorted, and find the time to build it. The superlight BMW from last year is on standby...

K-Tech rear shock is be­ing built to re­place the bike’s stan­dard Öh­lins kit

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