Since last Nov. the door slowly opened to learning about the The RR. From then on it has been a new chapter in my life. It went from the daily thought of "man this maybe my last hoorah on the Boxers I love..." So each and every time I was able to race the Boxers this past season (6 weekends I think), we went faster than ever before on them. If I could have only ridden with that in mind last season.
At first I wondered how 2009 would play out, there were already some thoughts I was having on other things I wanted to try career wise in life. My cup is pretty full, considering I never knew there was a cup to fill in regards to racing and making a living doing this. For sure there are some other things I would like to do before I get to old, but doors keep opening here in the MC world.
I just dont know actually what I wnat to do. When it is finally time to race there is a fire and passion that I cannot tap unless the flag drops, then its on. ANy other time I am actually really starting to enjoy more seeing people learn and break bad habits while riding together. The PR and marketing campaign with The RR has been a wild one. June 1st until about 6 days ago I drove 44,200 miles showing The RR. Ultra thankful for the opportunity and even more so that it is a motorcycle that IS what anyone would enjoy.
The first RR I was delivered was considered PP1 (pre-production one). The molds on the bodywork were not the final finish, the weld around the gas cap rather big, and the water pump finish was from WW2. The bike came with zero DTC and ABS. The Modes were non existant too. It was just straight motor and chassis. I could not beleive how well the first slip of the clutch felt. Turning onto hot pit at NJMP and cresting the hill into T1. The power was on tap and very predictable instantly when she wanted to spin up. Very romantic I have to say when the contact patch decides to lose traction. The chassis flex and the rigid swingarm combine for a very forgiving feel that is not lethargic, but controllable. To be able to change lines and keep it spun up with control is the best feeling.
The Sachs suspension is well suited for even the fastest of trackday riders. So accute are the adjusters that anyone can feel a difference once adjusted. Massive Monoblok brakes with the Nissin master cylinder are strong, but thankfully the 46mm baseball bats they decided to use on the front can handle the stopping power.
Effortlessly you can pass anything on the track. Go ahead, laugh and sit back, and snicker at that comment. Im talking about trackdays I have ridden at. Not until yesterday while testing parts for BMW at Portimao (crazy due to just learning about The RR last year) have had a chance to ride against full on built race bikes. Back to that in a minute, if you were here you would not be able to stop laughing.
After PP! came the second RR, PP2. This now had a much cleaner weld around the gas cap, water pump was semi better, and finally the Modes for different throttle responses. So tame and smooth was this 181 RWHP "M" car on two wheels. Without DTC you can still not have nearly the chance of spinning in "Rain" mode.
"RAIN" mode will allow ANYONE to ride the most powerful litre bike ever. Its just friggin cheating. Its amazing in any weather condition. This is still without DTC. 150 crank HP in Rain, but you would never be able to tell its so mute, but still allows you to get going. Now that I have been invited to Portimao in Portugal to test and ride for 2 weeks on the final production bike, it is almost to much to digest how much more this bike can do for any rider. Once you ride it, you will see. Each and every journalist I rode with looked at me and shook their heads with the biggest smile I have ever seen on a human.
The lean angle sensors that I am now able to trueley understand make this bike even more rideable than the first two aspects (chassis and mapping). here it is, pay attention.
LEAN ANGLES that DTC unintrusiveley kicks in:
RAIN: 38 degrees
SPORT: 45 degrees
RACE: 48 degrees
SLICK: 53 degrees
What does that mean. Plain and simple, "PIN THAT F'ing THROTTLE" once at the predetermined lean angle (you will have to shut one eye duringthe process, but trust it please!). It is so hillarious and you cannot stop smiling as any rider can finally feel like a Pro! SO, you have mapping in each mode that only allows a percentage of power to be applied. Thus already keeping you safe regardless the lack of smoothness a rider may not have.
You can flat out smash the throttle and wtahc peripherally the DTC light light up and feel such a tame and very mute feeling of power loss, but not uspet even one millimeter the chassis or suspension. There is nothing intrusive about DTC, thank goodness. Once above the determined lean angle that DTC works, its back to that originally smooth chassis that gives so much feel while laying the power down.
DTC also has what so many call wheelie control, its NOT wheelie control. It is DTC! DTC senses the thr front and rear wheel speeds. Each mode also has its on level of input into how much it allows the front wheel to come off the ground. Rain mode barely at all, if you can even get it to do it. Sport mode a little bit, sits down and keeps you accelerating hard. Race mode maybe a good 3 feet and for a bit longer, then cuts in and smoothly sets down on its own. Then comes Slick mode! Only for 5 seconds maximum. Turn DTC off in any mode, you can have the forgiveness of the throttle mapping, but wheelie as much as you want then.
Sport mode is where the majority of these bikes will be ridden on the road. Race Mode has the 1:1 throttle ratio, but the 48 degree lean angle sensor that actuates the DTC for a brief moment, allowing you to drive hard off of corners on initial throttle pick up (the be ready to steer like you have a rudder in the rear!)
Slick mode can be accessed through the adapter being plugged in under the rear seat. Still a 1:1 throttle response, but a very strong and unleashed throttle opening that you can just hang on, but still with a level of control. There is no point that even pushing hard yesterday in Slick mode with DTC off, did thebike react violently when unhappy. I had a big moment testing an RR that had over 70 laps on Metzeler Racetec road tires. Not race tires. These have been thrashed for two straight days. Now it was time to see how quickly the bike can be recovered from a massive almost full lock slide. My ass was eating the seat, but I was still on two wheels, and heading downthe big drop onto the front straight. Awesome!
Oh yeah, I will finish my earlier thought. Thursday about mid day there was a few tractor trailers unloading bikes. These bike were coming off the trucks with full race plastics, number plates, and every damn brand from 600's to all of the litre bikes sold. Even the new RSV4 Aprillia. They were there to hold a race weekend. AT dinner Thursday evening, I was asked to join the a test being held the next day, during the race practice, on our straight production S1000RR's with full on road tires. The same ones that are coming on The RR for the customer (K3's). There is an A, B, C, and D group. D being the fastest. Out of 80 bikes the 4 of us testing were inthe top 6 fastest and Fuch's had the fastest time of everyone, LOL, on a full on streetbike! I was 4th fastest of everyone and 2nd of the 4 of us (2,6 seconds of Fuchs'ee!).
Already many people think I should be shot out of a cannon getting out of the time capsule I have been in racing Boxers. Not so initially. I am really fighting hard to change what is the most difficult, riding style. I now have a shorter wheelbase, conventional forks, and tons of ground clearance. To be good at both, no problem, but to be great at it is what anyone wants. Jurgen Fuch's is an amazing rider. He has brought me so far lap times from Monday. I have all next week too. I have to just start pushing the bike down with arms right at the apex of decreasing radius turns to get it to carve hard the way it can. Instead of leveling off at a certain lean angle of thebike and running a hair wide. Also, way to much cornerspeed, which we needed onthe Boxers. Nope not hear, it can do it, but then we cannot optimize the power and lay it down quciker, due to being on a smaller part of the tire.
Whew, okay alot of writing here, but I am excited to share with you all. This is as much yours as it is mine. Thak you for the seasons of support. I would like to race naturally, but I am looking into other career aspects whether it is still in the motorycle industry or not. There is a wide open door to make stupid money on a contract in Afghanistan, but I will enjoy this bike with you folks for a little bit longer.
Apologees in advance for not typing the way I ride!