Tips for Drag Racing Streetbikes By Dean Veale
|Here are a few ideas on how to get the most
from your street bike when you decide to drag race it. I do not claim to now
everything about this but I
have done a reasonable amount of research and experimenting over the past 3 years.
I guess for me drag racing is my biggest love in life. It's my hobby, in the same way that some people play about at party poker or like to drive vintage cars. If I can share any of my knowledge with others then that is great. Hope you manage to get something from it.
- Both feet down but with only the minimum amount of weight on your feet required to balance the bike. You want your bodyweight on the bike for
traction! - Your upper body should be as low and forward as possible to help keep the front wheel down. - Have your right hand rotated more forward around the throttle than you would normally, with your elbow elevated. This will help you get the throttle wide open more easily (you're not going to win using 3/4 throttle) - Clutch released to the point of the bike almost creeping forward. It also helps with clutch control if you hold the lever further out towards the end than you might normally. - Engine rpm as low as possible without engine bogging down on launch. I use around 4k on my Busa and 6k on the 750.
- Clutch release and getting on the throttle are the MAIN things here. Its not easy to get right and I certainly still need a lot of practice. The trick is to let the clutch out progressively while SIMULTANEOUSLY winding on the throttle to full. There is a tendency for a lot of people to hold high rpm on the line and then slip the clutch to take off, and once their clutch is out, to start getting on the throttle. This is slow and also hard on your clutch. If the engine is bogging on launch it may not be because you need more initial rpm. You may just need to let the clutch out slower, or get on the throttle faster, or both.
- Remember to keep your body down and forward, and get at least your left foot on the peg to change gear.
Down the track.
_ Once your past the initial craziness of 1st gear and into 2nd (most bikes perform best if you run them right up to the redline) you can then start to
tuck in for minimal aero drag. Also concentrate on getting your gear changes right and keeping it straight. If you are lucky enough to have lots of
power, or just a poorly set up bike, you may need to stay forward to keep the front down through 2nd and into 3rd.
Setting up the Bike
- The first thing (and it is cheap too) is to get the gearing right. You want the gearing so that as you go across the finish the engine is almost on the rev limiter. On most sport bikes this usually means going 1 tooth smaller on the engine, and going across the finish line in 4th gear. -Select a chain length that will put the rear wheel as far as possible to the back of the adjustment slots (maximum wheel base to reduce wheelstands). -Rear shock on minimum compression damping and maximum rebound. -Forks on maximum rebound damping if they are strapped down. -Rear tyre pressure should be as high as possible and still maintaining traction. I have had to go as low as 8psi sometimes, though 15 to 20psi would be more usual with a lowered big bike on a good track. -Lower the bike. At the rear this usually involves replacing some suspension links with ones of a different length. At the front you can slide the forks through the triple clamps and/or strap it down with a purpose made (available from USA) tie down strap. When doing this be aware of keeping things so that they don't hit when the suspension moves, and maintaining the required 50mm+ ground clearance with the rider on the bike. Be especially cautious that the forks can still go to full compression without the sump hitting the ground. This can happen if you come down hard from a wheelie. This will result in a smashed sump, oil on the track, and you on the ground. -Run the bike on the minimum octane fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
That's all I can think of at the moment. So just go and do it and have some
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