For 2011, we pulled out all the stops! We took everything we learned from the previous years and all the different bikes and we put it all together in one bike. In addition to Engine Development, we also applied everything we learned about the chassis to this bike, trying to make it the ultimate NC450V. We have also changed the looks by switching to the TYGA Performance RC211V Replica Bodywork, and incorporating a new Under-Tail exhaust to compliment the MotoGP styling. (Please see the NC450V Gen 6Ti - ENGINE Page for details on the engine). The only thing that has not been applied to this bike is Fuel Injection.....Yet.
Because of the DNF due to a broken wire last season, and the number of crashes the bike had seen since the last complete rebuild, I took it upon myself to take the bikes (both his NC450V and his NV428V) and strip them down to bare frames, carefully inspecting everything, then reassembling everything meticulously. It's a good thing I did because there were a lot of things aboutto become problems. I can never say enough how important it is to go through the bike from head to toe as often as possible. There were many wires on this bike that looked as though they were about to break, or just had bad corrosion/connections.
In addition to the troubled wires, I also found tha the chassis had it's own problems. Almost every part was rusted, corroded or fatigued. As I was washing the parts, I found the frame was cracked almost all the way through at the lower rear downtube that connects the swingarm pivot to the shock tower. That could have been really bad! Luckily we found it when we did, not after it was too late. Nothing a little TIG welding couldn't fix.
Once the chassis were all torn down to bare frames and swingarms, with all the bearings removed, I prepared everything for powdercoating of all Aluminum parts and Cadmium Plating of all Steel parts. We decided that Black would be the best color for the Powdercoating and Olympic Powdercoating suggested their "textured" semi-gloss black vs a flat black or smooth semi-gloss. This was an amazing choice as it really hid the little nicks and dings that were all over the chassis. To compliment the black, I decided I wanted a "Special Edition" look of Gold on Black. So, I chose a Gold Cadmium Plating vs the normal Silver. I think it really accents the bike.
There has been a lot of discussion about changing the suspension linkage ratio. We also noticed that the HRC bikes had adjustable linkages, and even with the later model race bikes, like the VTR1000 SP-1/2 (AKA: RC-51) several notable suspension experts were changing the links out for ones with different offsets. I am not as much a suspension guy as an engine guy, so I wasn't sure exactly what the reasons would be. One of our group members, Dave Wallis works closely with former Superbike Champion Doug Chandler. From Doug's suggestions, Dave told us he had tried some different offsets, and was really happy with the results. Since then, some other riders have also tried the different offsets, also with good results. The theory being that changing the ratio can change the spring rate through the stroke of the shock. We were told we would need to also readjust the shock length to keep our desired ride height. Since the NC-30 and NC-35 use slightly different linkage rates, we weren't sure what would work best for us. I decided to make my own adjustable link to try and find that "Sweet Spot" in the ratio before we went to making a fixed-offset part. I had no idea where to start, so Dave's guidance was very appreciated in pointing us in the right direction. The bike has only been on track once since the new link, so we're still early in testing for that "Sweet Spot".
In an attempt to lose as much unsprung weight as possible, we were looking at how to lighten the rear swingarm area. The RVF spindle on that bike is massive and seems very over-built. We looked at the rear spindle for the RC-45 as there seem to be Titanium tid-bits for it available. That somehow led us to try and reduce the weight of the rear brake caliper. The journey somehow led us to a 2000 RS250R Rear Hub assembly. The parts slip right into the NC Swingarms. The RS250R just has it flipped (sprocket and rotor are on opposite sides as the NC). It was a long process to get the measurements, but it turns out everything just slips in and locates just fine. There were a couple of strange gltches that we still have yet to explain, but we worked around them none-the-less. So, now we have a complete RS250R Rear Hub Assembly in place of the NC-35 Assembly for an impressive weight savings of more than 3 lbs (approximately 1.5 kg).
As we make this bike go faster, we need it to handle better. The stock NC-35 forks were OK, but they definitely could use internal valving work. Even with the aid of our suspension specialists, we still felt they could be better. Mark Elrod wanted better suspension feel, as well as better brakes, so he decided to upgrade the forks to Ohlins Road & Track components. This was the perfect foundation for the rest of the upgrades as well. So, he purchased a set of Ohlins forks for a CBR1000RR, Brembo HP Billet Calipers and 310mm Brake-Tech Axis Iron rotors and mounted up a Dymag Magnesium wheel. Mark is just waiting for the 320mm Ceramic Rotors to become available so he can upgrade even further.
Currently, Mark has some custom made Attack Performance triplclamps to mount the forks to the frame. As we get our own CNC equipment up to speed, we will be making our own triple clamps to my design. These are a fixed off-set (as opposed to the adjustable off-set of the Attacks) and are much lighter than the Attacks. We have already made a small batch to mount the CBR600RR forks to the VFR and RVF chassis. We are just waiting to get the first batch for the CBR1000RR forks done so we can start producing more on demand. Unfortunately, getthig the CNC machines up and running has been a bigger task than we anticipated, so things have been delayed.
UNDER TAIL EXHAUST:
Tyga Performance has done an outstanding job making a true Honda RC211V replica set of bodywork. They provided a place for what Honda originally intended for the rear cylinder bank exhaust outlet. So, we decided we wanted to make use of that and run our rear exhaust in its intended place. It took some tremendous work to get it to happen, but we finally found a local exhaust maker that was willing to take on the task.
Power Pros Racing Exhausts Don Kistler took on the task of first building us a custom dyno test pipe that we could plug different lengths and diameters of pipe together to try different configurations for the best power. No matter what we tried, the RLR Dual Shotgun system we were using as a bench-mark still came out the best. So, I asked Don to make us an undertail system that had similar dimensions as the RLR system, but fit under the tail.
He delivered a thing of beauty. The pipes were carefully fit in and he curled them around to fit the length within the tail area. We called this the "Curly-Q" for it's wild curves. The first attempt "Curly-Q1" delivered the same peak power as the RLR, but lost quite a bit of mid-range from 10,500rpm to 13,500rpm. Looking at the dimensions compared to the RLR system, and the dyno tests we did earlier, we felt that the secondary pipe length was too long and the primary lengths too short on ths pipe. Time to try something different.
After reviewing the dyno graphs with Don we agreed on what needed to modify and he went to work in making the appropriate changes. This time, we added more length to the Primary pipes and then shortened the Secondary to match closer to the RLR pipe dimesnions. Due to space and placement, we weren't able to match the rear RLR dimensions perfectly, but made the dimensions land between the RLR front adn RLR rear dimensions. We have installed the new pipe. It required a lot more heat shielding and careful routing of the brake hoses and shock hose, but we made it all work.
Finally, we were able to test the new "Curly-Q2" system on the dyno. From the first pull it was obvious that the new dimensions were not just equal to the RLR, but even better. Where the "Curly-Q1" lost about 3hp everywhere through the midrange and then came up to peak equal to the RLR, the new "Curly-Q2" has bountiful power everywhere over any pipe we've ever tested. The RLR used to be our benchmark exhaust as it had the best power curve. But, now the new "Curly-Q2" undertail is the best exhaust we have ever run on our bikes. In addition to much better power through the band, with only the addition of this new pipe we have again reached a new all-time maximum power of 93.5hp on pump gas (Shell 91 Octane Unleaded automotive fuel). We did not have any of our racing fuel on hand that night, but we estimate the power would easily be right at, or above 95.0hp.
[NOTE: On the graphs regarding the "Curly-Q" pipes above, the first graph is comparing the "CQ1" to the RLR with modified NC-30 carbs on both runs using the same Shell 91 Octane pump fuel. On the graphs comparing the "CQ1" to "CQ2", the bike was fitted with the Keihin FCR32V Flatslide carbs on both runs using the same Shell 91 Octane pump fuel. This was the only way to illustrate a true Apples-to-Apples copmparison. This is why the power numbers vary from the two graphs for the "CQ1" runs.]
BATTERY & BOX:
We were searching for a light weight battery option. Little did we know with the new undertail exhaust, it was a requirement as there was now no room to put a regular sized battery. We found these batteries by Full Spectrum that were incredibly small, light and have enough output for a 600cc motorcycle (with a stock charging system). It's hard to believe they work as well as they do for how small they really are. But, so far, so good. This modification saved nearly 6lbs (2.8kg).
DASH & DATA ACQUISITION:
In order to keep tabs on the running conditions of the bike, lap times, and other chassis monitoring, Mark uses a Mychron 3 Gold dash unit. This unit is capable of running various configurations of sensors that we change around as we need them. We have used the dash to monitor dual water temps to test radiator performance, dual oil temps to test oil cooler performance, oil pressures to see how the pump is working, as well as wheel speed, gyroscopic track mapping, infrared lap timing, engine rpm, brake pressure, throttle position, battery voltage and ambient temperature. We are looking to monitor Lambda (Air Fuel Ratio) coupled with Throttle Position to help dial in the Keihin FCR flatslides next. For the cost, the Mychron really does get you some of the best value for your money in data.
Increasing horsepower always has an annoying habbit of increasing heat. In reality, heat IS horsepower. Therefore, the two must go hand-in-hand. We were finding that the engine temperatures were becoming hard to keep in control, especially on hotter days. So, we went searching for a better cooling system. We tried several aftermarket suppliers of pre-made radiators for the NCs. The Radtech radiators seemed to be the only game in town. They worked, but not well enough. We later found that a stock NC-35 upper radiator combined with a Radtech lower radiator seemed to have the best cooling of what was available. But, our engine temperatures were still climbing out of control on the engines with 80+hp. I started to design my own radiators, but ran into problems finding anyone willing to make such custom radiators for any reasonable price. My quest was halted for a while.
A few people from 400Greybike were now talking about a fellow in Germany that was hand building radiators for some of the Factory WSBK teams. We only know of the guy as "Gerd" and go through another fellow 400Greybike enthusiast from Germany to get them. Before we ordered up a set, we were able to borrow a set from another fellow 400Greybiker here in the USA. They fit nicely, so we finally stepped up and got a set. They fit nearly perfect (nothing custom fits absolutley perfect) and they immediately started controlling the bike's temperature to an acceptable range. We have yet to see how they do on a 100F day sitting on the grid, but so far, they do the job well. The picture to the left is of the Gerd radiators mounted to the 450. The pictures below are of the Gerd radiators compared to stock NC-35 radiators. There is a huge difference in area and volume of these radiators. We calculated something around 35% more cooling capacity and the temp guage backs that up.
TO BE CONTINUED:
The wish-list is still not complete. We are still in the process of getting a Carbon Fiber Fuel Tank Shell, with an Aluminum under-tank made. We are hoping to shed over 7lbs (3.5kg) with this modification. We are also hoping to get lighter mufflers made and, once we have the final exhaust configuration done maybe see if we can get the system made from Titanium for additional weight savings. The R&D that has gone into this chassis is the cumulative learning from all the bikes we have been working on since 2002. We couldn't have made it this far without all the help of our team, and all of the 400cc enthusiasts all over the world, mostly through 400Greybike.com. This has been one of the most helpful and supportive forums around the world for these bikes. If you're not a member and can appreciate these bikes, please look at joining to support the cause.
SPECIFICATIONS (Gen 6Ti 2011 - CHASSIS):
Rake x Trail: (Not Measured Yet)
Wheelbase: (Not Measured Yet)
Weight: (Not Measured Yet)
Fr. Forks: Ohlins Road & Track (FGRT 813 CBR1000RR)
Fr. Wheel: Dymag Magnesium 5-Spoke 17 x 3.5 (CBR1000RR)
Fr. Brake M/C: Brembo Radial Pump 19x18
Fr. Brake Cailpers: Brembo HP Radial BIllet 2-piece (CBR1000RR)
Fr. Brake Rotors: Brake Tech Axis Rotors(CBR1000RR) 310mm Iron now, 320mm Ceramic soon
Rr. Shock: Penske with High-Speed and Low Speed adjustments (8987 Series)
Rr. Susp Link: G-Force Custom Adjustable Linkage
Rr. Brake Caliper: 2000 Honda RS-250R
Rear Brake Rotor: 2000 Honda RS-250R
Rear Brake Line: Galfer Custom SS Line
Rear Wheel Spindle: 2000 Honda RS-250R
Rear Sprocket Carrier: 2000 Honda RS-250R
Rear Wheel: Dymag Magnesium 5-Spoke 17 x 5.25 (RVF400R)
Dash: Mychron 3 Gold
Bodywork: Tyga Performance RC211V Race Replica, complete set.
Paint: Finishing Touch - John Bisson
Frame: Olympic Powdercoating
Exhaust: Power Pro's Custom Undertail System
Titanium Hardware: Pro Bolt
Cost to Build: ~Shan't Discuss