1) ZX9R Hot Up - Stage one, pipe and carb kit
2) The Hindle Story - Racer to manufacturer
3) More tech tips
Finally here we are. I know this one's been a while in the making, but you guys are all to blame for keeping us so damned busy. Not that I am complaining, after all without your support we wouldn't be here now. A lot's happened in the last 4 months starting with a trip overseas to visit the new Hindle manufacturing plant. Canada really is a neat place to travel to, the people are really friendly and so casual about everything, in total contrast to the Yanks.
Then it was onto the US for the annual industry bike show held in Indianapolis. That show was amazing, I couldn't believe how many Harley Exhibitors there were, every part is remanufactured, from wheels to frames to engine and gearbox's you name it someone was selling a bigger and better version of the original. The show is only open for 2 and half days and believe me to see everything you need every bit of the time available and a good pair of running shoes. After that I needed a rest so we flew to San Francisco for a couple of days of R&R before the long flight home which got all flocked up and turned into a nightmare, but that's another story.
Early March saw everyone down at Phillip Island for our ride day, which ran like clockwork thanks to the boys at Australian Superbike School. We had a full turn out and the weather was kind to us though it was a bit gusty at times. No one seemed to mind, I know Stripper (our apprentice) had a good day, his first time at the Island. You know when you show your dog the lead and he just goes ballistic well, "that's our boy", I nearly had to put "him" on a lead at one stage, fortunately the threat was enough to calm him down.
Four weeks later and it was back to the Island for the World Superbikes where we had a display in the Expo Centre to show off some of the new lines we will be carrying, but more on that later. We all had a great weekend. Stripper tried climbing the pole on Friday night, (but his lead wasn't long enough), unfortunately he had to abandon his attempt and instead climbed atop of the monument where he has duly rewarded with copious amounts of half full cans of beverage. He even managed to catch one and slam it down his throat to the applause of everyone watching.
The racing was really good too, in my opinion far better entertainment value than the GP circus, and of course Troy Corser's 2 wins were a fitting end to the weekend. I'm sure the following pages will be of interest and as always your feedback is greatly appreciated. Manufacturing Exhausts. Many of you would have heard of Hindle Exhaust systems but probably don't know much more about the man himself or the process involved in making an exhaust system. I have personally known Lang for about 8 years and having recently spent time with him and his family in Canada I felt inspired to write this story.
Lang Hindle has been in the motorcycle industry for about 35 years starting out as most of us do as a motorcycle mechanic. Having a keen interest in motor racing which is still as strong today, he took to the racetracks and soon found that he was very good at it. By the late seventies he had full backing from the Canadian Kawasaki importers racing his own version of a Superbike based on the very successful Z900. In those days riders were still very much hands on and most of the mechanical work was undertaken by himself, even the manufacturing of exhaust systems.
As his reputation on the racetrack grew throughout Canada and the USA
so to did the demand for his race bikes and exhausts systems. Early in
the 80's having won the Canadian championship and racing against names
like Eddie Lawson and Freddie Spencer, the American importers started to
notice the very likeable Canadian and offers started to come in. Lang being
the genuinely loyal person that he is decided to stay with his current
team on the agreement that they would do all the AMA rounds and he would
be supplied with competitive machinery. Having just had a son, he and his
wife made the decision to move to the States where he would be closer to
his team and could concentrate on his career. Unfortunately it was not
to be, his team failed to get enough sponsorship funds and he was left
racing in lesser events, missing
some of the AMA race meetings. In his frustration he decided to retire halfway through the season and moved back to Canada to settle down with his family. As orders for exhaust pipes kept coming in, he started his own business and because of his contacts continued to work closely with top race teams throughout North America. All the Canadian Importer race Teams now use his exhausts exclusively and the Kawasaki Team is based at his purpose built plant where he overseas the continual development of his exhaust systems.
In recent years he was asked to design mufflers for golf buggies as the manufacturers could not make them quiet enough without reducing power output. His design was so successful that they had to look at ways of reducing engine noise as it could be heard quite clearly over the top of the exhaust note.
The new range of stainless steel exhaust systems is without doubt superior in terms of design and weight savings anywhere in the world. To achieve this he has all his tubing made to his specs from 22 gauge flat sheet. In layman's terms it is feed into a machine as flat sheet, as it goes through it is rolled into tube of the appropriate size and the seam is welded as it comes out the other end. This means he must buy very large quantities to reduce his buying prices, as all his previous systems were mild steel - this meant that all the old tooling was redundant and new tooling had to be made. A bending machine at $100,000 US was needed to produce quality bends that are smooth and consistent in diameter. Early on many hundreds of hours were spent learning and developing new techniques to produce the perfect bend, slip joins and butt welds.
I can hear you saying what's the big deal everyone else has been doing
this for years. The difference is they are using material that's a much
heavier wall thickness and is more flexible and easier to work with. Even
welding the joins caused some problems, too much heat and you have a big
hole to fill in, not enough and the weld doesn't penetrate and eventually
breaks off. So another $12,000 US for a state of the art welder
and a few more hours of practice and it's perfected. Once the manufacturing
process is complete every new model is tested and fine tuned on the dyno,
this is where all the calculations normally go out the window and 35 years
of experience is drawn on, to produce the required results. Lang has always
believed from his
own personal racing experience that good strong midrange is more important than top end power and spends most of his time developing this area. (Ah, so that's why Ducati has been so dominant in World Superbike racing!). Once a satisfactory result has been achieved all the appropriate jigs and tooling is made for mass production. I should also note that all ongoing development work on the race bikes is in turn passed on to the production units ensuring that every one gets the benefits. After all that is what it's all about. That's got me thinking, 35 years experience and $200,000 dollars kicking around it should be a piece of piss. Dream on.
Well maybe in another 20 years I'll have the experience anyway, but probably not the money.
ZX9R Hot Up
Over the last couple of months we have been developing a 99 model ZX9R for good usable street use and the odd race meeting. So here's the result...
Stage one, Power up Kit
The first stage of this, which we term the Stage One Power-up Kit, included a full stainless system, Dynojet carb kit, and K&N filter.
Because Stripper had been behaving lately we gave him enough lead to hang himself and he set about fitting and tuning the kit to suit. As is often the case after setting up the Dynojet carb kit to the recommended base settings he found that there was still some fine tuning to be done. The end result was a larger main jet and richer mixture screw setting.
Then the throttle position sensor was disconnected, advanced and retarded
on 3 separate runs indicating there was no advantage to be had in any position.
the final result of stage one, this test is a fourth gear roll on showing the difference between the standard bike and what it is now.
Stage two, Big Skid Kit
A fair bit more time is involved here as the cylinder head and barrel must come off. Our goal - to improve drive ability and performance through out the rev range without spending excessive amounts of money. The piston to valve clearance and piston to cylinder head clearance were carefully measured and checked to determine how much material could be removed without reliability suffering. The head and barrel were then machined to increase compression, and valve seats cut, re-assembled and flow tested to ensure airflow was increasing not the reverse. Valves were lapped in where required and all was carefully assembled to exacting tolerances.
The final part of this stage required removing the original cam sprockets which are non adjustable and fitting a new set which could be degreed to manufacturer's spec's and were also much lighter.
Everything was assembled, cams were dialled, and the engine bolted back in the frame. On start up you could tell straight away that something was different by the exhaust note, once the carbs were balanced it was into the dyno room to see what the result would be. My own personal feeling was that because the standard cam timing spec's were retarded from what I would normally expect, that its full potential would not be reached. But to my surprise the difference was quite noticeable as the graph shows.
I think there is still a bit more to be had by changing the cam timing, but as we ran out of time and were happy with the result we left it where it was. In the near future we will do some testing with different cam timing settings to see if any more free horsepower can be untapped.
Of course it's easy for me to say it's much better but the proof is in what it feels like from a riders point of view, so here's what Steve Brouggy from Australian Superbike School thought. "You should see what Strippers done to your bike!" was Dave's comment as he handed me the dyno chart " when I asked how one of our ZX9R's that we decided to do some work on was going. "I think you'll be happy," he added with a satisfied grin. I've got to admit to being a sceptic when it comes to improving any motorcycle. Over the course of the years I've seen so many bikes tuned to a standstill, that I like to see it before I believe it. The facts are that the standard 900 puts out 127 HP and the Hindle pipe and jet kit boosted that power output to an impressive 143hp. But.... What I wanted to know was, what's it like to ride....
The standard ZX9R is no slug by any stretch of the imagination, but I have to tell you I wasn't prepared for just how much better this thing was with the minimal modifications done. The biggest difference is how it drives off the turns. Coming out of turn 2 (Southern Loop) at Phillip Island is now the most exhilarating experience I've had while riding a motorcycle. It just keeps on accelerating! The extra horsepower and torque are right across the range, so there's no noticeable surge in power it's just stronger everywhere. (Southern Loop is a fourth gear corner that requires the ability to drive from relatively low revs right through the range before changing gears, so it's important to have flexible power delivery).
The difference is now sort of like this ... a standard ZX9R is like a finely tuned athlete. A ZX9R that's well carburetted with a Hindle pipe is like a finely tuned athlete on steroids! So ... if you find your ZX9 a tad on the slow side (!?!) just try some bolt on horsepower and I'm sure you'll find it more than a little rewarding ... it's just like joining the Chinese Swim team ... you'll certainly have the edge!"
Part II - OK ... so I was impressed by the first upgrade to the bike, how about now that the cams are dialled, the K&N air filter is in and the heads been skimmed a little? I have to admit to not knowing what to expect from the second addition to the bike, but the extra horsepower is definitely noticeable in the fact that the straights definitely are a little shorter than I remember! Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to get back to Phillip Island on it (back to back is the best way to do it) but I got the chance to ride it at a Kawasaki Riders Club ride day at Sandown, and that was certainly enough to tell me that we've taken yet another step in developing the bike. The jump in performance is nothing like the first one, but there is still a notable difference. The main thing that was apparent to me was the fact that the bike now makes power right through to the redline with no discernible drop in power. In fact now it's really easy to be caught out by the rev limiter. One thing it did change was the way the power first comes in, it sharpened it up too much which apparently is easily fixed with a carburation change. It has really highlighted the fact that the handling hasn't kept up with the changes to the engine.
So ... the next mod. is to give the bike to Rod Sharp with the Fox Racing
Shock that I've just taken delivery of ... then we can start to use the
awesome power that's now available. For now we have some schools to do
in Sydney at Oran Park and won't have a chance to finalize any other mods
until the winter break ready for our next 'season'. All I can say is "roll
I'll keep you updated as to the final set-up - and I almost forgot to mention that it will be given to some up-and-coming star to ride at the Stars Of Tomorrow event held at Phillip Island at the end of this year. The boys at AMCN have been given the job of picking the lucky person, so keep an eye out for that.
R1 Airbox Mod. All you R1 owners, do you want an easy couple of horsepower? Keep reading if you do. Its quite simple really, as is the case with many Yamahas.
The area between the tank and the air box is very limited and the engine
struggles to draw in enough air, so find your- self some washers to pack
under the mounting points for the tank or better still machine up some
spacers lifting the tank a good 10mm. The end result is that the
engine gets more fresh air and you're duly rewarded with about 2 horsepower throughout the rev range without having to do any jetting work.
Air filters: to oil or not to oil? Very recently we had a bike come to us where the owner was complaining that since the last service the idle would fluctuate between 1000 and 4000rpm and it was very sluggish pulling off from the lights. After close inspection of the air filter it was found to be over oiled so much so that oil was dripping off it and into the bottom of the airbox, in total probably a quarter of a litre of oil was squeezed out of it. This particular model (Kaw ZX9R 96) has such a good filter that it really doesn't require any oil at all, but to put that amount on it is not only wasteful but has the same effect as blocking off the airbox inlet. Now it's a mistake that the average person could easy make, but a dealership? Anyway if you must oil your air filter save yourself a lot of drama and apply it very sparingly, after all it's not a lubricant it's only task is to aid in filtering the air and not to seal the engine off from the atmosphere.
We are proud to announce that Vance and Hines Exhausts are joining out current range of products. The new range will fill a few gaps within the market, in particular the Japanese Cruiser bikes, which are becoming a popular choice for many people.
Prices for the Cruisers start at around $800.00 and are available in many different styles. The all-new 99 range of sports mufflers look and sound really trick.
The S4 slip on is their latest creation designed for the latest sports bikes like the R6, R1 and F4. It also features a newly designed end cap and sound diffuser for a mellow, yet powerful sound. The S4 is a new level of performance, style and quality from Vance and Hines. Stocks will be available in about 4 weeks.
Strangers in the night
By Don Thompson
they were seasoned enduro riders, (Dave's note. unlike yourself Donny Boy, sounds like your out of your league mate). The others I knew nothing about. We headed off into the bush, the guys leading us as it turns out are the nicest guys you could meet, they were
deer hunters, they new the mountains like the back of their hands and were around 55 years young. They other riders were around mid 20's to early thirties so it should be a good mix of people.
The motocross boys showed themselves early, they were trying to race
everything on the track, young Danny Tauge was there target, he had just
won the clubman outright for the enduro series and he beat most of the
expert riders as well, so to beat this guy was a scalp that only a few
could achieve. We finally made our lunch time destination 4 hours behind
time due to puncture after puncture, no points for guessing who had them.
By now the MX boys were a little tied, one of their mates had just bought a KTM 380 and like all beginner riders it's the perfect mount to learn on and did I mention Marrysville to Dargo's a goat track. This guy was riding on quicksand, as every minute went by he got closer to dying. Butcher Country track saw even more punctures, I gave one guy my last tube and put it on for him because he didn't have any tools. We reached the top of Howitt right on sunset, which was only halfway to Dargo. The MX boys got to the top first, helped along with my encouragement only to spew there guts up with exhaustion time now 6 PM.You guys who know this country are thinking, OK it's about to get dark so take the road to Billy Goat Bluff and head on down to Dargo....not for this tired and hungry.... food....thats right it's almost time to sit down and have a feed.... Not on the top of Howitt mate. How much longer one of the guys yelled, I looked over to hear about an hour or so come back as a reply, mate on a good day it takes that long just to get to the bottom of Wonnangatta. I thought it was about time to start a mutiny but by the time I had the numbers we were off riding down Zeka track right on dusk. It was an average year for snow thank bloody Christ for us, have you ever tried to cross the Wonnangatta river waste deep in the dark, I bet you $100 you haven't and there are about a dozen crossings. (Dave. no we're not that stupid!) Bikes started to drown as they attempted to cross in the dark, I was soaking wet by now but I was determined not to let my ship sink. We de-watered the bikes, by now there were a lot of cold and hungry boys still in the valley. OK lets light a fire and try to warm up while we fix the bikes, good idea hey...has anyone got any food?....no one was answering, survival was now the key point, and no one was giving away there food, if they had any.
The next problem was that no one was prepared for riding in the dark,
light bulbs started blowing and no one had spares. It was time to ride
in pairs with myself as the sweep rider as we tackled Cynthia Spur time
now around midnight. I would like to say now that young Danny Tauge is
truly a gifted rider, he road up and down the track checking with me and
the lead rider that everything was OK, this might sound remarkable except
for the fact that he was still riding flat out...watch out Shane Watts!
It was a bright night the moon was full, the air clear and the views were
fantastic from the heli pads
on top of Cynthia at 1 am in the morning. Danny told me that the line had stretched to around 5 kms due to the dust problem, the MX boys were suffering severely. I myself was cold, tired and starting to hallucinate due to fatigue, this was a problem that all of us were now going through and still a long way to go.
I came across one of the guys sitting on the side of the track his bike
not running, what's up Matt I said as I looked at him withering away in
the cold mountain air. Out of juice mate, he said. I gave him some petrol
from my tank to keep him going which later proved to be my only mistake.
Mate I was shitting myself out here, I thought I was the last one, said
Matt. No mate I'm the last one, come on we have to keep moving, so off
we went. Bikes started re grouping for another decent. I approached the
lead rider and told him for everyone's safety just to head for the road,
at least if someone goes
missing they'll be OK to find there way out at sunrise. Finally he agrees. We had 2 options when we made the decent. Option 1 we try and cross the Wonnagatta river once more or option 2 ride across a rope swinging bridge, we decided on the bridge. This was one wild ride at 3 am, the bridge was swinging from side to side as each bike crossed, some with head lights, some without. I just looked at the end of it and laid
rubber on the Big KTM. By now you would think finally there on there way into Dargo but did I mention petrol earlier. Bikes one by one started to stop, the slow going had taken its toll. I made it to within 5 kms of Dargo, it was now around 4.30 am, 3 other guys with me ran out as well so we lit a fire and lay down beside the road.
The fire was warm, we were physically exhausted from no food and needless
battering from the rocky tracks in the dark. A car comes down the road
and it was Danny and Helen from the pub, Danny had just made it in. They
topped us up and drove on to the
find the others. The fire was the first real warmth we had felt in hours, the other 3 and myself laid down beside the fire, we could ride no more. I don't know what happened next but I jumped up and said to the others that if we leave now we can have a feed and a hot shower. One by one we put our gear back on and started to ride into Dargo when one of the bikes shit itself. Leave the f....ing thing there and I'll dink you in, I said, I'd had enough by now but one of the guys had a rope so we towed it into Dargo. One by one the bikes rolled in over the next half-hour, it had been a very long day.
We had ridden around 24 hours straight, on rocky mountain trails. When I see the boys from that trip we still look at each other in a strange sort of way, we grin and then just shake our heads. The MX boys all rang up and got a lift home from Dargo the next day.
The other boys and myself sat in the pub for the next 24 hr's getting
to know each other (Dave, I always knew there was something not quite right
about him). It turns out that they are some of Victoria's finest enduro
riders with A4DE gold medals to their names.
We rode out of Dargo on the Sunday the same way we had come in but this time with the right people it only took around 14 hrs.
Would I do it again....? You betcha...!
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