Bonneville Updates: January

Hello to all out in the world!

Winter is supposed to be a time of relative quiet in the motorcycle business I hear. Well I don’t listen too well and so we use this time of year to get our used bike selection in a position to be the best around and to build parts for, test, and develop the racing programs.

Two areas of development have been the intercooler and the turbo drag racing platform. The drag racing platform has not gone according to plan. My assumption was that we could simply transplant the ECU, ignition and wire harness from the shelf to the bike and voila, instant 290hp. Well, I forgot we sent the box to be updated and tested by Haltech. They fixed a burned internal fuselink and sent it back with a Chevy V8 map in it. Needless to say, it ran rather unusually. It was then that we started to remember the extra pickup needed to get the injector timing right. Searching around for those took a while. Installing them got a bike that ran strangely in a different manner. We are having to regenerate the map from scratch there and it is starting to compromise my sunny disposition. Hopefully it will be to a point where we can get it on the dyno in a week.

The second area of development has been the ice intercooler on the land speed bike. We got the system installed and not having any joy with the dragbike, decided we needed to see some power numbers to make everyone (especially me) feel better. We tested to get a baseline reading and after two pulls it started running unusually, just like it had a plugged main jet (if it had a carburetor) on the rear cylinder. The EGT would drop off and it quit running in that hole. Well, we took out the plug wire and somehow a star washer had gotten down in there. This kept the plug wire from seating securely on the plug and replacing the plugs and the rear coil and wire got things back to normal.

We were basically where we were last year at 285 peak horsepower, and so it was time to test the intercooler. Adding the ice and then a bit of water got the cooler to 41 degrees. Getting the intake charge temperature to below ambient temp is supposed to help power output dramatically. After the first pull with the chilled intake air, it topped out at 299 hp and along the way picked up as much as 33 hp at different points in the curve. Fiddling the fuel mixture didn’t do quite what we hoped and the motor heat-soaked and that ended the fun for the day. The increase in power at the lower rpms and the ability to keep the 285 hp until 11,000 rpms is good in that it will allow taller gearing to be used, allowing the bike to accelerate harder at the beginning of a run (traction allowing it), and the bike will continue to pull to an indefinitely higher rpm if the conditions warrant it.

Tomorrow’s testing will involve an oxygenated gas that is hopefully a bit more like the ERC brand of gasoline used in the gas classes at Bonneville. For now it is time to close this popcorn stand up and head home. It is very tiring to ride that thing, even on the dyno, as riding herd over nearly three hundred horsepower with a delivery curve like that is taxing on bike and rider. So for now I guess that will be it.

Don’t forget the show and tell next Saturday the 25th – 10:00am!


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