After starting to ride over the past couple of months I’ve slowly developed a soft spot for motorcycles. While I’ve always liked and appreciated them, and vividly follow MotoGP, I’ve never really had a lot of opportunity to experience them. While they will never replace going flat out on a track in a car, they provide a thrilling experience no matter what the conditions. Maybe it’s because my 200SX has been going through a lot lately and I’ve haven’t had the chance to drive it, but there really is something about bikes.

So I decided to buy one for my own. I’ve been riding all the bikes that I have available at work but I don’t think it will ever replace learning and experiencing your own, and of course, I would like to modify one too.

I didn’t know this bike even existed until I started looking for one; it’s a Honda CB1100SF X-11. A naked version of the CBR1100XX Blackbird, with a slightly detuned engine (135hp) for more low end torque. There are a few other differences of course but in principle that’s what it is. It’s a big bike and a heavy one, but as I’m well over 6ft it fits me nicely.

I weighed the bike on automotive scales with a full fuel tank:

Total KERB weight: 256.5 kg
Front Weight Percentage: 47.8%

I’m surprised how rear biased it is.

The bike has these very distinct front cowls for the radiator that direct the airflow through the radiator and around the bike. Honda says they’re to improve cooling and also provide downforce and increase stability!

The bike is mostly stock, but the previous owner made a few tasteful and functional mods, which I appreciate. Firstly the front hand controls have been replaced with a proper handle bar from LSL and risers. The front fork springs have been replaced with progressive Spiegler units and there’s a nice billet upper triple clamp cover too, also from Spiegler. At the end of the handlebar there are some nice retro/cafe mirrors.

At the rear the shock has been replaced with an adjustable Wilbers one. It’s quite stiff.

There are a few cosmetic changes too, like LED indicators and rear light.

The braking system is easily the most complicated one I’ve ever seen on any bike or car. Honda call it the Dual-CBS, which stands for Combined Braking System. As the name implies both hand and foot brake levers apply braking pressure to both the front and rear calipers, in a proportioned manner. The RH front caliper is fixed, while the LH one car rotate and apply pressure to a second master cylinder which is in turn connected to the rear caliper. The hand lever only applies pressure to the two outer, larger pistons. The smaller inner pistons are actually pressurised from the rear foot lever to provide braking force at the front. So far, from a few emergency braking tests the system seems to perform very well and I’m sure it is quite secure for on-road panic braking, if you don’t have ABS. Although I would be interested in seeing how it works on a track environment where the rear wheel gets quite light.

The first things I’m going to do are remove the centre-stand (weight reduction, bro), replace a few service and damaged items, and then repaint the radiator cowls.

I spotted these guys many years ago at a track day in Franciacorta and since then they have come a hell of a long way. They’ve been competing throughout the year in the Time Attack Italia championship with each member of the team being in the top positions of their class. Hailing from Switzerland, they have made the long journey down to Italy for each event.

What is most impressive is the no. 46 Evo X, which despite looking “lightly” tuned, is one of the fastest cars in the entire championship while being street legal worthy, laying to shame some of the very serious builds and race cars that are competing. This comes down to a well developed chassis over the years, a good driver, and a lot of power.

At Imola, the driver Serse Zeli, was able to lay down and incredible 1:56.176 on semi slick tyres, giving the 3rd fastest outright time.

J-SPEC PERF Evolutions

August 7, 2011


Franciacorta Prove Libere 2011.08.06

I headed over to Franciacorta yesterday to soak in some evening track day action, although slightly quieter than usual there were plenty of great cars.
These two white Evos hailed from Switzerland’s J-SPEC PERF shop and it seems like many Swiss make the trip over to Italian track day events.



The Evo X is the official shop car and has some tasteful aero parts and very beefy VOLK CE28N with Toyo R888 Semis. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see it run.


SSR Type-C wheels were a good choice.



Functional.

April 25, 2011


Of all the cars there, this is the one I was least expecting. Most cars present at Franciacorta are nicely tuned performance cars so Lancers can often be seen, but this Evo X was quite different.


Low, Camo wrap and uber aggressive.


It looked outstanding on track. Composed, refined and very quick.




Look at that! It’s not everyday you see Weds Sport wheels and those Endless brakes are insane. A lot of money and work has been put into this, and it really showed on track. The Weds SA-55M were mounted with Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tires.



Proper.

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Here’s some shots I took at Silverstone of a small track day being held. Your usual array of automotive exotica.

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7’s Space