Motorcycle Road Racing Terminology

AMA American Motorcyclist Association. CC Cubic centimeters in reference to engine displacement. Crew Mechanics and/or team assistants. Crew Chief The team’s technical leader and the person who communicates directly with the rider. Displacement The space covered or volume swept out by the engine piston at each stroke. Disqualification Unless otherwise specified, the forfeiture of all points, awards, and prizes earned…

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MotoAmerica’s Five Race Classes

1. SUPERBIKE MotoAmerica’s premier race class, Superbike showcases the top road racers aboard top-of-the-line, highly modified sportbikes capable of speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. Engine Configurations: Over 750cc up to 1000cc, 4-stroke, 3- and 4-cylinder Over 850cc up to 1200cc, 4-stroke, 2-cylinder Minimum Weight: 370.5 pounds Rider Age Limit: 18-55 2. SUPERSPORT MotoAmerica’s middleweight race class, Supersport features the…

Weather And Tires: Getting It Right

In motorcycle road racing, riders often have to deal with a lot of different weather situations, and in turn, a lot of variations in the condition of the track surface. This was definitely the case last week at the MotoAmerica Official Dunlop Preseason Test. Changeable skies created three distinctly different track conditions: fully dry, fully wet, and damp/drying. So, when…

Tech Talk: The Relevance Of Rearsets

For the final two rounds of the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike season, Josh Herrin was a fill-in rider for Cameron Beaubier, who had injured his shoulder at the previous round at Pittsburgh. Herrin’s first weekend on the factory Yamaha YZF-R1 at New Jersey Motorsports Park did not go as well as he’d hoped. He was uncomfortable on the bike, he didn’t…

Tech Talk: Stop It, Just Stop It

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the process of transforming a production motorcycle into a MotoAmerica racebike, and we focused on replacing the stock exhaust system as one of the very first steps in the process. Because of its lighter weight and freer flow, an aftermarket, racing-specific exhaust system makes bikes go faster. Equally important to making a…

Tech Talk: Shifting Gears And Blipping Throttles

Despite the never-ending, always evolving march of technology, road racing motorcycles—as has been the case since the very beginning of road racing—still have manual transmissions, with six cogs or “speeds” to choose from. Across all five race classes, virtually all of the motorcycles competing in the MotoAmerica Series are equipped with two important innovations to their manual or “standard” transmissions:…

Tech Talk: Motorcycle Road Racing Is Exhausting Work

Original-equipment motorcycle exhaust systems are often works of art. They are also, more often than not, a compromise. Of course, the engines and OEM exhaust systems on production motorcycles are designed to work together, but factors like cost, durability, environmental regulations related to emissions and sound, and even aesthetics all play a part in how those OEM exhaust systems look…

Tech Talk: Coming To Grips With Tires

It’s no secret that slick tires provide the most grip, best performance, and yield the fastest laptimes on a road racing motorcycle. Tires are the only part of motorcycles that are in contact with the surface, and all of the acceleration, braking, and cornering forces are transferred to the asphalt via the two contact patches where the rubber meets the road. When the forces…

Tech Talk: Gearing For Success

In motorcycle road racing, the sport can be broken down into three variations of the same word: gear, gears, and gearing. “Gear,” as in the helmet, leathers, gloves, and boots that a road racer wears; “gears,” as in the cogs contained inside a motorcycle transmission that road racers constantly shift back and forth during a race; and then, there’s “gearing,”…

In Tires We Trust: Laying It On The Race Line

Last year at New Jersey Motorsports Park, I was given the opportunity to enjoy the Dunlop M4 Suzuki Two-Seater Experience, and the single most eyebrow-raising discovery of that experience was how fast Chris Ulrich was able to go through the corners, how far he was able to lean, and how amazingly well those Dunlop tires maintained grip. I’ve been a…

Steering Dampers: The Cherry On Top Of A Sweet-Handling Motorcycle

Tank slapper, speed wobble, head shake… no matter what you call it, when it happens on a motorcycle—especially a road racing motorcycle, it’s usually bad news. Racebikes have powerful engines, short wheelbases, and aggressive steering geometries that enable them to make very quick changes in direction. The side effect of that flickability is decreased stability, less feedback from uneven road surfaces,…

One Superbike To Rule Them All…Until It Crashes

Among the crashes during round six of the 2018 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship last weekend at Utah Motorsports Park, the two most notable ones were by defending champ and Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing rider Toni Elias on Friday during Superbike Qualifying Practice 1 and by Attack Performance/Herrin Compound/Yamaha rider Josh Herrin during Sunday Morning Superbike warmup. Both incidents were spectacular to…

Superpole: Two Tires Enter, One Rider Wins

Along with two Motul Superbike races that are featured on MotoAmerica race weekends, another Superbike contest takes place, which is not a race per se (although it is somewhat of a race against time) but is equally as exciting. Superpole is the final qualifying session for the Superbike class on race weekends, and only a set number of riders –…