F0ul Thoughts

Mild mannered on the outside, Free thinker on the inside

Archive for the ‘Motorbikes’ Category

Why a bigger engine might be more fuel efficient

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This post is an idea I had a while back, and I wanted to make it public just to see if I get any useful feedback.

In the world of motors, there are a few big numbers that get bragged about. The most popular, often misunderstood term is brake horsepower, BHP. You also have Cylinder Capacity, CC, Top Speed in Miles Per Hour MPH, and once in a blue moon, someone will mention the famous Torque in pounds per foot lbs/ft.

Motorcycles are a good place to see this in action. Taking the example of the difference between a 600cc motorcycle and a 750 one. a 600 will be 100-108 bhp, 750 115-125 bhp and that is normally all the difference you will hear. So what happens when you find a 600 with 130 bhp, what does that mean?

The only way to understand any of this is to explain how each number interacts with each other.

An engine generates power by making a fixed amount of fuel explode. That is what the CC is about. A bigger engine takes a larger amount of fuel in each cycle of power generation.

The amount of power created by the process is based on how often this process happens in time. This is measured in Revolutions Per Minute, or RPM. At 10,000 RPM, a bike might be creating 120 BHP. However, if you can increase this to 20000 RPM, you could get 250 BHP like a racing bike. This is however, very expensive because to make all the parts of the engine be able to move that quickly requires extremely light weight but strong components.

The higher the BHP, the more power the bike has to be able to move quickly, although the top speed is regulated by the weight of the bike and the gearing of the gearbox, and the aerodynamic shape of the bike.

Finally, there is the magical torque figures. This figure is about effort in a rotational force. Imagine you needed to turn a bolt, and had a 1 foot long spanner. If you placed a 1 pound weight on this spanner, and it was enough to turn the bolt, that would be 1 lb/ ft of torque.

In practical terms, torque is what starts a vehicle moving. It is also not related to how fast the engine is generating power, but more about its CC and how efficiently it is converting that fuel to power. Therefore, a 750cc bike will always have more torque than a 600cc.

Why does this matter? In real world usage, people are not racing around at high rpm everywhere for another reason. The more times you convert your fuel to power in a minute, the more fuel, measured in miles per gallon, MPG, you will use. Therefore, if you have a small engine, with a high bhp figure at a high rpm, but great fuel economy at a low rpm, you are going to get frustrated when you notice the fuel gauge and your speedometer moving in opposite directions at the same speed!

In the real world, the most important figures are the ones that relate to how you use your vehicle. If you like doing 100 mph everywhere, but want to save fuel, you want a vehicle with great fuel economy at that speed.

Suddenly, physics shows that it really isn’t possible to have everything!


Written by f0ul

December 27, 2012 at 11:15 am

Posted in Motorbikes

5 Best Roads in North Wales?

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So you finally got on your bike and got yourself to North Wales, and you want to know where to ride?  Let me give you some hints!  I have my favourites, but you might have a different idea of a good road.  Whatever it is, there is one in North Wales!

There are more than 5 great roads in North Wales!  However, to make life easier, here are a list in no paticular order of some of the best ones!

A5 – Chirk to Bangor.

A470 Llandudno to Builth Wells

A483 – Wrexham to Newtown

A525 – Ruthin to Wrexham

A541 Mold to Denbigh

Are these the best roads?

Actually no!  The VERY best roads are a highly guarded secret, but if you want a hint of where to find them – just chose a road BETWEEN any of these roads above!

Enough of a clue for you?

Written by f0ul

October 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Motorbikes

Motorcycle Racer is Killed while Racing

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This week has seen 4 deaths in competitive racing.

Shoya Tomizawa, Jamie Adam ,Chris Bradshaw & Peter Lenz all died in races between the 29th of August and the 5th of September 2010.

While the world will remember their names for a short time, and wonder at their decision to race, the drive to take risks is natural.

When Dave Jeffries, the Manx TT racer, was killed in 2003, the following poem was read out at his funeral. It explains why.

by Author Unknown

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your ideas, your dreams,
before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the
greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The people who risk nothing, do nothing,
have nothing, are nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but they cannot learn, feel, change,
grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes they are slaves;
they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.

Great words to live by?

Written by f0ul

September 5, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Motorbikes, Personal

The Perfect Day in the real world

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I’m on hols this weekend.  Taking the wife and going camping!  We are on our bikes and its all about being on our own, living the simple life.

There is a lot to be said for not letting other people do everything for you.  Hotels, shopping and general tourism is all about servitude and it isn’t something I like.

Maybe it is because I feel most comfortable with self sufficiency, or its about a little bit of discomfort, but I feels good to be away from ordinary, mundane, day to day life.

Obviously, its back to normal next week, but while I can wear my rose tined glasses, its going to be great!

Written by f0ul

April 30, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Bikers Forced to Wear Day Glo?

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There is a story in MCN that the Police in Sussex are handing out Hi Viz jackets to all bikers, following a road side lecture. Its even hit the proper papers!

What do I think?  I hate the whole ‘You must be Seen’ ethos from various government types.  Having been on the road since 1988, and done at least 25k miles every year since then (wow, that’s over 1/2 million miles by today!) I feel I have an idea on how to drive safely.  I understand that accidents happen for lots of reasons.

I don’t accept is my responsibility is that I need to been seen by other road users to qualify for support if I then have an accident. When I go past a junction, I need to make sure that the other person doesn’t pull out on me.  How do I do that?  By moving to the middle of the road and slowing down a little, maybe weave ever so slightly.

Eventually, that person is either going to see me, or they are going to pull out without seeing me.  While it would be nice to think that a Day Glow bib is going to make me stand out, I doubt it.

When I’m not on the bike, I drive a big 4×4.  When I say big, I mean it could be used to transport a village of Africans around the world in reasonable comfort!  However, even in this mammoth of a car, I STILL get inane mum types pull out in front of me!!

Maybe I could put a day glo vest into the grill, and it would stop, but I doubt it!

The problem as I see it is that the people who make up these initiatives are all quite stupid.  There, I’ve said it, and I don’t regret it one bit!  The problem with stupid people is that they, like everyone else want to make sense of the world around them.  They do this by limiting their knowledge to one level of cause and effect – and will not think any harder – in case it breaks their knowledge!

For instance, speeding kills!  Um, no it doesn’t.  Inappropriate speed for the conditions can and sometimes causes fatal injuries.

Being seen makes you safer, they say.  Well, if it was true, then accidents involving bikes with their headlights on should have died out since they were made a legal requirement.

Seeing that is obviously not the case, how does also having to wear a Day Glo bib make things better?  There are actually reports which have looked at figures and they make no sense at all! One states that a day glo bib has more of an effect than having a headlight on – which seems to suggest the day light running light is a red herring!!

Anyway – within a generation, I wouldn’t be surprised that Dayglo becomes a legal requirement if bikers don’t continue to make a fuss. We already have lots and lots of laws based on nothing more than a feel good factor to connect it with the truth – so what would be different this time?

Written by f0ul

February 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Motorbikes, politics

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