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Seeking advice for faster acceleration

Old 02-21-2011, 12:19 PM
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Seeking advice for faster acceleration

When I had my Katana I was able to increase acceleration by changing the sprocket gearing a bit. I lost top speed but was happy with faster launches as I dont need to go over 150 anyways.

So if I simply wanted to increase acceleration to 60 by about a half second or so what gearing would bring me close to this? I need to change my chain sprocket and tires soon so any input is appreciated.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:24 PM
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I have seen 15/43 listed. What effects other than acceleration would this have?
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:35 PM
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there are a lot of threads on this and what people feel good/bad about various combinations. There are also sites with calculators to let you find the resulting final gear ratio after the swap and therefore can calculate the change in RPM at any speed. The superhawk 6th speed is nearly useless most of the time so you have a lot of room for gearing change without worrying about vibration unless you go to crazy extremes. At some point, the tendency to wheelie is an issue I suppose. I don't know how big on the rear before you have to worry about rubbing with the chain guard. Just have to calculate chain length needed, or order a few links long and cut to what you need for the setup you chose
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:00 PM
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A slightly more involved but also cheap fix is to lighten the flywheel.

Changing gearing is an easy way to go, though. Just remember, it's a v-twin so torque is lower in the RPM's- if you change gearing too much, you make all of the gobs of torque that are available to you pretty much useless in 1st gear.
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:54 PM
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This has been much discussed on this forum. Gearing changes are by far the best bang for the buck performance improvement you can do for the Hawk. I have 15/43 and like this combination although it is too buzzy for some. Since top speed on a stock Super Hawk happens in 5th gear not 6th it is doubtful that you even pay a top speed penalty with this setup since the Hawk can now run to redline in 6th. Who cares anyway? I certainly don't since I go over 100 mph about twice a year. The performance improvement of shorter gearing is well worth it in my opinion.
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:58 PM
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That is what I was thinking. I dont know that I have ever used 6th gear and I hit 145 in 5th with no desire to go that fast again(I had to stretch her out at least once). I would however like to accelerate like a bat out of hell.
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:06 PM
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well ive dropped one in the front and went up two in the back. the good, she pulls hard in just about every gear, low gears are wheelie gears and shes a blast to rip around on short tight roads where top speed isnt an issue, the bad, she revs about 1000 rpm higher on the hiway. top speed is reduced but with stock gearing 6th gear redline is near impossible without a big hill. but with the limited fuel range of these bikes reducing it even further is another issue. dropping one tooth up front should be plenty to make you happy
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:27 PM
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For daily street riding and the occasional trip to the country I found just going down one tooth in the front is enough. The one down two up is more like stunter gearing to me. I dont know how those guys can launch without looping when in a hurry. It is also buzzy at cruising speeds that way.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:00 PM
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So let me ask, how often are you at WOT (wide open throttle) in 1st,2nd & 3rd?

If you are not riding at WOT in 1st, 2nd & 3rd then you will get better acceleration by learning to ride and opening the throttle than changing the gearing.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:44 PM
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ways to increase acceleration:

lower gearing 15 front, 44 rear.
520 chain and alum sprockets.
light wheels.
light tires.
light brake rotors.
motor/carb/exhaust mods.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by nath981 View Post
ways to increase acceleration:

lower gearing 15 front, 44 rear.
520 chain and alum sprockets.
light wheels.
light tires.
light brake rotors.
motor/carb/exhaust mods.
I still say that gearing is ridiculously low. I just don't see it but we have covered that before.

Also the best way to increase acceleration is to open the throttle. If you are not pinning it, then way do you need lower gearing? You are not even using what you have to begin with.

With my set up even the 16\43 is starting to feel a little low and I think I'll be trying out the stock ratio again. If I tried 15\44 on my bike the only thing 1st would be good for would be flipping the bike over backwards....
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:17 PM
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Truly Geek, Your in Florida, FLAT LAND. I mean really. Dropping a tooth on the front sprocket form stock (16 teeth) to (15 teeth) is all the gearing change you will ever need. Be that the laws of physics and ever 300 yards is another traffic light or a white hair in the inside lanes doing 10 mph below the posted speed limit. And if your getting to 145mph in 5th gear on FLAT land and stock gearing, WELL you doing more than the rest of the stock world of S-hawks I'd be changing cam chain tensioners/ Gonna be more of an issue with your bike, than you starting off fast....
Enjoy the sunshine....
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
I still say that gearing is ridiculously low. I just don't see it but we have covered that before.

Also the best way to increase acceleration is to open the throttle. If you are not pinning it, then way do you need lower gearing? You are not even using what you have to begin with.

With my set up even the 16\43 is starting to feel a little low and I think I'll be trying out the stock ratio again. If I tried 15\44 on my bike the only thing 1st would be good for would be flipping the bike over backwards....
hahaha. I knew i was gonna get hell for this.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by nath981 View Post
hahaha. I knew i was gonna get hell for this.
Me too and who from as well. I much prefer the shorter gearing.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by killer5280 View Post
Me too and who from as well. I much prefer the shorter gearing.
I understand what 8541 is saying and he is right as usual, but it's all a matter of the feel you like. I really love the feel of light weight bikes and if I had the pesos, I would have a 300 lb superhawk. Since I don't and since i don't play the lottery, I have the next best thing, i.e., some affordable options. Light unsprung weight that maximizes accel and decel along with the quick gearing mimics a much lighter bike. Definitely can spin it up quickly at lean if you get a little hamfisted with the throttle.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
I still say that gearing is ridiculously low. I just don't see it but we have covered that before.

Also the best way to increase acceleration is to open the throttle. If you are not pinning it, then way do you need lower gearing? You are not even using what you have to begin with.

With my set up even the 16\43 is starting to feel a little low and I think I'll be trying out the stock ratio again. If I tried 15\44 on my bike the only thing 1st would be good for would be flipping the bike over backwards....
I didnt even consider this. My Rarely even get to .5 throttle when launching. She wheelies way too much when I do and I dont know how to wheelie aside from opening the throttle lol. the only time I have ever opened the throttle near WOT is when I did that 145 run. with all the repairs I have been doing I have been blown away by the performance increases thus far. I am not even sure what gearing is on here at the moment.

Http://goecogreenmachines.com < if you dont know about what I have been going through
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:49 PM
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Do what I did- Buy a Gixxer 1000
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:41 AM
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I guess I'm gonna go ahead and be predictable too... You all might remember I had the same opinion as 8541hawk the last time...

Believe me, there is a big difference on the VTR from "opening the throttle" to really honest to god, pinning it open... It's the difference between "Driving miss Daisy" and a bucking bronco...

I have played around with gearing... And the end result I came up with was that first gear was useless if you lowered the gearing...

Now, I have done all the other stuff... Basically all of nath's list except light alu sprockets that I dislike... And a few more... Including lighter flywheel... So with ~120 @ the wheel, lighter everything, and lower gearing this thing turned into a monowheel... I'm actually back to stock gearing, but factoring in my 190/55 tire on the 6" CBR wheel I'm still almost 2% lower geared than stock... I am honestly considering going the other way for street riding...

Geek... Take a look at this excel file... It let's you calculate all the variables for the gearing and tire changes...
Attached Files
File Type: zip
sprocket_gearing VTR3.zip (10.9 KB, 86 views)
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:04 AM
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Discussion on this can go many ways according to personal values/preferences/functionality/etc., and everyone wants to believe that his opinion is correct and that includes me since i try to do the what is right. There are certain things i would change if i were touring at highway speeds, but not many. The only tour/highway changes would be to revert to taller gearing to reduce RPMs to save fuel, engine wear, and noise, and to longer wearing tires like pilot roads or similar for more uniform and longer tire wear.

Relative to the benefits of reduced unsprung weight for any vehicle and especially those that lean, I am firm. So even if I were to change the gearing to 16/41 with touring tires(and it would be the lightest available for sure), i.e., I would stay with quality 520 chain with a alum rear sprocket like AFAM or Supersprox. I would also stay with light weight wheels/rotors for highway/touring.

Skeptics of "light is right" in terms of unsprung weight need only do their own tests to enlighten themselves. Drastic is usually easier to discern. For example, on my semi, I once changed all 18 wheels from steel to alum, and all 18 tires from heavy full size to light weight low profiles. The difference was nothing short of unbelievable. Smooth over bumps, quiet, vastly improve stopping and acceleration, fuel savings that more than offset the costs of the wheels and tires, drive longer with less fatigue, better able to focus, and so on.

Replace all the heavy with light weight unsprung components at once and you will immediately know that light unsprung weight is nothing less than one of the greatest improvements you can make to your motorcycle's abilities because performance is magnified exponentially because of gyroscopic centrifugal characteristics.

In terms of gearing preferences, I love 15/44 for the kinds of riding I do, which is twisty rural roads, no straight roads except when unavoidable. haha. Lucky to live where I live. Acceleration, mostly regardless of gear, is crisp and immediate, and allows quick exit out of corners without a lot of the drama of gear changes which can add to traction/smoothness issues that can upset the chassis and reduce the attention equation. I like to stay between 5 and 7 thou RPMs and nullify engine braking with neutral throttle so as to minimize some of those factors which can upset things mid-turn. I like to do what I refer to as “rail” though corners, or at least to approximate what can be done with my XR650. Am I riding at 100% on public roads? Not even close to how I would ride if I didn’t have to be concerned with cops, oncoming traffic, or slamming into other hard obstacles. Do I go as fast as I can and still minimize calculated risks? No doubt.

In terms of whacking the throttle in first gear, start at 5000rpm, your ***** smashed into the tank, finger pressure on that left bar lever and your right boot resting on that little pedal down there. Now you’re ready for the green light, but remember not to abandon the clutch lever until you’re well into 3rd gear. haha
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:46 AM
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I haven't tried aluminum sprockets from personal experience, but I would think that the benefits of the unsprung weight are outweighed by the quick wearing tendencies of aluminum. You're not saving nearly as much weight as you are by changing tires or wheels, especially since the mass is so close to the center of rotation.

I'm just conversing for the sake of exploring viewpoints, but any $ you would save in mileage would be lost due to replacing sprockets more often. Any performance gain wouldn't be noticeable except in a professional setting where a second lost is the difference between first and fifth place. I'm just having a hard time seeing the point of that level of effort to save weight on a bike that is 13 years old...

Last edited by 7moore7; 03-09-2011 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by nath981 View Post

In terms of gearing preferences, I love 15/44 for the kinds of riding I do, which is twisty rural roads, no straight roads except when unavoidable. haha. Lucky to live where I live. Acceleration, mostly regardless of gear, is crisp and immediate, and allows quick exit out of corners without a lot of the drama of gear changes which can add to traction/smoothness issues that can upset the chassis and reduce the attention equation. I like to stay between 5 and 7 thou RPMs and nullify engine braking with neutral throttle so as to minimize some of those factors which can upset things mid-turn. I like to do what I refer to as “rail” though corners, or at least to approximate what can be done with my XR650. Am I riding at 100% on public roads? Not even close to how I would ride if I didn’t have to be concerned with cops, oncoming traffic, or slamming into other hard obstacles. Do I go as fast as I can and still minimize calculated risks? No doubt.
Here is a simple question, what gear are you in while you do most of your riding (as you don't like to shift)?
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 7moore7 View Post
I'm just having a hard time seeing the point of that level of effort to save weight on a bike that is 13 years old...

well, if you make it to 68, then 13 may seem rather new.haha.......Seriously though. i know most think like you, but not me. I live in the now, always have, like I might die tonight. So if a 13 yr old bike is what I have and what I can afford, and as fun as a superhawk, then it is the latest and greatest to me. And when i like something i keep it. I don't care what it's worth in a blue book or what others think it's worth or gonna be tomorrow, if it does it for me, that's what counts.

The first alum sprocket i had was a vortex and it only lasted a couple thous miles, but this AFAM is showing no wear after three times that amt. If i were to look at my bike like you suggest, i would only change the oil every 10,000 miles and leave the chain and sprockets on until there were no teeth on it or the chain broke. I consider my 13 yr. old SH like a personal friend that has my life in its hands, and treat it with love and respect. Kinda like an airplane that could drop you out of the sky if you don't take care of it, and you don't have a parachute.

Anyway, quality alum sprockets and 520 chains are unbelievably tough compared to just a few years ago, and so wear is not an issue like it was, except for a cheap-*** vortex or similar.

In terms of the value of reducing unsprung weight, the chain and sprocket is the least expensive thing you can do, except for Power Pures. When my rotors wear a little more i'll be lookin for light weight replacements too. If you could exchange every unsprung component for its lightweight counterpart and then ride it for a while, you would be reluctant to let someone talk you out any piece of it. And if they did, you would notice the difference, especially if you rode the same roads repetitively, as in, minimize the variables.

Unsprung weight cannot be compared with weight anywhere else with the exceptions noted by Tweety(lightened and balanced flywheel or other spinning/reciprocating). Given the choice of 50lb after spring reduction vs a unsprung 10lb. reduction, I'll opt for the latter every time.

Not only are the inward components like rotors, sprockets, and chains spinning at very high velocities, but they are hitting bumps/irregularities in a gyroscopic plane and this is transmitted to the suspension. In fact, I consider it an integral part of the suspension. Yes, outward spinning weight is more noticeable, but inward has a significant affect on improving ride/stability and/or how much the forks/shocks have to respond to.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:27 PM
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Haha, I wasn't knocking your love of the Superhawk. And if you're into aluminum, it can't be all bad! I understand unsprung weight issues- as well as centripetal momentum. A weight loss of 5lbs that is 6 inches away from the center of rotation is much more effective than a weight loss of 5lbs that is 1 inch away from the center. So tires are a very good way to reduce weight as they are on the very outside of the rotation. Reducing spinning weight is why lightening the flywheels allows for quicker spinup too... You've said this already, and I appreciate your effort to reduce all weight below the shocks, but the thread was started based on quicker acceleration so I still have that in my head somewhat.

I'm not trying to put down your style- you have a system that you've worked out and anyone who thinks that much about their bike gets my respect

My arguments weren't to neglect your bike though, they were just that in my case, opting for a weight loss in the chain/sprockets isn't worth the costs associated with them. No matter how good aluminum can hold up, it will wear out faster if all other factors are equal. I would rather spend my money and efforts in other areas. I would like the drivetrain to last longer for the type of riding that I do... I dunno, maybe I should try aluminum and 520 before I go on, eh? lol

Originally Posted by nath981 View Post
well, if you make it to 68, then 13 may seem rather new.haha.......Seriously though. i know most think like you, but not me. I live in the now, always have, like I might die tonight. So if a 13 yr old bike is what I have and what I can afford, and as fun as a superhawk, then it is the latest and greatest to me. And when i like something i keep it. I don't care what it's worth in a blue book or what others think it's worth or gonna be tomorrow, if it does it for me, that's what counts.

The first alum sprocket i had was a vortex and it only lasted a couple thous miles, but this AFAM is showing no wear after three times that amt. If i were to look at my bike like you suggest, i would only change the oil every 10,000 miles and leave the chain and sprockets on until there were no teeth on it or the chain broke. I consider my 13 yr. old SH like a personal friend that has my life in its hands, and treat it with love and respect. Kinda like an airplane that could drop you out of the sky if you don't take care of it, and you don't have a parachute.

Anyway, quality alum sprockets and 520 chains are unbelievably tough compared to just a few years ago, and so wear is not an issue like it was, except for a cheap-*** vortex or similar.

In terms of the value of reducing unsprung weight, the chain and sprocket is the least expensive thing you can do, except for Power Pures. When my rotors wear a little more i'll be lookin for light weight replacements too. If you could exchange every unsprung component for its lightweight counterpart and then ride it for a while, you would be reluctant to let someone talk you out any piece of it. And if they did, you would notice the difference, especially if you rode the same roads repetitively, as in, minimize the variables.

Unsprung weight cannot be compared with weight anywhere else with the exceptions noted by Tweety(lightened and balanced flywheel or other spinning/reciprocating). Given the choice of 50lb after spring reduction vs a unsprung 10lb. reduction, I'll opt for the latter every time.

Not only are the inward components like rotors, sprockets, and chains spinning at very high velocities, but they are hitting bumps/irregularities in a gyroscopic plane and this is transmitted to the suspension. In fact, I consider it an integral part of the suspension. Yes, outward spinning weight is more noticeable, but inward has a significant affect on improving ride/stability and/or how much the forks/shocks have to respond to.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
Here is a simple question, what gear are you in while you do most of your riding (as you don't like to shift)?
Well, since I'm now unofficially an ASStronaut. or if you prefer, a space cadet, and thus am required to travel at a high rate of fuel consumption, I need to wear a space suit, and yes, and it is a bit cumbersome. Since i like to "rail" through corners though, i've been intending to trade this rather stiff suit(and it stinks in here too) for an engineer's uniform, which will certainly afford much more maneuverability. But until I get to it, shifting is rather difficult and something to be minimized.

Beyond these constraints, I really don't like to shift in turns for the reasons stated earlier.

It may appear that i am writing a handbook on riding, the values of unsprung weight, or whatever i happen to be expounding about, but really i'm just expressing my beliefs based on my experiences over a life of riding and driving. I'm honest and am not afraid to make mistakes to learn. It would be nice if more of us felt the same. That said, I'm no stranger to adversity, so it's of no real consequence whatever people want to think about what I convey.

If you wish to imply that I don't like to shift for any other reason than I feel it is most prudent while negotiating a turn or series of turns, then delude yourself infinitely.

Hope that answers your dig, I mean your question?
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nath981 View Post
Well, since I'm now unofficially an ASStronaut. or if you prefer, a space cadet, and thus am required to travel at a high rate of fuel consumption, I need to wear a space suit, and yes, and it is a bit cumbersome. Since i like to "rail" through corners though, i've been intending to trade this rather stiff suit(and it stinks in here too) for an engineer's uniform, which will certainly afford much more maneuverability. But until I get to it, shifting is rather difficult and something to be minimized.

Beyond these constraints, I really don't like to shift in turns for the reasons stated earlier.

It may appear that i am writing a handbook on riding, the values of unsprung weight, or whatever i happen to be expounding about, but really i'm just expressing my beliefs based on my experiences over a life of riding and driving. I'm honest and am not afraid to make mistakes to learn. It would be nice if more of us felt the same. That said, I'm no stranger to adversity, so it's of no real consequence whatever people want to think about what I convey.

If you wish to imply that I don't like to shift for any other reason than I feel it is most prudent while negotiating a turn or series of turns, then delude yourself infinitely.

Hope that answers your dig, I mean your question?
Someone have a persecution complex???

I asked, what I though, was a rather simple question..... What gear is the bike in when you are doing most of your riding? You are the one who said you don't like to shift but instead leave in one gear, I just asked which one that was....... damn.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 7moore7 View Post
Haha, I wasn't knocking your love of the Superhawk. And if you're into aluminum, it can't be all bad! I understand unsprung weight issues- as well as centripetal momentum. A weight loss of 5lbs that is 6 inches away from the center of rotation is much more effective than a weight loss of 5lbs that is 1 inch away from the center. So tires are a very good way to reduce weight as they are on the very outside of the rotation. Reducing spinning weight is why lightening the flywheels allows for quicker spinup too... You've said this already, and I appreciate your effort to reduce all weight below the shocks, but the thread was started based on quicker acceleration so I still have that in my head somewhat.

I'm not trying to put down your style- you have a system that you've worked out and anyone who thinks that much about their bike gets my respect

My arguments weren't to neglect your bike though, they were just that in my case, opting for a weight loss in the chain/sprockets isn't worth the costs associated with them. No matter how good aluminum can hold up, it will wear out faster if all other factors are equal. I would rather spend my money and efforts in other areas. I would like the drivetrain to last longer for the type of riding that I do... I dunno, maybe I should try aluminum and 520 before I go on, eh? lol
Hope I'm worthy of the respect but I doubt it. haha

Anyway, like i said, get all the unsprung lightweight components you can afford, get your *** up there in the salt river canyon area and spin it up. Then let me hear you say that you'd be willing to go back to OEM; and if you do want to get rid of them. i got dibs on the lightweight galphers.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
Someone have a persecution complex???

I asked, what I though, was a rather simple question..... What gear is the bike in when you are doing most of your riding? You are the one who said you don't like to shift but instead leave in one gear, I just asked which one that was....... damn.
persecution complex? haha. that would be the least of my issues. I have serious problems that require serious medications, and i'm out now. you hear me!
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:22 PM
  #28  
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nath981..... Just wanted to say that I hope that I am still riding at 68. You are the Man
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by archaicguy View Post
nath981..... Just wanted to say that I hope that I am still riding at 68. You are the Man
If you are the archaic guy, i must be some type of pre-historic guy, maybe Neandthal? haha.......


doesn't matter how old you are, it's good to remind yourself of how vulnerable you are before each ride........then go like hell!
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:14 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by pwshadow View Post
Do what I did- Buy a Gixxer 1000


he he he, thats what I did, now I wanna get rid of it, my "sweet baby" SH is powerful enough for me with no mods, she is damn near bone stock, and plenty for me
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