Motorcycling in India has transformed from its commuter-oriented days to present times, where leisure biking is just as popular. In comparison to the handful of performance bikes one could buy a few years ago, the options these days are available aplenty. Most of them come fitted with features which make them easy to ride fast, and technology which works in the background to keep you safe while you’re riding.
Even in a price-conscious market like India, entry-level, performance motorcycles these days offer equipment, that use to be usually kept reserved only for high-end machines. But, if you dig deep, what kind of equipment a modern, built-to-go-fast machine should come equipped with? Here are five such features your new performance motorcycle shouldn’t be skipping on at all.
Modern Disc Brakes with Dual-Channel ABS
They say that a bike must stop twice as quickly for as fast as it can go. If that’s not the case, it helps, if the brakes on a modern performance motorcycle make the rider feel that the bike stops well before he anticipated it to. What’s important for that behaviour is to sustain, when the temperature of the discs & pads shoots up under frequent hard braking. For this very reason, it’s vital for the discs to be well-ventilated and built of a high-quality material along with the pads which bite into them. For the latter, it helps them bite into the discs consistently and return positive feedback to the brake lever, every time it is squeezed.
Radially mounted calipers and petal type discs help to shave unnecessary unsprung weight away, making the bike more agile. Steel braided brake lines improve the effectiveness of a braking system and longevity as compared to an equivalent system fitted with flexible rubber hoses. The stainless wire braid more effectively resists expansion due to the pressure inside the hose core. This improves the braking system by transferring the input at the lever to braking force towards the caliper more effectively.
Imagine a panic situation where you brake hard, but the bike still keeps moving forward with its rear wheel locked up. Or you grab so much of that front brake lever, it transfers a lot of braking power all at once towards the system, jams the front wheels, causes the forks to bottom out, lifts the rear and you get thrown off the bike. For your fast bike, it is necessary that both its disc brakes are governed by an ABS system which keeps its wheels from locking up under hard braking situations.
The engine of a built-to-go-fast motorcycle could crank out plenty of power. However, if the bike isn’t firm-footed when that horsepower is being sent to the rear wheel, there is no way you can enjoy the brilliance of everything else. They could be the last in the chain of components which make a drivetrain, but a bike’s tyres are the biggest pieces which complete a glorious picture which we call a motorcycle.
The rubber compound of a tyre, its profile, tread and construction are key factors which help a performance motorcycle convert all of its brilliance into poetry in motion. A factory fresh fast bike’s wheels must come wrapped with high-performance tyres which grip the surface like a leech and help the rider extract every last bit of the bike’s performance with confidence.
Atmospheric air alone isn’t enough to keep the temperature of a high-performance motorcycle engine in check. Since the amount of heat generated is a lot more than small capacity engines, a more effective method of cooling is necessary for high-performance engines to perform efficiently in all conditions.
Some motorcycles like the TVS Apache RR 310 employ both liquid and oil cooling. In such a system, the heat emanated by the motor is absorbed by a liquid which is circulated around it. It is then sent to a radiator to cool down before being sent back to repeat the cycle. But since the engine oil inside starts to lose its viscosity once its temperature breaches a particular mark, the oil too is circulated through an oil-cooler. This process ensures optimum lubrication even when the engine is working hard for extended durations.
A Modern Chassis & Suspension Combination
Power is nothing without control. For a fast motorcycle to steer quickly and stay composed when it is being ridden near its upper limits, the chassis plays a very important role. Once a bike becomes capable of breaching everyday limits of velocity, a simple, single or twin tube structure just cannot keep up with those levels of performance. The bike must then be built around a robust, trellis type, twin spar or a similar, modern and robust frame. A solid architecture offers the right amount of rigidity, which keeps the bike stable at high speeds and helps it to go faster around corners with confidence.
Upside down forks is another feature that aids a performance motorcycle’s dynamic ability. Besides their good looks, upside down forks enhance the bike’s stability during braking and add more rigidity to the front end. In comparison to telescopic forks, they reduce both sprung and unsprung weight, which results in better handling. Some high-end performance machines can come fitted with semi or fully electronic suspension, while most others will offer scope to adjust the levels of rebound and damping for the front forks. Since such equipment costs a lot and the benefits are only apparent during seriously competitive scenarios, most entry-level or mid-capacity performance bikes will come fitted with forks which are tuned by expert suspension manufacturers to match the bike’s performance characteristics and the conditions in which it will operate in.
A performance bike’s rear swinging arm must be well designed and constructed out of a rigid material. It must be paired with a mono shock which amplifies the bike’s ride and handling abilities many folds when compared to a twin-spring setup. Most rear mono shocks will offer some scope for adjustment and the better ones will be gas charged.
A performance motorcycle must be as lightweight as it can be and designed to cut through the wind with the least amount of resistance. Unless the machine is aerodynamically efficient, its motor will have to work that much harder to overcome the resistance of its mass and bodywork against the oncoming wind. Also, a modern performance bike must be clever and feature channels which direct the oncoming wind towards components which require cooling – for example, the engine. It helps if the bike’s bodywork has been designed in such a way that the heat generated from the engine is deflected away from the rider. It goes a long way in keeping the rider comfortable, especially in urban conditions.
Apart from these qualities, a modern performance motorcycle’s components must be built using the latest technology and methods. For the rider, this translates into an experience which is unique, next level and enjoyable, yet, trouble-free.