Updated: Oct 10, 2020
The rubber finally hit the road with our first test at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in early July of 2020. With all that had been going on thus far in 2020, we were ecstatic to have reached this crucial milestone and begin the task of verifying our assumptions and extracting the maximum performance out of the new bike.
Prior to the trackday, I had the opportunity to dyno test the bike with Kyle Racing down in Monterey. We also verified sag and made some tweaks to spring rates while at the nation's largest Ohlins suspension distributor. This tuning session was long overdue as I had basically been flying blind on changes made during the 2019 season. I knew there was more performance in the system, but I had only a vague idea of where the true limits where. This dyno session allowed me to play with some of those limits and find another 15hp over our best setting from last year. Not bad for a few key strokes on the laptop!
With new found power, a new chassis, and new battery, hopes were high for our first tests of 2020. Unfortunately, we spent nearly the entire first test day chasing a front end braking vibration that was robbing Troy of confidence on corner entry. We got lots of opinions on what was wrong, but in the end, we had a bad bed on the rotors with an aggressive Brembo Z04 compound brake pad. After I used a borrowed electric rotary grinder to clean the surface of the rotors, I sent Troy out in the pits to properly bed the brakes in. Problem solved, but it took until the final session of the day to confirm that we had found the root cause.
To add a bit of additional pressure to our first test, we heard from Paul Taylor of Taylormade Racing that he and Chuck Graves (yes - of Graves Motorsport) were coming out to see the bike run! While we didn't show a great deal of track action for them, they at least got a good look at the bike and went away impressed. Hopefully, we'll have the opportunity to work more with Chuck Graves in the future as he certainly has a wealth of experience to share.
Chuck Graves on the left and Paul Taylor (in the hat) on the right. I greatly appreciate the input from these veterans of the motorcycle industry.
Overall, it felt good to get the bike out on the track and see Troy flying around on this electric missile. We test to learn how to extract more performance from the bike and rider, and we certainly left this session with ideas for how to do that...