I would like to tell you – regardless of our rocky start this season we’ve got our KTM RC8R dialed, and we are up to speed. I would like to tell you that….

But I can’t.

What I can do though, is share the journey. Michael Earnest owns Pacific Track Time, one of the bigger trackday providers here in northern California. He is also a racer. In fact he is one of the fastest guys in the AFM. It was Michael who introduced me to our suspension guy – Barry Wressel (Mr. Wiggles). I wish I could tell you ever since Barry showed up everything has fallen into place for us. I wish I could tell you that…

But I can’t.

What I can tell you though, is Barry is about done listening to me bitch about our bike being so unstable, so wretched, and so mean. So last weekend at Buttonwillow, during a Pacific Track Time event, I let Michael ride our RC8R. He’s been working with Barry Wressel for years and years. Those two speak the same language. In fact, in somewhat of a gay way, those two actually pride themselves on just how well they get along. And when it comes to setting up a motorcycle, they are legends in their own minds.

Michael asked me about a month ago if I would help instruct for Pacific Track Time – which I have been doing regularly ever since. Maybe this was Michael’s way of thanking me for that. I don’t know. But 3pm Saturday afternoon, Michael headed out on our RC8R. Barry sat eagerly in the pits. Apparently these two had been theorizing about what might be wrong with our bike for weeks. I have to admit, even I was excited to hear what Michael had to say when he came back from a few laps. But as it turns out, maybe I shouldn’t have… “GoGo? I have to hand it to you man. You rode the hell out of this bike at the last race. I know, I watched you. And now I have to say I have a new-found respect for you, because this RC8R is the single worst handling motorcycle I have ever ridden…”

I took that as a compliment. Also as a glimmer of hope. This bike has beat up my confidence. It’s so bad I question my abilities, often. Too often. So maybe it was comforting to hear another rider say the same things I have been for months. And definitely it was comforting to watch how confident he and Barry were that they could get the bike going, “In three sessions..”

Three sessions, hu? I don’t know – maybe if Michael and Barry got that bike worked out in just three sessions, I need to throw away my leathers and get a job at McDonanlds mopping floors. So I paid close attention as they worked. Confidence oozed out of their mouths like drool from a St.Bernard’s jowls. One sessions settings led to two, the second session’s settings led to three, three led back one, four went back to three, five ended up somewhere between two and I don’t even know… After the sixth go-around for them I quietly said, “Welcome to my world…” and I walked away.

It wasn’t a total loss though. We left Buttonwillow with a new suspicion about our triple clamps. They seem to be showing signs of stress. It could be we have some play in some of the tolerances between the pieces that make them up. Then on top of that, we have finally discovered/realized that the rear link on our bike is VERY different from the rear link on the newer model RC8R. I have asked around and the general feeling is this different link makes a huge difference in how the bike acts. So we are after a new link now. AND we are looking into alternate triple clamps – different than the ones we use now.

— I will update this post during this break between races, as we chase down a proper setup for this RC8R.

Two goals before next round are: New rear link. New triple clamps.

any advice, don’t hesitate – PLEASE

  1. Dude says:

    Dude? Current Blog Subtitle: “UNDER THE HOOD – GOTAGTEAM.COM “? Seriously…”…HOOD”???

    Proposed New Blog Subtitle: “Behind the F-ed Up Body Work and Inside the Bent Frame – GoTagTeam.com” :-) Note the use of upper and lower case letters!…think bigger picture marketing :-)

    Oh stop it!!!! You know I’m just exuding my usual overt levity and honing my totally bad sense of humor :-)

    Seriously, when and where is your next gig…I’m back in town next month…I’ll be there! I promise (no, really, I will!). Miss you guys! Hope all is well. Later! D.

  2. Ben says:

    It´s hard to suggest anything, because nobody knows what configuration you´re running at the moment.

  3. GoGo says:

    We have actually run this bike at 24mm, 26mm, and 27mm offsets. We have run rear ride height all the way at the lowest setting, all the way to the highest settings. Forks flat in the triple clamps, forks up 3/8″. Long wheel base, short wheel base (rear axle/chain length adjustments) All of these changes produced one constant – total hell – only difference being how the bike fell into turns, or steered wide going in, or wide going out, and of course how the bike turned at what rates of speed. All predictable stuff. But none of them solved our biggest, and honestly at this point ONLY problem worth fighting right now – instability. This bike is total hell to hold onto, everywhere.

    I actually am beginning to believe that our great custom triple clamps, which give us almost infinite adjustment, may not be as much the solution to our problems as they are instead the cause. They were designed with the lower triple accepting the off-set insert by simply sliding it into it’s hole. Not pressing it, not forcing it, and worst of all – not tightening it with a pinch bolt either. It actually just sits in there, being held only by the force of the upper bearing nut squeezing the whole assembly together. In addition to that they are made from one solid hunk of billet aluminum. Apparently, as i have been told lately by Attack, they don’t just hollow out their triple clamps to save weight. Some flex is actually considered into the design of them.

    I don’t know, it’s all Greek to me. We are actively seeking out a different set of triples. Attack can’t make us a set until October.

    Originally, after measuring a stock KTM RC8R, I determined 24mm offset would get us very favorable rake/trail numbers. Then I learned that while you can simply apply numbers to a chassis – those numbers will not always give you the same result. Now finally I am learning that all this instability may not be related to rake and trail at all – which makes all our work moot. Word has it, from multiple reliable sources, 26mm offset makes this bike happy. It did NOT make our happy..

    Our suspension guy got a look at the HMC RC8R at Laguna. Even took a few pics. He said they were running an aftermarket triple clamp – black in color, and NOT attack. I have searched far and wide, I cannot find an available triple clamp for this bike. For sure someone HAS to make them overseas.

    Thanks for the help/time, Ben. Keep it coming, please.

    • S says:

      When did you check with Attack? VIR was cancelled recently so Richard might have some more time available?

      • GoGo says:

        About a week ago. They told us October was the soonest they could start. 2k was the price. I am sure SOMEONE has triples for this bike, I still don’t know who though. We may end up going stock?

        • S says:

          I spoke to the KTM guys last weekend at NJMP. They said Attack made their triples.

          • GoGo says:

            Fantastic information “S”. Maybe it’s like most things in life – not what you know, but who.. Anyway we did figure the problem out with ours. Today was our second day of testing it, after round 6. We are making measurable progress with what we have, finally.

            And thanks for getting my back earlier today. I owe you one

  4. Ben says:

    Dude I sent the #1 KTM wizard an email, maybe he´ll get back to me about triple clamps tomorrow. If there are any, he will definitely know.

    Why don´t you run the stock clamps for a change to see if it solves your problems?

    • GoGo says:

      Thanks huge Ben. Our original clamps were modified last year. Believe it or not they welded up the steering stem holes, and re-machined them from 28mm offset to 24mm offset. We have only this Modified (ruined) set, and our custom clamps. We tried ordering new stock clamps two weeks ago. KTM US has none.

      I think sometimes, as has been the case in my racing for decades now, the most creative machinists get so familiar with modifying things, and building things, that they begin to lose respect for “ground zero”. After a while I think builders get so comfortable building things that they stop buying things. This is fine I guess, but doesn’t aluminum lose it’s strength when you weld it without annealing it after? The reason I ask is that our original clamps felt like they were made of butter out there on the track..

  5. Ben says:

    I don´t know Gogo, I am not a machinist, sorry.

    Here´s what he said:

    “I´m riding the standard triple clamps. Instability… could be the enormous flickability of the RC8 which one has to get used to. Other than that he should not utilize a long wheelbase, use a small rear sprocket (34-36) and fork cap flush with the triples. Use little preload, a lot of damping, hard springs in front, softer spring in the back.”

    Then he was asking what kind of suspension you were using and what you´re weighing plus what spring rates you´re using. Hand me the info and I´ll get back to you.

    Do you want me to shop around for a set of stock triples?

  6. GoGo says:

    Trust me it’s not a matter of me getting used to the bike. This thing is all over the road in a straight line… We have Ohlins R&T forks, 1.05 springs, WP shock in the rear, 9.0 spring. Our forks are flat with the triples, rear ride height low. But we’ve run it high as well. In fact we’ve run pretty much every setting imaginable. Did this guy know of any after market triples available over there?

    The guy who made our triples actually made the steering stem too, out of aluminum. We have a few problem sources now actually, this last point being one of them. I personally tightened the steering head last weekend, very carefully. Did the whole process start to finish, torqued it and everything. Three sessions later, Sunday night after our races, it was loose again.

    Lastly, the second weekend this year a well known fast guy out here tried the same Michelin slicks we run. After three sessions he switched back to Dunlops. Said his bike shook all over the place. It’s pretty well documented how much of an idiot this guy is so I don’t weigh his word too heavily. But it does make me think, still.

    One day we’re gonna figure this out. I know it

    GoGo

  7. Ben says:

    I´d do back to stock and try that. It appears your suspension is well tuned at least from what you´ve been telling us in your recent posts.

    I´ll ask him about the adjustable triples. Maybe the KTM Superstock guys know something?

  8. Ben says:

    So here´s the latest info.

    “Spring rates sound good, maybe too much preload? That´s what the RC8 doesn´t like. How long is his rear shock? It should be 292mm +-2mm, not longer or shorter. I have no experience with offset triple clamps as they´re not allowed in IDM and no one uses them.

    So generally, you should run the KTM´s suspension on a real stiff spring base up front and soft in the rear. Little preload, lots and lots of damping! I´m using a C6 compression damping up front, almost completely closed. Same for the rear. Geometry-wise, the bike likes to be run like a chopper, high up front and quite low at the rear. Other than that the bike is really flickable”.

    That´s what he had to offer…

  9. Ben says:

    Don´t know if your blog is acting up but there are 2 comments that don´t show up… nevertheless you should look closely at these images and sources:

    Motorex KTM IDM racing team
    http://www.ktm.com/at/factoryracing/superbike/idm/team/motorex-ktm.html

    bike spec: (click on “bike” next to “profil”)
    http://www.ktm.com/at/factoryracing/superbike/idm/team/motorex-ktm/details/racing/bike/Rider/bauer.html#rider

    Inghart KTM IDM racing team:
    http://www.inghart.de/index.php?mact=Gallery,mbfaf3,default,1&mbfaf3dir=2011%2Flausitz&mbfaf3returnid=263&page=263&hl=de_DE

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