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"Fast Bikes", May 1, 2013

Dyno Time...


While dynos offer interesting numbers, they also highlight some fascinating facts, explained by our resident tuning guru, Sir James Holland of JHS Racing. “All of the bikes use ram-air, and it’s how the manufacturers use that facility. Just because the BMW S Thou’ makes 185bhp and the ’Blade makes 160bhp, that doesn’t equate to the real time performance. That’s because the Honda uses its relevant sensors to utilise air input to up performance. The BMW knows what’s going on, it ain’t stupid. It knows that just the rear wheel is spinning and knows the ram-air feed isn’t real, so it’ll chuck out big numbers on the dyno. The efficiency of the airbox doesn’t increase on the road, whereas the ’Blade does. You may see a 10 per cent increase in power with the BMW’s pressurised airbox, but you’ll see a 15-20 per cent increase on the Honda.”

Looking at the dyno graphs, it’s evident the ZX-10R absolutely bollocks the rest when it comes to peak power. While midrange isn’t a strong point, the Kawasaki’s torque figures are nothing to shout about either. “Kawasaki has always been good at feeding an airbox. Feeding from the front of the fairing through the headstock, Kawasaki pioneered ram-air. Look at MotoGP: the bike there was so fast in a straight line but they never got it to handle. The ZX-10R also has lots of electronics. It’s not as bad as the R1, but you’re not totally in control.

“The R1 is so controlled by the ride-by-wire. When you open throttle tube fully, at say 40mph, it doesn’t actually relate to what happens on the butterflies. The ECU controls that, based on internal calculations, and steadily increases the output. That’s part of the reason why the R1 has a soft delivery. You open the throttle on a Honda’s handlebar and the butterflies open correspondingly, and the same goes with Suzuki.

“The R1’s exhausts are underseat to get weight over the rear. All the top race teams used to have the fuel tanks under the seat for the same reason. The engine is canted forward so much to fit, it’s all about weight distribution.

“Everything on the 2013 Gixer has progressed very slightly over the K5. The engine spins quicker, it breathes better, the electronics are better, and Suzuki fitted an air bleed system. You won’t see much of a difference between the two, but it’s all about the gentle and subtle refinements made for racing. And don’t be worried by poor dyno figures with new bikes. GSX-Rs take a little bit of mileage to loosen up on the dyno.”

We know first hand how well the new Gixer responds to tuning, with my longtermer making 177bhp with a full Yoshi’ system and nearly 15bhp gained. The same goes for Honda, with just a three-quarter exhaust making big gains on Rootsy’s bike. The same can’t be said for Yamaha and, particularly, the ZX-10R. We’ve seen as little as 5bhp from a £1,200 exhaust.

There’s a new craze sweeping the tuning nation, and we’re surprised it’s taken this long to follow the car tuning scene. James explains, “ECU cracking is a big part of our tuning business now, even though it’s not legal for racing. Some of the software we have now changes the ECU and, for example, changes the dash from mph to create a gear indicator. The ECUs have such capabilities and are CAN-lined. Imagine your clocks or dash being your home computer screen and the ECU can be programmed to carry a wide range of adjustment.” We’ll have that!


S-KTRC electronics

Showa BPF

Electronic Öhlins damper





Starting to lose its shine


Still hugely capable on road


As bad now as it was than...


Maybe these days it’s OK


No longer the cover star...


Dyno variation. Dynojets read differently to Dynopros, so don’t get eggy with varying results...

Verdict: 10

The fastest, most capable Japanese 1000cc bike. Simples. Can we have some sexier lines please Kawasaki?



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