We had a chat with Shane Kinderis this morning after the NextGen BMW head honcho had just sent his latest acquisitions out on track at the opening practice session of the Hidden Valley round of the Australian Superbike Championship in Darwin. Shane picked up two new BMW M 1000 RR motorcycles in Darwin on Wednesday afternoon and has been burning the midnight oil ever since in a quest to prepare the bikes for competition this weekend. We spoke to him just after FP1, but before FP2 today.
Trev – Anecdotally, I have heard the wings on the bikes have made a dramatic difference to the confidence your riders had on the bikes when you previously tested the M bodywork on your current race bikes before actually getting an M bike. Has this surprised you? And them?
“Yes. We have had some bodywork for a while and tested it at Wakefield and both Glenn and Lachy came in, I guess more confused than anything else, because where they expected the benefits to be there wasn’t, but where they weren’t expecting it, there was. Mostly under braking, the bike is so much more stable under brakes, it really grounds the bike I guess would be the best way describe it. While at high speed their first comments were that it made it harder to change direction, the bike sort of wanting to resist, which is once again, not what we expected. They definitely do something, and that was on the old bikes, we actually had to put 10 mm more pre-load on the front forks to get them off the bottom under brakes, obviously we would get to changing spring rates etc. but when we were just trying the bodywork out for the first time, we literally just ran the fairings for one session at Wakefield to see what they did, and yeah, we were very surprised.”
Trev – And I know we have been across this before in previous chats, but just again for our readers can you again explain the advantages the rear suspension linkage has on the M model, compared to the linkage designed for the much longer travel stroke of the Marzocchi electronic Dynamic Damping Control shock on the other S 1000 RR models?
“So basically the new M has a more, I guess a known rate, your normal 2:1 linkage ratio, which means you don’t have the shaft speeds that you do with the other linkage which works the poor (race) shock so hard that it just overheats it, as with the linkage designed for the electronic shock it works our conventional race shocks twice as far as it should. But with the M we gain more benefits than that, it’s just not the linkage, the swing-arm is different, the back of the frame is different, the linkage ratio is actually adjustable also. It is quite a complex mechanism in the back linkage now.”
Trev – And have you been working with and taking advantage of the ShiftCam technology by changing the phasing of the cams at all in race trim? As standard the cams change over at 9000 rpm.
“ShiftCam is used in our race package, we would never remove it. They remove it in British Superbike because the spec’ ECU used in that series doesn’t have the capability to drive it, but for sure we are using ShiftCam.”
Trev – As for the independent control of the throttle bodies in pairs. For the uninitiated this essentially enables tuners to smooth out the power delivery at major lean angles by feeding one pair of cylinders more air-fuel mixture to increase drive, before then progressively adding more power by bringing in the remaining two cylinders at a different rate as lean angle lessens and grip increases. Riders can also toggle this functionality on or off while on track.Have you been working with this functionality during testing Shane? It must almost be a time black-hole development wise, if you really want to use this feature to its maximum extent?
“To be honest, since the latest software update, we haven’t touched it, we are just using it ‘as supplied’. We have put the same software package in the new M bikes we have just got, but we had to change the internal firmware of the ECU, because these bikes generate so much more power, there are different torque numbers etc. used in the calculations, to make it all work, even though the ECU is the same, we have had to put the firmware version in it that is specific to the M.”
Trev – Is the launch control good enough now for the racers to use all of the time? Again, for the uninitiated, the launch control on even a standard S 1000 RR can be programmed for rider weight and whether the launch will be on a slight incline or decline, for the ECU to work out how best to launch the bike and feed the power in.
“We have never not used it, since the newer bikes came along, generally Glenn and Lachlan always gain places on every start, we used to get poor starts, but since the bikes got launch control I don’t think we have ever gone into turn one a position lower down than what we had qualified.”
Trev – A few years ago BMW moved away from using Brembo calipers to the American made Hayes caliper, along with a Nissin master cylinder. Now for the M bike Nissin calipers are used with zinc-nickel coated steel pistons with added cooling features integrated into the calipers and thicker disc rotors. This might be a significant step forward, have the boys mentioned anything about the bikes this morning?
“Their first comments were wow.. obviously Glenn is one of the hardest brakers in the championship, and he came in and said heading to turn one he had to let go of the brakes and get on the throttle again. Up until now we have used the same GaleSpeed master cylinder that we used on the previous bikes, so literally the only difference this morning was the Nissin caliper and they both said ‘holy’, ‘just unbelievable.'”
Trev – You going to be running the carbon rims that come standard on the M?
“Funny story… The carbon wheels, the M has different wheels, nobody told us, so we only have one set of wheels for each bike for the weekend. We were unaware they were different.”
Trev – Different how?
“Because of the under-slung rear caliper, the rear disc rotor sits out about 40 mm wider. It is actually outside of the line of the wheel. That said it is proper World Endurance stuff it drops straight in. I would have thought that they would simply produce some sort of adaptor for the disc and use the same carbon rims as are available for the other S 1000 RR models, as I wouldn’t imagine they would engineer a whole new carbon rim design, but they have.”
Trev – BMW claim 212 horsepower (5 up from S 100 RR) at 14,500 rpm stock from the M 1000 RR. 113 Nm at 11,000 rpm and an increased rev-limit to 15,100 rpm. The M engine has lighter but stronger Mahle two-ring pistons (each piston is 12 grams lighter), tweaked combustion chambers, new camshafts with more lift and an increased compression ratio to 13.5:1 (from 13.3), along with longer and lighter shot-peened Pankl titanium (S 1000 RR uses tempered steel) rods. Fully machined intake ports, even smaller and lighter rocker arms (width reduced from 8 mm to 6.5 mm – weight reduction of six per cent) and various other small tweaks.Are you using the stock M engines this weekend or are you putting the engines out of your current race-bikes into the M bikes this weekend until you get the engines in the M machines run in and prepped?
“Both boys just came in smiling after that first session, going ‘crikey’ it’s fast. And that was just after getting off the previous race bike on to this new standard M model and they were pulling another gear down the straight.
“One of the main objectives of the M is the engine. Obviously, I am a well-seasoned engine builder but check out the photo I took on my phone of the CNC ports last night.
“They are spiralled CNC ports, so they put a spin in the air before it even goes into the port, which can only really be done with CNC machining, they are an unbelievably magnificent piece of equipment, I am seriousy impressed.
“Air-box is completely different, the variable intake trumpet mechanisms are different, and we’ve got another 1000 rpm with the titanium con-roads and all that. Both boys just came in and they were literally both gobsmacked at how much faster the bike was, how much quicker it accelerates.
“The engine changes are significant, cylinder head different, rods are different, pistons are different, two-ring pistons not three. They are claiming five more horsepower difference, but I have never seen with all these changes, CNC head etc. and all the other bits and pieces make only five horsepower.
“Lachlan come in and said he was behind Oli and caught him and could have passed him, the first time he has been able to draft the V4 Ducati.”
Trev – The chassis geometry is also quite markedly different on the M bikes. Steering head angle and fork offset are different, the swingarm is a significant 12 mm longer and you now have more adjustments available in regards to pivot point. The front-rear balance of the standard M bike is also quite different with less weight on the front end (52.1 per cent on the M compared to 53.8 per cent on the R). With all those changes, suspension and set-up wise, you seem to be essentially starting from scratch this weekend despite the limited practice time available. So with this in mind I have to ask, are you mad?
Completely. “Absolutely and completely. I cannot thank our guys enough for what we have done. We had two road bikes at 3pm Wednesday, and we haven’t had much sleep since then.”
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