Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Testing at Reading Velodrome

Beano at Reading Velodrome
Before the season opener at Hillingdon, Steve and I went to the velodrome at Reading to check all was OK with the Beano and Quattro. This was my first outing with the Scorcher tyres fitted, so I was hoping for good things. This was also an opportunity to test some modifications that Lee Wakefield had kindly done on Steve’s Beano.
Well, the Steve / Beano combination was as swift as ever and everything was working well. In Quattro, I was able to lap at about 26-27mph for a few laps, which was a little disappointing. The new tyres didn’t seem to be giving me the benefits I was expecting.

Steve in Quattro at Reading Velodrome
After the first race at Hillingdon and the discovery that I had tracking issues with Quattro, we decided to go back to Reading and try again, this time with the wheels all pointing in the same direction!
Using the laser spirit levels, I had tracked all four wheels to as near parallel as I could manage. I know you should only change one thing at a time, but I had also taken 32mm out of the height of the head fairing.
On the second trip to Reading, I was at least 10% faster with speeds of 29/30mph for a few laps, compared with 26/27mph last time. Slash was able to lap at about 32.5mph but he was over stretching for the pedals despite some seat padding.
No Add-On Tail
We both seemed to be slightly (1/2mph) faster without the add-on tail which was a surprise.
Without any way of measuring the power input at the moment, these tests are not very scientific, but as long as I am going a bit faster, I am happy.
I imagine the overall improvement is mainly due to the better tracking. It did seem to roll a lot better when free-wheeling. I have done a fair amount of training and the chopped lid must help a little, but I am sure the tracking is the key.
There was a hot plastic sort of smell again, which I noticed last time we came to Reading. It only seemed to happen on one of the banked bends but needs investigating.
Nose Too Low?
Watching Steve going round was interesting; having lifted up the rear of Quattro 1/2deg, for better forward vision, the nose now looks too low. I might try and jack up the front to get the bottom horizontal again.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

2012 Season Opener

The first race of the 2012 season was at the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit on the 1st April. For those of you not familiar with the circuit, it is 0.96 mile, fast, smooth and very popular with laid back cyclists. It does have a long and fast hairpin bend which can be taken more or less flat out, but it does scrub off speed for us multi-track riders.
For the race, I fitted Greenspeed Scorchers and my new Ackermann compensation, with four wheel steering, equal front and back. My road tests of the four wheel equal steering were not perfect, as the handling was poor on bumpy surfaces at speed. However I found that I had forgotten to tighten some of the lower wishbone mounting screws. So I thought I would give it a try.
Front Ackermann

Rear Ackermann

Rear Close-up

I also made some aerodynamic changes to Quattro with an extended tail and a more relaxed tail angle, reduced from about 20deg to 16deg. Both additions were a bit of a bodge but I thought they may prove a point.
Relaxed Tail Angle

Add On Tail
The race went OK and I managed a 24.6mph (39.6kph) average speed in the hour race. Steve won in the Beano as usual with an average speed of 34.7mph (55.9kph). There were comments after the race that I was making a lot of tyre noise, which I put down to the large volume and high pressure in my Scorchers. Back at work the next day, I was looking over Quattro when I noticed a strange texture on the front tyres.
Front Tyre Texture

Checking the tracking on the bench with Quattro on its side seemed to suggest that it was OK; this was using the method I had always employed, with two steel tubes, resting on the rims. To double check all was OK, I decided to buy a couple of laser spirit levels.

Laser Spirit Level

Resting On Wheel
The lasers told a different story. With Quattro on the ground, both front and rear wheels were about 0.37deg each toe out, 0.74deg for the pair. Rider weight and applying power seemed to have little effect, which keeps things simple.