I'm not certain the bikers have a more difficult job... just different. At this level of racing all drivers/riders are pushing the limits of their machines. In this field.. and only in this field... do cars have the edge on bikes. Just look at the difference in hp/lb and the amount of rubber each machine has in contact with the pavement. I'm afraid we bikes get kicked by the better machine for the job.
I wonder what would happen if there were NO restrictions on bike and car design (car turbos, bike engine size etc). There's a thought to ponder.
HOWEVER, when you look at production machines and off road, the cagers cannot keep up in anything ;-)
This is quite odd. I think that someone from MO must read Sportbikeworld.com forums I posted this just last night, where there was a big discussion about how ignorant riders think that they are incredibly faster in the turns than cars. Almost any very small car with a decent suspension set up can out corner most bikes on the street. Bikes are amazingly fast considering out contact patch, and our limitations. Formula 1 has so much downforce, it's a big joke, no way a bike could even barely do half the corner speed they can carry. Not to mention they out accelerate, out brake bikes in a big way. Bikes are limited, because we are consantly fighting due to the light weight, and general instability of being on two wheels.
Very funny coincidence. HackFu just watched the Formula 1 race last night on Speedvision and was telling me about it this morning. I decided to go to www.formula1.com to check things out and saw that they were testing at Valencia. I then went back to an old news.mo post to see what the lap time differential was. Needless to say, I was shocked. I thought some readers might get a kick out of the disparity as well, so I posted it.
I will go check out that thread you started, though. I'm curious to see what others are saying. Thanks!
What a hornets nest you stirred up this time MO. Your damn right "Compare" isn't the right word. First, bikes against cars? Might as well compare apples against oranges. F1 against WSBK. There again might as well be apples an oranges. When was the last time you saw someone driving down the street in what looked like Miki Hakkinen McLaren? Never. I see Ducks and RC51's quite a bit. Comparing a machine based on a $10,000 dollar street version to a machine that isn't based on anything at all. Did you expect WSBK times to be better or even close? F1 is another world. There isn't a bike series that even comes close to the statue of F1. Not even GP's.
Well if you wanted to get some hits to the site you did. Congrats.
Actually, HackFu drives a McLaren so we see one every day. There's a lot of F1 cars roaming the streets down here. Makes Monte Carlo and the French Riviera look rather ghetto if you ask me. GP bikes everywhere here, too.
We'll be sure to clear all posts with you in the future.
The cars will always win out in terms of sheer lap times because they have the advantage of aerodynamic down forces and the much lower angle between the center of gravity and the outside rubber contact patch to allow them to corner at much higher speeds. It's an inherent limitation in a motorcycle.
However, bike racing is much better to watch because racers actually pass each other, and because the results in bike races depend much more on the rider than they do on the driver in car racing.
I would have to disagree that F1 drivers have it a lot easier.... If we were talking about NASCAR drivers (don't get me wrong, I still love to watch Dale Jr. and Michael Waltrip) then you might have a point. F1 drivers, on the other hand, need virtually supernatural control to achieve the lap times that they do. Only now are the driver's jobs starting to get somewhat easier, since traction control has been partially deregulated (although who's to say whether someone was using it before anyway?)
I agree that it's not hard to get a regular street car to hang with a bike in the corners (although there are few showroom-stock cars that can. Modifications are usually neccessary.) All you really need is a Civic with lowering springs, stiffer shocks, larger anti-roll bars, and 17-inch wheels/tires.
I think one of the reasons that bikes are as fast as they are, considering their limitations, is the quality of the tires and suspensions. High-performance street motorcycle tires are much softer, better engineered, and don't last nearly as long as a comparable car tire. The average sportbike also has suspension design and quality that is light years ahead of the average family car that costs three times as much. Most automobiles are agricultural in design compared with a modern sportbike. That's why you need to spend upwards of 6 times the price for a stock automobile with similar quality and handling.
Formula 1 is a video game. There may be as much or more risk, but it doesn't take more skill. I'm not saying it doesn't take a lot, more than I have--but no way does it take more than bikes. There's no real physical skill, and for that matter F1 cars are fly-by-wire. It's a video game, except you can get hurt. Compare body fat percentages of F1 drivers and roadracers--now that'd be interesting. And someone said bikes are limited by contact patch. Compared to F1, yes, but most small streetcars do not have more contact patch per pound than a bike, and the bike needs less proportionally (lighter requires a smaller ratio). The limitation of bikes is how far you can lean. Motorcycle riders take it all the way over, and then that's it--any faster would widen the turn. The problem is not lack of contact patch though. Lots of cars can be made to have a bike-like power-to-weight ratio, but they can't accelerate because they're spinning all that contact patch while a bike just takes off. Less weight requires a smaller traction surface-to-weight ratio, and motorcycles still have a better ratio than most small street cars. An F1 "car" is a purpose built vehicle that happens to use 4 wheels, and uses kazillions of dollars more than motorcycle racing has available. And anyway, they should've waited for GP lap times, or for a better "comparison" show the street-based race cars' times against superbike.
Looks like it's time for motorcycle designers to start incorporating extra surfaces for dowforce...imagine light, hydraulically controlled surfaces near the bottom of the bike that change angle based on the lean of the bike (self-levelling spoilers to increase contact force). Even, just aerodynamics that allow for better airflow around corners, and such...
Dunno if it would ever happen, but it'll be cool if it did...
As for you wankers who think F1 is easy, well, I don't think I can educate you in a paragraph.
For the open minded consider this:
1) Michael Shumacher is (or is pretty cloase to) being the highest paid athlete in history.
2) Most moto racers had a tough time when trying to race cars.
3) Cars are FAR more complex in terms of setup. Anybody who knows anything about top level racing of any kind knows that setup requires an excellent machine, crew AND pilot.
4) Paraphrased Schwantz quote (remember, he had a rough time in NASCAR): "It is much harder to set up a car than a bike. On a bike, I can compensate for poor setup choices to a far greater extent than I can in a car."
Being a top auto racer is pretty tough and in some ways similar to moto racers. Don't fool yourself into thinking that it is easy on the body either. Ever try to take 3g's laterally, over and over and over and over again? Ever try to survive having your heart rate at 170bpm+ for 40 minutes?
These guys are just as incredible as our moto boys.
Someone mentionned that Superbikes are production-based racers, while Formula 1 cars are built without any regard for real-world limitations-good point. Basically, if I had enough money, I could buy a stock sport bike and make it pretty close to a Superbike racer, while no amount of money would give me a car with the aerodynamics, power-to-weight ratio, and handling of an F1 car. It would be interesting to compare lap times for production-based bikes and cars - say, Superbikes vs. NASCAR or something. Are there any tracks in the world where both compete?
On another note, I guess the fact that a motorcycle can't hold as much speed through a corner is why there is more passing and the racing is so much more interesting to watch (IMHO, anyway). Because cornering speed is so dependent on choice of line, lean angle, guts to hold off the brakes, or whatever, there are a lot more opportunities to pass.
And finally, someone suggested a body fat comparo between F1 drivers and WSB riders - sounds entertaining to me. While you have the old BF calipers out, why not do a MO staffer vs print journalist body fat comparison? Let's see if sitting in front of a computer all day has made you guys soft.
They both compete at Sears Point, and I think the bikes are faster than NASCAR cars, but not by much. Don't quote me on that, though. I'll dig through our race team notes for lap times and see what the NASCAR time is a the Point.
Or, we could just ask John Cardinel (sp?), the Sears Point media guy...
You can't compare times at Sears because NASCAR runs a shorter track using a section called "The Chute," running from Turn 4 to Turn 7. FWIW--NO other organization that uses Sears is allowed to run on this "hallowed" stretch of pavement. Also, even if you used the full Sears configuration from older NASCAR rounds, the AMA has always run a chicane (or two) before Turn 1 because of the lack of run-off room in Turn 1. NASCAR never had any such chicane. Finally, the AMA has now gone and cut-off some of the run from Turn 10 to Turn 11 to increase run-off room, so now the AMA has a different configuration with only the Turn 1 chicane (but no "Turn 12" chicane).
Nevertheless, I think NASCAR was 7 to 12 seconds faster (although that's pointless).
It would be interesting to compare lap times for production-based bikes and cars - say, Superbikes vs. NASCAR or something.
NASCAR is no more production based than 500 GP (though I admit it's much lower tech), with the exception that the cars carry bodywork that somewhat resembles a production car. Every Winston Cup car uses a tube frame carrying a longitudinally mounted pushrod V-8 driving the rear wheels through a solid axle. All of the corresponding production cars use unibody (monocoque, no frame) construction, and most, if not all, use a transversely mounted V-6 driving the front wheels.
A series that uses actual production bodyshells would be a better comparison to SBK. Maybe the Speedvision GT series qualifies, I'm not sure.
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