At first glance, MotoGP™ bikes may not seem vastly different from the motorcycle sitting in your garage at home. They both share the same streamlined form, two tires and a seat. So why couldn’t you take your bike out to the track at Circuit of The Americas™ next spring and give those professional MotoGP™ riders a run for their money? The easy answer is that what lies beneath the surface of a MotoGP™ machine is very different from the motorcycle you’ve got at home!
Grand Prix bikes are prototypes that cannot be bought by the general public and are banned on public roads. Their sole purpose is to win championships under very specific conditions, which makes them perfect for the racetrack, but oftentimes potentially unsafe off the track. Manufacturers try to be as forward-thinking as possible as they utilize breaking technologies to build these machines, which are designed to push the limits of technology as well as the laws of physics to bring home the prize.
Below, we’ve outlined three substantial pieces of innovative technology that really set MotoGP™ bikes apart from average road motorcycles!
Fully seamless transmissions eliminate the need to use the clutch when changing gears – which can be extremely awkward when you’re rounding a sharp curve and trying to adjust for changing elevations! They also greatly improve braking stability and virtually eradicate the ‘shift shock’ that has long been a side effect of speeding up or slowing down. While Honda has been successfully utilizing this technology since 2011, Yamaha has only caught up this year. Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi commends this transition, stating that this development not only puts less stress on the tyres, but also saves fractions of seconds that can add up over the course of the race and make all the difference between a first or second place finish.
Because this technology has only recently reached its full potential in the world of MotoGP™, it’s unlikely that it will hit the streets next week. That said, given some time, it’s entirely possible that in the next few years we will see seamless shift gearboxes built into road bikes that are available to the general public!
Carbon Disc Brakes
Most brakes are made from cast iron materials, making them very reliable but susceptible to deformation, warping and rust. Carbon brakes are not only much lighter and less dense than standard brakes, but are also much less prone to warping. Given the intense amount of heat that can build during a MotoGP™ race as engines maintain high speed, carbon brakes offer a much-needed resilience that can be extremely advantageous on the track.
You won’t see carbon brakes on your own personal motorcycle because in spite of their power and ability to stand up to extreme heat, cold temperatures vastly diminish their effectiveness. This renders them unsafe for the general public, making it highly unlikely that they’ll show up on road bikes in the near future.
Pneumatic Valve Springs
Valve springs are basically what help the engine to ‘breathe.’ High-performance engines like those found in MotoGP™ racing are capable of reaching up to 210 mph and pushing out up to 240 hp, and the selection of a proper valve spring is one of the most overlooked ways of helping an engine achieve its full potential.
Nearly all MotoGP™ bikes today utilize pneumatic valve springs because mechanical springs cannot physically retract the valves quick enough to support the high engine RPMs of Grand Prix bikes. Why won’t you find pneumatic valve springs on a street bike? For one thing, they’re not cheap! They’re an extremely complex and difficult system to incorporate into an average motorcycle, and that quality comes with a hefty price tag. Additionally, an on-board nitrogen tank that must be pressurized before operation makes pneumatic valve springs a very cool, but particularly user-unfriendly option! And let’s be honest, how often do you exceed 200 mph on your bike on your daily commute? On second thought, don’t incriminate yourself by answering that!
Experience High-Tech Racing at MotoGP™ Austin 2016!
Who knows what new technology might be incorporated into the sport by spring of next year? Don’t miss out on witnessing the excitement of Grand Prix racing up close and personal! Check out the insider extras and VIP access available only through Circuit of The Americas Experiences!
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