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Make Mine a Superbike…

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The skills of the superbike riders are very much considered to be unrivalled in the motorsport world. Theoretically, the combination of sheer speed and amazing handling skills on bikes that are in mass production is difficult to find anywhere else. With the success of Britain’s very own Carl Fogarty, you can begin to see the illustration of why the World Superbike Championships seem to attract such a loyal following.

However, some individuals find themselves wondering exactly what it is that makes these superbikes so different from the same models that can be found on the road. There are drastic variances between the two. The vast majority of superbike enthusiasts find themselves wondering whether there are standards to achieve superbike performance and still be legal on the street.

Superbike Standards

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To begin with, a superbike must have a frame that is exactly the same as a model that would be available on the market. One instance of this would be a Ducatti 1199 or a Honda RC30. It must appear more or less identical aside from the obvious addition of sponsor decals and it must have a four stroke engine to be considered a superbike. Twin models generally have to attain between 850cc and 1200cc. On the other hand, the four cylinder engines can be between 750cc and 1000cc in order to account for the difference in power output.

Superbikes will have some small cosmetic changes from their street legal counterparts. One of these cosmetic alterations include rear-view mirrors. These mirrors will obviously be missing as will the headlights. You would not be permitted on the road or track without these. However, equally the weight difference is really negligible.

Exhaust Upgrades

The first thing most superbike teams tend to do is to replace the stock exhaust with an aftermarket system. An extreme, high-performance exhaust will assist the engine in cooling down more quickly. This permits improved engine activity in a shorter time which in turn will generate considerably greater power.

Exhaust upgrades are truly an alteration where you need to be careful about the rules and regulations. The trade-off for more power is much more noise and often times more heat. This could mean you fall foul of a local racing regulation. It could even mean your bike is not roadworthy or that it might invalidate your motorbike insurance. Be sure to check into these factors prior to committing to a fit.

Wheel Size and Weight

Wheel upgrades can add grip while effectively reducing the weight of a bike. Though they can be costly, those motorbike owners who really want to build up a quality bike need to know just where to go. Most superbikes will have something similar to a 120/70 or a 120/60 tyre size.

You will probably find that if your bike is an ‘off the peg’ superbike there is likely to be plenty of wheel clearance. However, due to this wheel clearance, you might need to make some fairing changes. These fairing changes may be necessary if your wheel clearance is too great.

A Selection of Tyre Choices

Tyre choice is absolutely crucial. It is also very often underestimated in the superbike community. If a rider is serious about nailing a best lap on the track, then having a set of wet, dry and intermediate tyres really is the key. Riders would also be wise to purchase the softest compounds that they can afford. The crucial secret however is to save them for race day. The difference in wear between ordinary road tyres and superbike tyres is quite amazing and drastic.

Brake Upgrades

To match your new found power, your brakes might very well require an upgrade. Again, in this instance, you will be restricted by what sort of brakes your league allows. Ceramic brakes are by far the best for performance. However, they are extraordinarily costly and can favour the riders with bigger budgets.

Any rider will also have to suffer a much greater and sometimes quite ugly brake pad to absorb all of the heat and strain of braking around a track. The extra stopping power will be worth it in the end. Though, you will have to spend some time getting accustomed to your new motorbike brakes.

Marginal Gains

Remember that you do not need to blow the bank to attain the best in upgrades. Thoroughly consider the little things that can be quickly and rather cheaply changed. Altering your wires, spark plugs or belts can all make your drive train just a little bit slicker. Be well aware that though they will not necessarily boost your output power, they will vastly improve the efficiency of your bike.

Engine additives are another popular way of giving your bike a little bit more. Again, some of these are simply not road legal. This makes it crucial for motorbike riders and owners to make sure that they have checked before adding anything into the engine. Superbike performance is definitely possible. Most are just unaware of the fact that it all comes at a cost. Once all is said and done, you are likely to get more enjoyment out of a new bike altogether. This especially applies to those who are intense motorbike enthusiasts. For those who find that the costs of upgrades is just too expensive, try just working a little more on your technique.

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