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Failures of Two-Wheeled Motorsports


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#1 WonderWoman61

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 14:29

Follows the same principles of this thread - https://forums.autos...stakes-and-more

All I can think of right now is the Foggy Petronas FP1. Let's face it, apart from a couple of podiums in 2004, it wasn't exactly successful.

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#2 Macca

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 16:44

Moto Guzzi V8
Ducati 500 V-twin
Aprilia Cube
Moto Czysz
NR500
WCM
Proton KR
the CRT era (maybe)


Paul M

#3 flatlandsman

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 17:48

Some of those are failures but heroic ones.  The NR500 is a bike I adore just because they tried so hard to make it work!

 

You cannot EVER have the Roberts bikes on there, that is to my mind objectionable, they did what no-one had done and managed some great results later int he bikes life, now the BSL triple that was a disaster than hardly ever got going.  I will add the Ilmor, but again, it never really had a chance and seemed OK initially. And as I lived in Banbury that team was utterly heroic to me! And some of the other ones like Cyzs and WCM were so low budget, being there was enough. Not poor just no money. 

 

Aprilia Cube I would agree, too powerful and too early with the tech.

 

Twin crank NSR250, Honda quickly went back to their older designs, although it did OK.

 

The FP1 was only a failure as the company would not build a proper hike, they insisted on the triple after homologation, if they had been allowed to build a twin or a four I am convinced it would have been OK, sadly it was a lifed project. 

 

I am tempted to say the Honda RC45 that Honda thought would win everything, it won a title and loads of TT's and 8 hours, but they had to eventually admit to it and build a twin that pretty much took on and beat Ducati in its first 3 years twice!

 

Suzuki RGV 250 the one Kocinski blew up on purpose, never did much on world stage though good in Japan. 

 

A few other small time efforts like Fantic in 250's a few years back weird low budget effort that sport of never really did much



#4 Robin127

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 23:12

And some of the other ones like Cyzs and WCM were so low budget, being there was enough. Not poor just no money. 

 

The Moto Czysz might have had some success had Michael Czysz not died.



#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 01:46

Some posts have been removed and others edited as they no longer made sense. Please stick to the topic and keep the discussion civil. Thanks.

#6 tonyed

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 07:07

We've had this topic before not so long ago.

 

'Motorcycle Racing Entries/Rumours that never happened'

However I totally agree that to include the KR3/Proton Roberts machines is an insult to Kenny and the Engineers and the riders. 

The KR 4 stroke should be included though.


Edited by tonyed, 28 September 2023 - 07:10.


#7 WonderWoman61

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 09:07

We've had this topic before not so long ago.
 
'Motorcycle Racing Entries/Rumours that never happened'
However I totally agree that to include the KR3/Proton Roberts machines is an insult to Kenny and the Engineers and the riders. 
The KR 4 stroke should be included though.


That thread was for entries that never happened.

This thread is for entries that did happen but weren't really successful.

#8 tonyed

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 10:13

I think you'll find this topic was addressed in that as well. However happy to contribute as it all keeps this site going, which we all want.

The May/June 2016 edition of classic racer looked in depth at the Bultaco TSS MK2 250 produced by the factory in 1978 for Angel Nieto to ride.

About the size of a 125 with a stainless steel monocoque frame, it weight 96kg with a reputed 68bhp on tap.

Despite promise it seems it never really came to much. 

In 2016 it was still going owned by Joaquin Folch.

 

The Exactweld 250 tandem twin could have been very successful had it had some support from the ACU, who sadly turned it's entry for the Silverstone GP down.    



#9 WonderWoman61

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 10:19

I think you'll find this topic was addressed in that as well. However happy to contribute as it all keeps this site going, which we all want.
The May/June 2016 edition of classic racer looked in depth at the Bultaco TSS MK2 250 produced by the factory in 1978 for Angel Nieto to ride.
About the size of a 125 with a stainless steel monocoque frame, it weight 96kg with a reputed 68bhp on tap.
Despite promise it seems it never really came to much. 
In 2016 it was still going owned by Joaquin Folch.
 
The Exactweld 250 tandem twin could have been very successful had it had some support from the ACU, who sadly turned it's entry for the Silverstone GP down.


Yes, mostly by yours truly, my mistake. It's been so long since I contributed to that thread, I had clean forgotten I had mentioned entries that did actually happen in that thread when it was supposed to be for entries that didn't happen. I didn't mean to repeat myself by creating this thread.

Carry on.

#10 flatlandsman

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 11:42

I remember the Exactweld it was all over a national magazine at the time, of which I have binders of, was a Brit frame and a unique engine using 4 cars for a twin if I recall! I think it raced but only at national level maybe the odd European race. 

 

And you are right the KR with it's own engine and the KTM was awful, the KTM was a poor engine and the Roberts engine just did not have the development!  KR and the team proved what was possible when they no doubt reluctantly used a Honda and were podium contenders later on in 06. 

 

The Gilera 250 progamme of the early 90's was an expensive disaster too really. 



#11 tonyed

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 12:25

Gilera did go on to win the 250 world championship with Marco Simmoncelli and a 'cough', 'cough' erm Aprilia   ;)



#12 flatlandsman

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 20:52

Lol Tony that is a cheap shot it as just a badged Aprilia in every way, I suppose you could say Fantic won a  GP a few weeks ago too!

 

I think Malaguti made a few 2 stroke buikes in the early 00's aswell, again fairly useless.

 

Italjet, too, poor Leon ride one, that was awful yet somehow his teammates was much faster in the days British riders were just an excuse to get some money out of Dorna for some teams.

 

one that I always found interesting was the Yamaha TZ125 that Ui rode to some success

 

I seem to recall that Bartol was a big part of that and the subsequent Derbi bike bore the same resemblance and Ui ride it too!!  then was a good bike though winning titles for Poggiali


Edited by flatlandsman, 28 September 2023 - 20:54.


#13 tonyed

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 04:01

I believe the 125 Derbi became the 125 Aprilia RSA not to be confused with the earlier RSW


Edited by tonyed, 29 September 2023 - 07:29.


#14 flatlandsman

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 16:21

I am not sure, I think there were a lot of similarities, so you could be right, both bikes were still quick towards the end of 125



#15 tonyed

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 07:11

The Derbi was the RSA 125 and featured a disc valve behind the cylinder as opposed to the side disc valve on the RSW Aprilia. the RSA Debi became the RSA Aprilia.

The RSW exhaust exited rearwards from the back of the cylinder and the RSA at the front.

Piaggio own both 

However NOT failures so really off topic, apologies.


Edited by tonyed, 30 September 2023 - 07:12.


#16 flatlandsman

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 07:27

Can anyone recall the late 80's Kawasaki 250 effort, that never really progressed beyond Japan?  Could have been a great GP bike, I believe Slight rode it at times, never really seen in a GP sadly. 



#17 tonyed

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 08:47

The Cosworth Challenge P86 'Norton' that was meant to replace the Commando based works bikes.

An classic example of how to get everything wrong.

I've probably recounted this before, but at a Snetterton Practice day in 1975 I was there running in and carbureting a Hitac water cooled kit on my 250 TD2B Yamaha. There was another of the great British hopes there that day the Weslake 500cc with which Phil, Read was going to win the world championship on it riding for nothing. I think it was Martin Ashwood riding that test day. They appeared to have major oil pressure problems as I believe it ran sky high oil pressure. Anyway I went past it down the straight several times and a mechanic came over to look at my 350 remarking that it seemed quite fast. I informed him of the situation with my 250 explaining that it should be faster when we get the carbs set up properly. 

I'm not sure it ever did make the race track and certainly Ready wasn't going to win unless he re-signed for MV Agusta after his two championships with them.

The Hitac kit? Another failure on a less grand scale however. The frame the engine was in was a Maxton replica and unlike the Yamaha cylinders which had sleeves nuts on relatively short studs the HiTac had long studs with plain nuts, which prevented the cylinder being removed whilst in the frame. So I modified it to the Yamaha set up. However enlarging the stud holes to take the sleeve nuts reduced the landing at the top of the cylinder where the liner sat, this resulted on the liner flange breaking. Couldn't afford to keep replacing liners so I went back to the air cooled set up, then swapped the bike later in 75 for Geoff Barstards Crescent. 


Edited by tonyed, 30 September 2023 - 08:48.


#18 flatlandsman

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 09:16

I am going to launch a wildcard

 

Anyone who built a carbon frame!

 

Yes, one or two of them worked, but the Cagiva ones did not really change the world, especially the all carbon one in 89/90/ The bitsa one in 94 worked as it had a ally rear section.

 

The Ciba Geigy honeycomb frame worked well for McElnea in 83/84 but never really went anywhere as it was basically as good as the standard stuff.

 

I think Aprilia tried carbon frames with Biaggi and a few others but again ended up using pretty much carbon everything else like swingarms, fenders, but not sure if they ran the frame for a season?

 

I think now KTM are doing this, Ducati basically built a carbon headstock around an airbox engine stressed member thing years ago which seems to be the same now. 

 

All because carbon does not flex! Even now after 40 years if it being used in racing



#19 tonyed

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 17:38

Mucho difference between a 'carbon' frame made out carbon fiber woven thread and the Suzukis with the Ciba Geigy aeroweb board. This could be 'bent' and molded but was basically flat.

Modern carbon fibre frames and frame parts are much more successful these days. Even going back to John Britains V twins.

KTM are trying one at present. Ridden by Dani Pedrosa in the last MotoGP and today by Jack Millar.

The later works Aprilia 250s had carbon swinging arms.

The Boeing 787 has predominately carbon fibre wings.

It's a great material when used correctly.

After all aluminum was later developer but better than brazed and lugged steel tube.        



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#20 brands77

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 17:59

I remember the Buckley BSL V3 500cc racer well. They ran it in NZ national meets to try and sort out some of the bugs. I think it had serious carburation problems, especially when cornering.

It ran at Pukekohe in 2000/1 and basically to my eye along the straight it wasn't any faster than what were pretty much Superstock spec bikes that the NZ national racers like Tony Rees and Brian Bernard were running. It didn't handle any better than them either and it wasn't very reliable either. It's a while back now but I reckon it retired as many times s it finished.

 

It was a shame it was a nice looking bike and it would have been great to see a NZ built bike up there, but in the end it just wasn't fast enough.


Edited by brands77, 30 September 2023 - 18:01.


#21 flatlandsman

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 18:36

Britten basically was decades ahead of his time, he ran a minimal frame and the engine as a stressed part, like Ducati did eventually going away from trellis as KTM have done. 

 

And as the post above shows if you want something doing get the Kiwi's to do it, to even try and build a 500 in NZ was insane, it really didn't work but it also did not have the backing of a Roberts bike who could throw development and parts at it, was a very brave thing to do.  but JB was a legend, the Denco, the Britten, all home made, was simply staggering.

 

I do think carbon can be used but it is inherently too stiff! Cagiva found this I think they used a swingarm too, but the frame was glued centrally to ally, a few others tried carbon too, Mistral, Hejira but not at GP level, though I think Jacque used a crabon RS250 frame in his first year with tech3.



#22 GregThomas

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 00:50

Calling the Britten home made is to fall into John's promotional trap. Yes, initially it was assembled in his home workshop - but I can assure you that the serious machining was done elsewhere. Once set up in dedicated premises it was by far the most professional setup in NZ.  The facilities were imo better than most of the professional car racing teams.

 

However - Carbon fiber as a frame. Given what is now accepted about it's level of stiffness, the perpetual Britten front end patter problem can be seen to have roots somewhat more diverse than the suspected suspension joints

I find it interesting that on current customer slicks those Brittens still being run no longer have patter problems.

Mike Sinclair has remarked that from this and other evidence he's seen the tyre manufacturers seem to have introduced some form of internal damping to the tyre carcase.



#23 flatlandsman

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 08:27

I was not suggesting for a moment the Britten was made entirely in house!

 

Merely that the germs of the idea and the thing itself came from the brain of the man. 

 

BSL was similarly amazing when you think about it and when you realise how much money and stuff Cagiva spent to get a few wins over nearly a decade, how long Paton went at it. to even try was staggering!



#24 GregThomas

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 08:40

The BSL was probably more impressive. Wayne Wright (Wobbly) who laid out the BSL engine reports watching Kenny Roberts bring some staff over to see it running.

Kenny's comments were apparently to the effect that if the BSL team could solve the balance problems of the triple layout, why couldn't his guys.

 

Well they did - eventually.

 

Met Bill Buckley back in the 80's when I was building speedway sidecar engines. He was still riding competitively then and came South for i think an NZ title meeting.



#25 flatlandsman

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 10:23

yes but when you think the resource Kenny  could throw at it, they got the initial design very wrong, about Mk3 was when it started to come together when Vd Goorberg was on it, then it really came good on bridgestone tyres. 

 

I think part of the problem was that Kenny was very keen to drop into the f1 belt here, this is fine, but there it was all about stiffness, a lot of F1 people came and went in KR's team, they no doubt added something, but you felt the bike people were the ones that made it better . 



#26 GregThomas

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 18:42

i saw in a write-up of Kenny's project that they'd gone to the frame builder with a set of stiffness figures. Asked Mike Sinclair where they'd got them from.

Turned out that the Roberts team had been measuring the stiffness of every frame they'd used and some they hadn't.

They'd been keeping track of swingarm pivot heights and of course had modified a factory Yamaha frame to incorporate an adjustable pivot point.

All carefully tracked in Mike's notebooks.

Work mostly done apparently by the Kiwi contingent after hours.

 

So the chassis was pretty good from the start - but the crank layout and the problems of balance stemming from that held things up badly.



#27 WonderWoman61

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Posted 04 October 2023 - 22:17

From what information I have been able to gather so far, the Hunwick Hallam X1R Superbike had a lot of potential and even achieved a 2nd place at Eastern Creek but otherwise usually finished 8th or 9th at best.

#28 tonyed

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Posted 05 October 2023 - 08:19

The problem with any new machine is that it takes development time and that is costly. Unless also you have a good dedicated development team and rider development is even slower.



#29 flatlandsman

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Posted 05 October 2023 - 21:15

Any real fans will know that Alan Cathcart was a driver of new technology on bikes and was able to translate what they offered beautifully into writing he heavily pushed bikes like the Saxon Triumph, several Bimota;s and even Ducati early on when they had lost their edge in world racing. and was a huge fan of different bike design aswell as modern development of normal bikes. 

 

The man would ride anything that was different and then usually tell us as readers why it was better with a single swingarm or one shock, or hub centre steering or a different frame.

 

yet for some reason very few listened, he was the last bastion of hope for novel bike builders really and I for one think he probably did as much for different race bike design as the blokes that built them!



#30 WonderWoman61

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Posted 06 October 2023 - 08:39

Some of those are failures but heroic ones.  The NR500 is a bike I adore just because they tried so hard to make it work!
 
You cannot EVER have the Roberts bikes on there, that is to my mind objectionable, they did what no-one had done and managed some great results later int he bikes life, now the BSL triple that was a disaster than hardly ever got going.  I will add the Ilmor, but again, it never really had a chance and seemed OK initially. And as I lived in Banbury that team was utterly heroic to me! And some of the other ones like Cyzs and WCM were so low budget, being there was enough. Not poor just no money. 
 
Aprilia Cube I would agree, too powerful and too early with the tech.
 
Twin crank NSR250, Honda quickly went back to their older designs, although it did OK.
 
The FP1 was only a failure as the company would not build a proper hike, they insisted on the triple after homologation, if they had been allowed to build a twin or a four I am convinced it would have been OK, sadly it was a lifed project. 
 
I am tempted to say the Honda RC45 that Honda thought would win everything, it won a title and loads of TT's and 8 hours, but they had to eventually admit to it and build a twin that pretty much took on and beat Ducati in its first 3 years twice!
 
Suzuki RGV 250 the one Kocinski blew up on purpose, never did much on world stage though good in Japan. 
 
A few other small time efforts like Fantic in 250's a few years back weird low budget effort that sport of never really did much


Funding issues killed the Ilmor X3 project.

#31 tonyed

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 16:50

How about Honda and Yamaha MotoGp and WSBK this year!!!!!!!!!!



#32 WonderWoman61

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 18:04

How about Honda and Yamaha MotoGp and WSBK this year!!!!!!!!!!


That will explain Marc Marquez's recent performance or lack thereof

#33 Myhinpaa

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Posted 08 October 2023 - 22:49

The works BSA motocross bikes with frames and many other parts made of titanium for the 1966 500cc World Championship.

A very brave effort with impressive engineering and manufacturing, but sadly doomed from the beginning.

 

https://www.motorspo...c-titanium-bsa/

 

specialist-were-required-to-work-with-th



#34 WonderWoman61

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Posted 09 October 2023 - 13:40

There must be a few contenders on this list.
https://www.visordow...all-motorcycles

#35 flatlandsman

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Posted 09 October 2023 - 16:43

A fair bit of MX stuff was made using super unobtainium parts, Suzuki went through a period in the 70.,s of using very radical metals to make stuff in search of lightness. Usually at the expense of strength or internal failure

 

Honda went carbon very early in the 80's with Spencer using carbon fork legs and the infamous Comstar wheels aswell as other bots I think, did they not trey handlebars or something too?

Alsio their first V4 was a disaster with the tank below and the exhausts above, who ever though that the centre of gravity would change radically when the fuel went down, aswell as the nightmare of checking plugs through a sea of expansion chambers. HRC was amazing back then, they would literally try anything!



#36 GregThomas

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Posted 09 October 2023 - 18:16

Any real fans will know that Alan Cathcart was a driver of new technology on bikes and was able to translate what they offered beautifully into writing he heavily pushed bikes like the Saxon Triumph, several Bimota;s and even Ducati early on when they had lost their edge in world racing. and was a huge fan of different bike design aswell as modern development of normal bikes. 

 

The man would ride anything that was different and then usually tell us as readers why it was better with a single swingarm or one shock, or hub centre steering or a different frame.

 

yet for some reason very few listened, he was the last bastion of hope for novel bike builders really and I for one think he probably did as much for different race bike design as the blokes that built them!

Pretty much true.  I was standing on the bank watching - alongside Ron Grant - when the Britten spat him off. Being eager to ride anything odd or new didn't always end happily.

The post-crash interview with interested parties from the stretcher should have been videoed for posterity.