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Roadracer since '96
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
POWER to WEIGHT RATIO is a very real factor in powersports, the lighter the vehicles weight is, the more of an effect is has. I'm a larger framed guy, which is a HUGE disadvantage for me, and I personally get to experience the effects that has on acceleration every time I race. It's been said that every 7 pounds on a motorcycle is a free horsepower, and the weight difference between a bike and an average car is about a multiple of 7 as well. Taking these 2 factors into account if you have a bike that is set-up independently for 2 riders to go ride on a track and try and turn their best possible time, and the difference between those 2 riders weights is 70 lbs, than the lighter rider will be faster if they are both of equal ability. This is simple math, 70 pounds would equal about 10 free Hp, which is eqaul to about 70 Hp in a car, I think almost everyone can understand the effect that 70 more Horsepower in your car is going to have. This is the type of disadvatage I contend with everytime I race.

This brings me to the firestorm debate about Danica's unfair weight advatage in the Indy 500. The power to weight issue has been on the debate table for many racing organizations as a hot topic over the last couple years. What is being looked at is 2 completely independent minimum weights, 1 for the vehicle and 1 for the driver/rider. The reason for this is many race teams consider driver/rider weight a major factor in the decision they make on who gets the job. When hundreths of a second per lap are what is often times making the difference between who wins and who loses, it's quite clear how important it is. By having a standard driver/rider minimum weight the teams would then be choosing their racers by talent, not by ok talent that is made up for thru weight advantage. This way if you have a minumum weight of 175 lbs., and your racer is 110 lbs, you would have to add 65 lbs to the vehicle no matter what the vehicles weight is. The reason for not going with combined weights of racer and vehicle is because it leads to the small racer situation again. Look at motorcycle drag racing as well, Angelle is a little thing and that is a definate weight advantage for her.

Having seen the very real effects of POWER to WEIGHT RATIO in racing I think the only way Danica, and other small racers, can prove themselves to the world that it's their ability and not their weight advantage is to add ballast weight to their vehicle to level out the field. If they still go out and do as well as they did before they have gained my respect as truely talented, till then I can't help but think about the unfair weight advantage they have.
 

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Superbike fan
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I agree. They need to level the competition. When I raced a Formula Vee they weighed the car and driver together. That was the SCCA. F1 weighs the car and driver together. I don't get why all the sanctioning bodies don't do it that way.

As much press as Danica got for the IRL I don't see them changing it any time soon. They want her to win in the worst way. They couldn't buy that much advertising with all the money in the world.
 

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Yeah...almost all of the good racers in any sport are very little and lightweight.
 

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You will be missed Shawn
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i believe they do this in horseracing. I wanted to be a jockey before I grew too tall and the really good ones are like 100# soaking wet and like 4 foot tall. i don't see why this doesnt' carry over to other sports.
 

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I don't see it happening in all sports though. Take drag racing, for instance. John Force is a freaking fat ass as is a lot of the other drivers out there and he seems to win quite often. Nascar has its share of portly individuals. Look at motorcycle racing. Most of the riders are European. Europeans are smaller than americans. They have a different body composition. The situation is going to come to the drivers/riders using this as an excuse for why they didnt win and someone else won. You mean to tell me the reason Danica Patrick finished in fourth is because she only weighs 100 pounds? Or the reason Rossi wins race after race is because he weighs 130? And everyone else is, on average 10 pounds heavier. Not to mention the Yamaha is slightly underpowered compared to the Honda. Maybe skill has something to do with it. Or maybe if you are racing a motorcycle/car and weigh 180 pounds against people that weigh 20, 30, 40 pounds less you are in the wrong sport.
 

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Time to level the playing field in basketball. The tall players have the advantage because their height to basket height ratio is greater. I can't respect the taller player competing against the shorter player, and they are chosen for their height preferentially. It's time the basketball sactioning bodies implement a lowered hoop for the shorter players only, based on each player's actual height, so that we can truely gauge individual playing/shooting talent. We have to eliminate the unfair vertical advantage of these tall players. Next, football.... :rolleyes
 

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So doing the math....my bike would be the equivalent of a 2800lb car with 700 horsepower?!
 

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Eyespy said:
Time to level the playing field in basketball. The tall players have the advantage because their height to basket height ratio is greater. I can't respect the taller player competing against the shorter player, and they are chosen for their height preferentially. It's time the basketball sactioning bodies implement a lowered hoop for the shorter players only, based on each player's actual height, so that we can truely gauge individual playing/shooting talent. We have to eliminate the unfair vertical advantage of these tall players. Next, football.... :rolleyes
+1
 

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Superbike fan
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Man, you guys are ridiculous. Motorsports and stick-n-ball sports aren't comparable and never will be.

How hard is it to weigh people with vehicles and make them weigh the same? Not hard at all. Does weighing less make them better? No. Is it an advantage? Certainly.

What do you have against taking simple measures to increase equality? If you truly want to see who is the best racer then taking weight and other factors out of the equation is the way it's done.
 

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If you truly want it equal you will need everyone riding the same bike, wearing the same gear, on the same track (that everyone has the same experience on).
 

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Remember, I said simple measures but, I'm a fan of good close racing so all of that would be fine with me. Then we would really know who is the best. I've seen way too many good drivers/riders handicapped because that didn't get "the package."

But, I'm realistic and know that's not going to happen. Making the weights even is easy though.
 

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likebikes said:
Remember, I said simple measures but, I'm a fan of good close racing so all of that would be fine with me. Then we would really know who is the best. I've seen way too many good drivers/riders handicapped because that didn't get "the package."

But, I'm realistic and know that's not going to happen. Making the weights even is easy though.

Watch Nascar then
 

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Roadracer since '96
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Discussion Starter #14
ZeuSeason said:
So doing the math....my bike would be the equivalent of a 2800lb car with 700 horsepower?!
That's probably in the ball park, figure out the Hp per pound ratio of different vehicles and you will see how it's directly related to how fast the vehicle is. This is exactly the reason that you can out accelerate most all cars on the street today on your bike with only about 100 Hp. My brothers '68 Camaro, that he runs at the drag strip, is driven to and from the track, isn't tubbed, and is able to do 9.0 second quarter miles (it's one of the fastest un-tubbed truely street driven cars in this area). In order for him to do this with a car that weighs over 3000 lbs. he has to have over 1000 Hp. The small import cars that weigh less than full size cars can go darn fast as well, but because of their lower weight they don't need as much Hp to run fast times. This is also why Busa's can run in the 9's as well without near as much Hp as my brothers car has to have. :)
 

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Blackduc said:
I don't see it happening in all sports though. Take drag racing, for instance. John Force is a freaking fat ass as is a lot of the other drivers out there and he seems to win quite often. Nascar has its share of portly individuals. Look at motorcycle racing. Most of the riders are European. Europeans are smaller than americans. They have a different body composition. The situation is going to come to the drivers/riders using this as an excuse for why they didnt win and someone else won. You mean to tell me the reason Danica Patrick finished in fourth is because she only weighs 100 pounds? Or the reason Rossi wins race after race is because he weighs 130? And everyone else is, on average 10 pounds heavier. Not to mention the Yamaha is slightly underpowered compared to the Honda. Maybe skill has something to do with it. Or maybe if you are racing a motorcycle/car and weigh 180 pounds against people that weigh 20, 30, 40 pounds less you are in the wrong sport.

Last I checked, most Americans are European in heritage, no genetics difference, just lifestyle.
 

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Your right but, most Americans are, on average, 3 generations away from being full-blooded Europeans. People evolve differently due to different lifestyles and that evolution changes the composition of bodies.
 

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I Make Girls Cry
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Blackduc said:
If you truly want it equal you will need everyone riding the same bike, wearing the same gear, on the same track (that everyone has the same experience on).
+1 this weight bs is crap.... if you think that your size is giving you a disadvantage in a sport that you choose to be competitive in ( very competitive if your trying to make a living off of it) then get serious and diet down or pick another sport.


GSXR RACER MIKE said:
This is also why Busa's can run in the 9's as well without near as much Hp as my brothers car has to have. :)
so can the 600's
 

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Combat Marshmellow
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that's why all those little stick figures pull me on the straights....cause i'm giving up about 80-100 lbs.....
 

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Blackduc said:
Your right but, most Americans are, on average, 3 generations away from being full-blooded Europeans. People evolve differently due to different lifestyles and that evolution changes the composition of bodies.
By different lifestyles I guess that you are referring to the fact that a lot of Americans stuff themselves with fast food, don't exercise, and become fatty fat fatties. Sure there are fat Europeans but the fact is its more lifestyle that causes the size difference rather than evolution. Oh, and lifestyles don't cause evolution. . . just cause a person loves to stuff themselves with Big Macs doesn't mean their kid is going to be fat.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
settntrenz said:
so can the 600's
Oops, my mistake, I have to remind myself occasionally that some people hinge on every word of a statement and fail to see what is trying to be conveyed. Here is a correction for you "This is why STOCK Hyabusa's can run in the mid to low 9's....", let's see you do that on a STOCK 600 with the same rider!

settntrenz said:
+1 this weight bs is crap.... if you think that your size is giving you a disadvantage in a sport that you choose to be competitive in ( very competitive if your trying to make a living off of it) then get serious and diet down or pick another sport.
There are many people, I would even argue the mass majority of people, who don't recognize or appreciate power to weight ratio. These people are the ones who would go test drive several different types of vehicles with the same apx. Hp and come back saying that 1 was a better vehicle than the others due to it feeling faster, yet they wouldn't even consider power to weight ratio as being the reason. For an overly obvious comparison I will use a Horsepower amount applied to drastically different weight vehicles. Lets say that you have 170 Hp and 170 pounds of torque in a small compact size car, that vehicle would be quick and would have good acceleration capability. Now take that same amount of Hp and torque and put it in a crewcab dually pick-up truck that's 3x the weight and has a much larger surface area being pushed thru the air as well, that truck would be a pooch! Take that same Hp and Torque and put it in a semi and it would be so lacking in power that it wouldn't be able to effectively do it's job at all. Now take that same Hp and torque and put it in a Busa, the thing would haul ass and easily beat any of the other vehicles mentioned.

Just because the difference is smaller when applied to personal weight on a motorcycle doesn't mean it doesn't apply, it just means that the ratio is lower when measuring the difference between racers on a track. But today many races are won by 10ths, 100ths, and sometimes even 1000ths of 1 second. That difference is easily accounted for with this power to weight ratio example I have given. I presented a challenge on the message board for the racing organization I race with to all the people there that "didn't get it" about power to weight ratio. I said for them to add 70 lbs. of weight to their bike and go out and turn lap times as fast as they do normally, this would equal out the power to weight ratio (without taking into account that they also probably have higher Hp bikes). NO ONE WAS EVEN WILLING TO TRY! Why? Because they all feared that they would be proven wrong, which they would have. We have an older racer in our organization who absolutely dominates the classes he runs, he is also 1 of the lightest racers on arguably the lightest bike in his classes. He is so worried about weight that he wears a Kevlar suit instead of a leather one and he only puts enough fuel in his bike to complete the race and about 2 more laps. He understands that every gallon of fuel weighs apx. 7 pounds and that apx. every 7 pounds on a motorcycle is apx. 1 free Hp. (which is equal to apx. 7 Hp in a car thru power to weight ratio - easy to remember because it's all 7's and the weight savings on a bike is apx. equal to the Hp you would gain in an average car). Carry 3 1/2 less gallons of fuel than is required to get you thru the race and your saving about 25 pounds, gaining about 3 1/2 free Hp, which is eqaul to adding about 25 Hp to your car (you can definately feel 25 Hp in a car).

I heard an excellent description years ago about the difference between Ignorance and Stupidity: Ignorance is not knowing, Stupidity is knowing and doing otherwise. I feel that many people (especially non-racers) are just ignorent to power to weight ratio and remain oblivious to it's reality. What troubles me is that you say "this weight bs is crap" which is an ignorent statement that can be expected from many. But then you go on to admit that it does make a difference with this statement "then get serious and diet down or pick another sport", which would then make the 1st statement you said contratictory and ultimately stupid.

I have tried to explain in this thread what power to weight ratio is and how it effects motor vehicles, especially the lighter they get. I was afraid that there would be many that wouldn't be able to accept reality, but I made the effort anyways. I originally spoke of Danica and her power to weight ratio advantage, which is something I have heard about much of her racing career. What you all didn't know till now is that she lived in the same county as me up until she recently moved to Arizona. I have met numerous people that have raced against her over the years and they all said the same thing "her weight is such an advantage that it's almost impossible to keep up with her as she accelerates out of turns", most all went on to speak of power to weight ratio and how with the same Hp she would pull away from them on a straight as they were next to each other out of a turn. My intent of the thread originally was to identify this advantage that so many are oblivious to. The fact that numerous racing organizations around the world are starting to implement minimum weights of drivers to level the field and ultimately provide more competition is proof that this is a very real factor. It's just going to take some people longer than others to accept it and face reality. :)
 
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