Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

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Ray O'Donohue
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Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

Post by Ray O'Donohue » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:47 am

Looking them over nowadays-which was not really possible in those pre-internet days when they were current,I'm thinking most of us racers were better off not getting what we wished for,,and craved. Nobody except Reno L. knew how to order one,what the specs would be,what the cost would be,etc.,etc.,etc.NO information.We were probably better off building our racers they way we did.Reading the story of what Steve Wynne received when he took on the Hailwood project is pretty intimdating. Those bikes had the same (way too long)wheelbase as our U.S. hotrods,the same undersized valves,and nobody over there knew anything about portwork in the way that Americans did.God only knows whether or not the crank would be decently balanced or shimmed in.Would there be a cush drive in whatever wheel they would put on the bike? Etc,Etc.By contrast,the only thing stopping anybody from building a Neillson/Schilling Old Blue copy was money,for Neillson and Schilling gave away the recipe for free.No amount of money would have cut through the jungle of misinformation involved in an NCR bike at that date.

ducadini
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Re: Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

Post by ducadini » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:46 am

NCR racebikes current ? Even in the 70's they weren't that plentyfull on the circuits.( only 18 made)
Order one ? You had to have good credentials to get one, since most were "on loan" for the importers or selected dealers who had experience with enduranceracing.
The specs ? Since they were racebikes, those specs could differ from circuit to circuit.
Information ? See above, and established tuners kept the best tricks for themselves, not in brochures for bikes that weren't for sale anyway.
Wheelbase too long ? They could've made it shorter but with the tires in those days, it was easier to slide a longer bike and chicanes hadn't been invented yet.
Portwork ? the decades have erased some memories but I don't recall too many american ported bikes winning trophies in Europe in those days.
Decently shimmed cranks ? I do recall measuring up crankcases and cranks and parts of japanese manufacturers to get the "better" ones.
Cush-drive ? Some racebikes needed them, others not. Do your homework and order the right stuff.
Of course it was rather easy for me, living in Europe, being in Italy every few weeks and speaking the language.
Didn't have the skills nor the money to get a NCR bike, or it would've been raced, not stored.
I still regret not buying the nr4 Ducati factory bike , fitted with the first series NCR engines. Bike/racing or having kids is a difficult but easy choice.

I really enjoyed the "Racer Road" articles (and CycleWorld costed more than european mags) and still have the originals.

For what it's worth : the situation for racers with japanese bikes was just as awfull : the engines were fast, the frames were crap and only a handfull could get a bike together that handled, was fast and reliable.
Except for the factory-teams of course. No amount of money would've cut through THAT VERY large language-barrier.

enjoy the ones You have, remember the ones You wanted.
ducadini
Nego i ricordi peggiori
Richiamo i migliori pensieri

Ray O'Donohue
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Re: Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

Post by Ray O'Donohue » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:24 am

Let's put it another way.Steve Wynn would probably have been better off building from bikes off his showroom floor for the Hailwood project,with no NCR involvement. As for the wheelbase,it's a no-brainer.Ask Paul Smart,or anybody who raced a bevel in those days.
Last edited by Ray O'Donohue on Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ray O'Donohue
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Re: Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

Post by Ray O'Donohue » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:10 am

To say that the Japanese bikes of that era didn't handle is a bit of an oversimplification. They did have their issues,as did the Ducatis,as does any racebike. The Japanese bikes did not generally or all have the problem of understeer/front end "push' that the every Ducatis had.In other words,you couldn't trust the front tire of a Ducati as well as you could with a Honda,Suzuki,or Kawasaki.The Ducati was incredibly stable,or perhaps hyper-stable-people bent the handlebars racing them (that's asking a lot of the tire's contact patch!)-but quick maneuverability was not their forte. On the track the Ducatis from the dealers, and the NCR's, all should have had a shorter wheelbase .

ducadini
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Re: Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

Post by ducadini » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:30 am

Regardless of all the flaws they had, based on the racebikes that formed Ducati's race heritage.
Regardless of all the victories that didn't happen due to their complicated engines and poor building quality.
Regardless of all the poor people who raced their SS against HP-bikes, just because they wanted too.
Still loved those times on the track.
Still love the winding roads in the Alps.
Still love the work getting the bike back in shape for the next time.
And I'm sure there are thousands out there doing the same, never regretting a moment working those bevels.

ducadini
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Richiamo i migliori pensieri

Ray O'Donohue
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Re: Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

Post by Ray O'Donohue » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:35 am

Nor me! No regrets-well maybe just a few!

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abmartin
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Re: Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

Post by abmartin » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:10 am

I went to a Superbike race at Laconia, New Hampshire, USA in the early '80s when Wes Cooley et al were at their peak. The Japanese bikes were all over the track, really seemed a wrestling match to get them to hold a racing line. There were a few American-tuned Dukes, misfiring down the straights and getting so badly out of shape in the corners it frightened me. A very amateurish performance which unfortunately reflected the state of racing in the US at that time.

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Ray O'Donohue
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Re: Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

Post by Ray O'Donohue » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:20 am

What's amateurish about that? If you looked at the GP bikes that weekend,they were wobbling or pushing their front ends or whatever,also. That's what motorcycles do when ridden as fast as it is possible to ride them on modern high traction tires.If they weren't doing that,they were being ridden too slowly. Generally speaking,the Japanese superbikes of that era steered better than the Ducatis but wobbled;the Ducatis wobbled less but understeered ("pushed") dangerously.

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SP3
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Re: Retroactive skepticim re NCR bevels

Post by SP3 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:29 am

there are lots of comments that are both valid and invalid in this thread. I will not comment any particular one since I've never dealt with a Duc bevel racer. I did, however, make my living for many years working on race cars. Whether one that was built by the team (IMSA GTU sportscar; start of my career) or one from a mfr (Lola or Reynard CART Indycars; later in my career), I can say that the spec of any part not specifically forbidden from being changed was/is 'improved' by the team in some way.

In the case of the GTU car, when we built a new chassis, all sorts of things were changed between races on a permanent basis (reinforcements, track width, wholesale changes to the basic design, etc). With the Indycars, at one point we used Lola chassis and they supplied three front wishbones setups for different wheel bases as well as two set for the rear. That's six different possible combinations of wheelbase and that's just one small parameter in a car's setup. The team was free to make there own wishbones to boot. That's what happened at the second team I worked for - we made our own (Reynard chassis then; Lolas later). We also make our own suspension rockers, dampers, anti-roll bars, turbocharger mount, pedals, and more.

All this is to say that the specification of a racing machine is always evolving. And, even if you bought the exact same thing that the "factory" team raced and day X, by the time you get yours, it might not be the same as theirs on day Y.
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