Mar 24, 2010
© 2017, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
From a press release
Ã–hlins KTM RC8 R Suspension Components Tested and Tuned at Buttonwillow
Buttonwillow, California: Tackling the challenge to find the best set-up for a new liter-class sportbike, Ã–hlins suspension components were track tested on the new KTM RC8 R Superbike at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, with Ã–hlins USA Road Racing Manager Mike "Fitz" "Thermosman" Fitzgerald providing tech support for team Scuderia West and seasoned-rider James Randolph. To get the most out of the test, last weekend's AFM event was used to garner a baseline of the KTM RC8 R's performance and, at the same time, its competition.
Fitzgerald started the test by preparing the bike in garage # 7, with the new KTM-specific Ã–hlins KT 888 RDU rear damping unit, and an Ã–hlins FGK 141 front-fork kit. As "Fitz" put it, "Our mission was to work methodically through the 'Black Magic Book' of suspension tuning to find the perfect set up." "Fitz," though, did not give details about the methods of magic, black or otherwise.
But about the scientific method, Fitz said, "We ran the hard course through one variable at a time, noting each change as we tested a gamut of chassis geometry changes, while making front-fork and rear-shock setting changes, to transform the already competitive KTM RC8 R into a consistent front runner."
One setting after the next saw Randolph picking his way through the changes to his KTM RC8 R until he was satisfied at finding himself on a great race bike. "The idea is to get James on a 'Velvet Hammer,' to give him a feeling of comfort and confidence." said "Thermosman." "We could see how well we were advancing with each change we made to the bike showing on the watch."
Eventually Randolph, the Scuderia West crew, and "Fitz" were happy. "Fitz" added, "If a different tire solution had been made for the Formula Pacific race, who knows? James had to settle for fifth after leading the race for 4 laps, showing the field just how good the KTM RC8 R already really is.
"The AFM field, at this event, was loaded with talented riders and they weren't about to hand anything to James. Every session out we made positive improvements to the bike and James was cool-headed and patient in waiting for the one race where his competition would be at its best."
James said, "The bike just gets better and better every time we go out. And it's so nice having professional help; all I have to do is race."
The Ã–hlins' KT 888 RDU rear damping unit and FGK 141 front-fork kit are available for all racers and street riders of the KTM RC8 through Ã–hins USA dealers and service centers.
Ã–hlins USA distributes and services the world's leading performance suspension for automobiles, motorcycles, and ATVs. Ã–hlins develops its proprietary and innovative suspension components at the highest levels of racing from open-wheel car racing, to Moto GP, to off-road competition on two and four wheels. Ã–hlins USA also provides training for service centers and dealers.