Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nitro Top Fuel Bike

I'm met Top Fuel racer Doug Vancil today and got to peek around at his race bike.

The engineering on these bikes is almost inconceivable. You really have to have fabricated parts for your own bike and watched how they performed over time to have any concept of how hard predicting all the weird loads and stresses can be. Now imagine if your bike burned nitromethane and made 1000 HP. 5" bore with a 5" stock. Clutch adapted from a funny car. HUGE everything.

Below is but one example. Check out this drive chain with the duel plates on each side. It's just nuts.

The following are some excerpts from the article I referenced above.

"The thing about the titanium chest protector," Doug Vancil is telling me, "is that it spreads out the force of the explosion in case the engine grenades." The idea, obviously, is that a 2680cc, nitro-powered blast will do less bodily damage if distributed nicely over a Top Fuel racer's torso.

"Less" turns out to be a relative term, however, as Vancil begins to detail a fellow racer's post-engine-explosion injuries: a bruised heart and pancreas, busted-up ribs. A bruised heart? Vancil nods. "The strap over the engine holds in things pretty good," he adds, "but you're still sitting on a time bomb. These bikes are mean."

Someone asked Doug about the strap referenced above while looking the bike over. Doug mentioned rather nonchalantly "Yeah that strap is pretty effective but feel the shrapnel marks that engine explosions have left in the bottom of the frame top tube." Pretty gnarly.

The level of performance from a bike that does a 6.2xx 1/4 mile at 220- something MPH is still a little beyond a normal rider's grasp, from the same article:

Well, you might finally consider that a stock ZX-12R streetbike will run the quarter-mile in a pokey 9.96 seconds at approximately 143 mph. But let's say that you and your 12R had a flying start, and you crossed the dragstrip starting line holding a steady 130 mph. At that 130 mph, you'd cover the quarter-mile in about 6.90 seconds, which means that if Doug Vancil-from a standing start-left at the moment you flew by the Christmas tree at a buck thirty, he'd still beat you to the finish line by almost a quarter of a second and 80 mph.

Kinda wild.

No comments: