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YADBS - Stage 6

yes of course we have more plans dude. the 2005 autocar drag was coming up soon and we are not women to sit at home. praying for a win doesnt sound a good idea either - the lord takes care of fools and babies and we are neither.

anyway hot lines and attitudes apart, we were very much confused then.

but of course we soon take stock. we have just about more than a month or so. the situation appeared straightforward:

o transmission issue MUST be fixed
o gear shifting issues are only "almost resolved."
o assumptions about the bikes power hold true
o need a better rear tyre

while the first point is obvious, the second one was a reminder of that ominous shifting difficulty during the first run. the last one obviously referred to the wheelspin issues.

so next step was dictated by point 1, and so we take the engine off and bring it over to rons place. during this time i had shifted to a house very near our "secret testing strip", a place with lots of space in front and it was also quite easy to roll the bike into the living room. so thats where the bike stayed, in the living room. anyway, back to the dungeon, and once more the gearbox opens up as me and jaggu toil hard for a couple of hours. tom meanwhile had some issues at his home and was not in town for a few days.

ron takes a long good hard look (his zen look) at the gearbox and its inhabitants and then comes up with some conclusions.

o the shifter forks are damaged
o one of the C-locks is missing
o signs of heavy stress/abuse

so soon we have a name for the problem that we are facing - "freewheeling". some research informs us of what actually went wrong. in brief, one is not supposed to engine brake on a gearbox with undercut gears. if you do that you end up damaging shifter forks. the basic idea of undercut gears is to get them engage better. but the reverse happens while engine braking - they pop out, or in other words, they get pushed out. and the damge in the gearbox reminds us of a blunder from the past - one of the initial testing sessions where we tried using a "dry clutch". in short, we made it all so very easy for Murphy.

so finally as far as the tranny problem is concerned, we boil down the root cause(s) to:

o heavy engine braking in first 3 gears
o our experiments with dry clutch setup
o absense of a bearing C-lock.

so ron gives us two choices - one, replace the shifter forks, add a new C-lock, and make sure that we do no engine braking in first 3 gears. else we loose more shifter forks. two, replace shifter forks, remove the undercut dog setup, just have the alternate dogs cut, add a new C-lock and carry on as before.

very obviously the second option looks better - it does not force us to avoid engine braking. but then there is a hitch - we need new gears/dogs. anycase we need new shifter forks. zloyd saves the day by shipping down a whole friggin gearbox from pune, in the nick of time. we still owe you man.

so we take the second option and soon the gearbox is assembled and the engine back onto the frame. a quick test confirms that it no longer freewheels.

so we consider our tranny case closed. then we have our old ghost to reckon with - gear shifting issues. question was, do we still have shifting issues? on a positive note, there was only a glimmer of a difficulty during that run, and we saw nothing more of it since then. on balance, we decide to forget the issue and move on. looking back, it was a bad move. but then, to our credit, we did the best we could then. and we had every reason to assume that the gearbox would only be better at that point, since it has new forks, C-clip, gears etc.

and what more, even if we had decided to pursue the gear shifting problem, i cant imagine what we could have done. it wasnt "action" that was needed. we actually needed to sit down, think, think, think, look at the whole picture, look at it again, and analyse the problem, see it for what it actually is, and come up with a sensible and accurate solution. so even if we had proceeded in such a direction, i dont think we had the time, the mood, the frame of mind, or attitude or experience to pull off a solution. so if we had tried anything, it would only have involved some physical effort, where the gearbox would have got prised open once more and checked, rather than any pragmatic reasoning. our minds were fixated on the gearbox then. it was like, the gearbox refuses to shift, so fix it; the gearbox is fixed, so it will shift; etc. ignorance, of course, is bliss.

so everything is back on the bike and it is looking good once more, what with the transmission problem fixed. so no more "high severity bugs" remaining, so we decide to take the game forward. the autocar drag is the BIG one and we decide to have an all out go - move to the best possible configuration and leave nothing unturned. looking back i can see a pattern always - we hit a problem, say X, and then spend some time fixing it. now before we confirm that X is indeed fixed, i mean before we confirm that whatever soluton that we implemented actually works, we throw in an unrelated, new, feature Y. so there was always an element of chaos or confusion in the bikes configuration. but to our defense, "testing a fix" always must be done on dragday, and you dont have drags every other week in this country. with one or two drags happening in a year, we really couldnt afford the luxury of wasting a drag just to test out a fix.

so anyway we go through some beerstorming sessions and the following is decided.

o upgrade to rons digital CDI
o refine the jetting
o switch to a longer swingarm
o switch to a "hard tail" setup
o switch to 14 size front sprocket
o switch to proper clipons
o switch plugs to NGK BP8HS
o use a "fake tank", if possible
o change the rear brake setup to cable-type
o pipes gathering rust, powder coat them
o misc stuff like cables etc

some of the items were "forced improvements" actually - for example the jetting issue, clipons, rear brake issue, etc. some of them were "pure enhancements" which would bring in a tangible improvement. and of course, some were totally unnecessary and driven only by imagination, guesswork, and the ouputs of various software simulations. the best example of the last catagory is the front sprocket change.

so the list is made and we set ourselves a timetable and schedule. we plan on having a "mock race day" in the end - idea is to get the bike over to outer ring road, and have a couple of full fledged runs. we also plan to use that session for sorting out the jetting.

the list is long, and so we get started.