When the Fastbike crew did some tire testing at Continental’s “Contidrome” test track, along came a car magazine with an Audi TT RS plus. They wanted: a race. They got: slaughtered. Is the old truth about cornering speeds changing?
I have done a lot of motorbike magazine work over the years. Every so often, someone dusts off a very old idea: “What is faster, car or motorbike?” This is a boring question, because even since Newton, the answer always was: The motorbike has a better power-to-weight ratio, so it will out-accelerate the car on the straights. The car will gain in the corners through higher speeds and it can brake later, because the limiting factor in braking a sports bike is geometry: Your maximum deceleration happens with the back wheel barely touching the ground. After that, you lose braking power because you are flipping over. The same is true for acceleration btw (you flip over in the other direction), but since nearly all cars are fat and slow compared to a sports bike, this limit doesn’t matter much. So the outcomes of these tests depended solely on the track. Sometimes, the track favors the bike, sometimes it likes the car. Motorcyclists who know their physics like to infuriate other sports bike riders by passing them in the bends with a Civic when they have to use it for their shopping. And car guys hate it when they have to slow down on the Nordschleife in a twisty bit for a bike which then shoots ahead on the straight just to block the next corner by seeming to park there. Such was the accepted truth. Until a few months ago. (Read More…)