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[turbobike] Is riding a turbo bike difficult?

Dave Williams (dave.williams@chaos.lrk.ar.us)
Thu, 05 Aug 1999 14:54:00 -0500

-> For those turbo bike owners, what's the ride like?

 For my XJ650 Yamaha with the boost cranked up to 20psi, it's like being
at the end of a long, long rubber band.  The rate of acceleration is
very nonlinear.  Part of this is due to the turbo being quite small for
its application and running way off the compressor map.

 For riding on curvy roads you have to look a turn ahead so the power
hits when you want.  It's not boost lag, exactly - the guage might as
well be connected to the twistgrip - but it takes a few seconds for
everything to stabilize in go-fast mode.

 Rolling off the throttle at speed is an interesting experience.  The
bike will accelerate noticeably as you back out; probably some sort of
boost surge effect/carb enleanment from the blow-through carbs and lots
of plumbing.

 Other than disabling the wastegate the XJ is stock.  There's a 14PSI
popoff valve on the airbox, but at full boogie the turbo pumps more than
the popoff can vent, and boost will creep right on up.

 A friend of mine has a ZX-10.  He hates my Yamaha with fervor;
apparently he can't synchronize well with the throttle lag.  It doesn't
make him any happier when we're ratting around and I pull away like he
just broke a chain...

 The Yamaha gets 44-45 mpg in ordinary riding, and in 16 years of
ownership I've replaced the clutch, the starter, several sets of work
seals, and ordinary consumables such as oil, filters, and spark plugs.
It's a fun bike to ride, as the cognoscenti know the XJ was the slowest
of the factory turbo bikes, and any modern 600 could blow a stock, 4PSI
XJ into the weeds.  So I get to have some extra fun from time to time...

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