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Oval pistons

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For those who don’t follow motorcycle racing or development, there may be interesting things – quite aside from the racing – which you are missing out on. However, even engineers who have a veritable aversion to motorcycles must have tried hard, if they were working in the 1980s or early 1990s, not to notice the development of the Honda oval-piston motorcycles. The top class of motorcycle racing had for some time been dominated by two-stroke motorcycles. The capacity limit...

Combining nitriding with other processes

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The benefits of the nitriding surface treatment process have been discussed in previous surface treatment articles in RET-Monitor. While the process gives a significant increase in hardness, it is also used to provide a useful degree of residual compressive stress. Carburising can provide the same benefits, but the temperatures involved mean significant distortion is more likely to occur through the carburising process than in nitriding. Such advantages make nitriding a popular choice for...

Engine simulation software

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The emergence of simulation software packages for engine design and testing has revolutionised the race engine industry. Whether it be for the initial design of components, evaluating particular aspects of an engine – for example the valvetrain – or assessing overall performance parameters, engineers can access a plethora of virtual tools to help them. In the past, comprehensive simulation – for example of gas flow within an engine – was the preserve of high-end...

MotoGP – the chain

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In the cutting-edge world of MotoGP, coverage of technical developments tends to focus on game-changing technologies relating to the chassis or powertrain. However, less glamorous components are also subject to constant evolution, including the humble chain. So what differentiates a factory Honda or Kawasaki chain from one found on a lowly CB125 road bike. ‘Roller’ chains have been the universally favoured means of transmitting drive on motorcycles for many years. While belt and...

Choices for single-piece pushrods

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If we look at the types of engines used in various car racing series worldwide, there is a very definite split between the US and elsewhere. The US has a hugely successful racing structure that predominantly uses pushrod (overhead valve/OHV) engines. From those racing at the local tracks right through to NASCAR Sprint Cup at the very top of the closed-wheel racing tree, the engines are based on a very similar architecture, namely that of production pushrod engines. Even the bespoke Sprint...