Skinny Tires and Whackin Cool Handlebars – Japanese Motorcycle Racing Video
The Japanese have a way of putting a wild spin on nearly everything – as witnessed by this piece of strange – and when they head out for a day of motorcycle racing, they bring the strange right along.
The colorful riding gear alone is worth the price of admission, but what makes it all really cool is the bikes. The specially fabricated handlebars are a piece of engineering cool, and the front suspensions are some fine work as well. These guys look like they’re riding on a rail…
It’s sort of old school board track racing without the banking and the intermittent, crowd-pleasing deaths.
You’ve also got to love the way the rider in the first video offers his apologies to the crowd in a face-saving gesture of supplication. Not the middle finger we’re used to here in these United States, but perfectly tuned for the more, shall we say, genteel Japanese audience.
The front suspension looks like a very simple telescoping fork, as used on circa 1914 Scott motorcycles and lots of speedway bikes over the years. The upper part of the forks are fixed and have some triangulating to give them stiffness. The hub is mounted on short sliders that fit inside the fixed fork tubes, and with just the springs in there, no damping is provided, so it looks like they bolted on some steering dampers to make them easy to reconfigure – and easy to adjust. The steering dampers just move up and down with the front hub like a springer.