The end of the racing twin?

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Rick650
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The end of the racing twin?

Post by Rick650 »

The replacement of the twin cylinder Panigale with the very exciting Panigale V4R seems to represent the end of the twin cylinder racer in serious Superbike competition. The days of the booming racing twin seem to be over.

In MotoGP and 500cc racing the four has dominated since the 50s with titles won by singles, triples and five cylinder bikes making up the balance. The exception was in 1959 when the twin cylinder AJS Porcupine and Les Graham won the first formal title.

The biggest racing contribution of twins has been in Superbike racing where they have usually been granted a capacity increase compared to their four cylinder competitors. Twin cylinder riders have won slightly more than half of the Superbike titles, with 16 Rider Champs, 14 for Ducati riders and 2 for Edwards on Hondas, with the last coming in 2011 for Checa. Ducati twins have won 17 Superbike Manufacturers Champs with the last again coming in 2011.
Ducati have had seven recent seasons where their best twins were not good enough, even with the totally new high revving Panigale twin and they have now joined their competitors and added two cylinders (and even more revs) for 2019. In 2018 Chaz Davies only won two races and his last win was in race 2 at Aragon in April.
Will this be the last ever Superbike victory for a twin?

Very different sounding twins also scored massive amount of wins in the smaller capacity GP classes. In the 2 stroke era numerous titles were won by various manufacturers, particularly in the 250s and 350s and using many engine configurations ranging from simple parallel twins to vee twins and geared tandem twins. The end of the 350 class and the change from 250s to Moto2 ended the involvement of twins in GP racing.

Sadly future twin cylinder racing use is likely to be restricted to niche racing eg Supersport 300, BEARS and other Heritage type racing series. Are there other series where they will continue to be competitive, US dirt track comes to mind?

Street fashion often follows racing success and the sound of the booming high performance twin on the road may also fade away, , though the big bore parallel twin has made a quiet revival. We will be left with farting Harleys and their ilk, a big aural loss!

bikermike
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by bikermike »

Minitiwns and Supertwins are still going well at domestic level in UK/Ireland
I think at the TT, the supertwins are a bit of a life-saver for the organisers, as the riders seem to be happy to run them when the full-fat bikes are thought a bit dangerous.

Rick650
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Rick650 »

Thanks didn't know about that development.
My first dumb thought, "650, not big twins" shows how we have got used to motors getting bigger despite them also making more power for capacity.
650cc used to be standard for a big bike, then 750, then 900, then 1000, now more.

A few articles I read regarding the Supertwins implied the series had lost it's way with increasing costs , professionalism and speed.
" This is one of the very few classes, if not the only modern class in the UK, nay the world, where production-based machinery can be developed to a nearly-unlimited degree." Most other racing classes are going the other direction with greater control and regulation to try to reduce costs.

bikermike
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by bikermike »

It's quite terrifying that I own an 888 (the big Ducati twin of it's day) which is now smaller than the "little" Ducati twin.

Supertwins is a bit marmite, if it wasn't for the Roads money driving the development, they wouldn't go anywhere. I suspect pure supertwins may wither on club-level series off the roads.

minitwins is for people who find Moto2 a bit restrained and cerebral...

I think a supertwin feeder class for WSBK would be a good idea - converge superstock and superbike rules, and you have room for a class that sounds different, have lots of room for minor players to come through (Norton? one of the Chinese manufacturers), but is still clearly smaller/slower than the big bikes

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Mikesbytes
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Mikesbytes »

Suppose it depends on how far back in history one wants to go. Even as recent as the 70's the twins had a distinct handling advantage over the 4's which compensated for any power differential.

WSBK and its variants kept the twin alive by using a handicapping system, usually displacement but even this differential has evaporated as there is little or no difference in handling and little difference in weight however.

I'd say the biggest potential killer is in EU upcoming regulations requiring yet another potential new design and in Ducati's situation I'm guessing they have seen this as the point to embrace the V4 for the flagship
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AntG23985
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by AntG23985 »

Supertwins are bloody brilliant, the two races at last years North West 200 are some of the best racing I've ever seen.

Rick650
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Rick650 »

Big twins not totally dead in Australia
Mike Jones on a Ducati 1299 FE leading the ASBK championship by 11.5 points after R5 at Winton.
5 makes in the top 6.

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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Rick650 »

And Jones and the Ducati twin won the ASBK by winning the final round after qualifying poorly.
The Ducati showed impressive speed on the straight bits.
This will probably be the last significant championship won by a twin and probably also for a semi frameless motorcycle using the engine plus a headstock as the frame.
A loss for diversity.

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Mikesbytes
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Mikesbytes »

Jones was on a privateer Kawa for the first round before taking over from the injured Bayliss, but lets not split hairs. The Duc's 1300cc twin appeared to a small power advantage over the various Japanese 1000cc fours but not enough to prevent close racing.

New pollution regulations (euro5 ???) have spelt the end of the high powered twin or Ducati has decided that there's not enough future in high powered twins to develop for the new regulation, either way RIP sport twins
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Rick650
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Rick650 »

1285, almost double the capacity of the Bob Brown's delightful TT2 Ducati that ruffled the feathers of the factory teams in the ASBK 35 years ago and helped Kevin Magee into the frame for international racing. I think that was 680, just another example of the previous discussion on how bike capacities have grown.

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Mikesbytes
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Mikesbytes »

Rick650 wrote:1285, almost double the capacity of the Bob Brown's delightful TT2 Ducati that ruffled the feathers of the factory teams in the ASBK 35 years ago and helped Kevin Magee into the frame for international racing. I think that was 680, just another example of the previous discussion on how bike capacities have grown.
I saw Magee race that twin a couple of times in Sydney on race tracks that are now sprouting housing estates. It was magic to watch how fast he was against riders on larger bikes. Bob wasn't happy to loose him but Magee needed to follow his career which peaked with a 500cc win before injury saw him out of the world scene and he disappeared to the US for pretty much the rest of his career

https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/479211216591572370/

Edit: good read up on Bob/Magee and it does state that the 83 bike was a 680 Pantah https://bikereview.com.au/custom-bike-m ... upersport/
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Mikesbytes
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Mikesbytes »

Kevin Magee's accident, from about halfway https://youtu.be/Pmu1bzY1ljU
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Apical
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Apical »

It's not over yet for the racing twin.

re; Kevin Magee & the Bob Brown Ducati, I read somewhere they built an 851cc air cooled two valve engine with the same bore & stroke as the 851 quattrovalvole.
"Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death," Hunter S Thompson

bigm2706
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by bigm2706 »

I love the sound of Ducati panigale v4. It sounds amazing and is less thrashy. Twin cylinders are yes not used much these days because of the performance increase.
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Rick650
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Rick650 »

Not much is happening in terms of racing now.
Is anyone interested in proposing what they consider to be the greatest racing twin or to be more specific racing four stroke twin.
Given most of the twin success came in Superbikes it is hard to go past it being a Ducati.
916 or 999?
Four rider championships v three.
999 was racing more against fours of the same capacity and managed to win 20 of 24 one year (Ducati Cup) but the 916 was far more revolutionary (and attractive).
Other thoughts, SFC Laverda for the long run, Britten for the originality and cohesion, RC51 eventually beat the 999, AJS Porcupine was the only twin to win a 500GP title, Harleys in US dirt track, BMW prewar supercharged flat twins shown off so well by Corser.
Other thoughts?

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Mikesbytes
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Re: The end of the racing twin?

Post by Mikesbytes »

There's probably still the odd Ducati twin being raced in national championships, presumably by riders who don't want to shell out for the latest bike.

Off road the twins are still around, in particular in races like Dakar
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