The Cycleworks' project S2R so excited me about riding and Ducatis that I couldn't wait to get it on the track. I looked on the Net and found Dustin Coyner's Track Daz
track day fit my schedule. I was a little unsure of which group to go in and Dustin said "RACE dude". OK. I was a little nervous taking the relatively anemic S2R out in the race session. After all, I'd be riding with WSMC regulars on their GSXRs with 2 to 3 times my little 800's horsepower!
Sunday was a mad scramble to get ready. I didn't end up adjusting the valves on the S2R, but I did at least change the oil. Note the pimp-style chrome oil filter. Ducatis and Harleys use the same cartridge! :D For track prep, I removed the "beer tray" and fender and used a spare headlight bucket. The lens was broken out, so I removed the reflector and the wiring and am using the bucket backwards as a place holder. I got the Michelin Pilot Power (street) tires fitted up ok to the Marvic Penta wheels. The rear wheel is VERY close to the swingarm on the S2R. It's a good thing that this rear wheel is a 5.75" and not 6.0" wide! I searched the net for tire pressure to run and settled on 34f / 35r. I ended up running 34/34 as the rear felt a little slippery a few times.
Out on track, the S2R was a FREAKIN BLAST! Very well balanced overall. A touch flighty, but very very controlled. Never once was I worried about what direction the bike was pointed in. One minor complaint was the S2R is a tad lacking in the ground clearance department when approaching race pace. Now we're talking about a pace near 1:37 around the Big Track, so few if any "track day riders" who own S2Rs would have to worry about this. Also aggravating the clearance is that the suspension is really too soft for a 180 pound rider pushing the limits. The S2R with stock suspension would lightly drag the sidestand in turn 5 and the Arrow full exhaust system would touch in turns 4 and 9. The header never did touch down in Turn 2, but I think I was just mental enough that I didn't really push it in that long turn.
I definitely feel the S2R is far more
track worthy than a standard Monster. The S*R family of Monsters have high footrests and finally got rid of the low pegs that limit former generation Monsters' ground clearance. Adding to my track day recommendation is the fact that the S2R was so well behaved. Not once did the S2R wiggle out of control or make me totally back out of the throttle.
The Arrow full exhaust system
provided a healthy bark that allowed all others around to know my presence. Both those spectating and those riding near me. The organizers had plenty of accounts from other riders who could tell they were about to be passed by the loud droning from my dual Ti mufflers. :) I especially appreciated how the exhaust note reverberated in the Turn 4 area! One time, I used it like a horn to communicate: the guy in front of me on an R1 was going kinda slow, so I pulled in the clutch and horsed the throttle a few times. They actually moved over on the downhill chute out of Turn 4! Mwuhahahaha. The only drawback is the possibility of reduced ground clearance from the standard header. Also, you'll see in the pics that the track day use has put a wonderful array of coloring across the length of the header.
The Nissin master cylinder, Brake Tech "AXIS" cobra stainless rotors, Brembo gold line calipers, and Ferodo CP911* pads
all combined to provide a powerfully impressive stopping force. I'm contemplating replacing the pads with Ferodo's softer "Platinum" pad to take some of the edge off the brakes. The Nissin radial pump detailed in this entry
is very impressive. It works well with the Brembo gold line calipers and has a great range of feedback. The lever has a bit of travel before it "stops". During this range of travel, it is actually imparting force on the pads, so the rider can relate position of the lever to braking power. More than a few times, I was able to delay braking until the last possible second and roll into the lever, unloading the rear wheel.
The Marvic Penta magnesium wheels
are certainly a part of the bike's handling yumminess, though I'm sure are not required to venture out on track and enjoy one's self.
Nichols Superbike footrests
were key to enabling spirited riding. Few people realize how crippling it can be to have their feet slipping all over when trying to hang off a bike! Their pegs weren't a bolt on, though. I ended up reaming the mounting screws out a little bit. I forget if I went to 6mm, 1/4", or what. I did fax my findings to Nichols MFG
About the engine and its "power":
I love the strong grunt the 803cc engine has on the street. It feels like any 904cc Ducati I've ridden before, only smoother and maybe a touch stronger. BUT... wind on the throttle to let the revs soar and I'm sorely disappointed. I thought it would be worse on the track, where high rpm horsepower is king, but I was surprised to have enough steam to still be entertained AND achieve higher speeds than on my former RS250 race bike with its 63hp and ~300 pound weight. The power was enough that I would occasionally back out of the throttle in Turn 8 during WSIR's "Breezy" moments. And I never really did go through Turn 2 with the throttle pinned.
On the ergonomics:
The Monster isn't really a "sport" bike. Its seat is high, its tank is low, and the handlebars are WAY out there. Combine these and hanging off the bike becomes awkward and fatiguing. Once I picked up the pace and started dragging the stand and header, I started working on hanging off more and more. I also found that if I moved back on the seat, I had more room to hook my outside knee into the seat/tank joint to stabilize my body. Then I could move my upper body more to the inside while keeping my head down. Basically, I ended up splaying my knees apart as far as I could and tried to put my head hear the inside handlebar. This worked pretty well for getting through the turns, but left me almost unable to walk the next day! :D Taking a year off from track riding has really left me sore and tender now!
, I had a great time! I rode the S2R the same as I rode my former Aprilia RS250 race bike. Same shift points, same continuous hiding behind the bubble to minimize drag. A few differences were that indicated speeds on the S2R were higher on the exit of 9 and entrance to 1 and I was slower into turn 4 on the S2R than the RS250. A couple times, I really impressed myself by getting such a good run out of Turn 5 and over 6 that I found myself in 6th gear going IN to Turn 8 and trying to shift for a 7th gear! I'd look and see an indicated 130ish mph! Great stuff!
Link directly to the pic gallery that is displayed below...
At speed in Willow's Turn 4
||in the pits
Cycleworks project S2R and Zina's 749S in the paddock.
||S2R in the paddock
Track Day prepped Cycleworks S2R in the paddock. Note inverted headlight bucket and bling Fram chrome oil filter.
||Naked on the Grid
In the "Race" group with ~30 riders, I was on the only naked bike. And was easily in the top 10 fastest riders. :D
||Turn 4 a
Getting down to cruise through Turn 4
||Turn 4 b
About to apex on the exit of turn 4.
||real pic of Turn 4
Taken by a professional photog. Too bad it was on a cool down lap. Note left hand resting on knee...