Jamie from TD balanced the crank, ported the head, modified
the valve seats and WPC-treated many internals.
The WP Cone Valve forks have a supple feel with great bottoming resistance. They are worth their weight in gold.
Josh to get towards the front of the pack. Early in the moto
is when a rider has the best chance to make multiple passes—when the pack is still tight. The added power allows
Josh to get out off the main line and into the deep loam
to make these potential passes. There is no way Josh, or
anyone else for that matter, could handle the power while
riding at 100 percent for the whole race, so the timer is set
to end around the 5-minute mark.
PUTTING ITSELF IN CRUISE CONTROL
The last part of the Ellis plan allows Josh to get in a
smooth groove and ride flawlessly. Smooth, effortless and
fast power is the key to the plan. It sounds easy, right?
Our test riders helped Jamie in the development of this
map. There are two different areas that can be altered by
the ECU map—ignition timing and fuel mixture. Jamie can
retard or advance the timing and lean or richen the fuel
mixture throughout the entire powerband with an almost
infinite number of possible combinations. Our starter map,
for instance, had a sluggish feel off the bottom, forcing
us to downshift into the corners and use the clutch more.
After that, the power spiked and was hard to control. After
we told Jamie what we felt, he leaned out the fuel mixture
and advanced the ignition timing off the bottom at 5- to
15-percent throttle and did the opposite at 15- to 45-percent
throttle to detune the power and make the FC450 easier to
ride. Initially, it was too snappy off the bottom for our test
riders, but the transition to the upper half of the power
was much more linear. To smooth out the transitions,
Jamie produced an easier-to-ride map on the spot. It was
still incredibility fast, but it was so linear that it gave us
the impression we were going much slower than we actually were. The bike stuck to the ground like glue without
making the front end feel too light. This was the map we
liked best for settling in for the long haul.
THE SMART-BIKE STRATEGY
What do we think of the smart-bike strategy? In theory,
it sounds like the next stage in the evolution of engine
management. It gives the rider fewer things to think
about and endless tuning possibilities. The question is, do
we want to follow in the footsteps of MotoGP road race
technology where Valentino Rossi believes that electronics
have lessened the importance of talent? Will future winners be determined by how good the bike is rather than
how good the rider is? Bike performance has always been
a factor in results, but with high-tech electronics, the percentage is increasing on the tech side of the ledger. Still,
tech wars have a way of evening out—and all the great
riders will eventually have the same whiz-bang, comput-er-aided machinery. As for the lowly privateer; for him,
bikes will become more expensive. How expensive? The
cost of Jamie Ellis’ engine package and ECU settings ran
around $6500. The good news? That money will put your
bike on par with any factory bike that you line up next to.
The bad news? Without this level of electronic trickery, you
will be left in the dust.
It is awesome that a company like Twisted Development
exists, and for now, they are fighting the good fight to
close the gap on the factory works bikes. Best of all, they
offer their technology for sale—and don’t hide it away like
the works teams. ❏
TWISTED DEVELOPMENT FC450