HomeTechnical ReviewsChapter 5 Wheels and Brake Rotors

Chapter 5 Wheels and Brake Rotors

Written by: Guy Caputo

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Has it been that long since last we spoke? Where are the months going? We only have 3 more chapters in our epic novella so without delay, let’s get started. Building a great motor and having a superb exhaust system are essential indeed but let’s not lose focus of what all this raw mean unadulterated power is used for. All this power basically has one purpose in this life and that is to propel your motorcycle in a forward direction while under that raw mean unadulterated power. How that power is applied to your wheels is through simple mechanics. Well not exactly simple but here is the basics, from an explosion in the combustion chamber to the piston thru the rod to the crankshaft and then to the clutch thru the transmission to the output shaft to the chain and then the wheel onwards to the tire and finally to the ground. Now if you didn’t get all that, we’ll break it down for you. You may have a monster motor built by the best mechanic putting out a ton of horsepower, but…if you have to use your HP to turn heavy aluminum wheels instead of moving your machine forward, then it’s a waste. By waste I mean you could use less HP turning a lighter wheel and using the extra HP to help you go faster and quicker.

OK, let’s get down to the real meat of this story. Ultra-lightweight carbon fiber wheels and lightweight pro-racing rotors.

There, I said it and I’m proud of it. Folks, how can you expect to go really, really fast or quick if you’re wasting your HP trying to turn a heavy rim? The crux of it is that once you get your wheels turning furiously up to speed, you then have to stop very abruptly and aggressively at the end of the track. If your wheels are heavy, it takes longer to get them up to speed and longer to slow them down due to centrifugal forces arising from a turning mass. Heavy wheels are like giant gyro scopes; once power is removed from them they will keep spinning longer and harder to slow down than a lighter wheel. A lighter wheel will accelerate quicker because you use less HP to get them up to speed in a shorter distance. For Land Speed Racing it’s imperative to get up to speed quickly so you can gain MPH down track. Same is true for Drag Racing; you must get thru the gears as quick as possible so that you can achieve a short distance in a smaller amount of time. Hence a quicker E.T.

I have been salivating for a few years over these wheels that I’m about to tell you about. Once I found out who sold these magnificent pieces of artistry, I contacted them for the usual racer shake down. You know what I’m talking about, the “hey I’m a racer, cut me a deal” spiel we all go into when trying to cut a deal with vendors. I got lucky and struck it rich with my first phone call. I talked with Alfred who is the President of oncycles.com and convinced him to give me a great deal. I later found out he gives everyone a great deal at oncycles.com which really burst my bubble but hey, that’s racing. Alfred and I discussed the attributes of Carbon Fiber and the Dymag 5 spoke all Carbon Fiber wheels that he sells exclusively at oncycles.com. I scored folks, not only did I get the most awesome set of Dymag 5-spoke ultra-lightweight carbon fiber wheels, but I was able to finagle another great deal on a front set of “Alth” Italian made racing rotors for the front wheel. Italian is the best you know (did I mention my last name was Caputo?).

Let me start with some technical notes for all Dymag Wheels.

STIFFNESS – This is just as important as low weight because a stiff wheel transmits crisp handling whereas if a wheel deflects under load, the tire profile and contact patch alters, which results in less predictable handling.

WEIGHT COMPARISONS – Dymag wheel weights are fully inclusive of bearings, spacers, sprocket and Cush-drive because all of these parts affect the performance gain and must therefore be considered. Competitors often quote bare wheel weights without any parts and some even charge extra for the parts which is also misleading.

Front Wheels 17 x 3.50
Rear Wheels 17 x 5.50 or 6.00 single or double-sided

Sample Weights
Front 2.2kg complete and all-inclusive (Ducati fitment)
Rear 2.9kg complete and all-inclusive (Ducati fitment)

Key Features

  • Stylish modern design
  • Ultra light & durable one-piece Carbon Fiber
  • High stiffness for optimum performance as a result of Dymag’s unique tapered hollow spoke section construction
  • Magnesium hubs fitted as standard
  • Extensive range of fitments & sizes available for both race & road applications
  • Supplied complete with bearings, spacers, lightweight Cush-drive and anodized aluminum sprocket (where applicable)
  • Tested and approved to British & JWL standards for road and race use
  • Manufactured in the UK by the original developer and maker of Carbon Fiber motorcycle wheels for almost a decade

Weight advantage of Dymag Racing wheels over standard OEM wheels.

The benefits of reducing the weight of wheels are profound. It is viewed that 2.2lbs of unsprung weight reduction is the equivalent of over several pounds of rotating mass which means more HP to the ground to go faster and quicker. Add to this the reduction in gyroscopic effect, which improves handling in cornering, as it is easier to turn into the corner, and improved acceleration, as there is less mass to accelerate. These are the reasons why all top motorcycle and car racing teams use magnesium wheels, and increasingly carbon fiber wheels.

Dymag Carbon fiber wheels have their mass concentrated at the hub, with the wheel itself weighing only 3lbs without hub and bearing mounting, compared with almost 9 lbs (without bearings) for the standard wheels – a 65% reduction in the weight of the rotating mass. The handling performance improvement is consequently dramatic. Dymag’s racing wheels are also the stiffest and strongest wheels, having been used by the Isle of Man TT Superbike Formula One Winners for the past five years and yours truly. Traveling down the Maxton Monster Mile at speeds well over 200mph will cause the normal wheel to be hard to maneuver in the event of sudden necessary object avoidances (such as a safety cone or small animal running across the course.) But with my Dymag’s, my Hayabusa actually felt like I was riding a 1000 on the course, both nimble and reactive to the slightest movement from me. To me it felt like the bike weighed 100lbs lighter at the higher speeds because of those wheels.

Wheels Weights.
The standard factory spec wheels are typically 17″ x 3.0″ Fronts, with 17″ x 5.0″ Rears. Dymag recommends moving to 17″ x 3.5″ Front and 17″ x 5.5″ or 6.0″ Rear. The extra size improves traction and tire performance. Remember the Dymag wheels are 0.5 to 1.0 inch wider.

I have put together a plethora of pictures to illustrate my point on wheel weights.

First let’s start with the stock Hayabusa aluminum rear wheel with rotor, bearings, hub, sprocket and tire.

The stock rear wheel weighed in at 39lbs with my UPS scale.

The Dymag rear wheel weighed in at a mere 27.5 lbs

Now I’m no math wizard, but that’s 11.5 lbs of unsprung weight difference. Holy Schmoly Batman! That’s just crazy weight to lose, almost a 30% weight loss. Let’s see how the front wheels turns out?

The stock front aluminum wheel with stock rotors and bearings came in at a sweltering 27.5 lbs.

The Dymag 5 spoke front wheel with my new Alth (Italian made) racing rotors weighed in at 23.5 lbs

Giving a total difference of 4lbs. Since the rotors were the same weight and the bearings are the same weight, all the reduction in weight came from the Dymag CF wheel. That’s a 15% reduction in weight and much more in rotating mass. Now I do have one comment to make that to me was important when I first ran with these wheels. While racing on the Maxton Monster Mile this last fall, I found my front end to be fairly light and easy at the 185mph zone and when I lit the second stage of nitrous, the front came up a tad and skeerd me half to death. At those kinds speeds without a wheelie bar may be fun for most, but not for me. 200mph wheelies aren’t my cup of tea.

These Dymag’s have got to be some of the sweetest wheels I have ever used and I prefer them over the Magnesium style wheels. Now if Carbon Fiber Dymag wheels were not available, then of course I would choose the Dymag Magnesium wheels, but that’s a mute point now isn’t it.

Now when it comes to stopping power and that’s exactly what you will need when moving at high speeds and having to stop in short distances, Oncycles.com has just what the doctor ordered. Alth rotors in many styles and colors. Click Here for the Big Daddy Deals from Oncycles.com and see all the great deals Oncycles.com has to offer.

I have never been able to make the short shutdown at Maxton when I traveled at over 210mph without great braking difficulty. With my new Alth rotors, not only did I stop better and have more braking response, I stopped short with many feet to spare before the short shutdown. I’m still using the stock calipers with the EBC HH sintered brake pads and very happy with them. They do create a bit more brake dust than stock pads but who cares when stopping power is the criteria for the day.

The Tiger just wouldn’t be as fast as she is if it weren’t for Oncycles.com and our Dymag 5 spoke wheels with Alth rotors. Call Oncycles.com right away and find out how easy it is to get a beautiful pair of these magnificent wheels from Dymag.

In our next chapter, it’s electronics, electronics and more electronics. You’ll get to see what makes the Tiger tick under all that body work and why it’s wired like a Lear jet.


Until Next Time, Safe Racing to All.

Guy Caputo can be reached at GuyCaputo@buckeye-express.com or www.2fast4u2c.com

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