Most of my working life has been spent working on motorcycles in some way or another. The most attractive side of this industry, for me, has been the racing side. I took part in the sport for a few years and did fairly well in it considering the little my father and I knew at the time and also considering the budget we did it on. And no matter what I undertake as a new adventure or hobby, I cant seem to get away from the racing. I have, over the years been involved at different levels in the racing world, from racing myself, to helping people with race teams, to eventually managing my own teams. And I say that lightly as it was not teams like you would see in Moto GP or World superbikes, it was just little old me looking after and preparing bikes and managing the practicing, practice days, the race days and riders etc etc. And I must say I did it to a very good level. Over my years I have helped in attaining three championships, three second place championships and multiple podiums and best lap times.
That said, my involvement with it at the moment is purely watching the racing on TV. And with my new found enjoyment of writing blogs, I plan to expand my writing to cover this racing in my blog posts. But to spare those of you who have no interest, I will have separate pages on my website for this, and I hope to be able to continue my life ramblings as per usual. But I need a starting point for my new venture in writing, and this post will be it.
A few years ago, back in South Africa, I undertook a project that many had a desire for, but said couldn’t be done. That was to put a KTM Super Duke motor into the KTM RC8 chassis. Basically to create a non naked Super Duke, but we were gonna take it racing, to take on the Ducati Panigales, that were dominating our BOTTs racing class.
We already had the RC8 race bike, as that was our weapon of choice for the 2016 race season, but it was really tired and slow, just getting eaten up on the straight away. The KTM RC8 chassis is one of the sweetest handling, and the looks of the RC8 are amazing. But it lacked so much in the power department. The newer V-twins have in the region of 170BHP (brake horse power). So no matter how fast my pilot could ride into and out of turns, it was all lost in a matter of seconds going down the straights. So we had a rolling chassis to work with, now we needed a donor 1290 super duke. We managed to find one that was written off cosmetically and so I stripped out the motor and electronics. I had looked on the web for information and ideas but couldn’t find anything. So to the best of my knowledge, I was the first one to do this.
In December of 2016, I spent my annual leave in the workshop stripping down the RC8 and putting the Super Duke motor (SD) into the chassis. If you look closely, the RC8 motor and the SD motor have the same casting so it bolts straight into the RC8 chassis. One difference in the mounting of the motor is on the side top mounts that have a slightly different position on the SD motor. So I had to modify the left hand mount to allow the throttle body wiring to fit in-between the frame and motor.
Due to the fact that the RC8 and SD run different electrics, I had to spend a few hours modifying the wiring harness, to be able to accommodate all the ECU’s of the SD. People asked why I didn’t just use the motor but run the RC8R harness and electrics? Well that defeats the point. You really only have a glorified RC8R then. We wanted the full power of the SD. Why have the motor but not the designed electronics that go with it, that make it such a beast!
So this entailed cutting and joining and heat shrinking a LARGE number of wires. I also had to work out where to mount the different ECU’s into the chassis. Needless to say it was all a tight fit. It also included making a custom tray for the throttle bodies to mount to. This is because the RC8 air box and throttle bodies are completely different to that of the SD. The RC8 is a cable operated system from the throttle tube to the throttle body, where the SD is a fly by wire system, meaning that the throttle position is picked up electronically. The fuel tank and airbox on the SD are also a completely different shape, but to be able to use the RC8 fuel tank I had to modify the RC8 airbox. I made a template and then used fibreglass to fabricate the plate that the throttle body and stacks would attach to.
These items were the most time consuming. And by no means am I gifted in the engineering department, so all this was not calculated to the finest detail. It was all a hit and miss design and attempt. But it all seemed to work. If I thought about it a bit more and budget also allowed, a system by a company called Rottweiler, would be the best bet here and a big time saver. But you learn from development.
A few other bits and bobs and modifications and mountings and it was done. It wasn’t all plane sailing. There were a few hair pulling and head scratching sessions that went on, but over all it worked out well. And within a couple of weeks she was complete. Just about. The next step would be to see how the bike performed. And thankfully straight out the gate she was working well. A few tweaks to the final drive gear ratios and we were smiling, both rider and mechanic. Shaun Jubber, the owner and rider, arranged a truly sweet sticker kit. We labelled her the RC12, which we actually got in a bit of trouble for, as we didn’t at the time realize that KTM’s Moto 2 bike is called the RC12. So we must apologise for that, but here is what she looked like when I was done……
We later change the exhaust muffler from the RC8 to a side mounted muffler, and of course the sticker kit.
Shaun Jubbers first win on Eve
The season went as they do. Lots of ups and quite a few downs, being crashes and one race meeting of shims jumping out, which had me inside the motor between practice and qualifying sessions. But Eve and Shaun ended up on the podium a bunch of times, and even racked up 2 wins. Not bad for a development season and bike, and a relatively inexperienced rider. And that was still running standard front suspension, apart from fork oil air gap and springs, and KTMs WP rear shock from an RC8R. This bike had big potential. But the budget, not so much.
Im sad to say that Shaun had to sell ‘Eve’ as we both now live in New Zealand. And she was just wasting away not being used, so at least she will live on and give somebody much joy, I hope.
The project was super fun, and in honesty, that is what I truly love. Building race bikes. I built up a track bike here in New Zealand and we both, Shaun and I, enjoyed a few track days here. But I had to sell it and move on, and I’m looking forward to creating another special bike soon.
There was an episode on ‘Eve’ after our season. Check it out by clicking here https://youtu.be/yDicaZsS24c There was also an article written in Superbike Magazine in South Africa. You can read it by clicking this link https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:471d5121-2fb6-4be6-b24f-37a3960a119b
So that’s a little bit of me and what I love. I look forward to creating something special here in New Zealand. Hopefully it will be another hit. Until next time folks. Much love.
One thought on “MY BIGGEST PASSION”
Wow!! Super interesting and nicely written!! Sad that Eve had to go … but what an accomplishment! Well done!!