So as written earlier, I got the Daytona back and rode 3 sessions at Buttonwillow in early March. It felt great the faster I went. Unfortunately, I had a faulty front suspension potentiometer so we weren’t able to get any data off of it which is a big part of my riding objective this year. The next day I was able to participate in a very cool comparison test with motorcycle.com comparing the Ninja 400 to the 2022 KTM RC 390. The Ninja is unchanged for 2022 but the KTM is heavily revised, including a new [adjustable] chassis, adjustable suspension, a TFT dash (the tachometer is now visible), a quickshifter/blipper, an IMU providing cornering ABS, and some other goodies. You can read the review HERE. There’s also a video in the story too that goes over it.
Next up, I went to the Carters/Ken Hill school at Thunderhill East. The weather wasn’t awesome and I brought both my N4 and the Daytona, starting the day with the N4 each day. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to pace on the Daytona for a couple of reasons: I was not used to a properly suspended bike and I didn’t feel like I could work the bike enough to get into the useful suspension range. Secondly, the speed was a little overwhelming. In speaking with my riding coach, I probably just need more seat time with the Daytona getting back to where I was and building on that so the Daytona will be my focus going forward. This isn’t to say that I won’t be riding the N4, heck, maybe I’ll do a race or two with it, but most of my riding will be focused on the Daytona. I have a small stack of fresh slicks for it, have some track days booked, just installed a new front suspension potentiometer (and thanks to Mike Canfield, learned how to calibrate it), and am ready to collect some data in hopes of using that to improve my riding.
I will also add that there was a cold and wet Sonoma day in the mix there too. I knew it wasn’t going to be a good Daytona day so I borrowed a friend’s trailer and brought the Ninja 400 and the BMW R1250 GS. I can tell you that a wet Sonoma is way slicker than a wet Thunderhill East. It was absolutely nerve-wracking to ride even the GS with all the rain mode & other nanny systems enabled with water on the track. It was super windy that day so once the rain stopped, the wind quickly dried things out, though it also kept the track temperatures fairly low. All the same, I did manage to improve my Ninja 4 PB by 1 second and got to go just about as fast on the GS as I feel comfortable doing with those conditions and the tires it was on. The fun part with the following GS video is to keep an eye on the traction control light on the right edge of the dash and the IMU-based lean angle gauge on the phone above the dash (part of the optional BMW Connected Cradle). I was still trying to figure out optimal gear selection and on this tank of a bike with monster torque, I could usually short shift and still be well into the meat of the power.
On a data note, I now have brake pressure data on the Ninja 400. Working with trailbrake.com, we are getting closer to capturing the throttle data and soon hopefully gear position.
Next up will be:
2022-05-02 – Sonoma w/ Z2
2022-05-09 – THE w/ FTD