Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Merritt Island, FL
Re: Racing a Monster
There are some folks on here, or used to be, that have some experience racing Monsters. I've put about 3000 track miles on mine, with half or more doing the Novice Instructor gig with STT.
My opinions based on my experiences and observations of other Monsters at various tracks....
There are better platforms out there, and you will likely hear this a lot. BUT..... The early Monster chassis is based on the successful 888/851 Superbikes that competed fairly well. Personally, I like them on the track.
The stock setup and geometry has two drawbacks. The semi-upright ergos naturally put too much rider weight at the rear resulting in less feedback as to what the front is doing as you approach the limits, and causing the front to get too light on fast hard drives out of the corners which in turn increases the tendency to head shake. And as you probably know, a grown-up headshake is a tankslapper. Bad!
Clipons cure the first problem easily. The second problem is not hard, but involves setup and geometry. After over a year of tuning and tweaking, I've ended up with the rear ride height raised about 13-15mm at the axle (6-7mm at the Heim joint adjusters) and the front raised probably 6-7mm at the triple clamps. This is all after installing correct rate Ohlins springs in otherwise stock Showa adjustable forks from the early 90s and a correctly sprung Ohlins rear shock from Hard Racing(before my association with Superbike Italia thru STT). If you raise the rear only you increase the twitchy steering and tendency to headshake/tankslap. If you raise both you get added ground clearance and can fine tune the front height to get the bike to turn in just right - neither falling to the inside of the apex, nor just leaning over and refusing to turn (been there, done both of those).
Speaking of ground clearance, the early Monsters are bad about dragging hard parts at the stock ride height. Aftermarket rearsets are a great help, but not necessary. Last year I was at a STT Limited Endurance Day where most of the staff was there just to practice (no Novice classes at LEDs) at Little Talledega GP on the old track layout and just grinding my knee pucks down because that's how that track was and is now. One of the other staff who normally rides his 999 brought a Monster - all stock - that he had just picked up. With no adjustments or anything he was kicking my ass by over 4 seconds per lap just by getting his body off more to avoid scraping and carrying more corner speed. Since then he's set it up just for the track and I only see him when he laps me on a fast track like Barber. One of these days if I keep instructing past this season and don't trade the Monster and sell the SS track mule - then I may spring for some rearsets for the M900.
The bottom line is that I think Monsters are good platforms for that class of racing and with a little setup and good riding they can do well.
Mark J<br />95 M900; **SOLD**<br />Desmo Owners Club card # 00203441<br />88 YSR 50; **SOLD**<br />92 Ducati 900 SS; track bike. Nichols stuff; FCRs; Dyna Coils; Air Tech retro NCR fairing; custom retro tailpiece; shorty CF cans; etc.; **SOLD**<br />99 BMW F 650 - Hey! It was built in Italy, too! By Aprilia for BMW!<br />83 BMW R80 ST<br />2000 Triumph 955 Daytona for the track only for sale cheap - PM me.