Archive for November, 2007

Breaking the MotoCzysz Code

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Michael Czysz

Twenty-two months ago we started designing the MotoCzysz C1 990 Prototype, seven months later a running version was unveiled at the 06USGP.  Between the 06USGP and the 07USGP we addressed a long list of inevitable problems consistent with any clean sheet concept.  Now that we have a stable and reliable platform we move into the next phase – development.

Virtually every engine in production today is based on a predecessor.  Building your first engine is an order of magnitude more difficult than building your second.  It is the knowledge acquired from the current engine that usually drives the development program of the next, unfortunately, MotoCzysz had no current engine.

Designers and engineers of true clean sheet design can find little empirical data for their new creation primarily because by definition, it does not exist.  Though the general principals of mechanics and physics will not change, calculations are more easily believed when the majority of the equations are known factors.  When you have a formula with more variables than constants, even engineers a cubical away will often arrive with two different answers.  I face that scenario way more than I would have ever anticipated.

It is not that an internal combustion is so overly complicated, in fact is a rather crude concept – but it is just so developed, so refined and as a motorcycle engine, so efficient, it is nearly elegant.  Today’s motorcycle engines are true marvels of performance, reliability and value.  That is why it is a standard practice for most motorcycle startups and even most American motorcycles to shy away from designing their own engine.

Remove engine design and development from your business plan and remove 80% of the work and cost and 50% of the risk.

The development process for a very small company like MotoCzysz is slow.  We primarily alter specifications between two engines, testing one while rebuilding the other.  A more efficient way would be to be testing at least two engines on two cells while rebuilding 4 to 6 engines.  But that really isn’t the primary factor dictating the speed of our development, the largest factor is 3,499,200.  During the first phase of our engine development we tested:

2 firing orders
3 cam profiles
6 valve springs
2 piston designs
2 piston rings
5 fuel injectors
3 fuel injector heights
3 fuel injector angles
2 fuel pressures
3 primary exhaust pipe lengths
2 mid pipe designs
5 secondary exhaust pipe lengths
3 fuels
3 spark plugs

That is 3,499,200 potential different engine specification combinations.  Now, we do not necessarily have any more variables or combinations to test than any other company, in fact I am certain companies like Honda and Yamaha could easily have tens of millions of different combinations they could test for each new MotoGP engine.  So how do they do it?  They make it happen with hundreds of engineers, tens of millions of dollars and history.  The vast matrix of development is narrowed by huge hard disks of empirical data from current or past engines.  This is why the development efforts at the highest level often move very deliberately and carefully.  The pitfalls of rogue development have seen many teams go from world champions one year to also ran the following, seemingly lost in a dark technological labyrinth.  From my perspective, this is a big part of racing.  A decision guiding the development direction of a program, although typically made years before the race, may actually be one of the biggest factors in how successful a company may ultimately be in competition.  Fortunately, giants do stumble and small guys do win.  That is what makes racing great and that is why we race – to see who will win.

David Sprinkle, Tony Willcox

So how goes the MotoCzysz development?

Great – and the same time not so great.  We have achieved our design goal and currently make a calculated 220+ hp at the crank.  Yes – I thought when we hit that goal all in the world would be perfect, calmness would fall over us and a true feeling of accomplishment would follow.  I was picturing, even expecting, motorcycle nirvana.  What I got was “Houston, we have a problem.  There are very few normally aspirated engines in the world that achieve 200 hp per liter and none made in America (that I am aware of). This is a rather substantial benchmark only achieved by a small number of top engineering firms.  So in that respect – concept, design and development are going great.  Our intake ports uniquely located between the cams were independently tested and out flowed every head the analysis company had ever tested.  In turn, our engines volumetric efficiency is fantastic.  We have documented VE of over 122%, the best Japanese bike we have ever had tested topped out at 112% – so our pump works excellent.  Thermal efficiency is also good, so what is the problem?

Quentin Wilson

Our combustion efficiency is not optimum.  We made a combustion design error and thus we have a slow combustion event that is requiring more timing to achieve peak cylinder pressure.  The good news is we have identified the rather obvious “squish” mistake and already have fix in hand.  Not only will this result in even higher performance but will also help solve the single biggest problem – excessive engine braking.

We feel most of the engine breaking is do to oil quality and oil quantity.  This is actually the adverse effect of over designing the oil system in an effort to reduce friction.  It is very difficult in the design phase to determine the exact oil requirements of all areas of the engine.  Under estimate and you could be facing a costly redesign, so we cautiously decided to error on the side of more oil and increased flow.  It is now time to refine.  Our current oil strategy sees our engine pumping half a liter per second of Elf’s finest (it really is INCREDIBLE oil) by the pressure pump and the exact amount again by the larger sump pump totaling one complete liter per second.  So the first MotoCzysz engine is 80% motorcycle power plant and 20% Jacuzzi pump.

MotoCzysz tuning at night

The next series of test will focus primarily on optimizing the oil pumps, reducing the oil pressure, and balancing the flow of oil throughout the engine. If the results confirm our expectations then the development is going great, even awesome!  If the results fail to meet our expectations then “Houston we have a problem.”

Back to the dyno-

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Not another chopper show!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Discovery Channel airs Birth of a Racer, a MotoCzysz Documentary

For the last two years, Michael Czysz and the MotoCzysz team have been followed and filmed by a production crew from the Discovery Channel. The two hour documentary, Birth of a Racer, is the first HD documentary to be released by Discovery world wide and will be available to over 600 million viewers. The film shows the accomplishments and failures experienced by the MotoCzysz team while trying to bring an American designed and built machine back to the forefront of international road racing.

The process of fabricating American motorcycles is well known to the reality television audience who have watched Orange County Choppers, Build or Bust, or Southern Steel. While each build seems to stretch the ability of the shop, the men, and the clock – these bikes are not exactly new technology or forward thinking exercises, they have however created some interesting motorcycles and great TV moments.  In contrast, the MotoCzysz documentary (with arguably fewer great TV moments) will quickly show the viewers the true effort it takes to conceive, design, engineer and build a clean sheet motorcycle and more importantly a clean sheet engine. The C1 also has a unique frame, industry first suspension, state of the art comprehensive electronics, and over 1,000 custom parts that cannot be purchased out of a catalog.

The documentary will begin airing this week with the date for the United States yet to be determined. 

International Release Dates:
Discovery Benelux  11/10/2007
Discovery Asia - 11/15/2007
Discovery Japan – 11/25/2007
Discovery Latin America - 11/25/2007
Discovery India & Taiwan - 11/26/2007
Discovery Poland – 12/12/2007
Discovery France – 12/17/2007
Discovery Russia – 12/20/2007
Discovery Central Europe - 12/20/2007
Discovery Romania - 12/21/2007
Discovery Italy - 12/28/2007
Discovery Spain & Portugal - 12/30/2007
Discovery Australia & New Zealand – 12/30/2007
Discovery Denmark & Poland – 12/31/2007
Discovery United States – TBD

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