Originally Posted by kevin_stevens
If the clutch isn't up to it, I'll take the TL1000 instead - though I'm much more likely to hurt myself with it. Thanks for the info; didn't know the clutch was a weak point. This is just a for-fun event.
Great - I've got an Evo 8 and a RS, I'm not a big drag guy, but it would be nice to have something with a bulletproof clutch!
Suzuki TL1000, good
The clutch may rattle a bit, but it's pretty tough. I'd have reasonably fresh oil in the engine when I went to the race, and change it no later than the next day. Other than that, you should be good to go, except for maybe reducing tire pressure in the rear tire a couple of PSI if you get tire spin off the line.
For launch, you can use one of these methods:
1. At the line, hold RPM to about 8,000 and dump the clutch just as the last yellow lights. Control resulting wheel spin with air pressure adjustments. Keep weight well forward to keep the front end down.
2. At the line, hold RPM to about 5,000, just as the last yellow lights, open the throttle all the way, and slip the clutch until fully released at 7k-8k. This is harder to do, and abuses the clutch a bit, but can result in really hard launches without wheelies or wheel spin. Highly modified engines will quickly vaporize a stock clutch, but if you're only running a power commander and pipe, the clutch should probably take it OK.
In either case, I'd wind to red line in the first two gears, and short shift about 500 RPM after that. That TL1000 is a torque monster, it should be quicker that way.
Don't be in too big of a hurry to get tucked in. If you're tucked by the the time you hit third, that should be soon enough. Control is important. You want to strive for minimal wheel spin, and keep the front wheel mostly on the ground. On un-faired bikes I like to tuck in so tight that I use my hand to shift (after either second or third gear, depending on the bike), without clutching, but that shouldn't be necessary on the TL, and that tactic is potentially hard on drive train components.
Some TL1000's were reputed to suffer from headshake problems at high speed if the front end got light. If yours in one of them, you might consider a steering damper.
Once you get the launch technique down to your satisfaction, most of your time improvements are going to come from reading the lights vs reaction time. It's a never ending battle to get better, but can be a ball, and is probably some of the safest racing there is. Have fun