Everybody has a dream. Something that gets them out of bed in the
morning. Druggies dream of their next score. Athletes dream of gold medals.
Politicians dream of re-election and brown paper bags of cash. Neil dreams
of three naked supermodels and a bath of chocolate body paint. Steve dreams
of... no, we won't go there. That's too scary. And Richard dreams of getting
more neddies out of his CBR250R. Lots more neddies.
Richard has had his little CBR since 1996, and the two of them have
done a lot of miles together. For some of those miles, they've actually
been upright and on two wheels rather than sliding bum-first across bitumen.
The bike is more than just transport for Richard, it's a permanent hobby
as well. If he's bored, there's always crash damage to fix.
Fairly early on in his quest for more power, Richard decided
that the conventional route of hotting up infernal combustion engines
(pipe, pod filters, head work and bigger carbs) was pretty much a waste
of time. Honda had already spent a lot of time and money tuning and developing
the CBR's engine, and the stock valves are so large that they overhang the
piston. There are actually recesses in the tops of the barrels to accomodate
the valves. It is possible to get more power out of a CBR with some fairly
expensive engine mods, but there isn't much to be had. An acquaintance managed
to get 56bhp out of his bike after extensive modification, which included
a capacity increase, head work and removing the backlash gears from the cams.
Unfortunately, that bike ended up burnt to a crisp on the side of the road.
(In all fairness to Luke, it's highly unlikely that the engine mods caused
his bike to self-immolate).
Richard wanted more power than that, which meant only one
thing. Forced induction. The whole idea of chopping up the cases to get
a drive system in there left him cold, so a supercharger was out. That
meant a turbo. It is possible to get carbies and turbos to talk to each
other, but it's a long and difficult process, and one that often ends with
melted engine components and cries of distress from the wallet region.
After some (uncharacteristic) sober reflection and a period of (painful)
thought, Richard decided that the first step was to build a fuel injection
system for his CBR...
Even before the EFI was fully operational, Richard was running
around like a chookless head looking for a suitable turbo. He was also
mumbling something about performance-enhancing go-faster accessories like
whooshy blow-off valves and oversize rice-boy boost gauges, which forced
the other members of the team to whack him repeatedly with blunt objects
until he saw reason (or at least stars). We didn't mind, though. Hitting
Richard is fun.
Once we found a usable whirly thing, we locked ourselves in the workshop
and got down to it...