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It seemed like a good idea at the time......

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by hornet, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. Back in the seventies and eighties both Suzuki and Norton experimented, with monumentally disastrous results, with Wankel Rotary-engined bikes.

    Suzuki's went into full production, and despite some amazing technical advantages, only ran for a few years before the unsold inventory was unloaded for peanuts, or, rumour has it, were ditched into the sea off Japan, http://www.suzukicycles.org/RE5/RE5-Rotary.shtml

    Norton built a limited attempt in the mid-eighties, and although it had some racing success, its fuel consumption and arguments with the authorites about its real cubic capacity (and Norton's own death-throes, of course) prevented if from realising its potential. http://www.jpsnorton.com/racebikes.asp

    I wonder, since that mad Dutchman is building a diesel bike, if anyone would re-invent this interesting concept? My feeling would be no, because despite the advantages of the Wankel rotary, no-one has managed to cure its raging fuel consupmtion.
  2. ....or its ferocious appetite for spark plugs.
  3. Yes, sure do. It was developed a little before the RE5 from memory and suffered from similar difficulties, not the least of which was the inherent traditionalism of European motorcycle purchasers and the expense factor of trying to develop and sell a brand new concept.
  4. Remember that one too. Looks like something that some Netrider cobbled up in their garage to while away the winter nights. Truly horrible.
  5. The norton was actually a decent bike... I remember seeing it doing laps at Eastern Creek. It would probably have had more racing sucess if they hadn't chosen that retro twin shock rear end!

    As for the road bikes they weren't half bad, the brit police used them alongside BMW K's for a while and they seemed to have similar performance (dunno about running costs though :)

    Norton however was simply too small and underfunded to get something so radical off the ground...
  6. :p :p :p
  7. I have an acquaintance in Canberra who owns 2 Norton rotaries. A road bike and an F1. Both still run beaurifully according to him. Anther British "might have been."
  8. The engine itself would be greatly suited to a motorcycle, its just that alot of research and development needs to be put into the engines capacity etc first before doing it again. i drive a rotary powered car (12a engine of 1167ccs) and it hammers quite hard to say the least..and this is a stock 25 year old engine being rebuilt a few years ago..i'll post this on a rotary forum and see what there comments are..
  9. Don't think that these days any of the major manufacturers would take the risk of experimenting with rotaries again (not unless Mazda starts bike production). I think it's probably far more likely that they'll start looking at ways of force-feeding the engines (turbo/supercharging) to try and get more power out of a smaller engine since this is a far more trusted technology especially in Japan.
  10. ......and there already exists a huge collection of technical knowledge and experience to make them work and work efficiently. The early turbo bikes were truly awful, lag, too heavy, electrical glitches...not so any more.
  11. Of course there's always the option of fitting a small, electrically driven, supercharger to a bike which would mean that a conventional exhaust could still be used and there would be no issue of lag.
  12. Well, you have to distinguish between a turbocharger, which is run by exhaust gas pressure, and a supercharger which is run off the crankshaft of the engine. Supercahrgers work better as the revs rise as they turn faster.

    Turbochargers work off exhaust gas pressure which is avaliable at much lower revs. Supers don't suffer from lag, but turbos can.

    An electrically driven superharger is an interesting idea because it wouldn't sap power from the engine to drive it.
  13. two little things...

    BMW has produced the smallest rotary engine (it fits into a rolablade wheel!!)

    I have heard of a bloke in melbourne who colects Rotary powered bikes and apparently has been building experimental engines in his garage for the past 20 years!! So perhaps in the future an Australian made rotary powered bike??
  14. Actually yes it would, the supercharger would require electrical energy which in has to be provided by the alternator therefore the alternator would sap more power from the engine. Of course the extra power provided by the supercharger more than compensates for this loss.
  15. Yeh, I was aware of that when I typed it, but I took the view that generating more electricity would consume less power than powering the supercharger off the crankshaft.

    Only an engineer would be able to tell which would be more efficient I guess.

    Perhaps I should have said "as much power"
  16. You can buy quite a nice 5cc, 1.27hp rotary engine from O.S. engines so there's definately no problems in scaling the technology down:
  17. 5cc peripheral port engine...ive got a small video of one of these powering a remote control planes engine...loud as
  18. Mmm, thinks. What possible motorcycling use could I put one of these to???