Finding a Replacement for Displacement

(Please note: This is a motorcycle geek post. If you don’t care, skip it).

A lot of people dislike the rules of the relatively new Daytona Sportbike class in AMA racing, feeling that it gives an unfair advantage to Buell. After all, the Japanese and British manufacturers are running bikes with around 600 cubic centimeter engines, and the Americans and Italians are running literbikes. And as we all know, there’s no replacement for displacement.

Well, that’s the whole point of Daytona Sportbike, to my mind: There is a replacement, and it’s a combination of more revolutions per minute, lighter weight, and better handling. Buell riders do seem to have a real advantage on the straightaways, but on a curvier track, the Japanese bikes definitely outmaneuver them. And that’s what I really find interesting about the class and about its rules – the way it pits bulk against agility.

You can make a variety of arguments for and against different portions of the rules, and I don’t doubt that they’ll need further tweaking as the bikes develop and the races continue. But on the whole, the Daytona Sportbike class seems to be providing entertaining racing and plenty of fodder for ongoing trash-talking between fans of liter-class and mid-weight sportbikes.

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