atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#3928: Looking over the "stagnant" blogroll

I decided I'd have a gander at the bottom of the blogroll, the section containing either dead blogs or ones that only update once a year.

* * *

Road King came out of stasis sometime after it got put there, and in the post I've linked today he talks about the stupidity of removing the front brakes from your motorcycle in search of "cool".

After a discussion of what makes for a good mod to a bike, he says (emphasis removed):
Removing the front brake assembly from a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is not better. In fact, it is dangerous. It profoundly changes the performance envelope of the machine. It defeats the fundamental design of the machine. It significantly reduces braking power in an emergency, and significantly increases the likelihood of a serious accident.
He then goes on to describe what and how and why, but what he doesn't do is explain what prompted the discussion in the first place.

That's a shame, because it'd be nice to know just who has the complete and total lack of sentience to think that his bike would look better if it didn't have ITS SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF SAFETY EQUIPMENT ON IT. I'd like to be able to avoid that STATE.

The front brake on a motorcycle does about 70% of the braking. That is to say, 70% of the motorcycle's ability to slow down comes from the front wheel and its contact with the pavement; remove that front brake and you've turned a 50-foot stopping distance into an easy 100 feet.

Besides that--what if your rear brake malfunctions? Then you're stuck with no brakes. Eliminating one of the brakes on your bike eliminates the redundancy of having two brake systems.

Would this moron drive a car which only had brakes on the rear wheels? Somehow I doubt it--and a car is inherently safer than a motorcycle is by virtue of its design.

Someone--either the person at whom the post was aimed, or another like him (shudder), commented:
Thanks for your consideration.
I will fix the back brake on the frame. So it will improve the efficiency and avoid the "slide effect". And when i will do the major work and get a rigid, i think to put 2 brake disc on the back wheel. The bike will be as a train on railroad when i will brake :)
I am hoping this person is merely being facetious, rather than serious. Doubling the braking power available at the rear wheel will not double the braking authority available, and it will make the "slide effect" more likely rather than less.

It makes me think, in the bicycling world, of the "fixie", a bike which has no sprag clutch in the rear wheel and no brakes at all. When the rear wheel is turning, the pedals are turning, and to stop the bike the rider must counter-pedal. Since the pedal sprocket is larger than the wheel sprocket, it requires more force to stop the bike than to move it forward. (Small gear turning large gear means lots of torque.)

A fixie is fine for racing--that's what they're built for--but on the road, it's nothing but stupid. The same thing goes for a motorcycle with no front brakes.

* * *

Also--Road King had his engine rebuilt with bigger pistons and some other modifications such that it now produces 115 lb-ft of torque.


103 cubic inches is about 1.6 liters, and 115 lb-ft of torque is about what the Escort's engine produces. He doesn't mention how much horsepower he's getting, but it really doesn't matter considering how much f-ing torque that is for a motorcycle. That's stump-pulling territory, and he says it makes that torque pretty much right off-idle.

Harleys are known for having tractor motors in them--high torque engines--and so I don't expect the horsepower figure is anything to write home about...but torque is acceleration anyway. The old racer's aphorism comes to mind: "Horsepower sells cars; torque wins races." If your race car makes 10,000 horsepower but 10 lb-ft of torque, you're not going to win many races unless you never have to make a pit stop. You'll be able to go fast, but your 0-60 time will be glacial.

Conversely, if your car makes 10,000 lb-ft of torque but only 10 HP, you're going to need a monstrous transmission with about fifty gears if you want the thing to go fast. Example: semi trucks. The redline on a typical semi engine is somewhere around 2,000 RPM and they make perhaps 200 HP, but gobs of torque. ...and the typical semi tractor has about sixteen gears, too.

A typical diesel train engine has a redline of 250 RPM, and makes 5,000 horsepower; at 250 RPM it's generating 105,400 foot-pounds of torque.

The Escort's engine, as I said, makes 88 horsepower and 115 ft-lbs of torque, and it goes 0-60 in about 9 seconds when driven hard and delivers 35 MPG when driven normally. All of that is perfectly acceptable performance for a medium economy car vintage 1995, and in fact is still acceptable today.

115 ft-lbs of torque for a motorcycle is monstrous; it'll pull like a train.

Of course, this guy took a very expensive (ca $12,000) motorcycle and--after riding it a couple of years--had a very expensive dealer-installed kit put in. If he's got less than $20,000 invested in that motorcycle it's a small miracle.

* * *

Sultan Knish is another blog I rarely read. The big problem I had there was the length of his posts. I mean, I write long--no doubt about that!--but I try to split them up into bits (or, as Pascal Fervor so helpfully dubbed them, "vignettes"). My posts tend towards the omnibus, where I post a bunch of vignettes all strung together.

Sultan Knish posts are long, and though they don't ramble or lose the point or suffer from any kind of bad writing, I generally find they are longer than I care to read sitting at the computer. Looking over his posts I'd think, "Okay, if this were mine, what would I cut?" And I can't see anything that can be cut without detracting from the overall point of the post (whatever it may be).

So I reluctantly had to take him off the main blogroll, because more often than not I was skipping reading the thing due to length. Now, however, lots of his writing is being posted at, and I find those to be eminently readable.

Anyway--the point is, he posted this excellent discussion explaining why the GOP is the way it is. This is bang-spot-on and he nails every important point. And it's even short enough that it doesn't make me want only to skim it.

* * *

Orson Scott Card posts something every once in a long while.

OSC got into severe trouble with the SF/F community because he wrote an article for his chuch bulletin wherein he said that he is against homosexual marriage. This has caused considerable consternation among the SF/F cognoscenti, of course, and to this day there are people who denounce him as being a hate-filled bigot.

But OSC's bigotry doesn't end with his homophobia. He's a global warming denialist, too. He's a racist who opposes Obama. Just read his essays at the link, and you'll find out what kind of hate-filled monster he really is!

...which is to say, of course, that he has had several disagreements with leftist dogma, and publicly wrote about them, which is what makes him a racist sexist bigoted homophobe. It's not that he's actually any of those things, but that the hive has discovered an impurity in one of its members and has deployed its stingers to remove the threat to conformity.

OSC has only posted twice this year, which is why he's on the "stagnant" blogroll. But when he does post, it is usually worth reading.

The only place he and I really disagree--that I've seen--is on amnesty for illegals. He's for it. Then again, illegal aliens really can't do his job, can they?

* * *

And that's about all the useful stuff I got from that little stroll. Oh well.

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