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    Emails to and from ProMechA 12-17 October 2009 - "The Last OP" (Oran Park Meeting)  Jason Light #38  
    Two bikes - Jason Light's Honda VFR750F Racebike and recently purchased Honda VFR400 Racebike

    Email to ProMecha 12 October 2009  
Rode the 400 and 750 on the weekend at Oran Park. I like the 400 a lot, very different from the 750 in all respects, easier to ride to a point but the smaller bikes are naturally enough a very different discipline. I need more time on it to recalibrate my brain to brake later, carry more corner speed and get on the gas earlier. I was within 3 seconds of my best 750 time on it. First race out I was running 5th outright and third in class but ran off on the last lap and ended up 8th. Did you think it needed a steering damper?? At Oran Park there is a fast flip-flop, maybe 90mph and its bumpy, plus it switches over a crest with a change in camber. A lot of bikes tankslap here. I may have been trying too hard, but it went into a massive tankslapper and I ran off, lucky to keep it upright. I do think I grip the bars too much in general and need to weight the pegs more, could also again be riding it like the 750 and giving too much input. Anyway, I did a 1.22.6 which I was pretty happy with being the first time on it and with the A graders on full-house 400's running 1.19's and 20's. And being about 15 years younger!
The 750 was much improved, I'd say more so at the front, I bettered my previous best laptime there by nearly 7/10's and there was more to come but I was chasing points for the championship and so riding on the conservative side. But it's never going to be anything more than a tarted up sports-tourer.
Even though they are V4's the 400 is a 360 degree firing order as opposed to the 750's 180, which gives it a completely different feel. I couldn't believe how the 400 felt like it was doing 6000rpm when in fact it was doing 12 or so! Just blipping it in neutral has it spinning to 6 or 7. Gearing is critical on the smaller bikes and I'm not sure the gearing was quite right for OP, at first I thought it was too high but may have really been too low. Either way, it wasn't far off and again, I'm making 750 comparisons where I can hold one gear for a third of the circuit! It stands to reason the 400 will need a busier gear change lap. The main thing was how well it handled, steered, stopped. It was a lot of fun to ride, the 750 will never be the same again!
    ProMechA reply 14 October 2009  
Can understand all that you said about both bikes, very glad to hear the 400 went. Have developed the 400 of course with the suspension and as important the ergo's. It took 4 goes to get the seat right and I think that caught you out in the flip flop (have ridden OP) the seat needed to be further back for brakes and tuckin and have the right angle for the rest. Maybe you were too far back?? And, as you said, using 750 muscle (haha hehe wish I could have seen the look on your face when you got back on the track, tankslappers down the hill are always fun... afterwards). To be serious I was of two minds re steering damper. If you do try one be careful to mount pivot to give the softest effect, most s/dampers are for 600/750 size i.e. too firm for the 400.
An improvement of 7/10 without trying sounds good to me, and I would expect the front to feel more improved, the setup was pretty basic. If you have any other Q's re setup please ask.
Were there many tears in the pits at the meeting's end? many many stories are around about the flip flop/wall, you now have one to remember.
Thanks for the words
    Jason reply 17 October 2009  

There were a few good stories afterwards. Robbie Phillis was there on the GSX1100 and he always has something to say!
All bikes and outfits did a parade lap at the end of the day. I had thought the idea somewhat naff for a moment but when we were out there, all of us, it was a poignant moment, and sad to see a great old circuit go (I'm not sad to see those walls go however, they've hurt too many people)
I'll send you a pic of the bikes when I get hold of some
    Jason Light #38  Honda VFR400 at "The Last OP"
Jason Light #38  Honda VFR750F
    Motorcycle Riders at the Last Oran Park Meeting Jason Light #38  Honda VFR750F