These are the first photos of the road-legal version of the Vyrus 986 M2. Originally designed to compete in Moto2, the hub-center-steered bike fits a Honda CBR600RR motor in a prototype, omega-frame chassis. If that's not weird enough, the rear shock is mounted transverse. Yours for 40 large.
What’s hub-center steering?
Conventional telescopic forks dominate motorcycle design because they’re easy to set up, cheap to make and everyone’s used to them. But that doesn’t mean they’re an ideal solution. Because the forks compress and extend under braking and acceleration respectively, the steering geometry changes too. Steering becomes quicker, sometimes nervous even, under braking and slower and vaguer under acceleration. The compression under braking also makes the suspension less able to cope with bumps. With the wheel necessarily mounted a long way from the head stock, forks are also subject to flex. But, because telescopic forks are so pervasive, most of these issues have been reduced to mere trivialities. That still doesn’t mean it’s an ideal solution.
In addition to separating braking, acceleration and steering forces, hub-center steering can reduce unsprung weight — meaning the suspension is better able to react quickly as the components below the spring have less inertia. Overall weight can be reduced as well. Check out how tiny the Vyrus’s omega frame is. The front swingarm bolts to the frame just ahead of the engine, eliminating the need for a frame that runs all the way to the top of the bike.
So, if hub-center steering is so great, why doesn’t every bike use it? Well, the complex system of linkages has traditionally removed rider feedback in the form of steering feel and proved immensely difficult to dial in to the right settings, enabling the bike to benefit from the theoretical advantages. This is where Vyrus’s expertise comes in. Its founder, Ascanio Rodorigo worked for Bimota developing the hub-center steered Tesi series of bikes and so has more experience with the technology than anyone else in the world. Reports of the company’s exotic road-going superbikes indicate that he’s found a way around all those problems.
The steering function takes place through an hydraulic ram which actuates rods on the left side of the 986 M2’s front wheel. This ram doubles as a steering damper, further reducing parts count.
Wait, the radiator is in front of the engine?
On the Moto2 Prototype, the radiator is housed under the engine. On this road-going model, it's stuck in front of the engine as per convention.
Us too! Not only is the rear shock mounted horizontally, but it sits at 90-degrees to the bike’s direction of travel and the typical shock orientation. It’s actuated through the rocker arm you can see below it. Unlike the race bike, this road going version is wearing a tradition, oil-damped shock with mechanical spring, the race bike uses a whacky air-shock.
Mounting the shock sideways brings packaging benefits. Typically, designers have to account for both the height and length of a vertical or diagonal shock while packaging the components, so this could lead to a shorter wheelbase. The distance between Vyrus’s wheels is just 1325mm, comparing favorably to competition like the FTR Moto2 racer, which has a 1390mm wheelbase.
Anything else crazy going on?
Well, the tank and front fairing are a single, self-supporting unit made from carbon fiber. The advantages of this arrangement are, again, a lower weight and reduced parts count, but we’d worry about the cost of replacing the whole damn thing after a crash. The seat, too, looks to be a self-supporting carbon fiber unit.
The lack of a conventional steering head means’s Vyrus can easily achieve a straight path for the air intake from the point of highest pressure — front and center — to the airbox without resorting to crazy stemless steering heads like Bottpower had to do.
The frame is incredibly sexy — milled from billet aluminum — but also incredibly simple, effective serving as connecting points for the two swingarms.
Number of cylinders 4 in line 4 stroke
Bore: 67 mm
Stroke: 42.5 mm
Displacement: 599 cc
Rap. Compression: 12,2:1
Lubrication: Forced with pump
Cooling: Liquid Air Vacuum System VAS, CDR Racing Radiator
Power: 125 hp at 13000 rpm Maximum torque 66Nm at 11,250 rpm
Distribution: DOHC Double overhead camshaft axis
Clutch: multiple disk in oil bath
Transmission: 6 speed
Supply: electronic fuel injection EFI E4
Exhaust system: Zard Titanium silencer Vyrus
Front suspension: double rocker thrust
Rear Suspension: rocker double boost
Shock: Double Air System – Ohlins TTX46 (optional)
Chassis: Double Omega inverted structure
Steering: 18 ° to 24 ° hydraulic piston controlled by VSS Vyrus Steering System
Trail: 80 mm to 105 mm
Front brake: 310 mm double disc with T-Drive Brembo calipers 4-piston Brembo GP4RR
Postereriore brake: 210 mm single disc with twin-piston caliper Brembo opposed Racing
Front tire. 125 75 zr 17 – mt 3.75 Dunlop NTEC
Front wheel: 10 spoke Marchesini forged magnesium
Rear tire 195 75 zr 17 – j 6:00 Dunlop NTEC
Rear wheel: 10 spoke Marchesini forged magnesium
Dimensions and weights
Weight: 155 kg
Wheelbase: 1325 mm
Seat height: 830 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 16 liters
Maximum speed: NA