Good books for tuning?

Finnigan

Over 1,000 Posts
Hey All, I've picked up a 4 stroke tuning book recently that I'm really enjoying (Four-Stroke Performance Tuning: Fourth edition - Bell, A Graham) and got me thinking of building a small collection of good books for these old bikes. I'm hoping for something less general than the book I already have, namely that has to do with our classic engines/carburetor tuning/airflow etc.

Any suggestions?
 
And if you want a trip in the Way Back Machine, try Tuning for Speed and Speed and How to Obtain it. Old books with some relevant material. Any books or article by David Vizard are worth reading.

Anything on F1 technology will make your head spin and is worth reading. The problem with all that, is that if you are like me it leaves you wanting to know more and that leads to a life of depravity - secretly reading SAE papers, skulking around on all manner of web sites, reading things about EFI and air flow and carburation. And then you want a device to accurately measure cam profiles to add to the calculations you are doing on acceleration rates and ring flutter. Even calls to Allan Lockheed to talk about the latest software.

It's a sickness I tell you. I want a lab with technology like a bomb calorimeter to measure fuel fuel energy levels and flame propagation rates, and we all need a decent fully calibrated Dyno facility and machine shop and flow bench with swirl meter and so it goes on. Fortunately I am not rich, If I were rich, by now I would be poor......

The disconnect is that older books and articles give us insight into the state of the art many years ago and modern articles are all about modern short stroke 4 valve motors with EFI and 3d ignition profiles and variable valve timing. I'd start with all the old books - even on what works on a Chevy 350 for example. 99 percent may not be relevant but the other 1% leaves you with questions and another dark alley to explore -metaphorically speaking.

Look at any modern engine and how much power it makes compared to a full tuned F1 or GP bike from say the sixties. Progress has been amazing. And then look inside a Honda six from the sixties and you can see ways that those bikes could have been more powerful, and yet without them, we may not have the technology that we treat as commonplace. The ideas were there but metallurgy and time to develop the ideas was not yet there. We benefit from those advances.

Back to the question. Read Stan Shenton's book(let) on Triumph twinds or Dunstall's tuning guide for Nortons or the Yoshimura article on tuning Honda CB72 and 77. There are also some period magazine articles on hot rodding early Honda twins and 4s.

For a different kind of inspiration, check out some of the amazing bikes in old Crossbow calendars. There are some semi naked women obscuring the bikes, but try to see past them to see the real genius of guys in sheds making amazing bikes.
 
Good stuff, I'll try digging around for those suggestions, thanks!

teazer said:
And if you want a trip in the Way Back Machine, try Tuning for Speed and Speed and How to Obtain it. Old books with some relevant material. Any books or article by David Vizard are worth reading.

Anything on F1 technology will make your head spin and is worth reading. The problem with all that, is that if you are like me it leaves you wanting to know more and that leads to a life of depravity - secretly reading SAE papers, skulking around on all manner of web sites, reading things about EFI and air flow and carburation. And then you want a device to accurately measure cam profiles to add to the calculations you are doing on acceleration rates and ring flutter. Even calls to Allan Lockheed to talk about the latest software.

It's a sickness I tell you. I want a lab with technology like a bomb calorimeter to measure fuel fuel energy levels and flame propagation rates, and we all need a decent fully calibrated Dyno facility and machine shop and flow bench with swirl meter and so it goes on. Fortunately I am not rich, If I were rich, by now I would be poor......

The disconnect is that older books and articles give us insight into the state of the art many years ago and modern articles are all about modern short stroke 4 valve motors with EFI and 3d ignition profiles and variable valve timing. I'd start with all the old books - even on what works on a Chevy 350 for example. 99 percent may not be relevant but the other 1% leaves you with questions and another dark alley to explore -metaphorically speaking.

Look at any modern engine and how much power it makes compared to a full tuned F1 or GP bike from say the sixties. Progress has been amazing. And then look inside a Honda six from the sixties and you can see ways that those bikes could have been more powerful, and yet without them, we may not have the technology that we treat as commonplace. The ideas were there but metallurgy and time to develop the ideas was not yet there. We benefit from those advances.

Back to the question. Read Stan Shenton's book(let) on Triumph twinds or Dunstall's tuning guide for Nortons or the Yoshimura article on tuning Honda CB72 and 77. There are also some period magazine articles on hot rodding early Honda twins and 4s.

For a different kind of inspiration, check out some of the amazing bikes in old Crossbow calendars. There are some semi naked women obscuring the bikes, but try to see past them to see the real genius of guys in sheds making amazing bikes.
 
Careful, it'll become an addiction...but one that pays off. Teazer nailed it. Knowledge just builds a desire for more. I have a modest collection, here are the nicer ones I keep in the house, there are many more dog eared and grease stained books, manuals and cut out or photocopied magazine articles out in the shop. I just wish Kevin Cameron would put out another book. What I really wish is that he would publish all his tech and racing articles in one tome. That would be a hell of a read.
 

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For whatever reason it seems good technical books on motorcycle design and building (which build the fundamental knowledge for tuning) seem tough to find. At least in similar quantities that can be found for automobile racing, and especially so in formula 1 racing. So while I understand that you are looking specifically so for four stroke tuning books, you should take Teazer's advice and look SAE and Formula 1 literature. I personally am a chassis/suspension fabrication and design guy. Tony Foale and Carrol Smith (cars) books pretty much stay on my night stand though. Some fairly timeless information by those authors.
 
I also used to drag stuff off various snowmobile websites and Kevin Cameron had a column there that was a great read. Two stroke guys used to test a bunch of mods and post the dyno charts including BSFC and it was interesting to see what mods worked and which ones didn't work as well on different motors.

Shoeman, that's a nice library. I had forgotten about that book by racer Ray Knight. I see AG Bell and Jennings and two TDC ( I only have the first), and CrashKart and Macauley. Do you have the Mackeller (sp?) Yamaha twins book? It's a good history book, as is the Suzuki racer book by Ray Battersby that was reprinted a couple of years ago.

Can't get enough of that stuff.
 
MacKellar is a great reference and it's in the pile. I also have a thick pile of KC article photocopies from that snow machine magazine he wrote, can't for the life of me think of the name of it right now though. TONS of great info there. That was sent to me by Lyn Garland, a respected 2S tuner I used to race with/against back in the '90's. He was friends with KC and because of that KC would stop in to the garage we shared at NHIS and chat quite often. One of my favorite memories of that time was when I was doing a quick teardown and rebuild on my RD 350 after some mishap, and Kevin walked over to my pile of parts on the bench and picked up one of my cylinder heads. My rider and I had machined it earlier that winter in a last minute attempt to get the CR where it needed to be before heading south to Daytona and the end result was quite different from what the usual RD race head looked like, with a much narrower squish section in comparison to the bowl area. I had read one of his articles a year or two before about some new thinking in sguish band design so I decided to leave the odd looking head as it was as it looked like the then current TZ heads shape. Anyhow, he picked up a head, eyeballed it, looked at me and asked something like "did you do this?" to which I said yes, and he raised a bushy eyebrow, smiled, nodded approvingly, and wandered off. I was thrilled. A bit later I bought several TSR programs and that head off the cuff head design turned out to have a near perfect MSV for my porting and overall engine design. It never detonated or gave any heat related troubles and was fast as hell on that track. I then started to replicate them for customer engines I built and they all had similar results. But anyways, that guy has forgotten more than most of know. I also used to talk to Gary Shumake at Spec2 a ton back then. You either love or hate that guy, but he took a liking to me and we'd talk theory and practical aspects of RD building for hours on the phone. I learned a ton there too, and I always took notes. I still have most of them and that was over 20 years ago. Hung out with Harry Barlow several times as well and learned from him too.
I have digressed, but I guess my point is read all you can, look for sources outside the MC industry, and when in the presence of people who know more than you who are willing to speak....listen, ask questions if appropriate, and let them talk more than you do.
And I almost forgot, my copy of Foales book is inscribed with little best wishes by Tony, It was a present from my rider Pete Furkey who has met him several times. Pete also used to work with Rob Tuluie often at MTS. Talk about in the presence of greatness.

teazer said:
I also used to drag stuff off various snowmobile websites and Kevin Cameron had a column there that was a great read. Two stroke guys used to test a bunch of mods and post the dyno charts including BSFC and it was interesting to see what mods worked and which ones didn't work as well on different motors.

Shoeman, that's a nice library. I had forgotten about that book by racer Ray Knight. I see AG Bell and Jennings and two TDC ( I only have the first), and CrashKart and Macauley. Do you have the Mackeller (sp?) Yamaha twins book? It's a good history book, as is the Suzuki racer book by Ray Battersby that was reprinted a couple of years ago.

Can't get enough of that stuff.
 
Head designs sure have changed over the years. I was surprised to see a "modern" TZ 250 head design compared to our old bikes. I use Bimotion software to test head designs and get squish right, but there's not a lot around about combustion chamber shape.

There's a mob over in NY called dynotech - subscription based and they test all sorts of mods every month on sleds. http://www.dynotechresearch.com/
 
DynoTech! That's the source of the article collection I have. One is a multi-page analysis of the then new Yam V-Max sled engine, which was very much like an RZ350 in design. For 2S nuts, that would be a worthwhile subscription even if you don't own a sled.
Have we mentioned Jennings? His Two Stroke Tuners Handbook was the bible for many many years and I see it's now out there in PDF form for downloading. Amazon lists some used copies available from $89 and up. Guess I'll hang on to my copy.
 
Carroll Smith's books should be required reading for anyone who builds anything out of metal:

http://www.carrollsmith.com/books/

Tune to Win, and Engineer to Win are must reads,
 
People poo poo Jennings now, but his basic math and approach was spot on.

Agree on the Shelby books too. There are also books on carbs and FI and so it goes on. Lots to keep your brain working through the winter.
 
Jennings paved the way for a lot of stuff, the only real critique is that his methods were unrefined and are now a bit dated. But that's to be expected really.
 
teazer said:
People poo poo Jennings now, but his basic math and approach was spot on.
Agreed 100%. He showed that the all the elements in the design had to be considered and thought of as a whole for optimum results. Long before Bimotion and TSR you could use the formula's in his skinny little book to design pipes that actually worked and were matched to the ports that had also been optimized to your application with his time/angle area math. This guy, to the best of my knowledge, and I've read and studied it a lot, was a pioneer in 2S tuning for the layman, an area that had previously been primarily black magic and secret wisdom. You can take his book and any 60's thru 70's era production 2S, apply his theories, and build a vintage race winner to this day in my opinion. And I can say that because I did that myself back in the '90's. Sure, there are newer concepts and better designs today, but in the context of the time he was spot on. If you are dealing with the same basic engine architecture he was, and many of us here are, he will show you the light.
 
I haven't got his 4 stroke book, but the 2 stroke one is very good, also look for the books by John Robinson
I know this is a moldy old thread, but another vote for John Robinson. For me, his work hits the sweet spot between uselessly generalized and unnecessarily arcane and difficult.
 

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