Using data loggers in competitive motorbike racing: an expert s view


Jason H Walker

What are the real advantages of using a data logger in a competitive motorcycle racing environment? Well, surely the best person to answer that is someone who should know all the answers: someone who s worked in the racing industry for years and understands the benefits and advantages that state of the art data logging can give to riders and racing teams. Bob Grey, a noted racing journalist and bike tester, probably knows more about data loggers than most. He s written for a number of leading British Bike magazines, and is currently working as the data engineer for the Kawasaki BSB team (MSS Colchester Kawasaki). If anyone understands data logging it s this man.

Anyone new to bike racing and logging technology would be forgiven for being confused by the vast choice of data logging machines available in today s market. The questions that most novices want answered is, are all these machines essentially the same, or are some more suited to bike race analysis than others? Grey s answers are succinct and to-the-point:

Yes -in a sense, all data loggers are the same. You pay your money and your take your choice. What you end up with is a metal box that s got some complex electronics and software inside it. They re all the same in the sense that they all record information into them, but it s how that information is displayed that makes all the difference.


In terms of bikes the difference is essentially one of size. Most of the other data logging systems were originally designed for cars and carts, so they tend to larger and more bulky. When you re working on a bike that can be a problem as the space is limited. The smaller something is the better for bikes. The 2D data logging system was specifically designed for bikes, and the software you get with this equipment is geared specifically to delivering the type of information that bike riders require. When you ve gone out and driven as fast as you can, you want to get back and have a look at the information you ve collected as soon as possible.

Most other data logging systems are perfectly capable of providing this information, but they make gathering this information much harder work. The 2D system is by far the most efficient. In 30 seconds I can download the data, read through it and then check the things I want to check. In a sense I m in charge of how I look at and interpret this information. With other data logging systems you re forced to follow a certain routine and procedure which means gathering the information you need can take a lot longer. In terms of hardware: the number of channels you can record is fairly fixed across the range, as are the specifications. It s only when you start to use the logger in the garage that you ll start to notice the differences.

I suppose it s all a matter of perception at the end of the day. Take this example: you can buy a Kia Ceed for 15,000 which is a great car and perfectly capable, but for the same sort of money you can buy a Volkswagen with the same sort of specification. They both appear identical, but you can spot the difference immediately when you start to drive each one. Purpose-built motor cycle data logging systems are just the same: in my experience it s only when you start to use them that you start to appreciate just how good they are. Now, I come from a background where I ve had to put my hand in my own pocket and buy my own data logging equipment. I ve used all sorts of different systems, but was shocked when I used this system for the first time.

The beauty of a purpose-built motorcycle data logging system is that it lets you gather information in 4 or 5 different ways, rather than having to follow a rigid set procedure like you do with some other generic data logging systems. It s like trying to copy text on Microsoft Word: you can click copy, or you can click Control C, or you can right click. Each method produces the same result. People who like to click buttons are happy, as are those who like shortcuts. They get to where they want to be in the end, but by different methods. Motorcycle logging software is the same.

There are so many different ways to achieve the same result and get the information you want. When you first look at the list of options on the menu it can seem a bit daunting, but you soon get used to it. I guess it s like learning to drive: when you first start you don t know how to work the gears, but soon you start to drive without having the need to think consciously about it. After a week or two of using the software you begin to appreciate the fact that you re not hemmed in by it, or forced to work to somebody else s rules.

This article was submitted by

Datron Technology


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Using data loggers in competitive motorbike racing: an expert s view