Thursday, December 28, 2006

New type of cat-con could make life easier for motorcyclists

The sound of silence: Too quiet, too heavy and too restrictive...

Our absolute no.1 favourite litre-class superbike is the svelte, sweet handling, and hugely powerful 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000. The 2007 machine may have a basic iteration of traction control, but the shape of the headlamp and the graphics on the bodywork leave something to be desired. Also, the 2007 GSX-R1000 has two unsightly exhaust cans (one on either side) in place of the single-sided unit on the 2006 bike.

Not that Suzuki are to blame though. Increasingly strict emission norms mean more catalytic converters choking up our bikes’ exhaust systems. Which, in turn, means heavier, more complex and more expensive exhausts which offer reduced performance – no wonder we hate cat-cons!

While it doesn’t look like there’s an immediate solution to this problem, things could change in the next 3 – 4 years. FCC, a Japanese company in which Honda are major shareholders, are working on a new type of catalytic converter which would be made from paper, mixed with platinum and other exotic metals.

This cat-con will be very lightweight, relatively inexpensive and yet adhere to stringent emission norms without big losses in power and performance. Work is already in progress, and the FCC cat-con could possibly go on sale by 2010. Cool!

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