Variator tuning the elephant in the room?
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Ossessionato
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Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:14 pm quote
Stumbled onto this today.



Rarely do we ask or consider the riders weight when giving or receiving info about the correct variator weighs for a given scooter.

Just food for thought.
Hooked
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:44 am quote
Makes complete total sense and Iím glad youíve pointed out the ďelephant in the roomĒ.

Someone had to do it!

Iíve never gone and played with variator weights for that one simple reason. I didnít want to buy 2-3 different sizes trying to get to that one perfect ideal weight for my setup(s).

Maybe this already exists out there somewhere but we need a study. The study could be populated over time by riders submitting the model of the bike/engine size along with their weight and what rollers worked the best. Users could report positives and negatives of their roller weight choices. After a certain amount of time there would be enough data for readers to find what worked for others of similar size on the same bikes. Choices would be narrowed.

Maybe it could even happen in this thread. Once itís full enough it could become a wiki

If the format was standardized it would be easy to follow.
Bike model/engine size, rider weight, size of rollers chosen, ride characteristics/findings.
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:03 am quote
The reason Dr. Pulley sliders are so popular with Americans is that they are marketed in ways that get results for someone who knows nothing about tuning. There are a lot of people who have no idea what would happen if they put rollers in their bike that are 10% lighter than stock, but they do know what Dr. Pulley sliders that are 10% lighter do. The answer is, about the same thing, but with fewer catastrophic effects.

The weight the bike carries is a determining factor in finding the right rollers, but what's more important is how and where you ride. Someone who lives in a place like Florida or South Texas, and does most of their riding in the burbs or out in the country, is going to get better overall performance out of heavier weights than someone who rides mostly in a place where a lot of the riding is in hills, or short stop and starts.
Someone who rides a GTS primarily in tourist mode is going to be very happy with 12-14 grams in a performance variator, or 10-15% lighter in a stock variator. If you ride like you're on a race track, 8-10 grams are probably a better fit, depending not only on your weight, but what has been done to the bike and gearing.
With power tools, you can change the weights in about half an hour, and it really is worth it to try some different weights out and get a sense of what works best for you.
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:30 am quote
FWIW . . Dr. Pulley is evolving to black.




Another option . . .

URL edit . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKdy2TYbLNQ

Last edited by tortoise on Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:43 pm; edited 3 times in total
Ossessionato
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:27 pm quote
Motovista wrote:
The reason Dr. Pulley sliders are so popular with Americans is that they are marketed in ways that get results for someone who knows nothing about tuning. There are a lot of people who have no idea what would happen if they put rollers in their bike that are 10% lighter than stock, but they do know what Dr. Pulley sliders that are 10% lighter do. The answer is, about the same thing, but with fewer catastrophic effects.

The weight the bike carries is a determining factor in finding the right rollers, but what's more important is how and where you ride. Someone who lives in a place like Florida or South Texas, and does most of their riding in the burbs or out in the country, is going to get better overall performance out of heavier weights than someone who rides mostly in a place where a lot of the riding is in hills, or short stop and starts.
Someone who rides a GTS primarily in tourist mode is going to be very happy with 12-14 grams in a performance variator, or 10-15% lighter in a stock variator. If you ride like you're on a race track, 8-10 grams are probably a better fit, depending not only on your weight, but what has been done to the bike and gearing.
With power tools, you can change the weights in about half an hour, and it really is worth it to try some different weights out and get a sense of what works best for you.
I used to sell J Costa but not in USA. That was some outfit in ? Colorado. The USA problem as I saw it was people only wishing to spend , say, $50 on a set of Dr. Pulley weights based on the experience of someone who did not really document the results bit only wanted to prove how clever he was ti save $200 (at the time).

That and the dislike by ,seemingly, most riders in the USA to RPM at cruise. But seeing as there is no tach. on most scooters I cannot see how they could actually measure them?

Then there is the fact that there is no one solution to "optimizing" the stock set up which has been arrived at by guys paid to know what they are doing, even if they have to make huge compromises along the way to placate the marketing guys or the general public.

I have still not understood why a Sprint does not have a different variator or set up to a Primavera? The name should say it all?
Ossessionato
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:29 pm quote
Duplicate post. I think my venerable tablet is on its last legs

Last edited by waspmike on Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
Ossessionato
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:34 pm quote
waspmike wrote:
tortoise wrote:
FWIW . . Dr. Pulley is evolving to black.




Another option . . .

i have a set of black ones on the way for a look see as MV members were offered a discount? http://modernvespa.com/forum/post2296284?highlight=#2296284 Not sure if this is an evolution or a concession to a newly available material. At least we wont confuse black normal wear marks for excessive wear.

What is the link to the video above?
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lx 50
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:52 pm quote
My favourite variator video

All the info youíll ever need.

Ossessionato
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:19 pm quote
Bill will you post the link as some of us non techie guys can't see it on MV
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lx 50
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:23 pm quote
Morning I will mate but my phone only lets me do it that style, and heading off to work.

For now on YouTube search variator weights misconception

Let me know if that works. The screen shot has WRONG bang in the middle
Ossessionato
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Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:26 pm quote
Done already. Quote the post . copy the video address
watch on youtube.

He is completely correct of course but neglects to mention how one gets the rpm down during cruise mode.
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Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:04 am quote
Problem
Anyone have dyno charts for the engines in question? How much more power (if any) is available by revving the engine higher?

Presumably the stock weights are a compromise between performance, engine wear, and fuel economy. And presumably the factory engineers tune the engine to work well with the standard variator curve.

I wonder if it would be possible to build a lever-driven hydraulic gadget to 'nudge' the variator to higher revs when max acceleration is wanted, but otherwise allow the standard 'program'?
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Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:12 pm quote
Hopefully this works Mike

Ossessionato
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Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:16 pm quote
Re: Problem
Jimding wrote:
Anyone have dyno charts for the engines in question?
Here is a start. http://www.engines.piaggio.com/mopeds-scooters.asp

Not super detailed but.. The rest will have to be done the hard way.
Jimding wrote:
And presumably the factory engineers tune the engine to work well with the standard variator curve.
We might find it is the other way around.
Ossessionato
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Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:42 pm quote
Note that the graphs are power versus revs. If you fit lighter rollers/sliders you might position the engine just before the peak, and lose a bit of power, but by running the engine at higher revs you are effectively staying in a lower gear, so you gain on crankshaft to wheel ratio and get more power to the rear axle. (Maybe I should be talking torque rather than power).

It gets complicated. One needs to see power/torque curves versus wheel revs (road speed) for different roller weights.
Ossessionato
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Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:46 pm quote
waspmike wrote:
He is completely correct of course but neglects to mention how one gets the rpm down during cruise mode.
Generally speaking, heavier rollers will reduce revs, but I have this idea in the back of my mind that the J.Costa variator is very good for cruising (as well as all round performance).
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Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:56 am quote
Well, shit. Guess I should've changed the roller weights when ordering parts...
Molto Verboso
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Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:36 pm quote
Amazing - You Gear Heads
I admire anyone who knows how to actually work on their machines without
screwing it all up.

My father was a career automotive service manager - he could fix anything
mechanical. One generation (Me) gone. Take my word for it, it is imperative that I have nothing to do with working on a car or scooter.

You guys on this email thread might just as well be speaking swahili.

Over and Out from Minnesota

Bob Copeland
Ossessionato
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Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:00 pm quote
I trained on a Meccano set when I was a kid. Lego only trains you to be a bricklayer.
Member
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:24 pm quote
I'm in the middle of trying to figure out which route to take on my LX150 and GTS300. I weigh roughly 200lbs and ride flat lands of FL..
Ossessionato
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:08 pm quote
Mike Holland wrote:
I trained on a Meccano set when I was a kid. Lego only trains you to be a bricklayer.


Amen to that. A huge set in a wooden box.

I was very jealous as a child. One of my brother's friends had a bricklayers set where one used flour based glue as cement. When fed up with the latest building he could drop it in a bucket of warm water and use the small bricks again.
Hooked
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:53 pm quote
I sent my 300GTS in for an annual service at the dealer some months back.
When I got it back, they had reversed all the mods my Vespa guru had done and it just wasn't the same bike.
So two weekends ago we did it all again and I am happy now with the pull-away...
8-10g Dr Pulleys and a second fuzzy washer on the front pulley to prevent the pulley from closing to the extent that the belt grinds against the lower housing.
That takes about 5km/hr off the top end but keeps the cruisability there.

My pillion is around my waist.
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:05 am quote
Fudmucker wrote:
My pillion is around my waist.
Ditto
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:22 am quote
Sacto Monkeyboy wrote:
Fudmucker wrote:
My pillion is around my waist.
Ditto
Well I hope you get along well!
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:54 am quote
northernerbill wrote:
My favourite variator video

All the info youíll ever need.

And it's remarkably easy to figure out for your own scooter. First, you should remove the weights and lock down the variator, so you are getting the same constant gear ratio to the rear wheel. Next, put the scooter on your dyno, and figure out at what RPMs it is making the most power. After that, it's just a matter of figuring out which weights will allow it to move the plate at that RPM while you are riding it. For that you will need a tachometer.
Now, here's something that might come as a surprise to you after spending two minutes learning everything you ever need to know about roller weights. Unlike the target audience for this video, your Vespa probably makes peak horsepower at less than 15,000 rpms, so don't try to tune your variator under the assumption that 15,000 rpms is where you want it to shift.
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:31 pm quote
Madison Sully wrote:
Sacto Monkeyboy wrote:
Fudmucker wrote:
My pillion is around my waist.
Ditto
Well I hope you get along well!
Remarkably well !
Moves when I move, leans when I lean...
Ossessionato
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:18 pm quote
Motovista wrote:
Next, put the scooter on your dyno, and figure out at what RPMs it is making the most power. After that, it's just a matter of figuring out which weights will allow it to move the plate at that RPM while you are riding it. For that you will need a tachometer.
But you can do better than that. The power curve is very broad and flat, so fitting lighter rollers and running at higher revs will cause very little loss of power, but you will gain on "gear ratio", like staying in first gear for longer, and you will get more power at the rear wheel.
Ossessionato
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:04 pm quote
There is a variator test that I seem to remember has most variators held at 8000 rpm. This is for a GTS 250.
This is subjective though really as not everyone wants to ride around at 8000 rpm.
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lx 50
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Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:12 am quote
Lots of things you can do when tweaking weights, like heavier clutch springs to aid launch if thatís an issue but middle pick up and top speed are good.

But at the end of the day if your not tuning other areas of the scooter only one weight is correct that makes it variate at peak power.
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Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:58 am quote
northernerbill wrote:
Lots of things you can do when tweaking weights, like heavier clutch springs to aid launch if thatís an issue but middle pick up and top speed are good.

But at the end of the day if your not tuning other areas of the scooter only one weight is correct that makes it variate at peak power.
Not even remotely accurate. If you figure out the ideal weight on the dyno, then put someone who weighs 250 lbs on the bike, you're going to be changing the weights again.

One thing watching this two minute video about everything you ever need to know about tuning a variator doesn't teach you is the difference between oem and aftermarket variators. If you have a bike with a tach, and a completely stock variator, you will usually notice that as the rpms raise, the scooter accelerates. It's almost a straight line correlation between the two. Because of the characteristics of a stock variator, this is not something you can overcome by changing the weights or putting in sliders. A performance variator, on the other hand, will usually start out at the same idle rpm, then jump almost immediately to the powerband, so it will accelerate quicker. Here is a chart that shows that. NSee how the Malossi goes almost immediately to the powerband for this particular engine and stays there while it moves the belt? I like to demonstrate this with the Honda chart, because Honda variators usually perform in a very linear fashion, and it's easy to see the difference. Piaggio variators usually perform a little less linear, but below the powerband.
So if you put the same grams of weights in the Honda and the Malossi variators, the lines at the top of the graph remain in roughly the same pattern.

curva002 honda shi 300.jpg

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Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:54 pm quote
Motovista wrote:
This is not something you can overcome by changing the weights or putting in sliders.
Motovista wrote:
Not even remotely accurate.
True: One only gets about 90-ish% of the benefit compared to some , but benefit none the less.
Horses for courses. If one is racing then the extra % makes a difference or if one simply wants the best.

Then the question becomes which is the best and for what. Cruising? Hill climbing? Roll-on for passing or corner exit? Wear?
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Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:02 pm quote
waspmike wrote:
Motovista wrote:
This is not something you can overcome by changing the weights or putting in sliders.
Motovista wrote:
Not even remotely accurate.
True: One only gets about 90-ish% of the benefit compared to some , but benefit none the less.
Horses for courses. If one is racing then the extra % makes a difference or if one simply wants the best.

Then the question becomes which is the best and for what. Cruising? Hill climbing? Roll-on for passing or corner exit? Wear?
90% of what? Speaking of horses, can you imagine how difficult it would be to explain why Thoroughbreds are faster than Percherons to a guy who relies on a goat to pulls him around in a cart, and thinks he has a really fast goat? Faster how? Up hills? Around corners? Over jumps? Passing other goats? Doubling the number of goats that pull your cart won't make it 90% as fast as a racehorse. It just means you will get rid of the weeds in your yard in half the time

I'm still a bit confused as to what "the elephant in the room" is supposed to be. Are you wondering if you can use one to pull a goat cart?
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Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:00 pm quote
Motovista wrote:
waspmike wrote:
Motovista wrote:
This is not something you can overcome by changing the weights or putting in sliders.
Motovista wrote:
Not even remotely accurate.
True: One only gets about 90-ish% of the benefit compared to some , but benefit none the less.
Horses for courses. If one is racing then the extra % makes a difference or if one simply wants the best.

Then the question becomes which is the best and for what. Cruising? Hill climbing? Roll-on for passing or corner exit? Wear?
90% of what? Speaking of horses, can you imagine how difficult it would be to explain why Thoroughbreds are faster than Percherons to a guy who relies on a goat to pulls him around in a cart, and thinks he has a really fast goat? Faster how? Up hills? Around corners? Over jumps? Passing other goats? Doubling the number of goats that pull your cart won't make it 90% as fast as a racehorse. It just means you will get rid of the weeds in your yard in half the time

I'm still a bit confused as to what "the elephant in the room" is supposed to be. Are you wondering if you can use one to pull a goat cart?
Iíll give you a 90%, in fact no letís increase to 99% of people who tune their scooters or only variators will never ever see or be near a dyno.
They wonít/donít have a rev counter.
So they will buy a set of rollers, muck it up and then hit a forum, Facebook and YouTube for answers.

Then they might buy a few sets of rollers and do some trial and error. Hopefully with the help of the video I showed theyíll realise and understand with one aspect the other will come also if they have it right.

I understand about aftermarket variators, mine was a Polini, along with the clutch, cylinder head and Malossi exhaust.

My LX50 (80cc) was faster in every aspect than my Xmax 125 apart from it couldnít hit 70mph.

I tuned it all on my front patio, no dyno, and obviously my weight played a part as it was me flipping riding it.

I studied all pedparts dyno charts prior to making purchases as they know their stuff. But not one chart showed a curve related to my mix of parts.

To Joe Bloggs working in his home workshop my video link IS useful info.

All these long sarcastic paragraphs about goats are not something youíd say to someoneís face and if you did you wouldnít get my custom.

So to recap, your saying that my video is incorrect that 1 set of rollers wonít give best launch and top speed, which is what we all want.
You actually set off, get to half speed, swap the rollers out and set off again to achieve the best top speed.
No you have 1 set of rollers that will hopefully deliver both.
Ossessionato
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Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:55 pm quote
Motovista wrote:
I'm still a bit confused as to what "the elephant in the room" is supposed to be.
The weight of the rider.

Usually goes unspecified or unmentioned in the tuner's results, experience or recommendations.

Referring again to Honda variators. For PCX125 in Asia Honda uses 18g weights but in Europe/NA they specify 15g as the riders are heavier.
I have yet to find any reference that Piaggio does anything similar.

So quite easy in Asia to get a tad more acceleration by fitting 15 g weights and still be within OEM spec.
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:48 am quote
Mike Holland wrote:
I trained on a Meccano set when I was a kid. Lego only trains you to be a bricklayer.
This is funny as!!
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:46 pm quote
northernerbill wrote:
So to recap, your saying that my video is incorrect that 1 set of rollers wonít give best launch and top speed, which is what we all want.
You actually set off, get to half speed, swap the rollers out and set off again to achieve the best top speed.
No you have 1 set of rollers that will hopefully deliver both.
To recap, no, one set of rollers won't make the engine give best launch and top speed in all conditions with all riders.
To recap further, I don't think your video says that either.
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:33 pm quote
The other elephant

No one is talking about contra springs. About a year after I bought the Honda SH150i, I tried 10g sliders. Stock rollers are 13g. The scooter couldn't get out of it's own way, AKA gutless.
I now know that the reason the bike was at full throttle at 30MPH, was because I needed a stronger contra spring.
Someone tell me why I'm wrong. Then explain what happens when the contra spring is too strong or weak.
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:41 pm quote
breaknwind wrote:
The other elephant

No one is talking about contra springs. About a year after I bought the Honda SH150i, I tried 10g sliders. Stock rollers are 13g. The scooter couldn't get out of it's own way, AKA gutless.
I now know that the reason the bike was at full throttle at 30MPH, was because I needed a stronger contra spring.
Someone tell me why I'm wrong. Then explain what happens when the contra spring is too strong or weak.
if what i found is correct your 150i should have had 17.5 g from stock. Was it new when you bought it?
12.5 would have been correct for the non-injected SH150. So your 10g was a bit light. You would have been better off with 15-ish.

Simplified the contra spring makes/helps the scooter change down "gears", the weights make/help it change up.

It is a balancing act to keep the engine in its power band.

Contra spring too weak? the bike won't change down "gears" say when going up hill and it bogs.
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:19 pm quote
Motovista wrote:
northernerbill wrote:
So to recap, your saying that my video is incorrect that 1 set of rollers wonít give best launch and top speed, which is what we all want.
You actually set off, get to half speed, swap the rollers out and set off again to achieve the best top speed.
No you have 1 set of rollers that will hopefully deliver both.
To recap, no, one set of rollers won't make the engine give best launch and top speed in all conditions with all riders.
To recap further, I don't think your video says that either.
I like the way he talks, his broken English.

Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.

Not with all riders, you got me. Thereís a bloke down the road at number 12, I donít think the correct weight roller will give him best launch and top speed. Donít ask me why, cause I donít know.
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:36 pm quote
Scooter transmission tuning is not digital, it's analog.

What is the best combination of variator ramp angle, drive face angle, belt length, roller weight, contra spring, clutch springs, final drive primary ratio and final drive secondary ratio?
What combination of turntable, cartridge, needle, amp (don't even get started on tube vs transistor), speakers and cables produces the best sound?
There isn't one best or right or correct answer. There are a lot of people who know how to tune a scooter transmission, and do it very differently, and all of them do it well.
Then there are the people who look to numbers to give them the answer. If you find the magic number, usually online somewhere, your scooter transmission is perfectly tuned. Wasn't that easy.

Last edited by Motovista on Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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