Author Topic: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!  (Read 1215 times)

Offline Guzzi Gal

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Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« on: November 28, 2021, 12:11:55 PM »
Ryan F9 and team have done it again. :bow:

Only one internal combustion design from the 20th century has gone into production: the Wankel Rotary. Yet every motorcycle manufacturer who tries it goes bankrupt. What’s the curse?

https://youtu.be/-3HBAvkc4a0  :popcorn:
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Offline berniebee

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2021, 01:33:00 PM »
Yes, no one seems able to quite make a Wankel work with bikes.
But considering that Mazda made rotary engines for about 50 years, I wouldn't describe them as a failure.

I had a red 5 speed '82 Mazda RX-7 that was a revving blast to drive. Reliable as a stone, too. One of those cars you regret losing.
Just like this one:




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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2021, 01:58:54 PM »
Ryan F9 and team have done it again. :bow:

Only one internal combustion design from the 20th century has gone into production: the Wankel Rotary. Yet every motorcycle manufacturer who tries it goes bankrupt. What’s the curse?

https://youtu.be/-3HBAvkc4a0  :popcorn:
You’re just daring me.... :wink: :evil:

Offline Scout63

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2021, 02:11:00 PM »
It’s the name.
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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2021, 02:11:00 PM »

Offline PeteS

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2021, 02:11:46 PM »
Not reliable????? This one has well over half a millions miles on it and was ridden today in barely above freezing temps.





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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2021, 02:54:59 PM »

Offline Johncolleary

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2021, 03:08:04 PM »
I had a Mazda rotary Pick Up.  AT 30K miles the apex seals gave up and I got rid of it.  It was a fun truck when the engine was good!
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Offline PeteS

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2021, 03:19:05 PM »
The only reason the Norton Rotary never made it to the US was emission standards had changed. They used oil injection like a two stroke. The bike pictured above has been ridden all over the world as well a courier service in London. Certainly not babied.

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2021, 03:22:42 PM »
Ryan F9 and team have done it again. :bow:

Only one internal combustion design from the 20th century has gone into production: the Wankel Rotary. Yet every motorcycle manufacturer who tries it goes bankrupt. What’s the curse?

https://youtu.be/-3HBAvkc4a0  :popcorn:
I don’t think making a bike “better”, is always advisable.
Look what happened to hub centre steering, demonstrably better but shunned universally.

Offline Tony F

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2021, 03:39:04 PM »



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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2021, 04:02:05 PM »
I think the Suzuki died on the vine because of styling cues that were just weird to plain awful. The round instrument housing, trying too hard to pick up the rotary theme anywhere on the body work as possible to name a few. I remember being very interested when they announced it - and then pretty 'no thank you' after seeing them in a dealership, so much so I did not even take a test ride.

Offline Perazzimx14

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2021, 04:19:24 PM »
I think it was because of the movie sixteen candles

"No yanky my Wankel the Donger need food!"




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Offline twowheeladdict

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2021, 04:46:55 PM »
Yes, no one seems able to quite make a Wankel work with bikes.
But considering that Mazda made rotary engines for about 50 years, I wouldn't describe them as a failure.

I had a red 5 speed '82 Mazda RX-7 that was a revving blast to drive. Reliable as a stone, too. One of those cars you regret losing.
Just like this one:





How many miles to a quart of oil?  My nephew bought an RX-8 with his enlistment bonus.  I got to drive it and it was fun, but having to check and add oil that often would really suck.
https://www.rx8club.com/australia-new-zealand-forum-37/10-things-new-rx-8-owners-should-know-day-1-a-35405/
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Offline Ncdan

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2021, 05:23:56 PM »
I have personal experience with this subject.
In 1979 I bought a 1975 Mazda station wagon with the Rotary engine. The little car would run 130+ MPH, handled like a sports car and got around 20MPG if driven in a reasonable manor.
I never really could understand why Mazda discontinued that motor????
« Last Edit: November 29, 2021, 11:10:21 AM by Ncdan »

Offline SIR REAL ED

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2021, 07:12:10 PM »
You’re just daring me.... :wink: :evil:

and I'm double daring you!!!!

not all of us are dyslexic, some of us deliberately misread shite....   :wink:

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« Last Edit: November 28, 2021, 07:13:52 PM by SIR REAL ED »
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Offline SIR REAL ED

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2021, 07:16:40 PM »
I have personal experience with this subject.
In 1979 I bought a 1975 Mazda station wagon with the Rotary engine. The little car would run 130+ MPH, handled like a sports car and got around 25 MPG if driven in a reasonable manor.
I never really could understand why Mazda discontinued that motor????

my understanding is that it was primarily emissions related.  If you think about it, a Wankel is very similar to a two stroke in terms of being hard to control in terms of emissions.

my understanding is the Wanker is still in use all over the world to this day...... 

Huzo, that's yer cue.
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Offline lucky phil

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2021, 11:37:52 PM »
Yes, no one seems able to quite make a Wankel work with bikes.
But considering that Mazda made rotary engines for about 50 years, I wouldn't describe them as a failure.

I had a red 5 speed '82 Mazda RX-7 that was a revving blast to drive. Reliable as a stone, too. One of those cars you regret losing.
Just like this one:





I would personally. My work Colleague bought his wife a nice condition second hand low mileage RX8 sports car (auto unfortunately). Drove it for a few years until it had 80,000klm (50,000 miles) on it total. Then it got really hard to start when cold. He did all the usual stuff, plugs coils etc until he finally took it to a Mazda expert. He walked into the workshop and there were 3 RX8's on jacks with the engines out. He explained the situation to the expert and the answer was, Yep 80,000 klm is about what you get out of an engine then they don't like starting because there're basically worn out and the low compression makes them hard to start cold. That's what those other 3 over there are in here for. He paid for the rebuild and ditched it soon after. I need an engine even in my Sunday drive car that will go more than 80,000klms.
I've driven an RX3 and an original R100 and they fly, esp the RX3 but there's a reason they died out which is obvious. Thirsty and high wear rate.

Ciao     
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Offline steven c

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2021, 08:02:46 AM »
Friend of mine always had sport cars,in the 70's he had a couple of 914's an RX7 260z, out of the three the Mazda was just so much fun to drive with that motor, reved like a 2 stroke. Down side I think he only got 18mpg and a few speeding tickets.
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Offline JJ

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2021, 08:29:06 AM »
Remember the ol' NORTON WANKEL?!? :shocked: :rolleyes: :huh:



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Offline PeteS

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2021, 08:50:36 AM »
Remember the ol' NORTON WANKEL?!? :shocked: :rolleyes: :huh:





Actually rode one that was brought to the US. 100 made. Civilian version of the air cooled Police Version pictured above.

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Offline berniebee

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2021, 10:39:48 AM »
How many miles to a quart of oil?  My nephew bought an RX-8 with his enlistment bonus.  I got to drive it and it was fun, but having to check and add oil that often would really suck.
https://www.rx8club.com/australia-new-zealand-forum-37/10-things-new-rx-8-owners-should-know-day-1-a-35405/

Because of the design, notary engines burn off oil normally. Yes, you had to check and change oil more frequently, but relative to many cars of the day, not that much more often.


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Offline berniebee

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2021, 11:50:17 AM »
I would personally. My work Colleague bought his wife a nice condition second hand low mileage RX8 sports car (auto unfortunately). Drove it for a few years until it had 80,000klm (50,000 miles) on it total. Then it got really hard to start when cold. He did all the usual stuff, plugs coils etc until he finally took it to a Mazda expert. He walked into the workshop and there were 3 RX8's on jacks with the engines out. He explained the situation to the expert and the answer was, Yep 80,000 klm is about what you get out of an engine then they don't like starting because there're basically worn out and the low compression makes them hard to start cold. That's what those other 3 over there are in here for. He paid for the rebuild and ditched it soon after. I need an engine even in my Sunday drive car that will go more than 80,000klms.
I've driven an RX3 and an original R100 and they fly, esp the RX3 but there's a reason they died out which is obvious. Thirsty and high wear rate.

Ciao   

You are referring to the later RX8. I had a first gen RX7.  I don't know if tightening emission rules was the reason, but the RX8 engine had thinner seals and they indeed had a reputation for wearing out prematurely.

The 12A rotary in the first gen RX7 was probably one the most reliable and durable engines that Mazda had ever made up to that time, piston or not. I sold mine with over 170,000 km (110,000 miles), still purring like a kitten. I redlined that tach frequently, thinking it wouldn't hurt the engine. Long after I sold it, I read that that high rpm use actually helped it burn off carbon deposits on the seals!  From what I read they would last 150,000 miles with good maintenance. 

OIl use? Yes. The design of the rotary means that a small, metered amount of oil is burnt off in operation. Normal and predictable. I don't recall specifically, but now that I think about it I probably checked the oil about every weekend, like every car I had owned up to then. The simple rotary otherwise required less maintenance than a piston engine of the eighties.   Gas mileage was meh. Think American car V8 level mileage of the same era. But good gas mileage is pretty far down my list of wants when buying a sports car for fun.

Rotary engines are light, simple and can rev so high- in principle they should really suit bikes. Suzuki really didn't get their rotary right, the styling was awful. (I never heard of the heard of the Hercules Wankel before the F9 video). Norton simply ran out of money. I've always thought that if Honda had decided to licence and build a rotary it would have been a different story.

BTW, Mazda recently announced they would be using a rotary engine as a range extender in one of their hybrid models.

« Last Edit: November 29, 2021, 12:00:41 PM by berniebee »

Offline AJ Huff

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2021, 11:54:33 AM »
I've long thought the Wankel would make an ideal boat motor. But I guess not since they aren't out there.

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Offline Trialsman

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2021, 03:39:45 PM »
The rotary engine was a fantastic engine that people just didn't understand.  It did not go up and down.  I have had 4 first gens, 2 second gens, a third gen twin turbo, and still have an RX8.  Most people didn't check the oil.  it is a two stroke and pulls oil for the rotor from the crankcase with the OMP (Oil Management Pump).  What I did with most of the ones I owned was to block off the port for the OMP and put a reservoir on the firewall (usually a windshield washer unit) and suck fresh, synthetic, 2T oil from there.  There was enough volume to last several thousand miles and the crank oil would not change level.  Another problem was people would start them then shut them off (like to wash in the driveway).  This caused a flooding and many thought the engine was toast.  I bought two that way and had them running in under a half hour.  I usually put 45k to 90k on each and only ever had to rebuild one engine (that was merely for performance.)  They run like a bike where 3k rpm is sort of lugging it.  One race-crate engine in my second gen was blueprinted and topped out at 14k rpm.  The power is good as there are three power pulses per rotor for each revolution and two rotors in the engine (unless you are lucky enough to have the four rotor units in NZ-Australia.)  It sounds like a bunch of very angry hornets.

Gas consumption was not the best, but on par with performance vehicles of other sorts.  Emissions were bad due to the oil consumption, but was better with the low ash synthetic oils.  Mazda has a 16x engine prototype which has a larger rotor that would solve the lack of low end torque, but they haven't used it in any vehicle yet.  Below are pictures of the last RX7 I had which sold to a collector on the west coast.






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Offline lucky phil

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2021, 04:01:13 PM »
You are referring to the later RX8. I had a first gen RX7.  I don't know if tightening emission rules was the reason, but the RX8 engine had thinner seals and they indeed had a reputation for wearing out prematurely.

The 12A rotary in the first gen RX7 was probably one the most reliable and durable engines that Mazda had ever made up to that time, piston or not. I sold mine with over 170,000 km (110,000 miles), still purring like a kitten. I redlined that tach frequently, thinking it wouldn't hurt the engine. Long after I sold it, I read that that high rpm use actually helped it burn off carbon deposits on the seals!  From what I read they would last 150,000 miles with good maintenance. 

OIl use? Yes. The design of the rotary means that a small, metered amount of oil is burnt off in operation. Normal and predictable. I don't recall specifically, but now that I think about it I probably checked the oil about every weekend, like every car I had owned up to then. The simple rotary otherwise required less maintenance than a piston engine of the eighties.   Gas mileage was meh. Think American car V8 level mileage of the same era. But good gas mileage is pretty far down my list of wants when buying a sports car for fun.

Rotary engines are light, simple and can rev so high- in principle they should really suit bikes. Suzuki really didn't get their rotary right, the styling was awful. (I never heard of the heard of the Hercules Wankel before the F9 video). Norton simply ran out of money. I've always thought that if Honda had decided to licence and build a rotary it would have been a different story.

BTW, Mazda recently announced they would be using a rotary engine as a range extender in one of their hybrid models.

Don't get me wrong I was gob smacked when I drove the RX3 and R100. I drove the R100 when they were first released as a friend bought a brand new one. I was just shocked at the RX8 situation. The issue with both the Norton and Suzuki rotaries was exhaust temperature from memory. It was a good race engine in a bike but perversely considering it's size and weight seemed better suited to a car with regards to packaging.

Ciao   
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Offline PeteS

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2021, 04:27:18 PM »
Rotaries are not quite dead yet. Norton tuner Brian Crighton is offering this little tidbit.

https://www.autoevolution.com/news/crighton-reveals-new-motogp-like-cr700w-rotaries-are-back-173015.html

The issue with the Norton Rotaries was oil related much like the Mazdas. For whatever reason they chose to use aluminum sideplates that were simply etched, no nikasil. As long as oil levels were maintained they would be OK, evidence the Police bike above with over half a million miles. The owner of the US Classic had to bring the head Norton Mechanic over to repair the sideplates on his bike. Work was done at our local Norton dealer at the time. Plates had to be removed, ground flat and re etched with acid.

Pete

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2021, 04:51:41 PM »
Speaking of exhaust temperatures, back in the day I hung around the Team Highball shop, and as a result I watched them at the 24 Hours of Daytona a few times.

The Mazda rotaries were the only IMSA race cars at the time that were required to have a muffler;  they were THAT loud.

The muffler was located between the passenger-side door skin and the roll cage.  At night during the Daytona race you could see the muffler glowing through the door skin.
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Offline lucky phil

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2021, 05:06:10 PM »
Rotaries are not quite dead yet. Norton tuner Brian Crighton is offering this little tidbit.

https://www.autoevolution.com/news/crighton-reveals-new-motogp-like-cr700w-rotaries-are-back-173015.html

The issue with the Norton Rotaries was oil related much like the Mazdas. For whatever reason they chose to use aluminum sideplates that were simply etched, no nikasil. As long as oil levels were maintained they would be OK, evidence the Police bike above with over half a million miles. The owner of the US Classic had to bring the head Norton Mechanic over to repair the sideplates on his bike. Work was done at our local Norton dealer at the time. Plates had to be removed, ground flat and re etched with acid.

Pete
 

Ok interesting, I'm assuming you mean the plates on the housing that seal the rotor end faces. The Police bike mileage is a bit of a red herring though as any piston engine operated in the same circumstances gives the same results. Ridden somewhat continuously with minimal cold start cycling the same applies with massive mileage increases compared to the average DD.

Ciao
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Offline PeteS

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Re: Ya Wanna Ride My Wankel!
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2021, 06:10:05 PM »
Ok interesting, I'm assuming you mean the plates on the housing that seal the rotor end faces. The Police bike mileage is a bit of a red herring though as any piston engine operated in the same circumstances gives the same results. Ridden somewhat continuously with minimal cold start cycling the same applies with massive mileage increases compared to the average DD.

Ciao

The sideplates are on either side of the rotor.

Pete

 


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