Re: Rev-matched Downshifting: what's the point?
Some pretty good comments here. I'll try to add some:
1) John Hopkins has said publicly he doesn't use the rear brake. Fine, he's not winning any world championships, but I think it's fair to say he can beat any person on this list.
2) If you're braking hard straight up and down into a corner that doesn't require trailbraking, it pretty much doesn't matter what you do with the clutch ... if you just dump it out in between snicks to the lower gears, the rear tire might dance around on you a bit if the braking zone is bumpy, but as soon as you start coming off the brake to feed throttle back in, the front will rise, and the back will settle down and track along behind you.
3) The EX's clutch was downsized, but it's not much different than when it served in the Ninja 900. (From which came the LTD454, and eventually the EX500.) I run stock plates/springs, use the clutch/engine for braking in T1, 3, 6, 9, and 11 at Loudon, and in 13 years of racing have only had to replace set of clutch plates. (5 club championships, and three other 2nd/3rd's in other classes.) Most of the time people complain about slippage, they've f'ed up their clutch lever adjustment. (My estimation? 95% or more of the time.)
4) Most of the tranny problems that we find nowadays are with the shift drum getting notches and not allowing consistent downshifts. The presumption is that it comes from the shocks that happen when the bike crashes on the shifter side. EX racers at Loudon have replaced 3 this year that I know of, (I was one of them) and have two more (on a spare 16" bike, and in an otherwise good engine) that need it. It's long job, but not hard. In all three cases, putting in a drum from a boat anchor motor has fixed the problem, right as rain. We then throw the old shift drum away so it never gets used again.
5) Street bikes will have sophisticated engine management/traction control systems soon enough that will make it very difficult to break the tire loose ... liability suits are such that companies will have to put them on.
Side note that does NOT prove my case: Did you know that there's a system that can instantly stop a table saw blade the moment you nick it with a finger? You could be pushing a piece of wood through, about to lose the ability to count on the decimal system, when "WHAM" ... the saw would stop, and all you'd need was a band-aid for nicked skin.
It works by passing a little electric charge through the blade, and "sensing" the meat. (The test "finger" you see is always a hotdog.) But when they were originally shown it, EVERY major saw manufacturer balked, because they would have had to revamp their entire product lines. (AND pay rights to the brilliant guy who came up with it.)
I first heard about this technology, oh, about 10 years ago.
B.J. "Kill all the lawyers" Worsham