Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Motorcycle Track Day - 11/3/2012 @ MSRC

I'm very happy that I was able to get one more track day in this year with RideSmart.  My wife just had surgery a few weeks ago, so she wasn't able to participate in this event. We were back at Motorsport Ranch in Cresson, TX with RideSmart.  I felt like I improved some more, and I finally dragged a knee! :-)  The day before the event, I picked up a set of used carbon fiber D&D slip-on mufflers from a friend in the DFW area to replace my cored OEM mufflers for track days.  The D&D mufflers are much lighter and smaller than the OEM mufflers, and sound a lot better (albeit louder).  The mufflers came off of an older Supersport ('91-'98), but I was able to get them mounted on the bike with a little bit of adjustment.  I've since cleaned the mufflers up and fabricated my own mounting brackets (last photo). My video consists of three different laps with three different camera views.  The first two views were earlier in the day, so they certainly weren't very fast, but it was interesting to see the different angles.  I think I like the windscreen camera angle the best as it works well with my mirrored visor and allows me to see my body position in the turns.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Track Bike Camera Mounts

I added a couple of new camera mounts to my bike for track days, and created a short video of the different angles going through the same sequence of corners.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Track Bike Full Fairings

I was able to get the new full fairings painted and installed on the bike. It was weird scuffing up these perfect Senna gray fairings to paint them flat black, but it needed to be done. :-) As much as I loved the idea of a half naked bike with a full belly pan, I have to admit that it looks better with full fairings.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Motorcycle Track Day - 09/22/2012 @ ECR

Back at Eagle's Canyon Raceway for two days back-to-back with RideSmart.  My wife came with me, and even though she had no intention of doing either track day, we brought her bike with us on the trailer so that she would have transportation to and from the track as well as to participate in the parade laps on Saturday.  While waiting to do the parade laps, she was encouraged to sign up for Sunday's event on stand-by and they would let her use some rental leathers for free.  We both had a lot of fun, and she'll be attending track days with me going forward. :-)  Below are video clips of two of my best laps from each day, and photos of both of us. It's nice not getting passed as much as I did on my first track day, and as you can see from the videos I'm passing a lot more people now, but I think I'm going to stay in Level 1 for next season to make sure I can proficiently stay on the race line, continue working on correct body position, and improve my throttle and braking so that I can be more comfortable with passing.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Track Bike Belly Pan... I'm done with it.

I spent so much time and effort getting that belly pan to fit, and I really like the way it looks, but the damn thing got ripped off the bike while I was backing it off the trailer at Eagles Canyon Raceway on Saturday. The ramp folded down into a low spot on the ground and was steep enough to catch an edge of the pan... now its dead. :-/

The good news is I found a pair of brand new OEM full fairings that were being clearanced out by a Ducati dealer VERY cheap. :-)

Photos and video of the track day coming soon.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Track Bike Updates

I've made a few updates to the track version of my Ducati 900 Supersport, all of which have absolutely nothing to do with the bike's performance. :-)

I've had problems with the belly pan dragging at the track because it was mounted so low on the bike to clear the exhaust.  Since I'm not using the pan to catch any fluids, I decided to cut an opening into the bottom for the exhaust to fit through similar to the factory fairings. I also trimmed the pan and modified the mounting points to mount it up higher on the bike so that it has the same ground clearance as the factory fairings.

I also replaced the grey tank pad with a black version from the '99-'00 Supersports, added some TechSpec grip material to the sides of the tank, and recovered the seat with a new Sport Skinz replacement cover from Sargent Cycle.

Now the bike doesn't look so much like a piece of crap that was thrown together quickly with random used parts for track days. :-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ducati 748s Maintenance

I finally got up the courage to perform the 12,000 mile routine maintenance on my 2002 Ducati 748s. I've already done the maintenance on my 2001 Ducati 900 Supersport with a 2-valve motor, but the 4-valve motor in the 748s is much more complex and the maintenance is much more involved. In addition to replacing the cam belts and inspecting/adjusting the valve clearances, it is also recommended to pull the cams out of the heads to check the condition of the rocker arm faces and replace any that show excessive wear, which is a known issue for 748/916/996 Superbikes from 1995 to 2002.

I purchased all of the specialized tools that are required to perform the 4V maintenance from Desmo Times, and stripped the bike down to just the motor and frame. I worked on things a little at a time so that I wouldn't get too overwhelmed with it all. I was happy to discover that all the valve clearances were within Ducati's recommended specifications, however I found two opening rocker arms that needed to be replaced. :-( I should have the bike back together and back on the road within a few weeks.  While I have the bike stripped down this far, I'm also going to install a new custom aluminum coolant reservoir to replace the plastic one that is prone to bursting.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Motorcycle Track Day - 05/6/2012 @ MSRC

My second track day was awesome! :-) I was in Level 1 again with RideSmart at Motorsport Ranch in Cresson, TX. This was my second track day, and my first time at MSRC. The bike performed flawlessly, and I was doing pretty good myself. I was a LOT more comfortable on the bike and you can see from the photos below that I was able to lean the bike over farther and _almost_ touched a knee. :-) My instructor followed me around for a couple of laps and later told me that my lines and body position were really good and that I am good to advance to Level 2 at my next track day if I want to. I did have a problem with the belly pan scraping again on the sides with the bike leaned over farther, so I'm going to do some more trimming on the pan to raise it up closer to the engine. The video below is three of my best laps from the last session of the day.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My First Motorcycle Track Day! - 04/1/2012 @ ECR

Finally got my first track day under my belt! It was with RideSmart at Eagles Canyon Raceway near Decatur, TX. It was a LOT of fun, and I learned a lot about the handling of my bike that I would've never been able to discover on the street. I wish I lived closer to a track so that I could afford to go once or twice a month! :-)

The belly pan was dragging slightly in two corners during my first two sessions, so I took the bike to the guys from OnRoad OffRoad Cycles who were at the track and they got it setup better for me (my springs are still too light for my weight - what a fat ass!) and it was a much better bike on the track (no more scraping).

The video clip below is from a couple of laps from my last session of the day in Level 1. The Japanese bikes were passing me in the straight sections of the track pretty regularly. This clip starts as I'm exiting turn 6 and ends at the same spot two laps later. I chose to post this particular two laps because it had the least amount of people passing me. :-)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Motorcycle Track Days - Finished Project

Here are photos of the finished track bike project. I'm in Decatur, TX as I type this and I'll be on the race track all day tomorrow. :-)

Here is the bike with the street setup...

Here is the bike with the track setup...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Motorcycle Track Days - Prepping the Bike (continued)

After painting and installing everything on the bike, I just really didn't like the way the OEM half fairings look (no offense to those that like the half fairings on the newer Supersport bikes, they just don't look as good as the pre-1999 half fairings in my opinion). I kinda like the way the newer Supersports look with only the upper headlight fairings, but from the side it looks like something is missing and the bottom of the upper fairings sit several inches higher than the bottom of the tail fairings, which doesn't look aesthetically pleasing to me. I decided to fabricate some small fairing "winglets" that would install at the bottom of the upper fairings to give it a finished look and they would sit slightly lower than the bottom of the tail fairings when viewed from the side. I made a paper template of the shape I wanted and transferred the pattern to some 1/8 inch thick ABS plastic sheet that I ordered from Parts Express for only $8. Once I got two winglets cut out, I used a heat gun to form curves on both ends so that they would match the contour of the upper fairings. When installed they look similar to the Ducati Kamna super small race half-fairing, but at a fraction of the cost.
With the new custom half-naked look, I still felt like something was missing and I've never seen a full belly pan on a half-naked Supersport, so I ordered one from AirTech Streamling. When the belly pan came in, I trimmed it to fit the bike, fabricated some brackets to secure it to the bottom of the engine, and painted it once it was completely mocked up.

Here are the brackets I made along with close-ups of the belly pan mounted to the bike...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Motorcycle Track Days - Prepping the Bike

I've been steadily prepping the 2001 Ducati 900 Supersport for the track and I have a few updates...

Since the headlight and taillight aren't used at the track, I removed them from the bike and fabricated a headlight blank out of some thin aluminum sheet that I picked up from a local hardware store to cover the headlight opening and fabricated a bracket to hold my old unused OEM taillight lens in place in the tail. I covered both pieces with black vinyl tape rather than the typical blue painter's tape so they would blend in with the paint. I can easily remove the blanks and reinstall the headlight and taillight to legally ride the bike on the street if I need to sort out any mechanical or electrical issues without having to change everything back to the street fairings.

I want to use my GoPro HD camera at the track, so I fabricated a simple gas tank mount for it out of 2mm thick aluminum plate. The mount uses three of the gas cap bolt holes and positions the camera in a great spot for capturing on-bike video without getting in my way when I'm riding. There is also a small tether line in case the 3M adhesive pad fails.

Here is the view from the camera on the gas tank mount...

Stay tuned for more updates...