Sunday, December 23, 2012

Preliminary Schedule for 2013

According to the MRA Website, the season starts early and cold!  Two rounds in May this year.  As well, it looks like Trackaddix is doing a May round at Motorsports Park Hastings in the spring (finally!)  Not sure how it will work out scheduling-wise, but I would really like to get there, especially considering it is during the Victoria Day long weekend and so I would only have to take 1 extra day off of work:
Round 1:  May 11 and 12  (Long Underwear Special)
Hastings:  May 18 and 19
Round 2:  May 25 26
Round 3:  June 22 23
Round 4:  July 20 21
Round 5:  Aug 17 18
Round 6:  Sept 21 22

So 3 race weekends in 3 weeks in May.  If I can manage it, it should put me in good stead for the remainder of the season.

Eagerly anticipating some visits from the postman.  Forks are on their way back from Racetech, wheels have cleared Canada Customs, and the shock should be built and sent sometime in January.  The bike is really coming together!

Friday, December 21, 2012

More Sponsorship News

Two more sponsors have been added to Piston Broke Racing for 2013!
JRi Shocks is fabricating a made-to-measure rear shock for the EX650.  Makers of suspension components for F1, Indycars, and Nascar, a JRi shock was fitted to the rear of Geoff May's EBR superbike in 2012.  Technical Features include:
  • 3 way adjustable
  • Small body design and ½” shaft
  • Lightweight - 4.5lbs with spring
  • Better sealing & improved frequency response designed into pistons
  • Low friction, high pressure, high temperature Teflon based primary seal
  • 12mm of ride height adjustability

    Further, Piston Broke Racing is now a distributor for JRi shocks.  MSRP on 3-way adjustable shocks are $985.00 -- PBR price is $800, plus shipping.  Please contact me directly for more information!  As always, check out the link to JRi on the right.

  • Speigler USA is also a new sponsor for Piston Broke Racing.  From their website:

    We've built our reputation designing and manufacturing brake lines that are DOT approved, assuring riders of a product they can rely on and trust. Our own in-house research and development uses data acquired on high-pressure test benches. And, because of the exceptional strength and durability of Spiegler Brake Lines we can offer customers a LIFETIME WARRANTY. 

The customer really does come first. At Spiegler, innovations like our custom-made brake lines allow the enthusiast to specify the exact system they need and receive it in any one of 81 color combinations. Our proprietary torsion system eliminates line twist making installation smoother and safer. 

Manufactured in Dayton, OH and distributed from our centrally-located head office we can deliver stock OEM and custom brake lines in the shortest time possible. 

In the world of high-performance aftermarket motorcycle parts, Spiegler is a name that enthusiasts and dealers have come to count on for highest quality products and service anywhere. It's our business and our passion.

    Spiegler Performance Parts is also a distributor for the following companies: LSL, ABM, Esjot, Kellermann, CL brake pads, motogadget and Ohlins to name a few.

    Click on the link to the right!

    Sunday, December 16, 2012

    Bellypan Progress

    A few shots of the bellypan being test-fitted.
    Side view -- I was wanting to extend the length of the bellypan, and accommodate the Arrow exhaust as well.

    I used a male plug, made out of cardboard to get the basic shape.

    As you can see, it is still rough, so a lot of finish work is required.  I am going to use some aircraft-spec products -- microspheres, epoxy resin, and super-fil to try to smooth things out.

    As you can see from this moto3 bike, the lower fairing (albeit a full fairing) extends right to the rear wheel.

    Benefits for electric bikes may be even more profound!

    Stay tuned next week for more sponsorship announcements!

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    More Sponsorship News!

    Piston Broke Racing is proud to announce that Carrozzeria Wheels has come on board as a sponsor!  A set of V-track forged wheels are inbound for the ex650 racer!  I am pretty thrilled to be getting the "only" set of purpose-built wheels for the Kawasaki EX650.  As it stands, no other aftermarket wheel manufacturer offers "bespoke" wheels for the 650.  I will be sure to post photos of the wheels when they arrive, and provide my initial impressions.  Of course, I eagerly await trying them for the first time "in anger" when I hit the track in the spring.
    Those of you who are serious about racing the Ninja 650 should consider this wheelset.  Please be sure to check out the link on the right, as well as the following video.

    Note that there are 4 more videos that detail the suspension setup changes required when you lop significant pounds of rotating mass off of your bike!

    Sunday, December 9, 2012

    fairing option

    Idle time is dangerous for me... I need to be working on something in my spare time or else I go a bit bonkers.  As such, I was staring at the supermono bodywork that is now surplus to my needs, and did some wondering.  While the full fairing would definitely not fit at all around the wider frame, engine, and radiator, perhaps trimming it a bit and coming up with some sort of bikini-style upper would work.  I decided to test-fit the fairing stay (which was modified to fit with the Cagiva Mito frame) and sure enough, the bolt holes lined up perfectly!  It was off-centre, but a bit of metalworking and some welding sorted that.  Still in the original paint scheme, but ready to be primed, it looks as so:

    Screen not added, but it does mount on the stay, along with two aluminum tabs along the sides of the frame.  This, along with the full-length lower fairing I am making (from scratch) might help a bit in the aerodynamics department.

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Rad and Rear Axle

    The R6 radiator has been properly fitted, and hoses mounted to the engine.
    Notice how the upper spigot needs to clear the frame tube.  There is provision for the water temp gauge in this section of the hose assembly.

    Quite a considerably larger frontal area that the stock radiator!  Should result in a cooler running engine due to the increase in coolant volume as well.
    Still need to mount the puke bottle... been designing a bracket in my head.

    A bit of internet research and some machine work has allowed me to drop at least 1 lb off the rear wheel assembly.  The stock rear axle is solid steel -- certainly strong, but a bit overbuilt and utilitarian in this capacity.  I discovered that the Triumph 675 uses a 20mm axle as well.  I bought one for under $10 on ebay, and found it was made of aluminum, and came with a cool metal locknut.  Surprisingly it was about 1/4" too short to work with the stock axle adjusters, so I got them machined down 1/8" on each side which got me back enough threads to engage the locking mechanism.  On the nut side, Cycleboyz machined a pocket that perfectly accommodates the washer.  Looks very clean!
    On the other side, a shoulder was left that locks the "head" of the axle in place.  This speeds up wheel changes as only one 27mm socket is required to deal with the rear axle.  This hollow assembly allows the fitting of axle sliders, a pit-bull trailer restraint, and is considerably lighter.  If it is strong enough for a 120 hp triumph triple, it will be strong enough for my bike.  I'm pretty proud of myself for figuring this out... Note this will not work with stock swingarms!

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Short and Long-term Projects

    The off-season... the time to maintain or improve fitness, do work on the bike, and for the privateer, scour the internet for deals on consumables.  Its time to stockpile and hoard what you will need in the future.  To illustrate both the packrat mentality and the patience of my long-suffering wife Kate, here is a pic of our exercise room (don't be too impressed -- we have a modest 4-bedroom house with no kids).  Spare engine in boxes to the right of the "Le grand tour de Michelin".

    In the short term, I'm sending my forks off to my sponsor, Racetech, for a rebuild, installation of a G2-R Fork Cartridge Kit, and springs to suit my weight.
    A long-term project is the rebuilt engine.  After considerable research, I am shipping the cylinder head across the pond to Rick at RLR Motorsport in the UK.  A hassle, perhaps, but the Brits know a lot about tuning EX650s for their supertwin classes, and the price of the headwork and cams is much cheaper, even with exchange, than what I can get done in North America.
    Here is a pic of the stock intake tract... room for improvement, even by my untrained eye!

    The cylinder head, including the stock cams which are to be exchanged for Kent cams, in a spec to work with my stock-ish (by UK standards) engine.

    I think it is important to note that gains to this engine will be made without "cheating" -- I'm using stock pistons, stock rods, a stock bore, and simply building the engine to a higher degree of tolerance.

    Boxed, with build instructions for Rick inside.

    Ready for a trip to Canada Post.  It won't be cheap, but it needs to be done.

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    New Helmet and Refinished Rad

    The helmet from my Nexx sponsorship arrived the other day.  As advertised, it fits well, appears to be pretty quiet, and is incredibly light.  Looks pretty sharp as well!  I was able to get 2 other shields, a clear and a light smoke one as well.

    ECE 22-05 and Dot approved.

    Side profile.

    Tri-composite shell -- a mix of fibreglass, kevlar, and carbon fibre.

    Stopped by CycleBoyz to pick up the R6 rad.  Looks good.  Did a pressure check in the tub (yes I cleaned it afterwards) and no leaks, based on as much pressure I could load the rad with after plugging the spigots.

    Mig-welded, I think.  This spigot is the lower on on the RHS as you sit on the bike.  A bit more filler rod was required, as a 3/4" outlet was going into a whole where a 1" used to be.

    Once mounted, this will make sense -- I had to "hook" the coolant flow around one of the frame tubes.  You can see where the old spigot used to live.  Once it dries out, I will get it painted with some radiator paint I had left over from the supermono project.

    In engine news, Scotty from Transcanada had the correct flywheel puller I needed to finish disassembling the engine.  He lent it to me for the weekend, and the engine is now apart, in a few boxes.  Time to start saving my pennies for the soup-up work!

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Engine Work

    Awhile back I got a deal on a second ex650 engine.  I plan to balance and blueprint it, as well as do some other mods to increase power.
    A couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday had it to this stage.  Just waiting to borrow (hopefully) an alternator puller prior to splitting the cases.

    The pistons were pretty loaded with carbon -- I've already begun to clean them at this stage.

    Apparently soaking them in simple green works wonders.  The piston skirts are in very good shape, so I will definitely be reusing these.

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    Vortex Kit and a Racetech Press Release

    Here is the new Vortex V3 lever for the zx6rr... a nice, adjustable, and shorter option for sportbike riders.  Feels quite comfortable, and due to the lever length, less likely to get broken in a crash.  I also got two new 520 chains through my sponsorship agreement.
    I have also dropped off the R6 rad and fittings for Cycleboyz to sort out for me.  Pics as soon as it is returned.

    The following is a press release from Racetech:

    SIX12/Race Tech at Mini O's
    If you are an amateur motocrosser with aspiring goals to reach the next level, Thanksgiving to you means a lot more than just turkey and pumpkin pie; it signifies the annual stop to Gatorback Cycle Park in Gainsville, FL for the Mini O's. Race Tech is excited to be a part of this event for 2012 and to support our rapidly growing grass roots support team of amateur riders.
    Providing support, setting up your bike, and doing repair and installation all week long will be Florida Race Tech Center SIX12 Suspension. Ronnie Monk from SIX12 is very familiar with the Florida terrain and will have the Race Tech booth setup helping riders transition their setups from Supercross early in the week to the Motocross portion at the end of the week.
    Race Tech Center, SIX12 Suspension, will have technicians on-site offering free bike setups to all competitors. SIX12 will also be selling and installing Gold Valves, rebuilds, oil changes, seals, and more to keep your bike dialed at the event.
    "The Mini O's is an extremely prestigious event. It's the one race during the year that tests riders on both Supercross and Motocross tracks, and along with different challenges for the riders; bike setup is also different for each condition. We are excited to have Ronnie at SIX12 with his vast knowledge of the Southeast terrain and racing scene on hand to help support all the Race Tech riders and scout new talent for the 2013 season. If you are at the event and have a question, stop by the Race Tech booth and let Ronnie help point you in the right direction. It is our goal to help you reach your goals!" said Race Tech's Director of Marketing Chris Riesenberg.
    To set up an appointment ahead of time for the SIX12/Race Tech staff to dial in your suspension, please contact Ronnie Monk.
    Ronnie Monk

    Saturday, November 3, 2012

    Another New Sponsor

    Things have been a bit quiet on the bike building front (at least with the ex650 -- check out my xs650 school project here:  The ram air intake from KMR Kawasaki appears to be a bust for my application.  However, I can now properly fit the radiator -- just looking for an excuse to stop by cycleboyz to 'splain what I want done.  I am sure they can modify the R6 rad the way I need it; I've already test-fitted the radiator and am sure it will work.  I did however hear from Nexx Helmets... and they sent me a sponsorship contract that certainly looks good at my end.  Nexx helmets are still relatively new to the North American market, but they have gained a decent foothold in Europe.  They came highly rated by British Bike Magazine MCN:

    MCN reviewed the Nexx XR1R Carbon in July 2011, with writer Dan Aspel concluding that it was ‘The Best Road Helmet I’ve Worn’. In addition to being one of the lightest motorcycle helmets available, weighing just 1200g, Dan commented that the XR1R Carbon has one of the widest viewing ports he’s seen on any helmet, has fantastic venting and has low noise levels. 

    Their USA website can be found here:  As always, my sponsor links will include them on the RHS of this page.  I plan on getting the "Cafe Racer" XR1R, in red.

    The other supertwin news is that I am developing my own full-length bellypan that mimic the more aerodynamic shape seen on moto3 machines.  It will be a long process, starting out with a cardboard form, but it is coming along.  Hopefully it turns out OK, but I forsee a lot of sanding in my future!

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    Radiator Work

    While I have been waiting for the ram air scoop to get here, I've done some work on the R6 radiator.  I really want to be sure and do it right, so the stock inlet and outlets have been removed, as they are too large to use with the stock or samco rad hoses.  Once I get things into position, I can figure out the angles each of these spigot needs to go.

    I also mounted the cafe front number plate.  Simple and clean, and a lot easier to set up than some aftermarket bodywork from another bike.

    Not bothering putting on the front fender, as I will just have to remove it when the forks get shipped off to Racetech.

    Saturday, October 13, 2012

    Proper Kit

    Some fortunate internet surfing has turned up some rare parts I have been looking for, for some time.
    This is a z1000 gauge.  Similar to the 636 that is sometimes used, except this has the 11,000 redline that the 650 engine is spec'd at.  All the idiot lights work as well, but apparently the speedo is inaccurate... shouldn't be looking at the speed anyway!
    I fabricated a custom mount which also includes a provision for the lap timer.

    Not the clearest photo, but this is a proper thumb brake from gptech.  Bought it off a shop in Ontario, which used to prepare the Yamaha Superbikes for the Canadian National team from a few years ago.  Who knows, maybe Pascal Picotte used this at one time.  This one mounts to the clip on, not the fork tube, and works a heck of a lot better than the old one!

    The ram air intake should be here shortly, so I will get to work figuring the radiator mounting system...

    Sunday, September 30, 2012

    A bit o' Paint

    New season, new paint job.  I guess there are more expensive habits than a couple of rattle cans of spray paint, some sandpaper, and some stickers...
     In other news, the lower triple clamp arrived.  Swapping it out, it appears it fixed the twisted fork problem of the final round.  The tubes themselves are straight, and upon closer inspection, the twist in the clamp was quite apparent.  I removed the 4 allen bolts from the old lower triple, and tossed it into the garbage.  Newspaper and masking tape to help the new seat pad mate with the tail section.
    Lower belly pan.  Shortened in order to work with the new exhaust.  Race numbers will be put on this piece of bodywork, as the tail section is too small to fit numbers.
     New tank -- the original was looking pretty worse for wear.  Although this is not new itself -- 50 bucks off of ebay, with a few minor dents.
    The tail section.  Less than perfect masking and striping gives it "character"!  You also can't see the wee bugs who committed suicide by landing in the wet clearcoat.  The joys of spraying yourself, outdoors.  The good old Devilbiss gun worked again.

    Awaiting the ram air intake to begin to fit the oversize radiator.  Also, a new rear thumb brake, some z1000 gauges, and the front numberplate need to be fitted.  Eventually, the forks will go off to Racetech for the upgrade.

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    More Sponsorship News!!!

    I am thrilled to announce that Piston Broke Racing is now sponsored by Race Tech Suspension!!!  Please click on the link at the right to access their webpage.  The timing could not have been better as I plan to get the forks rebuilt over the winter.  I will be getting the techs to service them, and install the following:

    Cartridge Kit

    G2-R 25mm Cartridge Kits replace the stock damper with a high-performance unit. Each kit is built to order and valved to the rider's application and ability.
    Used to win the 2010 and 2011 AMA Vance & Hines XR1200 Road Race Series.
    • G2-R Compression Gold Valves
    • HFR Rebound Gold Valves
    • Hi-Frequency Response Mid-Valve Technology
    • Fork Caps with Compression, Rebound and Preload Adjustment (selected models)
    • Length Adjustable (can be lengthened)
    • Precision-machined aircraft billet aluminum
    • Low-Friction Coatings and Surface Finishes
    • Reactive Top-Out Spring Technology
    • Elastomer Bottom-Out System
    • Gold Valve Charts and extra Valving Shims
    • Guaranteed Performance
    • Technical Support
    • Made in USA

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    Hard at It

    The first weekend post-race season saw me attack the rear of the bike with various cutting tools, in order to cut down on the excess weight of the subframe.  This is my second attempt.  A lot of serious ex racers have fabricated an alloy subframe, but for now this will do.
    After a bit of work, this is what lay beside the bike.  It is deceptively heavy, considering the bracing going on.  Designed to carry two passengers, of course!  It weighs close to 10 lbs.

    Can we say "overbuilt"?  Luckily the top rails were no where near this thickness.  This piece was the lower rail section.  I wanted to leave the top in place as it located the rear of the tank.

    I ended up buying some cheap 1" steel tubing from Canadian Tire.  Again, much thinner wall than what I removed.

    A day of grinding and filing, plus some welding with the good old oxy-welder resulted in this.  I have already painted the section with "hammerite" paint.  It is awesome -- durable, and close enough to the stock frame color.

    Form follows function.  It was interesting welding near the rear shock, but some scrap metal allowed me to protect it from the flame.

    Most of Sunday was spent fitting the electrical components and tucking the excess miles of wire to the ECU out of the way.  I've really been able to centralize the mass... the ECU used to be far to the rear of the frame.

    The tail section is from a CBR1000.  I had to do considerable work on it, widening the front section to fit the frame rails, and reinforcing some sections of the underside.  Fits a treat in the end, with an alloy bracket securing the front end.

    Rear 3/4 view.  I think I might change direction slightly with the front fairing.  Even considering aerodynamics, I like the idea of something simpler.  Always a fan of Cafe Racers, here is something from Radical Ducati...
    The idea here, of course, is lightness!  With the tail section sorted, next step is more involved... fitting the new R6 radiator.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Round 6 Update

    The last round of the season took place on Sept. 8 and 9.  Looking at the points table, the best I could do going into the round was to consolidate 5th place in the standings.  Wilson was about 45 points ahead, and Glen had leapfrogged us both into 3rd.  Scoring 0 points at Round 5 essentially robbed me of any chance at a top 3.  Jason and Doug were duking it out for the overall.
    The weather forecast was off yet again -- the mild temps promised for Saturday never came.  No rain, but winds gusting to 50 kph, and temps hovering around 10C.  Chilly.  Camping overnight was pretty brutal as well... actually frost on the car Sunday morning as well!
    An embarrassing start to the weekend... after staring at the bike for 3 weeks while I made repairs, I didn't notice that the forks were askew.  In the end it appeared the lower triple clamp was bent, but Saturday morning was spent with blocks of wood, rubber mallets, and a lot of head scratching trying to straighten things out.  In the end it was serviceable, but I did miss instructing for the morning, and all the racer practice.  I got out for about 6-7 laps of the trackday advanced session; with this in mind I gridded at the back (in 14th place) in order not to get in anyone's way or do something foolish.
    Canadian Thunder GP (15 laps):  at the drop of the flag I actually hesitated before starting off.  However the weather appeared to be giving some riders difficulty, and I was able to progressively work my way through the novices and into the experts at the front.  I was helped a bit as a lap 1 melee saw Jeff and Wilson go out, and scattered those around them at the time.  I got through the area at race pace, and despite the yellow flag though the remainder of the race, got by other riders elsewhere -- turn 3 is a favorite passing spot for me.  By the penultimate lap, I was behind Stevie who was alone in 4th; I was able to make the pass along the front straight and brough it home just off the podium.  Lap times weren't great (1:07s) but very consistent which did help in the end.  I was wary of the cold conditions and the fact that the tires, especially the rear which was getting a bit ragged.  I also tried some more swoopy lines through 5 to avoid the debacle of the last round.
    I spent the rest of the day working with the novice riders, and got a number of laps in.
    Racer Practice on Sunday went fairly well.  The overnight low was near freezing, and with the deteriorating rear tire I only went out for a few laps first thing in the am... the conditions were going to change considerably before my races, so there was little sense burning up tires when it was still so cold.  The second practice session went well, and I got down into the 1:06s.  The entire grid seemed to be a second or so slower than usual, so this seemed OK.
    Canadian Thunder 2 (10 laps):  I enjoyed the previous day's race starting at the back, so I decided to do the same -- again considering that my overall standings would not change.  I was far more agressive, as I had less time to move through the pack in the shorter race.  Starting at the back in 12th (two less riders today), I again got up to 4th by the finish.  While the top 3 were slowly pulling away, lap times indicated it was fractions of seconds per lap.  Racing in close proximity to bikes and planning moves and passes was great practice.  I don't think I am sandbagging -- I am only a second or two faster than most of the other riders.  I'd like to think the battles we had for positions were fun for them while it lasted.
    For the last race of the season, I offered to follow another rider with my camera and try to catch some footage.  I duly did so, likely crossing the line in 6th or 7th place.  Unfortunately, what would have been some great video (the rider in question had a great battle himself, and made a super pass on the last lap) did not pan out as the bloody card in the camera pooped out.  Dammit!  For what it was worth, I had a chat at the end and gave some suggestions.
    So the 2012 season is in the books.  In some regards, one of my best (in terms of the on-track battles, the bike development, and the laptimes), or one of my worst (two crashes and several DNF/DNS results).  More consistency this year would have assured a top 3 overall.  Congrats to those who finished in front and behind; we'll see you all next year.  Big thanks to AJ Enns for the pictures of this round.
    The next step is of course the off-season, and continued development of the ex650 as a competitive racebike.  It needs another visit to the dyno -- I am hoping a few more ponies can be found via the new exhaust and a proper map.  I have a larger rad in the works, and some photos from Alex Hutchinson in the UK showing his setup.  The oil cooler did its job on Sunday -- with temps in the mid-20s, the bike did not get over 100C -- first time ever!  I've already started fitting some more aerodynamic bodywork -- 99-02 R6 plastic, which has a neat little cutout duct for the oil cooler -- it will also clear the wider R6 radiator I will fit.  The tail section is going to be replaced with something a bit more aerodynamic as well.  This will necessitate a modification to the rear subframe, but will ultimately save some more weight as well as I can eliminate some more extraneous tubes.  I will be sending off the forks to be rebuilt; I am awaiting the confirmation of a new Piston Broke sponsor that will help in that regard.  As soon as it is confirmed, I will post a notice and a link as usual.  Finally, I have been able to communicate with Ryan Farqhar.  The TT winner returned an email and agreed to sell me one of his ram-air systems.  I sent the payment prior to the Manx GP, and was shocked by his (understandable) immediate retirement after the death of his uncle.  Despite the traumatic events facing his family, I got a lovely email from his wife assuring that the part will be on its way to me shortly.  This will have an impact on radiator placement, so it is important I have it in hand prior to any work with the upgraded cooling system.  Ryan is a solid guy in my books!
    As always, keep checking back as I update the work done over the winter.