There comes a time when you find your motorcycle limiting how much you can push yourself on a track and you decide it is time to upgrade and you buy yourself a bigger better motorcycle. However for our lesser mortals who spend a majority of our time wondering if our bank balance will ever get to see more than 3 or digit figures, new motorcycles aren’t exactly our piece of cake.
After a couple of days of fretting, we decide to make the best of what we have and start looking for aftermarket go-fast bits to make our bikes faster and for most folks this is where everything goes downhill. Most people think slapping on a loud exhaust with a free flow air filter should solve most of your problems but this is where they usually get it wrong. The more techy bunch decide to slap on a piggy back and start going nuts with the rev limiter and blow up their engines.
We’ve seen quite a few motorcycles that have tons of parts on them but don’t really do anything. We’re here to help you get it right and hopefully end up with a faster bike at the end of it.
Let’s face it. If you’re a regular at the track you know how much of a difference weight makes. If it is your track bike, remove all the stuff that you don’t need- Headlights, accessories, excess electricals, etc. Anything that doesn’t serve a purpose on the track needs to go. While you are at it, invest in a ratchet set, they are cheap and will help you put and pull things off your bike without needing to head to a mechanic. Invest in lighter race panels which can take a beating and can be discarded if needed.
Future Upgrades: Race seat and cowl
The key is making incremental improvement in your motorcycle’s performance so that you can adapt better and extract every ounce of fun while you are trying to find its limits. Invest in better rubber. Softer tires may not last as long but will give you the confidence and feedback you need while pushing yourself on the track. If a set of tires last you anything over 100 laps and start showing signs of wear, they should be changed immediately.
Future Upgrade: Bridgestone BATTLAX BT-090
Before you go fast you need to know you can stop. A lot of people overlook braking as a performance upgrade. Invest in better disc pads. Racing brakes are usually double sintered to help dissipate the heat quickly and reduce brake fade. They also help in giving you better feedback. Upgrading to DOT5 or DOT5.1 brake fluid is a good idea as well. They can cope with heat better and reduce brake fade drastically. Some of the most exciting racing happens not because you have the faster bike but because you can stop faster, which allows you to keep the throttle open for a longer duration.
Future upgrade: Brembo RCS-15 Master Cylinder
Let’s face it, most of the stock suspension our bikes come with are absolutely useless on the track. Investing in a set of springs tuned to your weigh is a worthy investment, for that extra oomph a fully adjustable suspension kit will give you a superior edge. Better suspension means better traction and better traction means better feel. The more confident you are the faster you can go and a tuned suspension is the magical key that will make you do things you thought were impossible.
Future Upgrade: Andreani Fork Cartridge Kit 105/KT2 & JRi 500-247
You’ve now got better brakes and rubber and a suspension to help you keep the rubber side down, you’re going to start dragging hard parts and that is when you know you need a pair of rearsets. Rearsets not only let you get into a more ergonomic position but also help in avoiding any of the hard parts from touching while you’re getting into your extreme lean angles. Some of the more exotic ones may cost a bomb but the basic aluminium adjustables are cheap and look cool as well.
Making more power:
If you already have all the above parts upgraded and you still feel that the motorcycle just isn’t cutting it then maybe you might need a remap. The cheapest alternative is the Powertronics Piggyback ECU from Race Dynamics. These are very useful when some mods lean out the AFR and have no way of getting to a remap.
Good intakes and exhausts often lean out AFR and you do need to correct fuelling at the earliest. And if you can’t get to a remap, then you should use a Power Commander or an RD ECU. The only catch is, these operate blind, as in with no access to sensor data, and operating blind with a petrol engine often results in blown up engines. But using one of these boxes to correct AFR after mods is any day better than running lean, on any petrol engine.
The best option is to get a custom remap for your specific setup.
Future Upgrade: Custom Remap
The rules to upgrading your ride are simple.
- Don’t overdo it
- Use the right tools
- Don’t mess with things you do not understand
There is nothing wrong in asking for help as long as you ask for help from an experienced and qualified technician. We hope all you have as much fun upgrading your bikes as we have.