• Parent Category: Articles


From chromed calamari to NOLA rolla


Gixxer Junkies

Here at TrackdayMag.com, we have an obsession with insurance salvage motorcycles.  They're just so cheap!  We also have a genuine fixation for the 2006-2009 GSXR600/750 platform, which we consider to be the best low budget track bike of the last decade.  When a mangled but mostly intact 07 GSXR750 popped up for auction just an hour's drive from our base of operations, you can probably guess what happened next.

The sad truth


Picture a cold garage and a beloved GSXR1000 on a cycle lift.  There is a giant hole in the side of the engine.  Every feeler sent, every attempt to reach out to friends and hours spent searching eBay have brought us to the conclusion that it might be cheaper to buy a completely functional bike than to try and repair this one.  Car guys use this motor for their little racers and have driven the price up to triple what any other used motorcycle engine might logically cost.  So what does one do?  This broken machine is our trusty Literbike Lust.  It's been the recipient of three years worth of continual upgrades and refinement.  Aside from the trashed engine, the big Gixxer is set up exactly the way we want it to be.  We can't throw this bike away, we can't bring ourselves to part it out and at present, we can't afford to fix it.

From darkness comes light

Thinking that we might be able to find a bargain motor in a wadded salvage bike, we've been scouring the auctions for a likely candidate.  Instead, we stumbled across a 750 that looked like an easy rebuild.  The Suzuki wore no road rash but it had a snapped subframe and was missing it's headlight, gauges, upper fairing and seats.   These are the telltale signs of a low speed stoppie gone horribly wrong.  When we added to that the fact that it had chromed wheels and bright mesh inserted into the fairing openings, we drew the conclusion that this Gixxer had met its fate beneath a squid.  The machine had a "Buy it now" price of $2200 and was hovering around $1200 with just a few hours left to bid.  A flurry of phone calls ensued.  Many of TrackdayMag.com's associates ride this platform and collectively, there were a lot of spare parts laying about.  This trashed senfiddo seemed like a worthy candidate to get some wheels back under Senior Editor K3.


As the auction wound down to it's final few minutes, it became a war between us and another bidder.  TrackdayMag associate, Eddie Bingham, was watching the bids online from his shop, Naperville Motorsports, while encouraging K3 via speakerphone.  Eddie's ancestry is Korean and although American born, he tends to channel the accent of his ethnicity when he really gets excited.  The price was spiraling upward.  and as the bids hit two grand, he began screaming, "Buy it NOW!  Buy it NOW!" with a fervor that would have made Kim Jong-Il proud.  K3 hit the button.  The bike was ours.

Electrical engineer

Buying a crashed auction bike is always a risk.  When we got this machine back to the shop, it was time to assess its condition.  With its gauges missing, the GSXR's mileage would remain a mystery but we knew from past experience that this model would start without them.  All we initially wanted was to hear the bike run but this proved harder than we'd expected because the Suzuki was fitted with a Scorpio alarm which had been wired into the bike's electrical system in such a way that it disabled the ignition.  Naturally, the alarm's remote was missing so we had to trace every non-factory wire, then perform a strip-and-solder repair any place that the bike's harness had been cut, before we could try to fire the motor up.  In addition to the alarm, this Gixxer also sported a cigarette lighter outlet under the back seat with a cell phone charger plugged into it.  The charger ran to a Ram Mount on the triple tree nut.  There were also blue lights concealed inside the front fender, fairings and swingarm, which had clearly been intended to illuminate the machine from within.  It appeared that these lights and their wiring had been attached with a hot glue gun, which while not especially sound structurally, at least made them easy to remove.  A few still worked, which gave us a much needed laugh on this first night of discovery and 


debugging.  When all was said and done, we had a giant pile of wiring and assorted broken pieces on the garage floor.  Post repair, everything seemed to function as it should but if problems occur down the road, we'll turn straight to eBay for a new wiring harness.

Fire in the hole!

Once we had a functional ignition, we swiped the battery from our disabled GSXR1K and installed it.  Next, we sucked the nasty, year-old gas out of the tank and pored in some fresh pump premium. We drained murky muck out of the crankcase, changed the filter and, for the purpose of this first start, poured in the remains of a half dozen bottles of mismatched oil.  What a way to clean out a cabinet and save a trip to the store!  The coolant looked good so we turned the key and punched the button.  The results were immediate.  "LIFE!  LIFE!  AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"  The machine sounded healthy and didn't leak any fluids in ten minutes of running.  This first evening of effort had been an encouraging success.

Slavage_yard_filthStrip and scrub

We'll say this much for the previous owner; he loved his can of chain lube.  Perhaps "cans" would be a more accurate assessment.  We'd estimate having spent twenty-plus hours on disassembly and scrubbing.  In the process we went through eight cans of carb cleaner, two cans of WD40, several tooth brushes and four rolls of blue paper shop towels.  Beneath the layer of sludge, we found a pretty nice motorcycle.  We also learned a bit more about the machine's past life.  The GSXR had been lowered front and rear, with a very sketchy-looking aftermarket Heim joint setup used out back.  There was better than an inch of slop in the rear suspension's travel.  We ran straight to the computer, summoned eBay and found an OEM swingarm linkage for less than $25 shipped.  While we were there, we grabbed a replacement for the missing seat as well.

PC3Purchased performance

Chain lube spraying, pimp light wiring, cell phone using, chrome wheel polishing squid that he may have been, this machine's former owner was also into performance.  He'd hit the top four items on any go-fast bike guy's list, installing a full exhaust system, a Power Commander III, a Timing Retard Eliminator (TRE) and a K&N air filter.  This collection of parts, if purchased new, would come close to equaling what we paid for the bike.  Upon removing the exhaust, we discovered that it was a combination of two different brands.  The four-into-one was of Yoshimura production,
with a Two Brothers mid-pipe and low mounted carbon fiber muffler grafted on.  Actually, this was such a smooth combination that we might not have noticed its crossbred nature had weYosh_Bros not removed the system so we could better clean the motor.  We had other plans for our machine's exhaust needs but still, this "Yosh-Bros" system is a very decent and useful piece that we'll put to good use elsewhere.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

With our beloved Literbike Lust sitting in the corner awaiting future repair, this seven-year-old 750 needed to be built to a quick conclusion on a strict budget. Fortunately, we had a lot of good stuff laying around.  The Race Tech G2-R 25mm cartridge kit and G3-S shock which we initially tested in 2009 and then employed for our AMA project in 2010 were still in our possession, as was a Devil titanium full exhaust that also dates back to a 2009 review.  These items, plus a box of assorted spare parts and a leftover set of rims, were the impetus of this project.  You're probably thinking, "Gee, it's nice to have


stuff like that in your attic.  Wish I did."  Valid point but consider this.  We've seen 2006-2009 GSXR600/750s for sale all over the internet this winter.  These are really top notch, fully equipped race bikes with successful competition histories.  They are being offered with price tags of $6-8K or more.  That may seem like a ton of money but in truth, the owners are taking big losses since the bikes in question probably cost 20K or more to initially build.  Even so, nobody is buying them.  One by one, the owners are parting them out.  Maybe you don't have a stash of your own but right now, it's a total buyer's market of big dollar racing parts for this platform.  A sharp shopper could build something really nice for pennies on t

With the exhaust and suspension taken care of, we began making a list of everything else we needed.  That's when TrackdayMag associate Steve Brammer started pestering us about going to NOLA Motorsports Park for the February 1-2 Sportbike Track Time 2014 seaso

n opener.  This would necessitate cutting our build time from three months to three weeks.  Well, if "reality" TV is to be believed, no custom car or bike can be properly built without an unrealistic deadline.  We accepted Brammer's invitation and got busy.he dollar.

Moto_Brackets_to_the_rescueOur first call was to Moto-Brackets / Moto-Subframes.  We've used their replacement fairing stays and subframes on nearly every project bike in this magazine's history so by now, regular readers know the drill.  These parts are a direct match for OEM but cost substantially less.  You can get them from a variety of sources, including any Parts Unlimited dealer.  The company also makes windscreens and shortie levers, so we grabbed those as well.   TrackdayMag.com-built bikes have been taken to the limit countless times while equipped with Moto products and we trust the brand completely.

Next, we looked at protection.  Crashing can be very hard on a motorcycle and we weren't about to risk that without some armor.  GB Racing, available in America exclusively through Orient Express, is a company whose products are the choice of most WSB and CRT teams, as well as virtually the entire Moto2 field.  Their parts got our vote for this project.  We selected their engine case covers, frame sliders and swingarm spools.  A full product review article is in the making but we'll say here that GB Racing products are world class.  This is some really trick stuff and well worth any racetrack rider's consideratio


n.  We're hoping to avoid subjecting their parts to, um, "Durability Testing" anytime soon.

For what was left on our list, we turned to TrackdayMag associate, Lee Dean.  Last summer, we ran an article titled, "Transplanting your Race Parts From One Bike to Another."  That project involved buying a tattered but track-prepped GSXR750, then swapping the best parts from Lee's very nice GSXR600 onto it for an instant horsepower upgrade.  Fortunately, that stripped 600 had yet to be put back together and thus represented a pile of lesser yet still useable track parts which were ripe for the picking!  We borrowed the bike's bodywork, rearsets, gauges, quick shifter and ignition module.  Sure, we'll have to give this stuff back but for now, the loan makes it possible for us to go to NOLA.  While we were in Lee's garage, we grabbed his spare gas tank as well, since ours had been shipped to ABS Fairings as part of a bodywork project that wouldn't be completed in time for the New Orleans trip.

Once we'd scrubbed the entire machine and put it back together with the Moto Brackets parts, we went to install the GB Racing frame sliders.  This was when we discovered that our bike's previous owner had stripped both front motor mounting points.  The only solution was to lower the engine out of the frame and repair the threads with a $55 Helicoil kit.  This little project ate up about eight hours of wrench work after a two-day wait for the kit, which was an odd 10mm x 1.25 pitch size that we had to special order through O'Reilly Auto Parts.  Nothing like losing three days when you're up against a deadline!

With the motor mount issue resolved, we attacked the suspension.  Our eBay linkage was in excellent condition but we had to resort to a half-inch impact gun to take the modified suspension apart.  It never ceases to amaze us how tight a squid can make motorcycle bolts.  Have these people never heard of a shop manual, specs and a torque wrench?  We finally got everything apart, cleaned and greased each moving part and then reassembled the bike using our Race Tech components.  The finished chassis looked so much better with a raised roadracing stance than it had as a slammed squid sled!

Naperville_Motorsports_dynoTo the dyno!

At this point, our bike was more or less ready to pass tech.  We'd run it through several heat cycles and then changed the oil again, flushed the cooling system and refilled it with Engine Ice.  Fill caps and drain plugs had all been drilled and safety wired.  A set of Michelin slicks was in transit, ordered from Sportbike Tire Service.  Issues with the brakes had caused us to decide that the best course of action for this NOLA trip would be to just bolt on the race-ready setup from our broken GSXR1K.  What we needed next was to have Lee's ignition module installed, the Dynojet PC3 remapped and the quick shifter adjusted.  For this, a dyno would be required.  How fortunate then that Naperville Motorsports has one and that our friend Eddie Bingham is certified to use it!  Even better, Superbike Suspension is under the same roof, so we'll be able to have Superbike Kenny perform a baseline setup on our Race Tech components while we're there.

She_cleans_up_wellAt this point, the project is out of our hands and rests on the shoulders of the Naperville Motorsports/Superbike Suspension crew.  All we can do is pray that the used Dynojet components are up to snuff,  the clutch isn't shot and the transmission has all its gears.  The dyno runs should let us know where we stand.  Did Ol' Blue make it to New Orleans?  Stay tuned.

Copyright © 2014 TrackdayMag.com. All Rights Reserved. Designed by iCueSolutions.