Here you can see just how...
Here you can see just how much space the front fairing of the 1125R takes up--but it works great in a tuck.
There’s no question the face of American road racing changed dramatically when the Daytona Motorsports Group took over leadership of the AMA. In the beginning there was a whirlwind of ideas for classes and directions for the “new” AMA to take. In the end, after endless battles with manufacturers, four classes—American Superbike, Daytona Sportbike, Supersport, and MotoGT—have become the playing fields for this country’s fastest racers.
2009 Daytona Sportbike Spec...
2009 Daytona Sportbike Spec Buell 1125R
Perhaps the most controversial class, Daytona Sportbike has the entire paddock on the fence in regards to parity between machines. And that’s strictly due to one bike: Buell’s 1125R. Many argued that the advantage of having nearly double the displacement as the Japanese 600s was unfair. The fact that the Richie Morris Racing 1125R ridden by Danny Eslick won both rounds at Auto Club Speedway in dominating fashion and a third race at Road Atlanta further supports that argument.
With so much interest surrounding the 1125R, Buell gave select journalists the opportunity to sample the bike for ourselves during the company’s homecoming in early June at Road America, just days before the AMA circus took over (as an aside, SR also participated in the MotoGT race during AMA weekend, with yours truly and teammate Kevin Duke of www.Motorcycle.com at the controls. Read all about the experience in the September issue of Sport Rider).
Sum Of Its Parts
This is really the bulk of...
This is really the bulk of the race components. A race-kit exhaust, Ohlins-tweaked forks, and TTX shock (though the one pictured is the upgraded Showa unit).
As convincing as some of Eslick’s victories were, you’d think that the 1125R he pilots has extensive work done to it. The sad truth is that engine modifications consist of only a race-kit exhaust system, ECU, and a Suter slipper clutch. Engine internals are left exactly the way they came from the factory. Really. To get the machine to be competitive attention was paid to making the bike handle and stop as best it could. An Ohlins TTX shock sits out back (though Showa, who supplies standard suspension units for the 1125R, also provides a high-performance shock with improved internals for more precise oil metering). That’s mated to the race-kit swingarm necessary for the chain drive conversion. For the front, an Ohlins 25mm cartridge kit replaces the stock Showa components, again for finer adjustment. Stopping duties are handled by a finned ZTL perimeter-mounted brake rotor for better cooling. It’s mated to the standard eight-piston caliper fitted with race-spec brake pads. Steel-braided lines are fed fluid through a Nissin 19x17 master cylinder.
The race-kit swingarm allows...
The race-kit swingarm allows for the chain-drive conversion. Note the magnesium rear wheel and electronic quickshifter.
From there focus turns to putting the bike on a diet and getting as close to the minimum weight for twin cylinder machines of 380lbs as possible. That’s almost 100lbs (96 to be exact) that needs to be trimmed compared to the road-going version we tested. The obvious measures of removing any and all emission control devices were performed, as well as trimming or lightening pieces that couldn’t be removed. For example, the racing bodywork is molded completely from fiberglass, and both the front and rear subframes are trimmed of extra bracing normally meant to support lights and mirrors (front subframe) or a pillion (rear subframe). Of course the biggest gains come from reducing unsprung weight, especially rotating mass, and that means substituting the standard wheels with that of the magnesium variety which shave three pounds from each end. We couldn’t get exact weight numbers from Buell, but it would be safe to assume that it comes awfully close to the 380lb limit. Other minor changes include Vortex clip-ons with seven degrees of adjustment and an offset steering cup that pushes the rake out one degree further. After reading that list of modifications you might be thinking to yourself that there’s no way you could duplicate Eslick’s 1125R with what’s in your garage. But you’d be wrong—every part you see here is available to anyone, assuming you have a racing license.