In our ongoing pursuit to extract as much performance out of our Yamaha YZF-R1 and ZX-10R test bikes as possible, we delve deep into our parts bin and find some impressive results. In this installment, we test K-Tech suspension components, GB Racing engine guards and a Full Spectrum battery on the R1, plus an ECUnleashed reflashed ECU, Attack Performance rearsets and an Akrapovic exhaust on the ZX-10R.
“Now we just have to scrounge up some more modifications so we can keep this bike in the test fleet for a while,” remarked the ever-scheming Trevitt as he concluded part one of our Yamaha YZF-R1 literbike mods build (May ’11).
To be fair, Trevitt wasn’t the only one wanting to keep the R1 around; both Kento and Bradley were becoming increasingly fond of the Yamaha, noting its crisp throttle response and increased power as the reason why they were so quick to grab its keys. Quick to turn aspirations into action, Trevitt went straight to the computer and compiled a list of parts that would perfectly fit the bike, which had already been outfitted with an ECUnleashed reflashed ECU, Graves exhaust and Power Commander V in part one of the build. Before the rest of us could so much as blink an eye, his desk succumbed to a pile of goodies — both for the chassis and aesthetic appeal. Joking aside, we were all excited to see where part two of the build would take us.
First to be removed was our R1’s rather bulky OEM license plate bracket and adjacent turn signals. Directly replacing them would be a standard fender eliminator kit from Competition Werkes. Matched to the sleek aluminum unit’s bracket is a set of short-stalk turn signals and LED license light that installs via an adhesive backing. Mounting this $129.95 kit proved to be painless, hold for the fact that the turn signal wires were too short and required we splice in additional wire. That small concern aside, the unit proved to be extremely solid and tidied up the tail section of our R1 rather well.
The Rizoma Proguard System...
The Rizoma Proguard System comes standard with a short and long lever guard. On the clutch side, we used the longer guard and positioned it to its widest angle. One need only watch the end of the 2011 Daytona 200 to know why we opted to mount the Rizoma units.
The blue anodized Diablo Racing...
The blue anodized Diablo Racing rearsets matched our R1 perfectly and are very sturdy. The knurled footpegs provide excellent grip on the race track plus the units are plenty adaptable.
The Pulse P2 battery from...
The Pulse P2 battery from Full Spectrum weighs just 1.6 pounds (5.3 pounds lighter than the R1’s factory-fitted YTZ10S unit) and gave us additional room in the underseat section for our Power Commander V and Autotune box. The company offers a separate ground wire specifically for the R1 that was easy enough to fit.
Tail section buttoned up, we turned our attention to installing crash protection parts, which proved to be a simple task thanks to GB Racing. Sold as a package deal, the company’s stock motorcycle protection bundle comes with all the pieces you need, including an alternator cover, clutch cover and pulse cover. Plus, the kit comes with swingarm spools that would allow us to put the R1 on a rear stand when working on it both at the track and in the garage. Constructed from long glass fibers, GB Racing’s engine guards provide impact resistance at any temperature, plus offer high stiffness and low warpage. The long glass nylon construction is lighter than the metal replacement materials other companies use too. Mounting each of the guards was effortless, and merely required we remove a handful of bolts and install the GB covers over the stock parts with the longer A2 stainless steel bolts supplied in the kit. And while we don’t plan on testing the crash quality of these guards anytime soon, the intention is that in the event of a fall, they will prevent cracks to the engine covers and the oil leak that would ensue.
One need only watch a handful of this year’s AMA Pro Racing events to understand the reason behind our next modification: Rizoma lever guards. Constructed from aluminum, silicon, magnesium and manganese for optimum rigidity, along with ends made from a plastic material, these guards prevent accidental actuation of the hand levers when contact is made with another rider or object. Different than the company’s Proguard System for other applications, the lever guards for our R1 required no adapters, which made installation quick and easy. In just minutes we were able to mount the guards and fine tune fitment with the 10 degrees of adjustment.
The only indication that our...
The only indication that our stock-looking R1 was outfitted with an extremely capable $2,423.40 K-Tech cartridge kit is these fork caps. Our forks were mounted recessed in the triple clamp and, surprisingly, we didn’t have to make any adjustment to the clickers during our day at the track — proving how well-developed the K-Tech components are.
K-Tech’s pride and joy, the...
K-Tech’s pride and joy, the 35DDS rear shock was just recently introduced to the market and features 30 clicks of compression and rebound, plus a 16-position adjustable bypass valve and hydraulic spring preload adjustment.
Introduced back in 2009, the...
Introduced back in 2009, the 20DDS front fork cartridge kit from K-Tech works with most all modern sportbikes’ standard front forks and turns them into a fully closed damping system.
Almost equally as easy to fit was the Pulse P2 battery from Full Spectrum, battery supplier for teams such as Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki. In contrast to the R1’s factory-fitted YTZ10S, which tips the scales at 6.9 pounds and is rated for 180 cranking amps, the $260 Pulse P2 replacement battery weighs just 1.6 pounds and is rated at 240 cranking amps. Interestingly enough, Full Spectrum’s Pulse P2 for the Yamaha R1 includes a separate ground wire made from a heavier gauge than the stock wire. Installing this wire required we lift the tank, unscrew the OEM ground wire and replace it with the provided unit. Firing up the R1 proved the Full Spectrum battery worked well, as the bike barked to life without hesitation. Plus, the bike started with ease after sitting stagnant for a handful of days.
While weight savings were the primary reason for this swap, important to note is that the more diminutive 120mm x 60mm x 95mm Pulse P2 also gave us additional space in the cramped confines underneath the seat. This meant more room for the Power Commander V and AutoTune box, which had previously been wedged in the compartment with little room to spare.
Just prior to heading out to the track, we mounted up a set of well-designed Diablo Racing rearsets. Available in six anodized finishes, these $529.95 rearsets can be adjusted to eight positions, are CNC-machined from T6 billet aluminum and work with either street- or race-pattern shifting. Mounting the rearsets proved to be easy enough, although the mounting hole for our brake light switch bracket was blatantly missing, forcing us to employ an alternative mounting method. And the blue anodized finish matched our R1 almost perfectly, providing some serious curb appeal.
On the track, the knurled footpegs provide excellent grip, without being too aggressive. In addition, the dual-roller-bearing-equipped pedals provide precise shifting and braking action, and the units are rock-solid and fail to flex under load. Unlike the stock folding pegs, the Diablo Racing units would permit use of footpeg stands when swapping suspension bits too.
Convenient, especially considering a box of K-Tech suspension goodies had recently found its way to our office, including a 20DDS front fork cartridge kit and 35DDS rear shock. Released back in 2009, the 20DDS cartridge kit from K-Tech works with most all modern sportbikes’ front forks and turns them into a fully closed damping system. Equally as beautifully designed as the 20DDS kit is K-Tech’s race-proven 35DDS rear shock, which features 30 clicks of compression and rebound, plus a 16-position adjustable bypass valve and hydraulic spring preload adjustment.
Rather than being overzealous, we opted to first test the R1 in semi-stock trim. Not only would this allow us to get a better feel for the power modifications made in part one, but it would also allow us to better compare the K-Tech components over stock at race track speeds. Out to Buttonwillow Raceway we headed with the crew from Trackdaz and fresh Pirelli rubber from CT Racing.
Mounting the GB Racing engine...
Mounting the GB Racing engine guards took just minute, and in the event of a crash they will prevent cracks to the engine covers. Convenient is the fact that all the guards came in one package deal, along with swingarm spools that permit use of a rear stand.
Mounting the Competition Werkes...
Mounting the Competition Werkes fender eliminator kit seemed easy enough, although the wires for the included short-stalk turn signals proved to be too short, forcing us to splice in some additional wire. Once fitted, the kit tidied our R1’s tailsection up well.
With its Graves exhaust, PC V and ECUnleashed reflashed ECU, the R1 instantly proved to be a terror, accelerating off corners with authority — and typically one wheel in the air. Surprisingly, the OEM Soqi front and rear units proved to be sufficient as well, allowing us to push relatively hard.
Completely transforming the bike, though, was the K-Tech cartridge kit and rear shock (While Orient Express is the exclusive North American importer and distributor for K-Tech Suspension, our bits were installed and dialed in by the crew at Catalyst Reaction Suspension Tuning). While turn-in and transitions were rather slow with the Yamaha’s stock Soqi fork, the opposite was true with the K-Tech kit, and we found ourselves riding closer to the race line — with less effort required to get there. Plus, the K-Tech 20DDS kit provided a slightly more rigid feel from the front (in stock trim, the R1 chassis suffers from a lack of rigidity) and perfectly telegraphed what the motorcycle was doing underneath us. While some of the quick steering can be attributed to the fact that the fork was mounted recessed in the triple clamp and the rear shock was set 3mm longer than stock, the superb feel can surely be attributed to the development that the company has done with racers in a number of high-level race organizations, such as British Superbike.
Out back, the K-Tech 35DDS rear shock was equally as impressive with its bypass valve providing excellent slow-speed compression tuning to compensate for weight transfer. Immediately noticeable was the exceptional damping characteristics and improved feel over the rather soft Soqi unit. Most impressive was how the 35DDS rear shock worked mid-corner. In conjunction with the Pirelli slicks, which provided great grip and wear life throughout the day, the K-Tech unit provided great feel and exit speeds increased exponentially.
Come day’s end, what surprised us even more with the K-Tech suspension was that we never had to veer away from the recommended settings that the units were installed with — although we did test various settings. For us, this was extremely important as it meant we weren’t continually searching for a better setup, but could focus more attention on our riding. An added touch is that the K-Tech includes three sets of fork springs and the tools necessary to change them. So what’s the downside to the K-Tech parts? Well nothing really, so long as you can come to grips with the high entrance fee. At $1691.90 for the rear shock and $2,423.40 for the cartridge kit, these upgrades aren’t exactly cheap.
During track testing, Pirelli...
During track testing, Pirelli Diablo Corsa tires were fitted and provided excellent grip all day long. Conversely, Dunlop Q2 rubber was spooned on for street testing.
As equally as quick as it started, our Yamaha YZF-R1 build comes to an end. It’s unfortunate too, as this bike has turned into one of the staff’s favorites. Not only has it proven to be extremely comfortable on the street with good looks and an intoxicating exhaust note to boot, but its track potential is extremely high now with only a few goodies needed to turn this thing into a potent superstock race bike. We’ll try to not let a tear drop as this thing leaves the test fleet. SR