Whatever bike you decide to buy, or if you’re going to convert your road bike to a permanent track bike, ask yourself these questions - “Do I really want to do this?” “Have I got the time?” “Have I got the skills needed?” “Is my kettle working” Trust me, parts come apart easier with tea around) Don’t set yourself up to fail.
I started by removing all the fairings, wheels, exhaust system, forks, rear suspension, radiator and any road items I knew I wouldn’t be using.
I then cleaned everything throughly and checked for any damage or potential issues.
I’d inspected the bike in minute detail before buying it but until you get a bike home and in bits, you’re never 100% sure.
After stripping the entire bike so only the engine remained in the frame, the only issue I found was one fork spring had been installed the wrong way round. No harm done, but its worth checking everying, especially when you know the speeds you’ll be doing.
My plan was to get the bike track ready for my first outing at Donington Park, 4 weeks away. My first time only track in 13 years...
I was very fortunate that everything came apart relatively easily, mainly due to the copious amount of tea around the garage provided by my very understanding wife.
Safety was my top priority so straight away I replaced the chain, sprockets, brake pads, brake fluid, fully serviced the forks, re-greased the rear suspension linkages, changed any bolts I wasn’t happy with, serviced the master cylinder and the calipers.
I’d read on a forum that the fuel pressure regulator would probably need replacing so I ordered one from Honda for the spares box. Forums can be a great place for information but there's quite a few armchair mechanics out there so don’t accept the first answer to a question you get. Research the answer to confirm it before you go down a path you didn‘t need too....
I then spent a bit of time getting all the controls setup and my position correct
Don’t be afraid to relocate electrics such as the regulator. If your bikes just for the track, disconnect all the lights, indicators and relays that aren‘t required for the bike to operate. You don’t need the horn either!
You can then tape any loose connectors up. Some people cut all connectors off but I wanted the option of putting this back on the road if needed so left the main wiring harness alone.
Tape up the speedo, you don’t need to know how fast you’re going.
When I got to my first track day I was giddy with excitement, but I was also aware that I’d never ridden this bike before , and I’d had it in a million pieces.
I was 150% in my work but I made myself on the first laps check everything. Brakes, gearbox, suspension, any weird noises? Everything felt ok so I slowly started to up my pace whilst also being careful of the brand new tyres with release agent on a 7 degree track.
If you think you have any issues or are unsure of anything, pull in. Whats a few missed laps out of the whole day? Its best to check everything, doubts at 140mph + aren’t good for you, or the other riders and marshals around you.