TheRideAdvice.com is going racing… eventually. Today we kick off our first project bike using the ever popular Kawasaki Ninja 300. Our ultimate goal is to convert our baby Ninja from its damaged (written-off by insurance) state that it is currently in and enter it into a national competition which is open only to the Ninja 300.
Our aim with this project is to tie things in together with our YouTube channel. Hence, not only will we take you through the project on this website, we’ll be filming detailed guides on various things that have application to modifying or maintaining any bike.
Some track bike specific articles will include:
- Prepping, painting and installing race glass/race fairings
- Safety wiring/lock wiring your bike for the track
- Weight reduction
Some of the articles that will be equally as applicable on the track as they would be for any bike include:
- Replacing rear suspension
- Replacing fork internals
- Replacing break pads/bleeding the lines/installing braided lines
- Installing a full exhaust system
Plus many, many other things. We’ll be keeping a record of all costs involved so you can get a good idea of budgets and provide tips and tricks along the way.
The great thing about racing the Ninja 300 is that not only is it one of the cheapest forms of competitive motorcycle racing around, it’s also a great way to learn the art of racing in a somewhat forgiving environment. So without further ado, let’s introduce our new baby.
Part 1 – The Purchase
We bought the bike at a local auction house that deals in written-off (total loss) motorcycles due to an insurance company deciding the cost to repair the motorcycle is too great. The bike we bought was a 2013 model and had around 5,500 kilometres on the engine. Damage was mostly superficial (more on that shortly) and the purchase price was $1,500 plus another $100 for tansportation back to our garage.
The key to bidding at an auction is to set yourself a price ceiling and stick with it. Know your budget and if you can, try and find out what sort of price range the bike you’re interested in tends to go for. Also, ensure you’re aware of what bikes sell for used that aren’t at auction. It’s stupid to buy a damaged bike from auction that doesn’t come with a warranty or any proof of its mechanical qualities for only a few hundred dollars less than what you can find at a dealership, but trust us, it does happen. People tend to go to auctions thinking they’re guaranteed to get a bargain only to find themselves in a bidding war with other clueless individuals.
Also, be patient. At the auction we were present at, there were 9 Ninja 300s for sale out of about 150 bikes in total. And guess what? The first Ninja that was auctioned went for the most money that day despite having the pretty serious issue of being water damaged from flooding. We bought later in the afternoon and walked away with $700 more that that first buyer.
Damage wise as you can see from the photos that things are mainly superficial. Most (but not all) of the fairings have received some sort of damage. There’s nothing obviously bent on the bike but there are a few parts that we will have to replace. Most importantly though is that the engine runs smoothly and the frame is straight.
In Part Two, our first work on the bike will be as follows:
- Strip the bike of all fairings, lights and indicators
- Sell any undamaged items to recoup some of our costs
- Remove the wiring for the lights, indicators and horn which we won’t need
- Assess any other parts on the bike that have to be either repaired or replaced
After that, the real work will begin on turning our Ninja 300 into a capable race machine. Check back in a couple of weeks with our first update.