Ninja 300 Track Bike Project – September Update

It’s been two months since our last update and as usual, things can sometimes get in the way of best intentions. But thankfully progress on our little Ninja 300 project bike continues and includes replacement parts that were damaged when we bought the bike from auction, a new battery and some nice upgrades to the front suspension.

Our big modification this month is for something you’ll never even see – the fork internals. The forks on a Ninja 300 are pretty basic which is not surprising given they’re attached to an entry level machine. They’re also setup in such a way to accommodate a specific rider weight which from our understanding is a 75 kilogram person.

Ninja 300 Track Bike Project - September Update

This is what 5,000 kilometre old fork oil looks like.

So to fix this, we took the forks apart and replaced the springs with a set from Racetech which were configured for my weight (85 kilograms). But in addition to that, we also purchased some gold valve emulators – also from Racetch. Not only is doing this a much cheaper option than replacing the whole fork internals with a cartridge system, it’s also a modification allowed for the race seriers we’re entering (whereas cartridge replacements are not).

Dampening rod forks are a cheap way of dampening the front of a motorcycles suspension. That also means they’re not particularly good at what they do – generally they’re either too harsh and too easy to bottom. One can play around with things like the amount of oil in the forks, fork oil weight and even changing the size of the holes in the dampening rod, but that’s not a great solution nor is it an easy one to change all the time.

Ninja 300 Track Bike Project - September Update

The original dampening rod is on the left and the right is the one we drilled.

Valve emulators essentially take over the role of the dampening rod. They’re extremely easy to install and fairly easy to adjust too. Modifying things to use valve emulators is a fairly straightforward affair – you just need to drill holes in your dampening rods so enough fork oil flows through them that they no longer have any effect on dampening. Anyone with a drill and a vice can do it (although a drill press is preferable).

There’s an incredible amount of technical jargon behind how dampening rod forks work and how things change with valve emulators and we’ll take a greater look at them at a later date, but for those curious you’re best to go to the source and read up on it at Racetech.

Obviously when changing the fork internals we replaced the oil seals and bushings, plus put in new fork oil.  As you can see from the image at the top of the page, the fork oil was pretty dirty and incredibly that’s only from the bike having done 5,000 kilometers.

Ninja 300 Track Bike Project - September Update

Smashing down on new oil seals with a PVC pipe is oddly therapeutic.

Once the forks were placed back in we attached our new bars – a set of fantastic looking bars from Tyga Performance. Other options were clipons from Woodcraft or Driven, but those two particular products clip onto the top of the forks just beneath the upper section of the triple tree. That can cause issues with hitting and rubbing on fairings so we felt it was best avoided. Plus we think the ones from Tyga with their CNC machined aluminium look great.

We also placed some preload adjusters on top – these were cheap ones off eBay and while they look good and do a basic job, we don’t expect them to last long as they’ve already been chipped away when using a socket on them.

Ninja 300 Track Bike Project - September Update

The Tyga Peformance bars are top quality. The preload adjusters from eBay are not.

The last few months also saw the arrival of our replacement parts for the damage on the bike. That included the front fairing stay, the right outer fork tube and the front fender stay. We replaced our dead battery with a new one courtesy of Dynavolt and we’ll be attaching a battery tender to it to make sure we don’t have another flat battery in the future.

So what next? Well, probably more than we can do in a month. As you can see from the picture below, we have a brand new fully adjustable rear shock absorber from Wilbers, Vortex Rearsets, new RK chain, sprockets, BMC air filter and more, as well as a set of Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres. But once they’re done we’re almost on the home stretch from a mechanical point of view.

Ninja 300 Track Bike Project - September Update

New parts ready to be installed include a lightweight Vortex rear sprocket, a race spec air filter from BMC, a top of the range RK chain, Vortex rearsets and a bespoke rear shock absorber from Wilbers.

 

 

Ninja 300 Track Bike Project – May Update

It’s been around a month since our first post on our Ninja 300 project bike and we’ve been in the demolition phase so to speak. We’ve stripped the bike of all its fairings, lights, indicators and any other pieces that won’t be suitable/allowed on the racetrack. We’ve also discovered a few damaged pieces that will either need repairing or replacing.

Pictured below is everything that we’ve stripped from the bike that we won’t be putting back on – virtually everything we took off except the dash display and its surrounding plastics. We’ll be purchasing proper raceglass, a taller race windshield, adjustable levers as well as a full racing exhaust system. We’ll also be replacing the pegs with rearsets and the suspension with an aftermarket one, but at this stage they original parts remain on the bike. We’ve also kept the right rear passenger pegs as it doubles as the bracket for holding the rear brake fluid reservoir – a replacement bracket will need to be sought.

Ninja 300 Track Bike Project - May Update

Our intention is to sell all those left over parts on eBay or similar. Many of the parts that aren’t broken do have scratches on them however, so we’re not expecting a great deal in return.

As you can see from the next picture, our intention had been to strip all superfluous electricals from the bike completely. We ended up deciding however that the reward wasn’t worth the effort and have just cut off the connectors that we won’t need (which includes wiring for lights, indicators and the horn). We’ll seal those exposed wires shortly and tidy everything up thereafter.

Ninja 300 Track Bike Project - May Update

As we mentioned in our first post, the bike was in overall okay condition, but there are three pieces that we’ll need to replace or repair. The first one was clearly visible – a broken screw mount on the right fork cover. That mount allows a brace to be attached whereby the front fender rests on – that brace was also damaged. It’s not structural in anyway so in theory we could attempt to just repair it, but at the same time, we don’t like the idea of a repair job braking and bits flying off the bike while we’re at speed. For an OEM replacement part we’re looking at paying around $300 for the fork cover and about $40 for the brace – but we have a ideas on how to  reduce that cost so stay tuned.

Ninja 300 Track Bike Project - May Update

The other part that was damaged was unknown to us at purchase – the front cowling stay. Again, not a structural part, it merely gives something for the front cowling to be attached to. As you can see, it’s bent, not broken and therefore the cowling won’t sit properly on it. We’re going to take the front cowling stay to a metal fabrication shop and see if they can bend it back into shape. Otherwise, the replacement part will cost about $150.

In next months’ update, we’ll let you know how we went with selling our spare parts. We’ll also be installing a new race exhaust and update you on the cost of repair and/or replacement of the damaged parts.

Introducing Our Ninja 300 Project Track Bike

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
  • Gearing

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.

Introducing Our Ninja 300 Project Track Bike

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.