Our 2014 project bike is good to go!
From the moment we loaded our salvaged 2007 GSXR750 into the bed of the TrackdayMag.com truck on a single-digit December day, we were in love. This machine had been thoroughly abused on its way to the insurance auction. The bike had been lowered, chromed, bedecked with neon lights, fitted with a mismatched exhaust and a non-compatible injection map, then crashed to bits and abandoned. In spite of this, we could see her potential.
We dragged the carcass of this Gixxer home for a bit over $2K. Our team already had plenty of experience with this model of Suzuki during past projects, and we were also sitting on a cache of sweet leftover racing parts that were resting on our shop shelves. We had big plans for this poor, abused cycle.The initial build required countless hours of scrubbing, de-squidding and crash repair. On the performance side, we installed a pair of G2S 25mm fork cartridges and a G3S shock, made by Race Tech. The mismatched exhaust was swapped for a stunning Devil titanium full system. Vesrah brake pads and Spiegler lines upgraded the brake system, along with a Brembo master cylinder that we’d pirated from a Triumph 675R. We added a set of Michelin slicks and took the Suzuki to NOLA Motorsports Park, in New Orleans.
The trip to NOLA was a struggle, simply because we’d selected too stiff a rear spring rate. Tire wear was high and confidence was low. Fortunately, Sportbike Tire Service guru David Gray was there to help. By removing all the shock spring preload, backing out all the compression damping and lowering the rear tire pressure, we were able to find a compromise that at least made the bike rideable. Our next stop would be Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Alabama.At Barber, we changed the troublesome rear spring for one that better matched our rider’s weight and undid the stopgap fixes we’d applied at NOLA. The result was magic, at least out back. Our next problem was that the front sprngs were too soft! Full preload, full compression adjustment and some additional oil in each fork got us through the weekend. We were close on the handling and knew we’d be right in the ballpark with some stiffer fork springs. Upon our return from Barber, things got really interesting!
This GSXR’s next event was to be a Jason DiSalvo Speed Academy school, at JenningsGP racetrack in Florida. In the meantime, all sorts of new stuff arrived and was installed. Apex Manufacturing provided us with a set of their GP-style zero-offset clip-ons and an AMA Pro-approved brake lever guard, identical to the ones use in the AMA by riders Jason DiSalvo and Elena Meyers. Bazzaz sent a ZFiTC reprogrammer with traction control . With this installed, a trip to the Vally Racing Dyno in Beecher, Illinois, showed us that the Gixxer really liked its Bazzaz. The bike gained five horsepower over the Dynojet system is had been running and produced one of the flattest torque curves we’ve ever seen. No doubt, the machine would be a joy to ride.
With all the hard work and top-notch parts that had gone into our 750, the only thing it lacked was a pretty skin. ABS Bodywork solved this problem in style by providing a set of their stock replacement bodywork, which featured a filled-in headlight and a beautiful paintjob. We take no credit for the stunning good looks of their finished product, as our directive was simply, “Make it blue and white.” We ran a similar set of ABS fairings throughout last year on our GSXR1000 and found it to be more than up to the rigors of racetrack duty, making the choice to use them again on this bike a no brainer.
Any project as extensive as this is bound to incur some teething troubles and we ran into our last big issue at Speed Academy. The bike developed a mind boggling problem. It felt as if an invisible hand was grasping the bike and temporarily halting its forward progress at random moments. We went nuts trying to solve this problem trackside, sorting through both the electrical and fuel systems with no luck. Eventually, we had to give up and borrow another bike to finish the school. A few weeks later, at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, we found the problem. We’d installed a set of Accosoto rearsets on the GSXR and eventually discovered that these allowed the rear brake master cylinder to self-apply against the swingarm over larger bumps. It was frustrating beyond belief to discover that the solution was such a simple one, yet this is the sort of thing you run into when you build a track bike up from scratch, especially if you're sourcing used parts for much of the build.
With our mystery issue solved, Ol’ Blue was finally good to go. We rode it hard for the rest of that weekend and never put a wheel wrong. The 2006 to 2009 GSXR 600/750 platform has been one of the most popular and successful racetrack rides of all time and our project machine reflected this excellent heritage. With some carefully chosen parts, we’d resurrected this crunchy calamari cruiser and turned her into a superb racetrack runner. There’s nothing like a happy ending!