Hello and welcome to Alex’s Blog,
A year has passed since Ade finished his custom bike build and as you all know, he will have been getting itchy fingers….anyway after doing a couple of Ron Haslam race school track days he decided that the next build was going to be a track bike. Here’s Ade to tell you how it all went down:
I was scrolling the internet for a suitable donor and even considering a bike that was already done but nothing seemed to just slot in place. Either I was too late, someone had just pipped me to the post, the bike wasn’t suitable when I had a look at it and I was becoming a little disheartened. It didn’t look like I was ever going to find something. THEN a bike came in to the workshop here at Oakmere needing a rear tyre. Upon closer inspection the technicians said a tyre was the least of it’s worries! All of the wheel bearings were knackered, sprocket carrier spacer was missing, all the panels were cracked and the headstop bearings had gone. The customer, upon hearing this news, decided it was time to let it go and trade it in for something that wassn’t going to kill him.
The bike in question was a Kawasaki ZX9R 2001. Knowing that I was after a track bike, the workshop guys let me know about this potential project. So I went down to have a look. I’ll be honest, it was not love at first sight, BUT as you all know I do like a challenge, and I could see a little bit of potential, but it was going to be a big job.
Five minutes later I had bought it and came the following day with my bike trailer to pick it up. My son accompanied me to help me get it on and off the trailer. The look on his face when he first saw the bike said it all. He wasn’t impressed.
There wasn’t a single piece of the bike without damage. In fairness to the owner, it had been a 60 mile a day work horse that had been stolen and recovered.
We got it home and started the strip-down in the garage. This was actually quite easy because the majority of the bits we were taking off weren’t going to go back on. I was pretty brutal, not caring if I broke anything more than it already was. We started at the top and worked our way down. It was important at this stage that any wiring I removed was clearly labelled as these bikes have clutch cut out switches, sidestand cut out switches etc etc which if not bypassed correctly could cause trouble when trying to get the bike to run at a later date.
The reason why we had to clearly label the wires, including the ones to the ignition, was because it was all going to be removed and I wanted a simple on off switch and a single button mounted on the handlebars.
Once all the wires had been labelled we could remove the wiring harness from the motorbike and put it to one side for now and forget about it while we continued to strip down all the components off the bike, wheels, forks, subframe, you name it, it was stripped off! It would literally take just one of these wires not to be connected correctly and the bike would either blow fuses like it was going out of fashion or simply not run. Once you’ve chopped them all off and lost where they all go it can be an absolute nightmare!
I knew at this point now exactly which bits of the electrical componants I could lose and which bits I had to bypass to make the bike start and function properly. With the wiring harness out of the way, we could get to work removing the swingarm, rear suspension and taking the engine out.
Finally I was down to the bare frame. Everything has been stripped off, and it was now time to clean and paint all the componants that were going back on. With the help of an industrial strength degreaser and a steam cleaner I set to the task. On the sub frame, because I was never going to carry a passenger on the bike, I moved the mounting points for the rear passenger footpegs with the angle grinder. Any bits that weren’t going to be used seemed pointless being left on.
I decided I was going to spray the frame black along with the swing arm to give it a more modern look. After it was all clean and rubbed down, I got started on the spraying.
With the frame and swingarm painted, it was now time to get stuck in to the rest of the bike. I sent the wheels away to the local sandblasters (the same guys who did the wheels on the black widow) Cheshire Blasting Services. They’re fast, reliable and don’t charge the earth – and they haven’t paid me to advertise them, they just do a great job so credit where credit is due!)
6 hours later they gave me a phone call to say come and get them. I raced round, collected the wheels, I had already stocked up on the paint, and set about giving them a few coats.
Because sandblasting leaves a nice keyed surface, the paint goes on really easily and is less likely to chip off. My idea for the wheels was not just to paint them black but to put some graphic on them as well.
After three or four base coats of black paint, it was then time to apply the graphics. After the graphics went on I then did two or three coats of clear coat just to seal everything in. I used a local guy for my graphics called the Ink Doctor in Northwich. He can basically make any graphic, in any style and any colour in any size. Nothing is too much trouble. I went on to use him for the whole bike because his graphics were that impressive.
To be continued…….
Until next time, stay safe,