Turning the 919 into a track-only bike - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-23-2020, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Turning the 919 into a track-only bike

Since getting the new bike, the honda really doesn't serve much purpose to me outside of being a learning tool. It's a great commuter because of the turning radius and the motor is a cuddly puppy, but I like my modern amenities. I don't want to sell it because it's my first bike and all, so I'm committed to turning it into a track bike over the winter, assuming I don't total it before the end of the season. There's some mods I have planned, and perhaps a few others can chime in. Pictures will follow

On my to-do list:

Rear-sets: For the rearsets, I'm not sure there's really anything available anymore than the sato's, but golly at 550 bucks are they expensive.

Shock+forks: I think LDH hopefully still has a few of those shocks in stock, and was looking at a matris f20k catridge kit.

Master cylinder: Not sure which size on the master to go with, but the stock coffin isn't giving me enough, even with the c59 pads, good fluid and rotors. After pushing on a 20 minute session, my right hand is tired just from squashing the lever.

Weight reduction: i accidentally bought a spare Li-ion battery, so I suppose that's a start. I'm thinking about removing the whole headlight unit of the bike and just putting a number plate there. I'll look at other places as I go over the bike.

Crash protection: The last bit I'm concerned about is the fuel tank. I don't care if it gets all smashed up, but I dont want it leaking fuel. It only just barely touches the ground if it does, so I thought of maybe just putting a piece of rubber tank grip over the edges just to soften the blow. Everything else should be alright unless it tumbles.

The handlebars are weird. I don't like the wild wrist position I get trying to manipulate the throttle around right turns. I'd remove the bar ends so I could just grip the throttle from the outside, but the big bar ends actually help keep the tank off the ground when it goes down. If I get the rearsets, I wont have to hang off as far and that helps a lot with the angle I get on my wrist. We'll see.

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post #2 of 18 Old 08-24-2020, 08:34 AM
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LDH rebuilt my front forks with Ohlins internals. It made a huge difference but may not have the adjustability you need for the track. Since you will not need mirror perches you could go with a aftermarket brake master.

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post #3 of 18 Old 08-24-2020, 11:58 AM
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I think LDH will tell you that the 9er is pretty meh of a track bike even with all the bells and whistles done to it; compared to an actual sports bike.

Something to do with the chasis not being up to par; but i'm sure he'll chime in before you dump all that money into it :P

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post #4 of 18 Old 08-24-2020, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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It'd be around 3k all in to get it to where I want to be. Would probably be about as quick as a track bike sold at that price. Of course it'll never have the potential of an outright sport bike, but that doesn't mean it can't be a lot of fun.

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post #5 of 18 Old 08-24-2020, 03:17 PM
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Stop parking it in turns and your hand won't be so tired from braking. JK

Are you running stainless lines up front?

Weight reduction: You could try converting to 900rr headers and single exhaust to remove additional weight. Also take out pair system, all indicator lights, brake light, license plate mount, and mirrors. You'd probably still need something to tuck away all of the wires in the headlight bucket and not sure if it's possible to get them all under the tank.

I'm currently using rental UL bars with a small riser. The rise helps prevent my hand from getting jammed up on the tank on right turns. If Robtharalson still makes them, Tharbars are excellent as well for ergos and adjustability.




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post #6 of 18 Old 08-24-2020, 07:35 PM
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There is no question that a 919 can be set up to be a good and forgiving track bike.
Suspension, tires and setup are the key, aside from the pure ridership aspect.
Give it some swing arm angle, set it up tall, and it's a new ride that's easy to handle.
But, it will never be as quick in transitions, no matter how hard you English the bike, as compared a bonafide supersport.
Having said that, put racing tires on it and have a seriously fast racing rider on it, and it will be overwhelmed.
Such a rider will be able to cope with it though, while mere mortals won't.
Stock rotors and calipers are adequate, stainless lines are strongly suggested, and a good and well ratio'd master cylinder would be a really nice have.

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post #7 of 18 Old 08-25-2020, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanktm View Post
It'd be around 3k all in to get it to where I want to be. Would probably be about as quick as a track bike sold at that price. Of course it'll never have the potential of an outright sport bike, but that doesn't mean it can't be a lot of fun.

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I strongly disagree... As someone who owns a 919 and also does a fair amount of track riding I'd strongly suggest taking that 3k and buying a well set up trackbike. You can find something around the same year really well equipped pretty easily for that kind of money. Hell, I'm selling my 2009 GSX-R 750 that's fully set up for track and I won multiple regional amateur championships and got 3rd place in two classes at the national championships for not much more than that.

Can the 919 be a fun bike to ride on the track? Hell yes, but will it ever be something that is even close to as capable as a similar bike for the same money? Absolutely not.
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-25-2020, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badmoon692008 View Post
I strongly disagree... As someone who owns a 919 and also does a fair amount of track riding I'd strongly suggest taking that 3k and buying a well set up trackbike. You can find something around the same year really well equipped pretty easily for that kind of money. Hell, I'm selling my 2009 GSX-R 750 that's fully set up for track and I won multiple regional amateur championships and got 3rd place in two classes at the national championships for not much more than that.

Can the 919 be a fun bike to ride on the track? Hell yes, but will it ever be something that is even close to as capable as a similar bike for the same money? Absolutely not.
Agreed.

Also nice reading about your track related exploits!

As for a GSX-R 750, that is indeed a can't go wrong choice of bike for track days.
It's like a really torquey 600, as compared to the sledgehammer of a full litre bike.

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post #9 of 18 Old 08-26-2020, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanktm View Post
Since getting the new bike, the honda really doesn't serve much purpose to me outside of being a learning tool. It's a great commuter because of the turning radius and the motor is a cuddly puppy, but I like my modern amenities. I don't want to sell it because it's my first bike and all, so I'm committed to turning it into a track bike over the winter, assuming I don't total it before the end of the season. There's some mods I have planned, and perhaps a few others can chime in. Pictures will follow

On my to-do list:

Rear-sets: For the rearsets, I'm not sure there's really anything available anymore than the sato's, but golly at 550 bucks are they expensive.
Make your own. With a half inch thick plate of 6061-T651 and some elbow grease (along with a hacksaw, drill, a hole saw, files and some creativity) combined with aftermarket folding footpegs, a machined post for the stock brake pedal, and a threaded hole for the stock shifter you can have a strong set of rearsets for ~$50. I've done similar brackets for dozens of bikes.
Quote:
Master cylinder: Not sure which size on the master to go with, but the stock coffin isn't giving me enough, even with the c59 pads, good fluid and rotors. After pushing on a 20 minute session, my right hand is tired just from squashing the lever.
Go with a radial master cylinder from most any year CBR1000. It brings the overall leverage ratio from 120:1 stock to 132:1, a ten percent reduction in effort, MUCH BETTER feedback compared to the wooden feel of the stock setup, and holding the brakes right on the edge of locking without overshooting into crashing is a breeze: very important when trail braking into a corner! Also, braided stainless steel brake lines are a must! The best price I have found is from G&J Aircraft and Surplus. A thread on them: https://www.wristtwisters.com/forums...nes-10307.html Last I heard a full set costs ~$75, and in the last forty years of using their lines on literally hundreds of bikes I have not had one failure that was not caused by inept installation or misrouting.
Quote:
The handlebars are weird. I don't like the wild wrist position I get trying to manipulate the throttle around right turns. I'd remove the bar ends so I could just grip the throttle from the outside, but the big bar ends actually help keep the tank off the ground when it goes down. If I get the rearsets, I wont have to hang off as far and that helps a lot with the angle I get on my wrist. We'll see.
Shameless plug. TharBars are still available, and they can be set up for the track easily.
A photo of my preferred setup:
919 present handlebar setup.jpg
23.25 inches to the ends of the grips, which is narrower than typical clipons. Notice the master cylinder, well what little you can see of it. FYI: the clear hose from the reservoir was there for experimenting with height of the reservoir by introducing a small air bubble into the line to observe fluid flow. It has since been replaced with a more suitable line / fitting.

Rob

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post #10 of 18 Old 08-31-2020, 06:55 PM
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Unless you have a sentimental attachment or want to keep it for occasional street duty, I strongly agree with the “buying an already setup track instead”. Plus, the naked bike at track speeds is annoying.

I bought (and then sold a few years later) a fully setup CBR600F4i track bike for $2000. Ohlins shock, Racetech forks, adjustable rearsets, fiberglass bodywork, etc. For $3000 you’ll be able to get something nice.

I suggest an SV650 or a 2008+ Yamaha R6. Both of these will still be popular and easy to resell down the road. My advice, try to find one that was track-day-only, not raced. Engine closer to stock the better.

That previously mentioned F4i was previously a race bike and I found a bunch of weird non-OEM parts hodgepodged on - either to gain a fraction of horsepower,
or it was something that was rigged up to fit in order to get the bike ready for the next race. Made it annoying to do maintenance and stuff.
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post #11 of 18 Old 09-01-2020, 12:24 PM
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If it is to be a truly track dedicated bike for intended singular track use, make sure the gearing is optimized for that track.
Gearing optimization includes the actual gearing, driving force based shift points, and which gears will be used or not used.
Impact on the squat/anti squat resultant also needs to be especially considered for a 919, noting its unlinked rear suspension, and poor swing arm angle (noting there are degrees of remedy available by shock length, springing and damping force).
For example, short squirt tracks will never provide the use of a 919's top gear, and likely not even past 4th in over run RPMs (instead of touching 5th for a few seconds).
Such tracks will likely be able to use 1st, as compared to whether one wants to or not.
My assumption is that few tracks will allow a 919's full use of 6th gear, and lots will preclude its effective use.
Such tracks may not have a 1st gear friendly turn, as compared to whether one wants to use 1st or not.

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post #12 of 18 Old 09-12-2020, 03:37 PM
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While I have never done a track day I have spent hundreds of hours pushing whatever bike i'm on right to and frequently past it's, and my, capabilities on a variety of tracks in California and Colorado. This, of course, includes block passing, clearing a competitor in a corner by millimeters, strategy and tactics, and the dozens of actions that if transferred to the street would inevitably result in crashing either on your part or someone else who didn't know it was a race. Obviously the machines were carefully set up for each track and the conditions during the meet.

From the videos and descriptions of track day participants there are constraints placed on riders to prevent overenthusiastic riding and insure everyone has a good day of learning safely. Most of what you do on a track day can be applied on the street, greatly expanding your riding knowledge and the ability to deal with situations self learning and even advanced MSF type courses cannot teach. A good thing, but setting up for a particular road is not something most riders do unless they are planning a ride that is predominately the road they are enamored of, and if they have to get from Ft. Lauderdale to the Tail of the Dragon and set their gearing for that it would be a quite miserable 844 mile ride to get there.

My advice is to follow the guidelines to get on the track such as safety wiring, taping lights, and so on, but forget "setting it up". The 919 is blessed with a race designed transmission coupled with a motor with a wide powerband. If used properly it is all you would need. Of course firm up the suspension preload and damping, take it to the track, and apply what you learn on the street. You will be a better and more capable rider regardless of the motorcycle you are on. On the subject of squat, which some revile but I deal with without thinking, it is of little consequence if you know what you are doing. Track days will teach you that if you are paying attention.

Bottom line: learn and have fun. Rarely are the two combined.

Rob

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post #13 of 18 Old 09-12-2020, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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I changed the fork oil to maxima 15w, wound the preload 4 more turns in, and raised fork tubes 8mm. Maxed out the preload on the rear shock. Made a noticeable improvement in front end feel, brake dive, and the bike switched directions much more easily, while also increasing ground clearance. Unfortunately still bottoming out the forks quite easily, even though I weigh only 150. It would need springs. I found an additional 3 seconds, putting me comfortably at expert pace. On street tires, no less. I didn't think I could ever do it with stock Honda components, (aside from pads/fluid/brake lines) but I did am I am elated to do so. It was a goal of mine for a long time. There's still more left in it, but I am going to buy a track prepped gsxr 600 this week and retire the Honda.

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post #14 of 18 Old 09-14-2020, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by nathanktm View Post
I changed the fork oil to maxima 15w, wound the preload 4 more turns in, and raised fork tubes 8mm. Maxed out the preload on the rear shock. Made a noticeable improvement in front end feel, brake dive, and the bike switched directions much more easily, while also increasing ground clearance. Unfortunately still bottoming out the forks quite easily, even though I weigh only 150. It would need springs. I found an additional 3 seconds, putting me comfortably at expert pace. On street tires, no less. I didn't think I could ever do it with stock Honda components, (aside from pads/fluid/brake lines) but I did am I am elated to do so. It was a goal of mine for a long time. There's still more left in it, but I am going to buy a track prepped gsxr 600 this week and retire the Honda.

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How is the 9er to be "retired"?
It has sooohhhh many stories to tell.................. LoLs!

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post #15 of 18 Old 09-14-2020, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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By retired, I just mean from track days. I can't really justify putting on anything more than sport touring tires because of how much I commute on it, which obviously has it's limits on track. The current tires aren't even matching....lol. I recently bought a gsxr 750 with all the bells and whistles for 3k. I'll be using that from now on.


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post #16 of 18 Old 09-14-2020, 09:42 PM
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Looking good man! Congrats on the new ride!
What tracks you usually ride?

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post #17 of 18 Old 09-14-2020, 09:50 PM
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By retired, I just mean from track days. I can't really justify putting on anything more than sport touring tires because of how much I commute on it, which obviously has it's limits on track. The current tires aren't even matching....lol. I recently bought a gsxr 750 with all the bells and whistles for 3k. I'll be using that from now on.


You'll find that 750 to be as mentally stimulating as physically stimulating.
I was shocked at the necessary change in mental pace when I first road it, a prepped one at that.

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post #18 of 18 Old 09-20-2020, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanktm View Post
By retired, I just mean from track days. I can't really justify putting on anything more than sport touring tires because of how much I commute on it, which obviously has it's limits on track. The current tires aren't even matching....lol. I recently bought a gsxr 750 with all the bells and whistles for 3k. I'll be using that from now on.


Congrats! That makes your third bike correct? You’re living the dream fresh out of college.

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