Track Day Riding – Is It For You? Part Three in a Four Part Series

Part III

After several weeks of endlessly scouring Craigslist a promising bike finally appeared, it was a 1994 Yamaha YZF750R and it was rough. It hadn’t been properly washed in years and wore a thick layer of grime on everything to prove it, the battered plastic was held together with zip ties and hanging off in places. The tank had a large dent in it and to make matters worse, it didn’t have a title so it could not be resold as a street bike if I didn’t like track riding. The title issue makes for a potentially low ROI since it can only be sold as a track bike. On a positive note, the seller had no idea what he had and the YZF really was a diamond in the rough. He was not a bike guy and had acquired it in a trade with some other “stuff” and was just looking to get some cash out of it. His asking price was $1200, well within my budget, and he was willing to negotiate. And negotiate he did. Don’t ask me how but I managed to get him to sell me the bike for $600, which is amazing considering the fact that the bike was nearly complete. The only things missing were a brake lever, a battery, and the air box/ air filter. I did have to pay $50 in gas to get to and from the seller. But spending only $650 left me with a very nice chunk of change for any improvements I needed or wanted to make.

YZF_before

A little history on the YZF… It was produced from 1993 to 1998 in two forms, the standard R and the SP model which came with a single seat. Unfortunately only the R model was sold in the US. The SP was the limited edition, homologation model of the YZF750 that was used for the World Superbike Championship and it was basically a race bike with lights. I doubt I would have gotten the SP model for $600. The YZF750R was introduced to the US in early 1994. A 1996 model was an early factory release in 1995 and won Sport Rider Magazines 1995 Bike of the Year award and made Motorcyclist Magazines “Best 50 Used Motorcycles” list.

So it would appear the YZF has the lineage to be a great track bike if we can find a way to, without breaking the bank, bring it back to its former glory with a good old GMW resurrection. We typically go at it in several phases; phase one will be wheels and brakes. The yellow OEM wheel color was simply too much for me to deal with and the paint scheme we had decided on called for black rims so the wheels would have to come off. The bearings had to come out for powder coat making it a perfect time for new ones from All Balls Racing. The tires would be replaced with Michelin Pilot Power 3’s and EBC HH pads will slide into the six piston calipers, organic compound pads in the rear. We finished off the brake system with a set of custom Venhill steel braided brake lines and fresh DOT4 fluid.

Phase two would be engine, carburetors, and a radiator flush. The valves needed checking and the valve cover gasket needed to be replaced, oil was leaking from the front. The carbs would certainly need a serious cleaning and synchronizing. While inside the carbs a Factory Pro jet kit will be installed to get the most out of the five valves per cylinder power plant. Phase three will be cleaning up the wiring harness to get rid of unnecessary connectors, eliminating the alternator and installing a more compact instrument cluster. A total loss power system makes sense only for a track bike since the only power used is for spark and starting. The YZF is a real porker, weighing in at 490 lbs. wet so the weight savings is welcomed. A lithium battery will also be used for a total weight savings of about 15 lbs. It’s not a ton of weight, I know it doesn’t seem like much but with the removal of all the parts required to make the YZF streetable plus these 15 lbs, and we’ve taken 54 lbs off the bike.

Phase four will be fairing: the OEM plastic was so badly cracked, broken, and zip tied in so many places the YZF looked like more like it came from Frankenstein’s workshop than a Japanese manufacturing plant. Plus the upper is too tall. During the 90’s Airtech Streamlining developed a WSB upper and lower that makes the YZF skinnier and lowers the front by several inches which completely transforms the look of the bike. It’s a must have along with the OWO1 solo tail section they make.