1990 Honda VTR 250
I bought it totaled and seized for $100, and spent a year buying parts on Ebay and putting it together. The engine is amazing. Two cylinders, four cams, 16 valves, and 13,000 rpm! Wow. But it's only 250cc, so it's not very fast.
I custom fabricated the exhaust from mandrel bent tubing I bought from JC Whitney.
After Race Preparation
Note about the bodywork: It looks really cool because it doesn't belong on this bike, it belongs on a RS125 Grand Prix bike. If you like small bikes and you want to go racing, buy a GP bike! Cheetah makes the bodywork I used, but it was a gamble, and it failed. Notice how short it is. It should extend below the pipes. It was equally narrow. Also it will not fit around your bars unless you get dropped bars (clip-ons), and I removed all of my gauges and ran a small lap/timer tachometer/temp gauge (AIM MyChron 3). The rear frame was cut off and a special platform was designed to support the rear fairing. It was a lot of work, and I have a mill and a TIG welder. I would not recommend it to anyone!
4-3-03: I got plates and insurance last week, and I rode it to work yesterday. After realizing how much fun it is to ride, Rhonda decided that I should keep it. It is an incredible way to reduce stress, and I think she can tell. Do I think it's safe? Not really, but I have a good amount of respect for it, and I am going to think a lot about where I ride. I will try to stay out of heavy traffic areas. It doesn't have much power, and that is good for me. A big bike would make me do really stupid things, but this one's just a baby. Am I wishy washy? Yes, but I have a weakness for things with wheels.
5-9-03: I have ridden to work twice now, and decided that it was enough. It's not fun feeling like target. In the last week I built custom dual exhaust (see the picture above), opened up the airbox, and added a two stage jet kit. For the first time, I feel like the bike wants to go much faster than the streets allow. With the new pipes, and cutting off the rear pegs, I shaved 8 lbs off the bike. It now weighs 350 lbs with a full tank of gas. I should have dyno results soon. Today I just got back from the racetrack, and I will never be the same. But one thing is for certain, after what I've done with the bike on a racetrack, I will never ride on the street again.
The following pictures are taken at Grattan. I went through the Performance Street Riding School through FastTrax. The bike did excellent at Grattan, because it is such a technical course. I was gaining on the big bike guys who have ridden a lot, and I've been on a bike for about a month. Of course on the strait away they wiped me up!
5-19-03: I have disassembled the bike completely, and I am trying to remove weight. I have eliminated all the street stuff that I won't need at the track. I am at the point where I could spend too much money on a nothing bike, but if I bought a faster track bike, I think I could get out of control. Besides, making improvements to something is the best part of a project. I just ordered some fork springs today to keep it from diving so much under braking, and I am contemplating race fairings. I had it dynoed at a whopping 26.5 HP at the rear wheel. Pretty pathetic, huh? But man, can it lean. I am mounting the pegs higher on the bike so I don't scrape them completely off! FastTrax is coming back to Grattan in July, I hope to be ready to go back again with slicks and leathers and really get serious!
These are some clip-ons I machined, complete with titanium fasteners
Adapting the fairings
My first slicks
Custom pegs and relocated rearsets
I also shortened the exhaust and tried to run them at equal length, which put the left side pipe coming straight back, and the right side pipe angling up. I cut them at the dyno to see what effect it had. It gave me about 1 hp, but was it because of the shortened length, or absence of mufflers? Who knows. Even with the first version of full length exhaust with the two shorty mufflers, it was measured at 110 dB. LOUD!
7-15-03: This last weekend was very expensive, but more than worth it. I went to race school with Fasttrax and I am now a licensed racer. The head of Fasttrax sold me a set of used leathers for $150, (quite a bit better than $1000, huh?) I raced Sunday, and I am still pinching myself. I can't believe it happened. The slicks stuck, the leathers fit, the sliders for my knees were scraped, a lot, and I got some great pictures from a track photographer. I am officially hooked on racing. Someday I will be able to afford it on 4 wheels, but for now, I am loving it on two!
Look at the knee dragging, how cool is that?
You don't have to believe me, but I really am passing, not getting passed!
At the end of my last practice I broke a chain and almost missed my chance to race. The chain broke the engine case tabs that held the chain cover on, but the case was OK. I didn't need that cover anyway, it was just extra weight. You can see the broken aluminum top and bottom.
Fortunately, my good friend Ricardo showed up as I was pushing my bike into the pits. He fixed the chain for me while I was at my riders meeting. This is Ricardo "Pit Bull" working on the bike. This picture is used without permission! : ) Notice how high tech my paddock stand/bike hanger is? My race set-up was... budget to say the least. Cheapest bike, cheapest rig, no trailer. I think that's why I was laughing harder than them in my helmet flying around the track!
10-10-03: It's been an incredible year. I have never had so much fun in my life. The bike has served me well, and I think I made the cheapest entrance possible into racing. However, learning curve is tapering off, and the pack is leaving me at the apex. I rode at Gingerman raceway not long ago with Sport Bike Track Time. I rode in the advanced group with some expert level racers. I was the only bike under 600cc at the track. After I got comfortable with a new track, it was clear even to Rhonda that my talent far exceeded the bike. I know I have a weight advantage in the corners, but the amount by which I was gaining on them was not equal to my weight advantage. She could tell that I would do better with a bigger bike. I really looked forward to making the 250 a screamer over the winter, but the money would never come back to me, and I knew that there was a much cheaper way to go faster. The wrong thing to do is buy new parts and modify what you have. The right thing to do is to buy a used track bike that someone else poured their money into. So the first thing I had to do was accept the fact that I am a hypocrite for telling everyone I would stay away from big bikes. OK, done. The next thing to do was to find the bike. That one was almost easier. It kind of fell into my lap. So, without further introduction, here is the new bike. Click here.
Click here for pictures of the new bike.