2016 ZX10r Race Bike Report - Kawasaki ZX-10R.net
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post #1 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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2016 ZX10r Race Bike Report

I've been inspired by NeonMarine's fantastic build thread to try my hand at something similar. I won't have nearly as much detail or trick parts, and it will probably mostly be race updates more than anything but hopefully it provides some entertainment or value to a few folks.

Since it's about 1.5 years into the journey already I will try to cover most of that time in a recap in the first post below. Please feel free to ask any questions!
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post #2 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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I spent a few months laboring over which bike to buy for this purpose and it really came down to two. The 2016 R1(always been a Yamaha and crossplane fan) and the 2016 zx10r. The Euro bikes interested me but the cost, reliability, parts availability and ease of set-up were too steep. At the time the Honda was a turd and the gsxr1000 hadn't changed in years.

The r1 was calling me but when I added everything up the zx10r was going to save me a few thousand to get going, I lived about 15 minutes from Farrell Performance who specializes in Kawasaki and the 2015 r1's had just gone through a recall with rumors of crank issues starting to appear. The zx10r also had the option of non-ABS models which saved me the hassle of ripping it out.

So I purchased this lovely 2016 zx10r as a left over in February 2017. Intention was to make it into a track/race bike with the main purpose for racing the CCS midwest region. $11,999 + tax and tags was a hell of a deal I thought!
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post #3 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Since I was getting married in Summer of 2017 I only put about 800 street miles on the new bike. But after the wedding we had enough money left over that in September I bought some used bodywork, case covers and exhaust. I went with the m4 3/4 system because I couldn't justify the huge cost increase for some headers when the stock ones are Titanium and supposedly flow pretty well already.

I then had Farrell Performance do a dyno tune with Woolich ECU flash. The bike made 182hp so not the highest some have seen but I know every dyno reads the differently so I could care less. I also had a 420 chain kit installed with a -1 front sprocket. The bike had way more pep and the weak throttle response below 7000ish was gone. The zx10 now made my older 2012 r1 feel like it was towing an anchor.

A week or two later I packed her up and headed to Blackhawk Farms Raceway for my first track day since 1 day I did in 2016 on an r6. It was pretty cold out but I got a lot of dry sessions in throughout the weekend immediately felt comfortable on the bike unlike my brief stint on the r6(long story but I hated it).
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post #4 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Spring 2018 rolled around pretty quickly so it was time to get ready to race. I knew from the beginning that I wasn't going to throw money and parts at this bike, a mistake I made with my 2012 r1. I was instead going to run close to stock as long as possible so I could use my funds for seat time and to focus on my riding. I knew the bike was plenty capable already and was going to be far from holding me back.

With that said I talked with Jason at Farrell Performance and while he agreed that the stock Showa suspension was pretty capable he recommended changing the geometry for track usage. The cost was pretty minimal so I dropped the bike off with him again and he flipped the swing arm pivot point and switched out the head angle collar, bringing the rake in by 0.5 degree. I only had the one TD weekend the previous Fall so it was hard to compare but after trying it out the bike felt fantastic. It turned in so easy and was quick to transition from side to side(my biggest complaint with the 2012 r1). I was afraid it might get a little unstable with these changes but fortunately that was not the case. To be cliche, the bike felt like it was "on rails" in the corner.

No pictures of this change but I highly recommend it to anyone tracking the zx10!
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post #5 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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So I hit a track day weekend at Blackhawk Farms in Spring 2018 which is where I got to test those new geometry changes. The bike was feeling great and my times were getting close to what my best I had done while racing in 2014. One thing I forgot to mention, I do remember thinking the bike wanted to wheelie and head shake a lot more! I think part of this was due to the geometry change but mainly I was just getting more comfortable and was getting on the power earlier coming out of corners. My first reaction was wanting to change out the stock steering damper. But going back to what I said earlier about throwing money at the bike, I decided to just live with it and learn to ride it out. Still running the same OEM damper to this day.

I skipped the actual first race weekend at Autobahn Country Club because the forecast looked terrible and I had never been to that track. So my first race weekend in May 2018 at Blackhawk Farms was coming up quickly and I was pumped!! I decided to hit a track day school with Motovid.com the Friday before race weekend to get prepared. Cory West helped put that program together and was guest instructing. I was also pitting with TSE right next to him so that was a cool experience. I learned some great tools that I still try to implement today. Unfortunately, the weather took a crap and the actual race day ended up being about 50 degrees and raining. Having not raced since '14 and almost no wet riding experience I decided to sit out.

Ignore the white plates, they came with the bodywork lol
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post #6 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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post #7 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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To sum up most of my 2018 race season, I ended up racing for the first time at Brainerd Int'l Raceway. Never been to the track before so it took me a day to get used to it. Crazy track!! Super fast T1 and T2 unlike anything I've experienced before. I was just so so here, definitely toward the back of the Amateur field.

I hit the next round at Road America, the crown jewel of the race season and probably my favorite track(Barber is a close second). I did fairly well in Amateur but still had a lot to learn. I turned my personal best time of 2:36 during a race. Ran out of gas in the carousel during my last race and it was hot as balls with temps of high 90's all weekend but I had a blast. I forgot to mention that I pitted with Trackside Suspension & Engineering at Brainerd in addition to that first Blackhawk race weekend. Road America was my 3rd time pitting with them and it was amazing have their help and knowledge!

Next weekend up was late July back at home, Blackhawk Farms. I started to pick up the pace and was starting to get a whiff of the podium but missed out in all my races. Was always just a little bit slower in certain sections and the lead pack would pull away on me. My starts were and still are very weak as well which hurt. I would have to work the whole race to get around a couple slower folks and by then the lead pack was gone so I couldn't get a tow. The upside was I got more experience passing people.
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post #8 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 01:37 PM
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post #9 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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I got to hit a great trackday weekend at Road America in August with Midwest Track Day and had a blast. My good friend and fellow racer Jonathan Schweiger is a coach with Midwest TD and worked with me throughout the weekend. Even though he rides an r6 he could still turn a few second better lap times than me so I would avoid blasting him on the straights so I could learn from him in the corners. By the end of the weekend I was pulling away from him all over and ran my new PB of 2:30! I was feeling great on the bike and was learning to really trust the Pirelli SuperCorsa DOT race tires.

The next race round was going to be the very next weekend and these trackdays left me with a lot of confidence.
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post #10 of 28 Old 06-05-2019, 01:43 PM
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I like where this is going....
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