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If you do wheelies with the ZX-10R, you WILL break your air tube. It is inevitable. It doesn't matter how good of a rider you are, or how easy you put the front end down. It is a terrible design from the factory. Do a search on this forum, and you can see many examples of folks that have had the air tube break. There are also many examples of how to fix it.

When my air tube broke, I read the forum to see what other folks did, and to see if I could find a carbon fiber one. It was suggested that you could get a carbon one from this site: http://www.rhencullen.net/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Carbon_fibre_693.html

Well, I DID order one from that site - over a month ago. Still no carbon fiber ram air tube. At this point I guess I can kiss my $200 goodbye from rhencullen.net. I might get lucky and it might show up someday from Europe, but the weather is changing and I can't wait anymore.

So I ordered a replacement OEM ram air tube. $90. What a ripoff. I got it knowing that I would figure out a way to reinforce it.

Two days later, the stock OEM ram air tube arrives, and I started to look at it for ways to reinforce it. There was one thread from "swade" on the forum who built this solution:

This is a nice solution, but it isn't what I was looking for because:

  1. it puts sheetmetal into the air tract
  2. it is done by drilling holes into the plastic
  3. It puts the poprivets into the hole
  4. It isn't very strong
So this solution wouldn't work for me. I had to find another way.

Another user, "10 Speed" made this solution:

This looked like a stronger solution, but:
  1. it wasn't attractive
  2. it was steel, so it was heavy
  3. it was steel, so it will rust
  4. it wasn't elegantly simple
What I did like about 10 Speed's solution, was that it tied the gauge bracket to the frame. But did it REALLY need to bolt to BOTH steering head bolts? No.

Here is a side picture of my solution:

Here is how I did it:

  1. Go to Lowes Home Improvement store, buy a 3 foot length of aluminum trim material. Its about 3/32" thick, and about 1/2 " wide.
  2. I used a piece of cardboard to both measure both the length, and where the twist point should be. Note that the piece should twist over the ram air tube in opposite directions on both sides. I used a sharpie marker to mark where the twist points should be on the aluminum.
  3. To twist the aluminum, I simply used two adjustable crescent wrenches and twisted with my hands. Easy.
  4. I recommend that you drill only one hole, then bolt it up, so that you get the piece lined up perfectly before you mark the second drill hole.
  5. Drill the holes with a 1/4" drill bit that can drill through metal.
  6. The stock frame bolts will not work, because they are not long enough to go through the aluminum and the frame. I had some spare bolts that were a little longer. You can see the difference in the side view if you look at the top bolt, and the bottom bolt. The bottom bolt is stock and doesn't need to be changed.
Advantages of this method:
  1. No special tools, no welding
  2. No rivets or drilling of the ram air tube
  3. No plastiweld
  4. Material is inexpensive ($3)
  5. Will not rust
  6. You can paint it
  7. Quick - I made both pieces and installed them in under an hour
  8. Lightweight - the pieces are very light
  9. Nothing is placed inside of the ram air tube
  10. Small but strong - You only need to bolt to the top hole to prevent air tube breakage. The air tube tries to lever out of the frame, putting the majority of the stress on the top two air tube tabs. Connecting the gauge bracket to the frame directly using this method makes the tube and the upper VERY strong.
If my carbon air tube ever arrives, I will install it. But I am pretty confident in this system. My ram air tube will never break again. I will also paint the pieces black, so that they blend in.

Now I can ride wheelies without worry. Except for the cops.


1,231 Posts
Broken Air Tube - SOLVED for $3 - How-To Part 2

This is the second part of my how-to on how to reinforce your air tube so that it won't break. You can see the first part here.

I took some additional pictures as I buttoned the braces up, and I found a couple of other things that you will need to know when doing this mod.

First, here is a picture with the speedo mounted over the braces:

You will notice in the picture above that both braces are mounted. You will also see that everything works, even with the thickness of the braces undeneath the speedo stay. You will also notice some black and red wires coming from the bolt. I used LED bolts up front and they are longer than stock, which is perfect for this application.

When I was bolting up the stay, I realized that the third, center bolt needs a spacer now, since the braces basically raise the speedo a bit.

I was tempted to use some scrap as you see in the picture to make a spacer. In this case I just used three thin washers. Worked great.

Here is the loose wiring for the LED bolts. You can see how I used them to hold down the stay. The LED bolts come with thick eurathane washers, which had to be removed to get enough thread bite.

Here you can see the wiring zip-tied, and the bolts are lit.

Here you can see the blue marker lights and the stay bolts both lit. The stay bolts make the windshield glow at night. I know, it's gay. Looks cool though.

Front all buttoned up

All done!
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