I have a lot of upgrade plans for this R3, but in order to give proper feedback about the changes, it was pertinent that I get some track time with the bike stock (well, mostly stock at least), so I signed up for a track day with Track Xperience at Chuckwalla raceway on June 14th. The suspension is stock, the rearsets are stock, the clipons and levers are stock, I swapped out the throttle tube for an R6 throttle tube which shortened the throw a little and didn’t require any modification (I’ll do a write up on this soon), and the bike has the Akrapovic SS full exhaust installed and tuned with a Bazzaz Z-Fi fuel controller.
I arrived at Chuckwalla Saturday night at 8:30, it was still 100 degrees lol! I quickly setup camp, then pulled my wheels off and dropped them off with Dale to get my new tires. I was putting on a Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa 110/70 R17 front and Diablo Rosso II 140/70 R17 rear. I wanted to make sure he had them to start first thing since they were running beat the heat schedule and the track goes hot at 7AM. Sunday morning I learned how terrible of a design the rear wheel mount/chain adjuster is. Holy crap, has anyone else tried to put the rear wheel back on by themself? Biggest pain in the ass ever, not exaggerating… I will be making a captive brake/chain adjuster setup sooner than I originally planned, I hope I never have to use the stock system again. The front was no big deal.
By the time I got my damn wheels back on, it was time to gear up so I roughly set tire pressure cold and did a quick change to the rear shock and increased the preload up to the 3rd from the stiffest which felt closer to balanced with the front, then went out for my first session to get a feel for the bike. Right off the bat, I noticed four things. The rear immediately felt soft, so I made a mental note to go up one more click on the shock preload. The seat needs to be an inch or two higher for track riding. I plan to make precut race seats, so when I get the bodywork from hotbodies, I’ll choose the race seat thickness accordingly. I definitely need a shorter throttle, especially since I’m used to the 1/8 turn on my R6. And, of course, the bike needs rearsets for track riding, but everyone already knew that. All that being said, the R3 is an awesome little bike that handles great and inspires confidence, even right out of the box. It’s SOOOO fun! My knee was on the ground before I’d even completed my second lap to warm up the tires (it was already 85 degrees so they weren’t really cold, but still).
When I got back to the pits, I inspected the tires. Both front and rear showed some hot tearing indicating I needed a little more air in both. I threw the tire warmers on to keep the temp up and checked pressure. Rear was at 27 so I bumped it up to 28, front was at 30 so I bumped it up to 31. I added 1 more click to the shock preload. The second session was even more fun than the first, and I started pushing the suspension and corner speed to see how the stock setup could take it. It’s SOOO fun passing bigger bikes around the outside mid corner 🙂 The suspension showed it’s flaws just before I reached the sweet spot on the Pirellis and the the front would start dancing mid corner at lean. The rebound is just too fast (thicker fork oil may help this if you plan to stick with stock suspension), but the rear shock actually felt fine, or at least, I couldn’t push the rear hard enough to find it’s flaws because of the front.
After the session, I checked the tires again, rear was pretty good, still a slight hot tear, so I increased it to 28.5. Front also showed some tearing still so I went up to 32 and put the warmers back on. The last session was the best. The shock was dialed, the tires were dialed. I pushed the bike as far as it felt comfortable before the front suspension danced around and my boots dragged dangerously hard on the ground. Mission accomplished, time to upgrade the suspension and start installing hard parts like rearsets.