I have already spoken about some relatively inexpensive ways in which you can upgrade your machine to better deal with life on the track. I would regard the upgrades in that article to be some of the first things you look to change on your bike as you get more into your track days.
In this article however I am going to cover some of the more exotic (and in turn expensive) additions we can make to our machines to turn them into properly capable pieces of track equipment.
I think it’s fair to say that unless you’re at the pointy end of a racing series and are looking for a few extra tenths per lap, then the below performance upgrades aren’t really needed, but that’s not the point!
Many riders will opt for such upgrades simply because they get great enjoyment and pleasure from having and using these additions. While the performance benefits will be a factor in their buying decision, I would hazard a guess that the real reason why they’re added is simply because they can, and they like it.
With that, let’s have a look at some of the more shiny, blingy bits we can add to our machines for even more on track smiles.
For a bit of extra bite in the braking area, an aftermarket master cylinder (from someone like Brembo or Accossato) will give you the most gains.
Their larger diameter bore and piston, coupled with their altered leverage offset position means that you can produce a higher level of pressure (and in turn braking force) for the same amount of effort put in at the lever.
Riders often turn to aftermarket master cylinders as the last big upgrade to the braking system after various other aspects have been upgraded.
Bought more for the pleasure and enjoyment during the upshift than for the actual gains in time you are likely to get, a quick shifter allows you to keep the throttle pinned while you work your way up the gears without touching the clutch.
It works by briefly cutting the ignition (stopping the spark plugs from sparking and in turn taking away any load on the drive train – just like closing the throttle) for just long enough for the gear to click up and be selected.
It’s basically the same as clutchless upshifts, you roll off the throttle and snick the gear into place then roll the throttle back on. A quickshifter just does it much quicker and is generally more satisfying.
A Power Commander sits inline between your bike’s ECU and fuel injectors.
It allows for the remapping of the bike’s air/fuel mixture to improve performance. Some unit’s also allow you to change the bike’s timing.
Most people tend to opt for a Power Commander when a new exhaust system or slip-on can is added to the bike as it allows them to optimise the fuelling for the new setup, but even without a new exhaust a Power Commander can still be used to get gains on the track from a bike that would have previously been set up for the road.
For best results, you’re better off taking your bike to a Dyno (rolling road) and getting it professionally remapped as this will give you the biggest gains. Dynojet do however supply downloadable maps for your bike that you can upload yourself.
It will vary between bikes and setups, but the expected performance gains will be around 2-5bhp, and you can expect the power delivery to be somewhat smoother too.
Suspension is such an important part of your machine because it’s what ensures your tyres stay in contact with the road.
There’s no doubt that stock suspension is good if set up right – particularly on the sports bikes of today – but it can be bettered.
The latest and greatest suspension (either internal components or full fork and shock replacements) from people like Ohlins, K-Tech or Nitron will greatly change your bike’s handling characteristics for the better, as well as improving how the bike handles imperfections in the road, ultimately meaning better and more predictable traction across all areas of your riding.
Another benefit of aftermarket suspension is the greater degree of adjustment it brings, allowing you to more specifically tailor the bike to you.
On the track in heavy braking zones, riders are often trying to get down the gears as quick as they can to set themselves up nicely for the corner and shorten the braking distance.
If a rider is too hasty when reengaging the clutch on a downshift, to the point where there is a big difference between engine and gear speed, the rear wheel is forced to slow down and in turn breaks traction. This will often cause the rear to weave from side to side.
A slipper clutch does a great job of stopping this from happening because it is designed to break free and ‘slip’ when the clutch is reengaged in the way described above. This allows riders to be more aggressive with their downshifts and as such get them done quicker, the slipper clutch keeping things smooth all the while.
If you feel the need to spice your steed up a little with some upgrades on the fancy side, then any of the above (or all if you wish) would be a fine place to start, and once in place you would have one very capable track machine on your hands, that’s for sure!