New Ninja Shakedown

After getting wholly decimated at CRA Round 1 down in Buttonwillow, I decided it was finally time to upgrade the race bike. The shared 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 will be retired from race duty and will now live out its life being thrashed by random people at track days. 😀

I ended up buying a semi-race-prepped 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400, sight unseen, from another racer in Southern California. The bike seemed like it was in good condition and the videos made the motor sound very healthy. Unfortunately for me, the guy that sold me the bike was either an idiot or a liar. “Never been crashed” my ass.

As soon as I picked up the bike, which was being stored at a buddy’s house, I noticed that the steering head bearings were loose. But this is a pretty common issue with Ninja 400s, so I waved it off. Once I got home and started doing a little bit of maintenance, I noticed that the rear chain adjuster plate was cracked and the adjuster bolt was bent. Now, I’ve worked on completely demolished, flipped on the track a few times, bikes and I have never seen the chain adjuster get any damage.

There were also scratches all over the bike and a few loose lights. At this point, I am 100% certain that this bike crashed on the track and had its street fairings put back on. Unfortunately for me, I had already paid and will just have to deal with it. 🙁

Luckily, this isn’t anything I haven’t done before. I went ahead and tightened down the steering head, put slicks on the bike, and threw on a 2011+ Suzuki GSXR shock, fork preload adjusters, and new chain adjusters. It wasn’t perfect, but it was ready for it’s first shakedown.

I took the first lap pretty slow, but the bike felt pretty good. The Brembo RCS master cylinder is AMAZING. Definitely worth the month IMHO. My GPS was acting up that day, but I was able to record a personal best of about 2:16~2:17 at Thunderhill East CCW. This means I shaved at least 6 seconds off my lap times with this bike!

My GPS was acting up again, so the recording was all over the place. But based on the start and end times I am confident that I was in the 2:17s. Time to tighten up the bike and gain more speed! I have race fairings coming in from Norton Motorsport next month!

Here are some pictures courtesy of Oxymoron Photography.

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