Dragbike.com Project Bike: Brandi’s GSX-R750 – Part 3

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Dragbike.com Project Bike: GSX-R750 – Part 3

Read more about this project from the beginning • Part 1 Part 2

It has been almost 12 months since we started this project and I have to say it has been a great experience. I now have a really cool bike (just the colors I wanted) and I got to bring it up to speed from the ground up, even though the boys did most of the grunt work. I saved myself for the intellectual side ­ writing the articles and telling the boys how great they are so they continually and happily work on my bike. I love boys.

I have learned so much from this experience, from modifying and tuning a street bike for the drag strip to riding it fast and consistently. Not to mention how to manipulate the boys. Before I got this bike my best time slip was a 12.28. With just basic modifications I got the Gixxer (that’s what the boys call ‘em, but I call mine Gixxy) into the 10.70s. We kept tweaking it (and I started actually riding more aggressively) and I was able to run into the 10.30’s. It was a big jump for me and I really learned a lot in that time.





Another thing I learned is how much I don’t like to write articles. It takes so much longer than I thought it would. It’s really hard. Maybe in the future I can get some silly boy to do it!

After we finished up the last part I was a little scared to start this one because so many people laughed at me when I said we would get this project bike into the 9-second range. I started doubting the people that said it would happen. So now I have to get into the 9’s or hide my face in shame. Go easy on me boys! Part 2 left off with the JDM Performance (now MT Performance) Swingarm modification. Part 3 continues with three big modifications; a new tire, an exhaust system, and a Power Commander. And to make it all work we team up with Brock Davidson.

SHINKO TIRE

The first thing we did this time around was to put on a new back tire. Brock provided us with a Shinko tire, assuring me this would be the best tire with the new swingarm and the modifications to come.

The first thing to do with a new tire is to break her in. The proper break-in is the key to the overall performance of your tire. There is a lot of debate (actually endless debate) on the best way to do this but Brock had me do a series of burnouts, letting the tire cool between them. If you are unsure of the best method to break in your tire, please contact Brock and he will give you all the information.


Funny sticker I found in the dyno room from a Mickey MCR2
Brock uses the Shinko as a dyno standard.

The first time out with the new tire proved to be very exciting. I took it easy on my first pass just to see how the tire would react. She stuck to the track like glue, and the pass was perfect. So next pass I stepped my launch RPM up a notch and it was another great pass. I am in love with this tire!

I made several trips to the track over the next month to get used to the tire. One thing I learned is repetition and practice is very important to running constantly. Once I felt comfortable with the swingarm, the tire, and the handling of the bike it was time to add the parts that would bring the power up so I could hopefully get into the 9’s.

THE EXHAUST SYSTEM

Brock, of course, wanted to use his own exhaust on the bike. He calls his line “Brock’s Street Smart System” made by Hindle Exhaust Systems. He notes that the exhaust is a complete system combined with an airbox modification and special mapping for the EFI unit. He has a lot of specs and information documenting the performance of this system. I will let him be the salesman. All I can say is that Hindle produced a very well-made product and Brock is very knowledgeable and helpful. I really have to thank Lang and Lee Hindle for their support on this project.  They must have a lot of confidence in their products as they were willing to gamble on me.  Thanks again.

To get this project going we headed over to American Made Cycles in Dayton, OH. As you would expect, American Made Cycles specializes in V-twin customs and performance, but the shop is close to Brock’s shop and it is where he does all his dyno tuning.

Dean Shields owner of American Made Cycles welcomed us in and we overtook a good chunk of workspace. Having never been to a dyno facility I was amazed at the “laboratory-like” setting at American Made Cycles. After we pulled the bike into the special dyno room and hooked up the various wires, probes, and fans – it looks like my bike was on life support! Most people would find a nice spot in the corner to work and stay out of the way of the rest of the mechanics, but not us, we pushed the bike into the main entrance and started taking her apart right there, so I would like to apologize to everyone that had to walk around us all day, and I thank you for not stepping on my plastics!

The mission at American Made Cycle is to provide consistent and accurate dyno results. The dyno room is climate controlled and equipped with a DynoJet Model 250i, equipped with the eddy current absorption unit and industry-standard tuning link software. Please note that anyone can operate a dyno, but Dean and Brock have been trained and have the expertise to tune a motorcycle on a dyno.

Before installing the exhaust we put the bike up on the dyno and made a pull to set our baseline to see what kind of performance enhancement would actually be gained from the modifications we were about to do.

The first pull was done with the existing Yosh slip-on that was on the bike when I bought it and Sunoco 94 pump gas. The dyno showed that the current horsepower of the bike was 114.2 SAE corrected.

Pull # 1

– Existing Yosh Slip-on
Results: 114.2 hp
– Pump Gas

After the baseline pull, it was time to install the new exhaust system. This took several steps:
1. Remove body panels and put in a safe place so no one steps on them.

2. Remove current exhaust completely

3. Pre-Assemble new exhaust. It’s a good idea to do this because you want to be sure that they fit each other off the bike as opposed to forcing them on the bike. (Note that you should always wear gloves when installing your exhaust system to avoiding cutting your hands on the exhaust edge.)

4. Remove the P.A.I.R. valve and install Block-offs.

5. Install four block-off plates and use supplied serrated nuts for the installation. The serration prevents the nut from vibrating off.

6. Remove the gas tank to access the airbox for the install of air box block-off caps.

7. Once the exhaust is installed wipe the entire exhaust with a clean cloth. If you start the bike without wiping your Exhaust down first, any fingerprints that were made on the exhaust while handling it will show up and they will not want to go away.

 

*An additional step we took to ensure the best possible performance was to clean the fuel injectors.

A word from the wise:
Scott Valetti would also like to add that now would be a good time to change the oil in your bike since it is a part.

Please be sure to ask him what he is doing in this picture next time you see him.

I would also like to note that Brock’s exhaust weighs 8.5 lbs that is almost half of what the stock exhaust with the slip-on weighed. With the new exhaust installed it was time to roll her back to the dyno room.

Pull # 2

– Brocks’ StreetSmart Exhaust System
Results: 118.9 hp
– Pump Gas
gained 4.7 hp

Due to a miss right before the rev limiter, Brock suggested that we change the spark plugs to try and correct the problem. We used NGK CR9F gapped to 0.22.

Airbox flapper valve removal

For the next pull we wanted to add a hotter fuel and make Brock’s suggested Airbox Mod. Before putting in the race gas we drained the existing gas and flushed the system with Nutec to ensure we had all the pump gas out of the tank. We then cleaned the airbox with carburetor cleaner, removed the air filter and flap, and blocked off the airbox holes.

Put flapper Valve Back in

I have included some photos from when we did my Airbox mod, but you can also check out Brocks site for more detailed instructions.

Remove Flapper

For more detailed information about the Airbox mod, click right here!

 

Pull # 3

– Brocks’ StreetSmart Exhaust System
Results: 123.8 hp
– Nutec Special 5 Fuel
gained 9.6 hp
– Airbox Mod
– NGK Spark Plugs

After the third pull, it was time to add the last modification to be done in this project, a Dynojet Power Commander PCII.

The Power Commander was super simple to install. I was amazed at how fast it went. I first thought, “Great, an electronic device, the boys are going to be fiddling with wires for hours, we are never going to get to lunch!!!” But I was wrong, it installed in minutes. I would go into details on how to install the Power Commander, but I don’t need to, because the smart boys (and most likely girls) at Dynojet have detailed instructions for all their products that you can download from their site at www.powercommander.com

The biggest mistake people make with a Power Commander it that they throw it on their bikes and expect it to just produce magical horsepower. It can help, but to really take full advance of this great device you need to put the bike on the dyno to optimize the fuel and ignition mapping for your motorcycle. Brock’s exhaust systems come with correct maps for each application.

Luckily, American Made Cycles is an official “Power Commander Tuning Center” so they have all the latest “state-of-the-art” Dynamometers, testing equipment, and Dynojet Tuning Link software and all their technicians are Dynojet-trained. We were in good hands.

Pull # 4

– Brocks’ StreetSmart Exhaust System
Results: 126.0 hp
– Nutec Special 5 Fuel
gained 11.8 hp
– Airbox Mod
– NGK Spark Plugs
– Power Commander: Mapped By Brock

 

Wow, we were really getting somewhere. We decided to do one more pull and change the oil to a different lubricant. With Bock’s suggestion (and stern look) we put in Alisyn Pro Drive 21. The Aislyn has a weight of less than 0. Hopefully you guys know what that means because to me it only meant we were closer to being finished and on our way to the track.

 

Pull # 5

– Brocks’ StreetSmart Exhaust System
Results: 127.5 hp
– Nutec Special 5 Fuel
gained 13.3 hp
– Airbox Mod
– NGK Spark Plugs
– Power Commander: Mapped By Brock
– Alisyn Pro Drive 21  

 

Okay, let’s recap. We went from an original hp of 114.2 to a final product of 127.5 hp ­ if you paid attention in math you would realize that we gained… um .. let me get my calculator out… 13.30 hp ­ Yippee!!

Brock had a very satisfied look on his face after the results of the last pull, and as they started unstrapping the bike from the dyno, the butterflies started fluttering in my belly. Because it was now my job to show that Brock’s hard work paid off. I could have fainted. I was going to vomit.

Boys working on my bike

We took the bike to nearby Kil-Kare Dragway I had never been there and for a smaller track I was very pleased with the facility and the staff. The people are nice and the track is in great condition ­ perfect for testing. One thing, though, I was not crazy about the spectators having to walk through the staging lanes to get to the stands, but life isn’t perfect, that’s why there’s Walgreens, sorry ­ more of Scott’s bad humor rubbing off on me.

Before my first pass, I was told to go find a safe place to ride my bike and try out the throttle, I had no idea why at first, I thought maybe they were just trying to get rid of me for a while. But after taking the bike around the track and grabbing a little bit of the throttle here and there, I couldn’t get over how smooth the bike felt and how quick the throttle response was. I rode back to the pit area with one of my big stupid grins, and I told Brock I couldn’t get over how the bike felt, it was such an improvement. Brock quickly started explaining something that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to remember so I ran for my note pad and this is what I wrote down, according to Brock, he works very hard on the low throttle position map openings to help make my job of launching the bike easier… Increased driveability provides the hardest acceleration possible. Whatever he did, I liked it a lot!!!


Brock would like to remind everyone that the first thing you should do is read the direction that is included with your products, here he checks over the instructions that were included with my exhaust, or maybe he just forgot how to do something?

The night we were at Kil-Kare they had a special event featuring jet vehicles. They are cool to watch but they destroy the starting line. My best pass going into this night was a 10.350 at 134.67 mph.

My first pass with the new setup was a 10.285 at 136.27 ­ I had a pretty good smile on my face after that. I improved on my personal best, so it helped calm the butterflies. My second pass was a 10.289 at 136.83. The smile wasn’t as big because I was hoping to improve. Brock took me aside and told me it was great that I could be so consistent, but the point of the project was to improve, so could I please try and twist the throttle a little harder?

I have to tell you, it was sooo stinking hot that day that I was ready to be satisfied with the 10.28 and go find some air conditioning! But I knew it wasn’t time to act like my girly self and I had to dig down deep and focus on the next pass.

For my third pass, I twisted a little harder and ran a 10.140 at 135.92 ­ I had a huge smile and so did all the boys!!! The work they had done all day long paid off. And it seemed to satisfy everyone enough that we headed out to dinner. I felt it was a step in the right direction but was still worried about making it into the 9’s.

My next session out to the track was at Byron Dragway for a 2 Wheel Speed Hardcore event, or as I like to refer to it the “Pig Roast Race” Yummmmyyy!

It was a two-day event and I decided to just test-and-tune instead of running the program because all I wanted to do was focus on a 9-second pass. On Saturday I faired well and put up consecutive 10.11 and 10.09 passes. On Sunday I stayed in the 10.0’s for the first couple of passes. Eventually, I was told we would be wrapping it up and it was going to be time to go. I was satisfied with my performance for the weekend but then again I am very easy to please. But I didn’t want to go to the Prostar Indy event without having run a 9-second pass. So for the last pass of the day, I put my bike in the back of the line and watched my fellow racers go down the track and let the butterflies die down; I knew it was do or die.

A few people came up to me and wished me luck getting into the 9’s and told me they knew I could do it, It was a little bit of a confidence booster, and I think it was what I needed to force me to try a little harder.

Finally, with the last pass before me and tension mounting from my supporters, I rolled into the beams and all I thought about was twisting that throttle as hard as I could. I told myself ­ “don’t be scared, don’t be scared, don’t be scared”. The bulbs dropped, the tire screeched, I glued myself as close to the bike as I could and I made sure that I was hitting that shift button when the light came on. As I went through the traps I rolled off the throttle and hung my head a little unsure if I had done it or not. As I rounded the turn-off and headed to the time booth I had the feeling that I didn’t do it. I thought about the long ride home and how I let everyone down.

The girl at the booth handed me my slip and I did like I always do when I think I made a bad pass, I put it in my hand without looking at it and left the booth. As I rode back to my pit area I glanced down and I saw my 60’ number and it was my best ever. I quickly stopped my bike so I could look at the whole time slip. Sure enough there it was – 9.958. I did it! I just sat there in disbelief. I couldn’t believe it! I actually got into the 9’s and boy did it still feel slow!

 

and in the words of Joe Franco, “…and the numbers add up!”

I was a little on the speechless side for the rest of the day. Everyone at Byron was great and made a point to come over to congratulate me. It was smiles all around. The first thing I did was eat an ice cream sandwich and walked around like I was the queen of the world  ;o)

So there it is. I officially have a 9-second bike and we didn’t have to do anything radical to it. It is still a consistent bracket bike.

As I said at the beginning of this article, this was a great experience for me. I learned a lot and got to meet and work with a lot of great people along the way. And, oh yeah, I got a really cool bike!

 

Photos by Matt Polito, www.dragbikephotos.com

I have to thank everybody that got involved in the project. I could not have gotten this far without them. I hope you check them out for your sportbike performance needs. Tell them “9 Second Brandi” sent ya! But seriously, I would like to thank the following people that participated in this project, not just for their hard work and the time and money they contributed, but for their advice, continuous faith, and their friendship.

 

American Made Cycles • 937-224-1100 • Dayton, OH 45403

 

Brock’ Performance Products • 937-298-6818 • sales@brocksperformance.com


Dynojet Research • 800-992-4993 • sales@powercommander.com


Hindle Exhaust Systemsinfo@hindle.com



JDM Perfomance Products (now MT Performance) • 931-802-8251 • mtperformance@gmail.com


Murdoch Racing Enterprises • 800-237-RACE • mrerace@aol.com


Schnitz Racing • 800-837-9730 • info@schnitzracing.com


Pro Race Gear • 508-291-1643 • info@proracegear.com

Vanson Leathers • 508-678-2000 • vanson@vansonleathers.com


Scott Valetti and Matt Polito, Dragbike.comeditor@dragbike.com


Matt Polito, Dragbikephotos.commatt@racingperspectives.com

 

Read more about this project from the beginning • Part 1 Part 2
Questions? brandi@dragbike.com

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