Ringleader: Ari Henning
MSRP (2009): $9799
Mods: Arrow rearsets, CRG levers, EBC brake pads, Race Tech shock, Watsen Design turn signals
I didn't log too many miles for this installment, but the 1000 miles noted above were amassed almost exclusively at the racetrack. I'm diligent about getting the bike dialed-in for the track du jour and the tires I'm running, but I'm incorrigibly lazy when it comes to putting things back to the street settings come Monday. I'll roll on shagged race rubber until I scare myself, and leave the shock spring preload cranked full-stiff until my next track day. It's a shallow excuse, but having hydraulically adjustable preload was a major factor in requesting a custom G3-S shock from Race Tech ($1349.99; www.racetech.com). Now, setting sag is as easy as aiming a 10mm T-handle at the preload collar, plus the damping adjustments are more finely tunable and the ride-height adjustability will enable me to further experiment with chassis geometry and compensate for varying tire heights. This bike is turning into a seriously capable track tool!
Adjustability is the name of the game lately. CRG's Roll-a-Clicks are the original adjusta
Not only do they look amazing, the Watsen Design turn signals eliminate the possibility of
No more hammer and punch! Each Race Tech G3-S shock is made to order with a variety of con
Around the same time, I bolted on the Arrow adjustable rearsets ($539) listed in the Triumph accessory catalog. I know from seeing a few Pros' bikes and taking nearly all the Keith Code schools that tailoring the bike to fit the rider is important. So while I've never dragged a footpeg (except once, during the mother of all front-end slides), I've often found myself riding with my heels raised uncomfortably high to let my knees get good purchase on the tank. The Arrow rearsets have allowed me to get the peg height set perfectly, and their knurled surfaces bite into the soles of my boots for better control.
The corollary is they did away with the stock polished footpeg brackets and silver heel guards. Thus my systematic elimination of raw and polished-aluminum components-now stained and oxidized-with darker, more subtly attractive pieces has continued. First I painted the sidestand satin black, then I replaced the brake and clutch levers with black shorty versions from CRG ($109.95 each; www.rollaclick.com). The levers are six-position adjustable, which like the Race Tech shock makes it quick and easy to alternate between street and track settings-I prefer the levers close so I can keep them covered on the street, then move them two clicks out for maximum leverage and feel at the track.
Continuing with my visual refinements, I removed the stock front turn signals and replaced them with flush-mount units from Watsen Design ($119; www.watsendesign.com). Each set is machined and painted to order so they can take a few weeks to arrive, but the wait is worth it. They're the definition of trick and come color-matched. I was worried about visibility but the LED units are blindingly bright-as long as you view them from the side or straight ahead. If viewed from the front toward the opposite side, you can't clearly see them. I may change the running lights in the headlight housing for amber ones and wire them to flash with the signals. It should be pretty easy to do and it'll increase my conspicuity.
By the 6000-mile mark the original-equipment brake pads were one hard stop way from metal-to-metal contact, and I had to park the bike while I waited for a fresh set of EBC Extreme Pro pads to arrive ($75 per caliper; www.ebcbrakes.com). While the bike was in the shop, I dressed the front discs with emery cloth to remove any glazing and give the new pads a good surface to bite into. The bed-in procedure was accomplished within the first few laps of my next track day, after which the pads were ready to rock.
So what's next on this fantasy build? A slip-on exhaust is definitely in order, and perhaps a gearing change. I've toyed with the idea of combating the bike's excessive squat by raising the swingarm pivot using the inserts from a Street Triple, but a smaller rear sprocket would have a similar effect while increasing my top speed. Now that the suspension is dialed-in and I'm riding faster, I'm running into the rev limiter in sixth gear at Auto Club Speedway!