Monday, July 13, 2015

100 Foot Paint Job

Go to a motorcycle race and you might see them, race bikes, jewel-like near museum pieces of eye candy, no expense spared, bristling with exotic metals wrapped in lavish paint jobs.  True works of art.  When they get crashed a team of mechanics armed with all the spare parts required put Humpty Dumpty back together again, better than new.

It doesn't work like that for most of us in the real world.  For a financially strapped club racer the rules are simple, make it as fast as you can afford, safe enough that it doesn't kill you or anyone else and finally, make it presentable.

The last rule is open to a wide range of interpretation.  You can see everything from the jewels mentioned previously to junkyard refugees that appear to have been dragged from a warzone behind a tank.  Far be it from me to judge anyone's taste in aesthetics for their race motorcycle, (as long as it isn't leaking oil and everything is working properly).

The hard truth of the matter is that if you race any motorcycle long enough, you will crash it.  A wise racer once said, "Don't put anything on the race track you aren't willing to watch sliding down the race track."  And slide they do, the majority of race machines bear scars, the hard won patina of a rough and tumble life at the track.  We patch them and repaint them and the process starts all over again.

I try to follow what is referred to the 100/100 rule.  If the bike looks good from 100 feet out at 100 miles per hour, you are doing well.  Most of these things aren't going in museums, and as a racer I know recently referred to them, "They are tools.  Tools for winning races."  I like that.  You maintain and take care of a tool, you don't primp and preen it.

Don't get me wrong, if somebody wants to race a show machine so clean you can eat off the bellypan, that's fine with me.  My broke ass will be spending the money on tires and track time.

The FZR, a few steps closer to presentability.

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