What an absolute blast! From the ride up from Cambridge to Louth with Neil Ronketti to the ride back with my brother through the Friday traffic in Lincolnshire – the Kat didn’t really miss a beat. She may have lost a few pounds grinding down the cases both sides on the tarmac, but she held togeteher and more importantly didn’t leave her guts as an offering to the trackday gods!.
It’s not all pink and rosey though – more on that later. I’d say to sum up she acquitted herself very well against the plethora of track only, modern superbikes, but there is lots of room for improvement.
As it stands the bike handles pretty well apart from ground clearance. She’s so engaging to ride – the three mates (all of us have raced) who rode it at Cadwell said the same thing – they couldn’t believe that a 30+ year old bike was so well put together. I’m blushing! No genuinely I am … it’s been put together with a bit of research and a lot of help, but it is far from finished and more than a little rough around the edges :o)
With a 170 section tyre on the back, road tyres, I could happily grind cases either side – but in truth I don’t want to be worrying about holing cases, or worse still lifting the rear as a case touches down. The bike was also under-powered leaving it wanting against anything over 600cc and modern. I could hang with most bikes being ridden well by road riders in the corners, but I’m used to a little more capability in reserve!
Don’t get me wrong – it was brilliant fun … but I had to reign myself in!
Here’s a little vid running around the outside of my brother on the entry into Coppice … a fast uphill left hander that loads the suspension – please forgive the camera angle, I’ll just blame my brother for using a crap GoPro copy mount bought from China – but the video clearly shows she hustles :o)
It’s not a racing bike obviously – that’s a completely different thing. However, with 120hp instead on 90, better ground clearance, smaller cases, and putting the bike on a diet, I can imagine it would be quite a weapon. With the bracing we did the frame still complains occasionally, but it never screws things up. The Nissin brakes work damned well now the pads are bedded in. All in all a capable and fun bike as it stands, but there would be a lot of work to make it a class winner in a race series.
So what next! All of the above obviously – More power, more ground clearance, stickier tyres (so a 180 section rear), better brakes – it all costs! Better start saving again … this may take a while :o(