Track-Prepping a 2009 ZX-6R

Warning

I am not a mechanic or a representative of Kawasaki or anything else official. This page is only my notes on doing this procedure myself. Although I believe what I have documented here is correct, I make no promises and you do this at your own risk.

Objective

Taking your bike to the track is great fun, and a great way to practice and improve your riding. Many clubs and dealers organize track days, and all organizers have rules about how your bike must be prepared to take on the track. Rules vary with the club and track, but generally involve ensuring that your bike is safe for yourself and others: that it doesn’t drip fluids or drop glass in an accident, and that it doesn’t distract other riders with brake lights and reflections.

A typical set of rules would be:

  • Replace antifreeze in liquid-cooled engines with pure water;
  • Secure oil drain bolt with safety wire or silicone sealant;
  • Remove mirrors;
  • Disconnect power to all lights and signals;
  • Cover all glass (lights and signals) with tape;
  • Display a unique number on the front and sides of the bike.

In this set of photos, we prep the bike for a track day with Pro 6 Cycle.

Tools Required

  • Rear stand (recommended)
  • 4mm hex wrench (Allen key)
  • 10mm socket or nut driver
  • Thin-blade slot screwdriver
  • Small flashlight or inspection lamp
  • Small divided parts container
  • Several 3- to 4- liter plastic pails or containers
  • Clean tap water (for flushing antifreeze)
  • Distilled water
  • Water Wetter (if track day rules permit it)

Difficulties & Warnings

Except for the work involved in getting the fairings off to drain the coolant, this is a very straight-forward project.

Procedure

Placing the bike on a rear stand makes this job much easier by holding it level and giving equal access to parts on both sides.

The track day rules don’t allow antifreeze in liquid-cooled engines, so first we must remove the bodywork and replace the antifreeze with water.

Then replace the fairings on the bike for the remainder of these steps.

Some track days allow you to merely tape over your mirrors, but many require that they be removed.

Remove the 4 mounting screws (circled in red here) and set the mirrors aside.

I usually replace the mounting screws in the holes, to keep the fairing held snugly at these points.
Next, we’ll remove the license plate.  It’s a sharp piece of metal that is better kept off the track, and it looks out of place on the track.
Looking at the tail section from below, there are two socket screws that can be removed to free the license plate holder from the tail.
Store the screws in the license plate holder and set it aside.
With the license plate removed, the tail section is loose and flops around a bit,
so I usually put some temporary screws through the holes formerly occupied by the license plate mount screws.
These have washers on the outside and lock-washers on the inside, and they hold the tail section firmly.
Next we open up the tail trunk, where I keep all kinds of papers and things for street riding.
Clean that section out so there is nothing loose in there.

Next we disable all the lights. Just taping them over isn’t good enough — they can be seen shining through the tape (and the heat cooks the tape onto the glass).  Track rules require that they be electrically disconnected.

We could disconnect each light (head, tail, signal, and running lights) with the individual connectors, but it is easier to just pull the fuses.

Remove the seat to expose the fuse box (circled in red here).

The cover of the fuse box has a printed map saying which fuses do what.  3 are marked as being for headlight, tail light, and signals, so we open the box and remove those.

After confirming which ones they were the first time, I marked the appropriate spots with a silver felt pen.

Set the 3 removed fuses aside to re-install later.
Next we will tape the glass lenses on the lights. Duct tape is the standard material to use for this, but it leaves a terrible sticky residue, so many riders put a layer of painter’s tape on the glass first, then cover it with duct tape.  Painter’s tape removes with no residue as long as you take it off within a few days.
Cover a light with painter’s tape,
then cover it with strips of duct tape.
Repeat this for all lights, front and rear.
Front:  2 headlights and 2 signal lights.
Rear: tail light and 2 signal lights.

Most track days require that you have a number on your bike, at least on the rear sides and the front.

For a casual track day you can do this very informally by just cutting strips of duct tape or black electrical tape.

I made these numbers by printing a template on my computer then tracing onto a sheet of peel-and-stick vinyl. This let me customize the size to just fit in the available space. I have them permanently stuck to a second seat cowl for easy change-over. Of course you can stick them to the original cowl and remove them after (or leave them on the bike, for a cool appearance).

To put numbers on the front, I put a piece of white peel-and-stick shelf liner paper on the windshield first,
to provide an opaque white background (and for easier removal).
I purchased peel-n-stick vinyl numbers from a stationary store
and put them on over the white background.
Finally, you will be required to safety-seal the oil drain plug.  Mine is drilled for safety wire. Or, most track days will accept putting a gob of silicon sealant over the plug if you don’t have it drilled for wire.

That’s it, you’re all set.

Be sure to take a few tools, extra duct tape, and spare fuel with you to your track day, as well as lots of water for you. Here is an extensive list to help jog your memory.

Also, be sure to check what rules the organizers have for your riding gear: leathers, helmet, etc.


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