MotoInked Highlight Reel: Ink and Iron Long Beach

This year, we attended the last Ink and Iron event at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. Next year the event will be moving to the LA area and it will be bigger and better than ever before.

More than 200 tattoo artists attended the 2015 event and about 50 bands played on three stages including Pennywise and Killswitch Engage. The event featured burlesque and pole dancers, the Kustom Culture art gallery curated by Sullen Industries, tattoos and tattoo contests, custom cars and bikes, and much more. It was an amazing event. Please check out Skin Deep UK magazine for tattoo event coverage.

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Tattoo Inspired Moto Gear

From sprockets to skulls to filigree etched on jacket sleeves, it’s clear tattooed culture has finally inked is relevance in permanent fashion on this year’s moto gear.

You can find hints of the inked lifestyle just about everywhere now, but it can no longer be denied that tattooed culture has influenced the folks in those big marketing offices to the point where their ideas have been stenciled into the manufacturing presses and distributed like wild fire to the moto population. Take a look to see how tattoos and gear have finally made each other’s acquaintance while protecting the real tattoos underneath.

Speed and Strength
With their Wicked Garden and Moto Mercenary lines, SS Gear has figured out that just because some riders have tattoos, it doesn’t mean they have to risk their skin to show off ink.

 

Bell Artist Series Helmets

These three-quarter helmets boast pin striping and graphic art designs based on original old school concepts. These designs were inspired by the industry’s best custom painters and artists, including Roland Sands Design.

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Ride Rich Clothing

You’ll love the shirts, sweaters, hoodies and bandanas from Ride Rich. Their swag encourages individualism just like tattoos encourage expression. Ride Rich clothing inspires people to ride for the love of it. It’s about riding apart from the crowd, being independent and displaying a passion for what you do no matter what the haters say. Ride because you love it. Be inked because you crave it. Be rich with what you have. Ride Rich.

Shoei Helmets

Check out the new Brigand TC-5 from Shoei. Just like the Phantasm design from the previous year, this design boasts a pirate skull with the detail and shading worthy of a tattoo artist’s applause. With this helmet, there’s a little Captain Jack in all of us.

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Icon Airmada

Probably the most iconic of tattoo-inspired helmets, Icon is still the most creative when it comes to one-off helmet graphics. If you’re looking for a helmet that people will want to stare at, the Airmada has you covered, literally!

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5th Gear Sprockets

Just like you can walk into a tattoo shop and request a specific tattoo design, so can you submit your design to 5th Gear and they will create a rear sprocket design that only you will have! Just ask Tony Carbajal!

Scorpion USA

Perhaps one of my favorite designs is the one used on the all new EXO410 Departed full-face street helmet. Complete with filigree and a full-size, intricately drawn monster girl, this is the epitome of tattoo inspired helmet art work.

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Factory Effex Graphics

Who says your bike can’t be inked too? Factory Effex makes a full graphics kit from scratch resistant Ultracurve vinyl that features skulls with glowing eyes. There’s even ink bleeding back to the swingarm for a complete, finished look.

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Biker’s Choice

Even the folks at the distributors know if you want people to order parts from you, you gotta have a killer ad campaign that is hard to look away from. So they enlisted alt models like Alloy Ash and others to put tattoos and pretty faces on the cover of every catalog nationwide.

Awesome 2014 Season for Syck Bubblegum

Syck Bubblegum at the start gate

Syck Bubblegum at the start gate

Heather's 9th place trophy

Heather’s 9th place trophy

Syck Bubblegum has had a second chance this 2014 season. At the start, the driver, Heather Rowe, ran into some issues with the ignition system on Bubblegum (the KZ1000) sidehack, but with help from fellow racers, she got Bubblegum running and was able to join up with Michelle “Ducky” Sanches for a second season.

So far, the twosome have competed in 13 nights of racing, which equals about 50 heats. Of those, their best finish was second place and they’re currently sixth in points overall for the season. The biggest race of the year – the Matherson Cup – is coming up this weekend at Costa Mesa Speedway, which is the main event for the sidecars. Both girls are anxious to show the boys what’s up. “It’s been a challenge to read the track as it goes away through the night,” Heather says. “My monkey – Michelle ‘Ducky’ Sanches is a tiny mite! Her finger tattoos read ‘pint’ and ‘size.’ I love that!”

The best part for Michelle is feeling like a hero to the younger generation who go to see the races. “It’s been pretty amazing being a female racer/monkey,” says Michelle. “I feel like a celebrity because all the little girls call my name and want autographs or pictures with me. It’s pretty RAD to say the least.”

Heather has also ridden three nights with another monkey, Heather Gledhill, and together they’ve been training to make Heather Rowe a better driver. “I click with her,” said Heather Rowe. “But we are all great friends and super happy.”

Click here to see the race schedule.

 

Video of Heather and Ducky

Video of Heather and Heather

Inked Bombshell: Combat Barbie Stunts

Alexis Rae a.k.a. Combat Barbie Stunts

Alexis Rae a.k.a. Combat Barbie Stunts

What happens when you mix a blonde bombshell with motorcycles and sick tattoos? You get Alexis Rae: an extremely feisty yet bad ass and beautiful stunt rider. Alexis is a 26-year-old motorcycle enthusiast from Bayport, NY who works at a motorcycle and ATV repair shop. But most people know her as “Combat Barbie,” a name she earned because of her boxing skills and trademark Barbie-long-blonde hair.

But this girl is more than pretty nails and good looks. She’s an incredibly talented stunt rider who has showcased her freestyle ability for crowds all over the country. This chick knows handle a bike in ways most of us only dream of.

And guess what else? She’s covered in ink and every tattoo is a reflection of how this wild child lives life to the fullest. But hey, you don’t need me to tell you. Let’s hear it from her.

MI: When did you start riding?
CB: I started riding in 2009 but didn’t start stunt riding until 2011.

Alexis' back ink by Pepe of The Tattoo Shop in Medford, NY.

Alexis’ back ink by Pepe of The Tattoo Shop in Medford, NY.

MI: How did you get into stunt riding?
CB: I started as “the chick on the back,” which was cool for a lil’ while until I met a group of guys wheeling in the parking lot behind Home Depot. After that, I was hooked and wanted to learn. I bought a 2001 Honda F4i that I crashed many times, but after a while, I was up on one next to everyone else. Now I ride a 2003-2004 Kawasaki ZX-636 and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for my team (Lot Starz), friends and sponsors! Thank you!

MI: What happened to the F4i?
CB: I totaled the F4i in September 2013. It was the craziest thing. I was on my way to work one morning when a truck made a left turn in front of me and I T-boned the truck. I was just down the street from work and it happened so fast that I didn’t have time to hit the brakes. That was the end of the F4i.

MI: Ah bummer! Good thing you made it and now you have a bitchin’ Kawasaki 636 stunt bike. What modifications have you done to it?
CB: My 636 is all stunted out with a dented gas tank, 60-tooth 5th Gear custom rear sprocket, stunt cage, wheelie bar, rear hand brake setup, dirt bike handlebars and a stunt sub-cage. I recently got a StunterX steel frame too.

MI: What other bikes do you have?
CB: I also have a Honda CRF50F with an 88cc big-bore motor, front and rear stunt pegs, big bars, rear hand-brake, wheelie bar,

Alexis performing a spreader: a wheelie with both legs out to the side.

Alexis performing a spreader: a wheelie with both legs out to the side.

a 50 Stunt heel guard and a 5th Gear custom rear sprocket.

MI: Wow. That’s quite the set-up for both bikes. I’m sure having sponsors helps.
CB: Of course I gotta’ shout out to my sponsors:
Icon
K&N Filters

Dreamworx Cycles
5th Gear Sprockets
MSP Energy Drink

MI: What stunts do you like doing most?
CB: I really like performing spreaders and 50/50’s (a wheelie with one leg in front and one leg to the side). I’m a combo-type gal; I like to jump around the bike.

MI: Yeah, I’d probably fall off trying to do that. Speaking of falling – any tricks that were hard or scary to learn?
CB: The hardest trick to learn was highchair wheelies where you have both feet in front of you, pop the clutch and give it throttle. It really made me feel uncomfortable.

MI: Of course all that practice pays off! You get to perform in front of crowds!
CB: I do perform at shows and events up and down the east coast and I recently started performing out west. I just got back from Butte, Montana where I performed at Evel Knievel Days, which was one hell of an experience, especially since my team was there too! I’m looking forward to traveling around the world doing what I love and that’s to RIDE!

Combat Barbie, as featured in sportbikesincmag.com

Combat Barbie, as featured in sportbikesincmag.com

MI: Rad! But it’s mostly guys who do stunts, right? What is it like to be a female stunt rider?
CB: I feel that women get noticed more because there are so few of us. Stunt riding pushes me to be tougher and show others that a girl can be as strong as the guys when it comes to throwing a 400-pound motorcycle around. I don’t get to ride with other female stunt riders often because they live all over the country, but when we do get to ride together, we tear shit up!

MI: Have you made any media appearances?
CB: I was in the February 2012 issue of SportBikesIncMag. I was also in the newspaper in Bogota, Colombia, as they had their first annual stunt competition and I was a judge. My favorite media appearance was when I was on channel 12 news during a “lot bust” where 20 cop cars, news reporters and helicopters appeared at our stunt spot as the cops handed out trespassing tickets. They thought we were a “biker gang,” which we aren’t.

Alexis (on the bike) with another female stunt rider, Christina Billings. This photo went viral.

Alexis (on the bike) with another female stunt rider, Christina Billings. This photo went viral.

MI: Does crazy stuff like that always happen at the stunt spot?
CB: There is never a dull moment. Things happen all the time. From cops showing up and kicking us out to people having gnarly crashes.

combatbarbiestunts_6MI: Good times. Now on to the important part. Let’s talk about your tattoos.
CB: I have eight tattoos that are all in random, odd places: a Kaika’ana / Kaikaina on my left wrist, a star on my right wrist,  a pinup-biker girl with my name “Combat Barbie” on my upper arm which is soon to be a sleeve, the word “anarchy” inside my lip, the phrase Death By A Thousand Ki$$es on my right thigh, wings which take up most of my back, the phrase “Sporty Spice” on the bottom of my foot and a bandana with my brother’s name on the left side of my ribs.

MI: That’s quite the collection of ink. Who were the artists?
CB: Two out of eight tattoos – my back piece and thigh – were done by Pepe of The Tattoo Shop on 112 in Medford, NY. If you live on Long Island, I highly recommend Pepe! I got the other six tattoos when I was in high school at random tattoo shops and I don’t remember who did them. Let’s just say it was “one of those nights!”

Combat Barbie 50 StuntMI: Why are you drawn to tattoos?
CB: All of my tattoos either have a memory or reason behind them, except one. Tattoos give you freedom of speech. You only live once. I’ve seen some crazy, amazing tattoos, from big to small, to bright with eye catching color! I love how someone can make art out of their body.

MI: How do you respond to all the haters out there?
CB: “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m not too worried about people who judge. I work at a motorcycle shop and ride street bikes. It’s my life style and who I am. If you don’t like it, sucks for you! 😉 I got better things to do like ride and get tatted!

MI: Any advice for new stunt riders?
CB: If you’re learning and practicing any trick – make sure you wear your gear! You can always fix your bike, but not yourself!

Photos courtesy of Combat Barbie

A Country Girl with Moto Ink

She is so dedicated to her passion for riding, she tattooed carburetors on her chest. What's not to love?

She is so dedicated to her passion for riding, she tattooed carburetors on her chest. What’s not to love?

It takes a serious moto fan to tattoo Kevin Windham and Chad Reed on your body. In fact, Nanette Bailey did just that and her tattoos are based on photos she took while attending the races. “I love photography as much as I love riding,” says Nanette.

I found Nanette on Instagram doing my usual searches for anything moto and tattoo related. The first thing I noticed about her was that she was covered in ink – specifically moto-ink. It takes a serious enthusiast with a true dedication to the moto lifestyle to donate must of your skin to dirtbikes, helmets, chains and even carburetors that Nanette wears across her chest proudly.

Most of Nanette’s dirtbike tattoos were done by Jonny Crist at Mainstreet Studios in Ashland, OH. Jonny races dirtbikes himself and was the perfect artist to make Nanette’s dreams of MotoInk come to life. She also has other tattoos that were inked by Tina Sekanic in Cleveland and Jay Hess of Niagara Falls. The newest realistic tattoos of Kevin Windham and Chad Reed were done by Jonny.

Jonny tattooing Nanette, one dirtbike rider to another.

Jonny tattooing Nanette, one dirtbike rider to another.

Nanette has been riding all her life since she was five years old. She’s done some motocross racing, but mostly rides for the hell of it on her Honda CRF150R. And what better reason to ride is there? She likes to ride on the track and also on trails near where she lives in southern Ohio.

The Lightest Most Versatile Helmet on the Market: The Redesigned Shoei RF1200 Helmet

The all new RF1200 is just what this inked girl needs.

The all new RF1200 is just what this inked girl needs.

As a commuter, having a helmet that is quiet and fits comfortably means the difference between a pleasant ride to work and a miserable hour in traffic thinking about the pain radiating through my forehead. With the Shoei RF1200, any caveats I had about previous helmets are a distant memory.

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The Phantasm is the perfect graphic for us here at motoinked.com. Skulls, matte colors and filigree. Worthy of a tattoo.

The Shoei RF1200 helmet is light and compact helmet that weighs next to nothing. It has wide field of view and is so quiet, I can hear my hear my tunes without being annoyed by wind noise. It’s not just the comfort that makes this helmet one-of-kind, it’s the technologically advanced protection based on Shoei’s racing helmets that make the RF1200 freakin’ awesome.

The folks at Shoei are motorcycle enthusiasts and they value making a helmet that works for not just racers, but the every day rider, no matter what bike they’re riding. They’re about the journey, not the hype.

A Lighter yet safer RF1200

In 2010, Shoei helmets grew in size proportionally to manage more energy making them bigger, heavier and just plain cumbersome to wear. With the new RF1200, the helmet maintains its SNELL rating, but is now smaller and lighter like previous model helmets in the early 2000‘s. This is evident in the concave curve at the bottom of the shell, which offers complete freedom of movement. The RF1200 still provides the energy management of previous models and the protection a rider needs, but in much more manageable package.

The Shoei helmet maintains it's SNELL rating while being lighter and more compact than ever before.

The Shoei helmet maintains it’s SNELL rating while being lighter and more compact than ever before.

Shoei was able to make the RF1200 lighter and more compact as the shell of the RF1200 is made with Shoei’s AIM-PLUS or Advance Integrated Matrix Plus construction which is what Shoei uses in all Snell-rated products. This SHOEI-exclusive Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ Shell is a high performance fiberglass composite. “The other layers are trade secret, but the layers have specific attributes that we wanted in the shell, whether it be sheer strength for a chin strap rivet or anti-penetration in the shell,” says Don Bailey, Shoei’s Technical Advisor.

This Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ Shell construction includes the characteristics needed to make the RF1200 resistant to high impact energy. To obtain the characteristics needed for an impact-resistant shell, resin was applied in the mold during the manufacturing process and this resin was pressure injected to maintain a very light, uniform thickness throughout the shell to give it optimal attenuation or flex in order to distribute load throughout the helmet in as large of an area as possible.

Beneath the shell is the EPS, or Expanded Polystyrene, foam interior. This EPS interior shell has two different densities. The purpose of the dual density EPS is to get stiffer and bleed off more energy as the rider’s head presses against it during the event of a crash thus protecting the rider’s head from injury.

The Emergency Release function is annotated on the exterior of the helmet so the EMT’s know the helmet has this function. I knock on wood as I say this, as I have yet to crash-test-dummy proof this feature, but I feel better knowing that if I were in crash, the EMT’s job would be a little easier.

The Emergency Release function is annotated on the exterior of the helmet so the EMT’s know the helmet has this function. I knock on wood as I say this, as I have yet to crash-test-dummy proof this feature, but I feel better knowing that if I were in crash, the EMT’s job would be a little easier.

The Emergency Release Function

In addition to a high impact resistant shell and dual density EPS interior, the cheek pads of the RF1200 have the emergency release function or two red pull straps, integrated into them to create another line of defense for the rider. This is a feature that has been garnered from SHOEI’s technologically improved VFX-W and X-Twelve racing helmets.

Shoei began including this function in their helmets a fews years ago to help EMT’s remove the helmet safely and quickly from an unconscious rider without causing unnecessary damage to the rider’s neck. The EMT’s are able to pull the red straps at the bottom of the cheek pads and thus create a much bigger hole to pull the rider’s head straight through.

The padding inside is available in different sizes for a completely custom fit.

The padding inside is available in different sizes for a completely custom fit.

The RF1200‘s Inner Liner

The RF1200‘s 3D Max-Dry System II liner is three-dimensionally shaped to match the contours of a rider’s head and thus make the helmet fit comfortably. Pressing foam with spoons and pulling over to massage a pressure point is a thing of the past, as the RF1200 has a completely snug and contoured fit.

The cheek pads, center pads and chin strap covers are fully removable, adjustable and replaceable through Shoei. The cheek pads, center pads and chin strap covers can be removed from the helmet easily as they are snapped in. The cheek pads and center pads are available through Shoei in different thicknesses for a completely custom fit.

The padding of the Shoei RF1200 is made with Shoei’s exclusive Max-Dry System II liner material that is plush and soft to the touch. This material absorbs and dissipates sweat and moisture twice as fast as traditional Nylon interiors for riders who wear their helmets for longer periods of time. This technology is also borrowed from Shoei’s premium racing helmets.

How to Wash the RF1200‘s Helmet Liner

To best preserve the material of the cheek pads, center pads and chin strap covers, it’s best to sink wash them with a mild shampoo. If you’re unable to get all of the shampoo out of the padding, it won’t irritate your skin like laundry detergent as it’s something you wash your head with on a regular basis.

Also, you don’t want to twist the padding while washing them. Squeeze them and then let them air dry. If you do this instead of tossing the padding in a laundry bag and machine washing them, they will last a lot longer. “We definitely recommend people do that because as you sweat and dirt gets in the padding, it clogs all the pores in the foam and that’s when they start packing down and not fitting very well,” says Don.

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The outer shell of the RF1200 is equipped with three large upper air intake vents as well as four large upper exhaust vents at the back of the helmet to improve air flow over the rider’s head. These vents can be easily opened or closed with gloves on.

 

There is a large lower air intake vent on the chin bar of the helmet in front of the rider’s mouth that when left open, can act as a defogger during misty early morning rides.

There is a large lower air intake vent on the chin bar of the helmet in front of the rider’s mouth that when left open, can act as a defogger during misty early morning rides.

The exhaust vents not only keep my head cool but keep me from being a bobble head on the freeway. Thank you Shoei!

The RF1200 has the exhaust vents in the spoiler to create a down force as air passes over the spoiler. This induces “negative pressure suction” to keep the rider’s head more stable and thus reduce wind buffeting.

Beneath the outer shell, the EPS liner is also equipped with tunnels to help cool the rider’s head during hot summer rides without compromising the integrity of the shell. I can attest to the awesomeness of a cool breeze while riding in toasty California weather and I give Shoei a hi-five to offering me some relief on the highway.

Beneath the outer shell, the EPS liner is also equipped with tunnels to help cool the rider’s head during hot summer rides without compromising the integrity of the shell. I can attest to the awesomeness of a cool breeze while riding in toasty California weather and I give Shoei a hi-five to offering me some relief on the highway.

The QR-E base plates are spring loaded so when the is shield installed, it is pulled back against the dual-lip window beading to keep the wind and rain out when the shield is closed.

The QR-E base plates are spring loaded so when the is shield installed, it is pulled back against the dual-lip window beading to keep the wind and rain out when the shield is closed.

Shield System

The new RF1200 is furnished with a CWR-1 Shield that protects against 99 percent of the sun’s damaging UV rays and is available clear and tinted. The visor is manufactured with a rib that molded into the inside of the visor around on the top and bottom edge. Per Shoei, this rib improves rigidity and eliminates bending that may occur due to wind pressure or during the opening and closing process.

Along with the CWR-1 shield, the RF-1200 has a new QR-E base plate system that makes shield changes quick and easy. The sun is usually down during my evening commutes and this new system makes having to change out my shield quick and convenient.

The base plates are also equipped with a five-stage rotating dial that provide nearly half a millimeter of adjustment. This doesn’t sound like much but can make a huge difference as the helmet wears over time.

The base plates are also equipped with a five-stage rotating dial that provide nearly half a millimeter of adjustment. This doesn’t sound like much but can make a huge difference as the helmet wears over time.

To remove the shield, simply pull the spring-loaded stirrup down and lift the shield away from the helmet.

To remove the shield, simply pull the spring-loaded stirrup down and lift the shield away from the helmet.

 

To put the shield on, hold the cam in the open position and line up the tabs and push it in.

To put the shield on, hold the cam in the open position and line up the tabs and push it in.

IMG_2260Fog Shield

The RF1200 visors have two posts on the inside to clip in the fog shield which uses Shoei’s PINLOCK® system. The fog shield is mist retardant and when used in conjunction with the visor, creates a clear field of view for the rider during foggy or misty rides.

The fog shield is not scratch resistant, however, and should only be cleaned with soapy water and a nonabrasive cloth then left to air dry before reassembling. The fog shield should only be used during the day and not at night. I found this out when I left it on during a night ride home. The fog shield created a bad reflection that obstructed my field of view and was very distracting.

To clip in the fog shield, flatten the visor and clip in on one side, then clip in the other side. Once the visor retains it’s curve, the fog shield will seal against it.

To clip in the fog shield, flatten the visor and clip in on one side, then clip in the other side. Once the visor retains it’s curve, the fog shield will seal against it.

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The chin skirt helped to reduce air flow on a cold morning ride.

The chin skirt helped to reduce air flow on a cold morning ride.

Options and Accessories

The Shoei RF1200 helmet is available in 22 different colors and graphics from sizes XS-XXL for an m.s.r.p. of $485.99 for solid colors and $589.99 for graphics. All RF1200 helmets come with the pertinent manuals, a nose guard, chin skirt, fog shield, helmet bag and a small bottle of Shoei visor lubricant for ease of shield installation.

Don’t forget all SHOEI helmets are backed by a five-year limited warranty which covers any manufacturer defects. I doubt you’ll find any! With more than 50 years experience, Shoei is an industry leader in R&D for helmet testing with a state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility based in Japan. Their helmets are made in-house making them well worth the money.

The RF1200 has the most wide range of use of all the helmets in Shoei’s product line. Whether you ride scooters, commute or do track days, the RF1200 will provide the comfortable fit and protection a rider needs. “It’s like the swiss army knife of the Shoei line where a lot of the other models are more focused on a particular type of riding,” says Don. Kudos to Shoei for creating this amazing helmet!

Click here to find a Shoei dealer nearest you.

Part 3 of Project Ninja Turtle: 300R Handlebar Conversion

If you’re going to build a streetfighter, especially a Ninja streetfighter, you need to have a bad ass handlebar that instills fear into the enemy the way a policeman’s nightstick makes a purse snatcher pee his pants. You have to be able to throw your elbows up and muscle your bike into corners and slides the way a matador grabs a bull by the horns.

To do that, you need a tough handlebar that makes you forget about the wimpy, stock risers the bike came with. These risers are basically a Steve Urkel version of what a handlebar would be if it wasn’t made by Renthal. The Renthal “Street-Fighter” bar is perfect for transforming the 300R into the streetfighter who can Hoo-doo-kin! his competition to tears.

We approached Renthal with the idea of building the Ninja Turtle and of course they were on board. Who doesn’t want to see David beat Goliath? Thanks to Renthal, we were able to acquire the “Street-Fighter” handlebar so you could see first hand how we did a seemingly impossible task in a just a few hours.

The Transformation

The stock handlebar risers had to go. Riding a 300 with these is like watching a T-Rex make a bed. Just sad.

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We used KX250F OE handlebar clamps to fit the Renthal Street-Fighter handlebar to the Ninja 300R’s stock upper triple.

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First thing’s first. To remove the stock handlebars, we had to first remove the left and right hand handlebar switches, the brake lever, perch and throttle grip.

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To keep track of the screws for the switches, we left them in the switch assemblies.

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Since the bar end had never been removed before, we tried to remove it using an impact, but eventually had to turn to the torch to get it off. Say bye bye bar ends!

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We removed the clutch lever, perch and left side switch.

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Lastly, we used compressed air to remove the left side grip.

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With everything removed from the risers, we were able to take them off by removing two bolts on each side.

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Now that the upper triple was bare, we finally had to chance to figure out how to install the Street-Fighter handlebar without weakening the triple.

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We decided the best way to do it would be to use the upper two holes that were already there for the risers. This way, the Street-Fighter handlebar would be centered on the upper triple and we wouldn’t have to drill any extraneous holes.

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Next we removed the steering stem nut and loosened the upper triple fork clamp bolts. Please note that to remove the triple, you have to turn the forks to the side to allow the ignition switch to clear the steering neck.

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The bummer was even though the triple was free of the forks, the ignition switch was still connected. The ignition switch connector is located underneath the gas tank, so we had to remove the tank to disconnect the switch and remove the upper triple.

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We used a mill to drill the holes for KX250F bottom clamps into the 300’s upper triple. Unfortunately, the mill doesn’t come with a jig for these sorts of things, so we had to make one.

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The bolts attached to the KX250F bottom clamps measured at .470’’, so we matched a 15/32’’ drill bit to that size for a precise fit between the clamp and upper triple.

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Watching the mill do its work was as entertaining as seeing a shoe hit George W. Bush in the head. We loved it.

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As you can see, our measuring paid off. A perfect fit!

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Now for the other side…

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With the bolt holes drilled, we de burred the edges with a de burring tool – A classic machinist’s trick for a clean finish.

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After we installed the clamps, we noticed the bolts were too long. In most other cases a long bolt would be considered an endowment, but in this case it was an impediment. How do we make it so we can tighten the clamps to the upper triple with the bolts that we have?

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Before we continued machining, we made sure that we could fit the bars to the clamps with the holes that we drilled and still clear the ignition switch.

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Luck is on our side. Our machinist happened to have an extra piece of stainless steel we could use to make spacers for the bottom clamp bolts. Using a lathe, we peened a hole into the steel so when we connect the drill bit, it can drill a hole to just exceed the diameter of the bottom clamp bolt.

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After a little sharpening, we installed the drill bit into the lathe and drilled a hole into the steel deep enough to match the length of the spacers we needed.

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We measured the sections of steel and cut the spacers to our desired length.

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Once the two spacers were cut, they’d take some fine tuning to clean up the finish.

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Using a belt sander, we cut a notch into each spacer so they’d clear the bolt holes for the wire/cable routing brackets on the under side of the upper triple.

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See! Perfect fit! Now we can tighten the clamps.

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Before re-installing the Street-Fighter bar and upper triple to the forks, we had to install the bar to the triple off the bike and tighten the clamps to make sure they were straight.

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We installed the upper triple with the handlebar on the forks and had originally thought about cutting the Street-Fighter bar shorter, but after comparing the length of the stock handlebars to the Street Fighter bar, we determined that the length was the same. We needed all the room we could get to reinstall the levers, grips and switch assemblies.

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Next we had to drill holes in the Street-Fighter bar in order to reinstall the switch assemblies. We were able to measure the exact length and spot where the holes needed to be to reinstall the switches just as they were before.

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We removed the handlebar and used a center punch to punch a divot into the bar for the drill bit. If you don’t do this, it will walk around the drilling surface and do more damage than good.

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Using a drill press, we drilled the holes we needed into the Street-Fighter bar. We had to sharpen the bits, as the bar’s hard exterior was putting up quite the fight.

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With all the machining complete, we reinstalled the Street-Fighter bar and put the bike back together. It came out so awesome! The handlebar install is so clean it looks stock, with the exception of the open holes in the upper triple, but we can fix that later.

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Just one hiccup. We had to reroute wiring and cables to get the switches and levers to fit with the new handlebar. Unfortunately, our Ninja Turtle is an ABS unit, which presented quite an issue with the front brake hose. It was way too short. We tried to route the hose behind the triple, but with a few turns of the handlebar, the hose was already cut from being pinched against the plastics and it was also binding behind the triple. We’d play with it for the rest of the day, but it became evident this is going to take some research. Stay tuned to see how we resolve the brake issue.

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What’s Next for the Ninja Turtle?

Unfortunately, we are left with a few minor problems after installing the handlebar. With the brake hose from the front master cylinder to the ABS unit being too short, we’ll need to find a longer brake line that will not only work with the ABS, but be long enough to reach the master cylinder while being safely routed with no danger of binding or tearing. In short, the Ninja Turtle needs different brakes.

Also, we’re now on a mission to find a set of bar end mirrors that can be adapted to fit inside the Street-Fighter bar’s uniquely smaller interior.

A Little About the Renthal “Street-Fighter” Handlebar

se-road-1The “Street-Fighter” handlebar (part # 789-02) is a new bar by Renthal that is designed with a bend specifically designed for street bikes and equipped with a cross brace and bar pad for a dirt-bike look and feel. The handlebar has a 7/8’’ or 22mm external diameter and fits most standard clamps and controls.

The Street-Fighter handlebar has a shot peened finish in an effort to prevent breakage or failure due to fatigue. The bar is made from 7010 T6 Aluminium, a developed alloy specifically used by Renthal to manufacture handlebars. This high-impact material has the strength of Edward’s diamond skin, which was evident when trying to drill holes for the handlebars switches. The strong material of the Street-Fighter bar is as durable as it is thick to provide some serious dampening against vibration.

The bar also has other features that are beneficial to the rider. The left side of the handlebar is knurled on the grip end to better adhere the clutch-side rubber grip to the bar surface. At the center of the handlebar is a laser etched positioning grid which really helped us to position the bar where we needed once the job was done.

List of Mods So Far

Competition Werkes GP slip-on exhaust, Competition Werkes Fender eliminator kit, Renthal 7/8’’ Street-Fighter handlebar with KX250F handlebar clamps and custom machined spacers, rreen adjustable levers (from China)

Special Thank You to Sam Rothschild

196178_3089152122493_1530828056_nWe couldn’t do this installation with the tools we had in our garage, so we had to take the Ninja Turtle to “Sam’s Man Cave,” a code name for the extremely well equipped domicile of our brother-in-law, Sam Rothschild.

Sam races an H4 Honda CR-X with Southern California NASA or National Auto Sport Association at tracks like ButtonWillow and California Speedway and he turns lap times most motorcycle road racers only dream of. He is also a driving instructor for NASA Pro Racing. Sam finished 5th in points out of 18 racers for the 2013 season.

Sam is not only a driver, but he is also a very gifted machinist and fabricator. The guy even makes his own wiring harnesses for crying out loud! He also made a custom stunt cage for our 2010 Kawasaki ZX-6R. We’re very grateful to Sam for his help with all the random projects we drop in his lap. Of course, bringing a case of beer always helps to make up for the time we take him away from his race car. Thank you!

If you’d like to see Sam drive, click here.