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.

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Competition Werkes Fender Eliminator Kit for the 2013 Ninja 300R

Whenever I purchase a new motorcycle, the first thing to be removed is the kite of a mud flap hanging off the rear end. It’s unsightly, ungodly and just unacceptable. My favorite thing about riding sportbikes has always been chasing tail (no pun intended) and it wouldn’t be any fun if that tail were bigger than mine, catch my drift? So naturally, that legal, DOT compliant fender has got to go. No streetfighter of mine is going to be stuck with excess plastic.

This is why we chose to install the Competition Werkes fender eliminator kit to return the tail section to the high and tight look it was meant to have before it was tainted with an awning meanwhile remaining street legal with a license plate light and turn signals. There you go California. I haven’t completely disregarded the rules. And it only took an hour to install.

Interested in getting one for yourself? They pay attention pupils because we’re about to give you a lesson in mechanic-in.

Step 1:

Make sure you have all the necessary hardware to complete the task.

The packages should contain the license plate bracket, license plate light, short stalk turn signals and all the necessary hardware to install.

The packages should contain the license plate bracket, license plate light, short stalk turn signals and all the necessary hardware to install.

Step 2:

Remove and passenger seat and flip up the tray underneath to expose the four bolts holding the mud flap assembly and three wires routed to the turn signals and license plate light. Cut these three wires with a pair of cutters and remove the bolts with a 5mm allen socket or T-handle. Pull away the stock mud flap assembly.

The bolts and wires are located just underneath this flip-up tray.

The bolts and wires are located just underneath this flip-up tray.

Cut these wires and remove bolts with a 5mm allen.

Cut these wires and remove bolts with a 5mm allen.

Here is what the 5mm allen bolts look like from the under side (just underneath the tray). They should come out fairly easily.

Here is what the 5mm allen bolts look like from the under side (just underneath the tray). They should come out fairly easily.

Step 3:

Adhere the license plate light to underside of the top of the license plate holder and route the wires up through the center of the slot.

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Step 4:

Take the zip tie provided in the package and loop through the center hole of the license plate holder from the back as shown.

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Step 5:

Retrieve the two second to longest bolts from the package. I found it easier to loosely install the turn signals and turn signal brackets to the license plate holder before installing the holder to the tail section but of course, this can wait until later.

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Step 6:

Route the wires from each turn signal through the zip tie on the back of the license plate holder and then route the wires up through the center grommet and into the tail section.

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Step 7:

Retrieve the four longest bolts from the package along with four washers and nuts. Install license plate holder to the tail section.

I installed the bolts nuts-up (lol) in the tail and I used a 10mm T-wrench and 4mm allen to install all four nuts and bolts.

I installed the bolts nuts-up (lol) in the tail and I used a 10mm T-wrench and 4mm allen to install all four nuts and bolts.

I loved how the license plate holder had holes to slip the T-allen wrench through in order to tighten the mounting bolts. Installation would have been a pain without them. Remember! Appreciate the little things!

I loved how the license plate holder had holes to slip the T-allen wrench through in order to tighten the mounting bolts. Installation would have been a pain without them. Remember! Appreciate the little things!

Step 8:

Adjust and tighten the turn signals so they’re facing level.

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Step 9:

Use the splice connectors provided to connect the turn signals to the previously cut wires. Note the sleeve with the black wire and white wire is for the license plate light. It may take a few attempts to connect the turn signals correctly, however, as both wires for each side are black and it is difficult to tell which side goes to which. Don’t worry though. You can turn the key on and hit the turn signal switch to verify both sides are blinking correctly.

Tip: I used pliers to squeeze the splice connectors onto the wires due to my lack of upper body strength. Hey, work smarter not harder!

Tip: I used pliers to squeeze the splice connectors onto the wires due to my lack of upper body strength. Hey, work smarter not harder!

Step 10:

Hook up the license plate light. I had to cut the spades that were originally crimped to the wires and strip the wires to crimp new spades. I didn’t use the ones in the package because they’re a one-time, permanent-type of connector and I want to be able to unhook the running lights if I need to.

I used a set of wire crimpers to crimp on a set of automotive-style spades. You can find these at any auto parts store.

I used a set of wire crimpers to crimp on a set of automotive-style spades. You can find these at any auto parts store.

This is the end result. It takes more time, but it's worth it to have options.

This is the end result. It takes more time, but it’s worth it to have options.

Step 11:

Tuck the wires to the side so you can close the tray above them. I wrapped the wires with electrical tape and secured them to the subframe with a zip tie to clean up the install.

I wrapped the wires in electrical tape for fear that the zip tie might eventually chaff the wiring from vibrations. Call it paranoia, but better safe than sorry.

I wrapped the wires in electrical tape for fear that the zip tie might eventually chaff the wiring from vibrations. Call it paranoia, but better safe than sorry.

Step 11:

Verify operation of all lights and install the license plate with the remaining hardware from the kit.

The license plate light is pretty potent for a couple of small LED's. Kudos to Competition Werkes on the lighting.

The license plate light is pretty potent for a couple of small LED’s. Kudos to Competition Werkes on the lighting.

Stock mud flap vs. Competition Werkes fender eliminator. Yes, Comp Werkes eliminator wins!

Stock mud flap vs. Competition Werkes fender eliminator. Yes, Comp Werkes eliminator wins!

Tools I used: 4mm allen T-wrench, 10mm and 14mm ratchet wrenches, cutters, pliers, wire crimpers (one automotive, one metric-specific)

Tools I used: 4mm allen T-wrench, 10mm and 14mm ratchet wrenches, cutters, pliers, wire crimpers (one automotive, one metric-specific) and electrical tape

The Competition Werkes fender eliminator kit for the 2013-2014 Ninja 300R includes the CNC laser cut license plate holder made from 304 stainless steel as well as short stalk turn signals and an LED license light. The entire kit is feather light compared to the heavy weight mud flap the bike is equipped with at the factory. You can purchase this kit from any Competition Werkes dealer at an m.s.r.p. of $119.95.

Competition Werkes is an aftermarket motorcycle accessories and parts company that has been producing fender eliminator kits, exhausts and parts for motorcycles since 1984. To find out more about their products, click here.

Here is how the Ninja Turtle looks with the Competition Werkes exhaust and fender eliminator kit installed. Stay tuned as the transformation resumes!

Here is how the Ninja Turtle looks with the Competition Werkes exhaust and fender eliminator kit installed. Stay tuned as the transformation resumes!

Competition Werkes GP Slip-On Exhaust System for the Ninja 300R

There is nothing like the rumble of an aftermarket exhaust while decelerating into a corner. If you’re going to build a streetfighter, you need a sound to match the look; something that gives the bike a loud, in-your-face persona and  makes people stare as you ride down the street.

In 2013, Competition Werkes developed the GP shorty slip-on exhaust system for the Ninja 300 that transforms the bike’s passive thrum into a race bike’s growl. The system produces a little more bottom end grunt to gives you a snappier feel at the throttle and leaves an inevitable grin on your face.

The system is hand crafted from 304 stainless steel and has a tapered baffle for “improved performance and advanced tuning.” The canister is small and compact giving the bike a lighter, tighter feel without sacrificing styling. We installed the stainless steel GP system on our Ninja 300R Streetfighter project bike and here’s how we did it.

Step 1:

Make sure you have all the hardware and clamps needed to install the system.

The GP exhaust system comes with the muffler, high shield, 4mm allen bolt, pipe clamp and sticker.

The GP exhaust system comes with the muffler, high shield, 4mm allen bolt, pipe clamp and sticker.

Step 2:

To remove the heat shield from the stock exhaust can, remove the 5mm allen bolt and the clamp on the mid pipe with a Phillips screwdriver.

Remove the 5mm allen bolt.

Remove the 5mm allen bolt.

Loosen the bottom clamp with the Phillips screwdriver.

Loosen the bottom clamp with the Phillips screwdriver.

Step 3:

Pull the bottom clamp on the mid pipe down or toward the front of the motorcycle, then pull the heat shield toward the front of the motorcycle to remove it.

Pull the bottom hose clamp down the mid pipe, then slide the heat shield forward (toward the front of the bike) to remove it.

Pull the bottom hose clamp down the mid pipe, then slide the heat shield forward (toward the front of the bike) to remove it.

Step 4:

To remove the stock exhaust can, loosen the clamp around the muffler with a 12mm socket or T-handle.

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Step 5:

Remove the 14mm bolt and nut from the rear set.

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Step 6:

Pull the exhaust toward the rear of the motorcycle.

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Notice how the stock exhaust has a muffler gasket while the Werkes USA exhaust does not. This is because the Werkes USA exhaust muffler slides forward onto the midpipe until the bolt hole for the heat shield is just forward of the rear set heel guard bolts. The Werkes USA exhaust does not need an exhaust gasket!

Stock (left), Werkes USA (right)

Stock (left), Werkes USA (right)

Step 7:

Remember to slide the Werkes USA clamp onto the mid pipe before sliding on the Werkes USA canister onto the midpipe.

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Put a rag over the swing arm to avoid scratching or denting the Werkes USA canister while wiggling or sliding it over the mid pipe. Note: It is a tight fit, so it takes a little body English.

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Clean the Werkes USA exhaust thoroughly on the outside with WD-40 or comparable cleaning substance to avoid discoloring the canister after starting the motorcycle.

Step 8:

Tighten the hose clamp. Install the new stainless steel heat shield with the 4mm allen bolt provided.

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Final Step:

Make sure you clean the outside of the pipe with WD-40 or a comparable product before running the motorcycle to avoid discoloration.

Start and enjoy.

Tools I used: 3/8’’ ratchet with 14mm and 12mm sockets, Phillips screwdriver, 12mm T-handle, 14mm wrench 4mm/5mm T-allen wrenches

Tools I used: 3/8’’ ratchet with 14mm and 12mm sockets, Phillips screwdriver, 12mm T-handle, 14mm wrench
4mm/5mm T-allen wrenches

We put each exhaust system (both stock and the Werkes USA muffler) on the scale. The stock exhaust weighs 17.5 lbs. while the Werkes U.S.A. exhaust weighs 2.5 lbs. This is a total weight savings of 15 pounds!

We put each exhaust system (both stock and the Werkes USA muffler) on the scale. The stock exhaust weighs 17.5 lbs. while the Werkes U.S.A. exhaust weighs 2.5 lbs.
This is a total weight savings of 15 pounds!

You can purchase the GP slip-on exhaust for an m.s.r.p. of $399.95. The exhaust is also available in Carbon Fiber, Cobra Black, Cobalt Black, Tungsten, Titanium, Mag Silver, Satin Silver and Gold for $100 more, as well as Black Velvet for $50 more. The install takes roughly ten minutes and is very easy. With the Competition Werkes GP exhaust, you’ll be where on your way to a lighter, faster and better-sounding machine in no time!

Competition Werkes is an aftermarket motorcycle accessories and parts company that has been producing fender eliminator kits, exhausts and much more for motorcycles since 1984. To find out more about their products, click here.

MotoInked’s 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300R Streetfighter Build

Say goodbye to this stock body because it's about to mutate into a bad ass fighter!

Say goodbye to this stock body because it’s about to mutate into a bad ass fighter!

Ever since the Ninja Turtles hit TV in the late 80’s, I was a kid infatuated with green things that were fun, bad ass and entertaining. Hence my affinity for Ninjas, big and small. You say Kawasaki, I say “Kawabunga!”

Michael Angelo was always my favorite turtle and it’s because of him I’ve never forgotten to appreciate the little things, no matter how underestimated they are. I say “underestimated” for a reason. You can never presume to be born with bad ass-ness, it has to be earned…or built.

This is why Michael Angelo is a muse for transforming my 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 into a Kawabunga streetfighter. Just like radioactive waste turned a slow, harmless turtle into a lightning quick ninja warrior, I’m going to turn my slow Ninja 300 into the envy of his bigger brothers.

I’ve scoured forums for other owners who have made the leap from clothed to naked with their 300’s but the most I’ve found that even resembled a transformation was a 250 that was smacked in the face with a 636 front end. I was disappointed to see an almost unanimous opinion across the inter webs that stripping and revamping a new 300 made about as much sense as giving a teenager a face lift. Why waste your time chopping up a new bike when you can do the same to an older, salvaged one?

You know what my answer to that one is? Because it’s already been done before! What’s the point in having a motorcycle, new or old, if you can’t make it your own, if you can’t transform it into the machine you’ve wanted since you were a kid? Why do I have to stick to the conventional, cookie-cutter showroom floor lawnmower-sounding half pint with the pretty green dress on? Why can’t I use my superpowers to turn my little ninja into the Michael Angelo I always envied as a kid? Why can’t I make my tortoise slap that silly hare on the ass? We live in America because this is the land where the naysayers can kiss my lilly white waste gate. This is the place where the haters can shout at their computer screens while I plaster my Kawa-bunga 300 turned bad ass street fighter photos all over their precious forums as shamelessly as a garage rapper peddling demos in a Wal Mart. This is my chance to turn a short woman complex into an excuse to go bigger and better than ever before.

Welcome to my adventure, ladies and gentlemen. We’re about to embark on a journey where David sends Goliath crying home to his mama. As you see it now, my little Ninja Turtle is still pretty much bone stock. He’s a ready volunteer on the surgery table and he’s ready to become a nun chuck wielding road warrior.

If you want the bully to run, you can’t stare him down from the bottom up. You have to tighten that ass and add some much needed oomph to that growl. Our first step will be to get the turtle out the gate with the pop of a new exhaust and whip that tail into shape with a Competition Werkes USA stainless steel GP slip-on exhaust and fender eliminator kit. Want to know how you turn an elephant man in a Beckham? Then get your ass back here to learn a thing or two about the installs. Stay tuned.

Jerre Hui’s Photon Honda Streetfighter

Jerre Hui's Photon Honda

Jerre Hui’s Photon Honda

The “Photon Honda,” streetfighter built by Jerre Hui started it’s life as a CBR1000RR, but a stock sportbike simply wouldn’t do for Jerre and his sci-fi imagination. He based the look of the bike on the animated film “Astro Boy” and he drew inspiration for the paint scheme after seeing a race replica of the Maserati MC12.

Jerre built the bike on his own, doing all the mechanical and electrical work himself. The project took him just over a year and he completed the bike despite having two surgeries on his elbow and shoulder. He was also out of work for a time during the process, which put a pinch on him financially, but he stayed positive and continued to work on the bike regardless.

Jerre is thinking his next project will be to transform an every day cruiser into a radical drag style-bike that will be “super low with a fat tire.” He also wants to install a V-twin engine into the chassis from the either a V Rod or Road Star Warrior. He says, “Anything I can modify and take to the next level – whether it be on two wheels or four – will have an aggressive look. As long as I have the budget, I’ll do it.”

One of Jerre’s favorite quotes is “When you imagine it, you can achieve it! When you dream it, you can become it.” “Nothing is impossible,” he says. “As long as I have the ambition, then someday, I will reach that level.”