Yamaha R6 Race Tips | Stuff I’ve Learned Building My Own Racebikes In MotoAmerica

Table of Contents

  1. Rear Shock
  2. Engine
  3. Radiator
  4. Wheels

These are the things I have learned so far racing my R6 with MotoAmerica. The NUMBER 1 thing is making sure every bolt on the bike is tight. Over the course of years, I have had handlebars come loose on the track, radiator tubes pop off, sprocket nuts come off and damage the swingarm, top triple trees come loose, etc. A torque wrench is essential.

My team and I are by no means perfect, but these tips are some of the things I have learned over my years so far.


1. Rear Shock

i. Grinding Subframe Mount For Rear Shock Changes

One of the things that blew my mind, is grinding the subframe mount down. I take an angle grinder and grind down the mount so when I take my upper shock clevis bolt out, I can fully pull the bolt out. As a street bike, you have to remove the whole upper shock clevis, but if you grind down this mount you can angle the bolt out and pull the bolt out of the bottom of the subframe.

No removal of the upper clevis is needed.

ii. Captive Rear Shock Mount Pieces

Upper clevis, lower clevis, dogbones

This feels like a secret, but they make captive pieces for your upper shock mount, lower shock clevis, along with dog bones. You no longer have to put a wrench by the screaming hot exhaust. One tool, that’s all that’s needed to remove each bolt, no wrenches needed.

iii. Drilling Subframe For Allen Into Upper Shock Clevis

The final thing to making rear shock changes easier is I drill a hole through the side of my subframe. The hole is in line with the upper shock clevis, so I can stick an 8mm allen head all the way through the subframe and remove the upper shock bolt.


2. Engine

i. Oil Filter, Hose Clamp Instead Of Drilling And Safety Wire

On the R6, if you just run a hose clamp around your oil filter, you don’t need to drill anything. On the R6, you can push the hose clamp up against the engine case, and not need to worry about safety wire at all. It is as good, if not more secure, than safety wire because it is directly up against the engine block.

ii. Fill Engine Oil To Max Fill, So It Does Not Starve Itself Of Oil

On my R6, we fill the engine oil to the max line. I have heard this from numerous people, including superbike teams, my engine builder, mechanics, etc. Especially braking into the last corner at Road Atlanta or T5 at Barber, due to it being downhill and the forward G forces, you are on the nose of the bike, and the engine can starve itself of oil. This is something we do at every track as a precaution.

iii. Removing Outer Front Sprocket Cover, ONLY WITH BACK PIECE STILL ON

The 17-20 Yamaha R6 comes with a different style front sprocket cover than 08-16. It comes in two pieces so you can remove the outer piece, which allows for easier front sprocket changes. But make sure you leave the back piece on so you reduce the risk of splitting your engine cases. If you remove that back piece, or if you take off the sprocket cover entirely on the 08-16 R6 you have no protection if your chain breaks and flies off. That piece of plastic reduces the risk that the back of the chain will whip around and crack your engine case. Removing ANY part of the cover increases the risk of engine damage if your chain breaks. Keep it in mind.


3. Radiator

i. Radiator Bracket Bolt Into Frame Stud

Working on GP bikes (Moriwaki 250, RS 125) the entire bike is designed to be easy to work on. This is one thing I learned this year that helps bring the R6 closer to my old Moriwaki.

Rather than having two bolts to remove your radiator, we take the metal spacer on the right side, and turn it against the frame, grease the spacer, and use a socket cap bolt. Doing this allows for you to be able to pop your radiator off one side, and not remove a bolt. The bolt stays attached to the frame the entire time, so it is just a stud. Your radiator won’t pop off, because you have the other side bolted down, and if you crash and bend the radiator that bad, then you have bigger problems.

ii. Radiator Thermostat Mod

We don’t run the thermostat on my racebike. But we do run the thermostat housing. We found if you totally remove the thermostat housing (located underneath your throttle bodies on the top of the engine) then the coolant moves too quickly through the radiator and doesn’t cool down enough. We will pop the thermostat out of the housing, but put the housing back in. Running just the housing allows for enough backpressure and slows the flow rate for enough time for the heat to be pulled out of the water through the radiator. We don’t run the thermostat (which is heat-sensitive for when it opens up to allow coolant to flow), in case it fails and we have no opening which means no coolant moving through the engine. We always tape up the radiator to keep it at the correct temperature, they design that piece for street riders, and it has to be bulletproof. That is why we remove the thermostat but not the housing.

iii. Samco Radiator Tubes So You Don’t Crush Metal Tubes In Crash

The OEM radiator tube running from the thermostat to the top of the radiator is made of metal and goes outside of the frame. This means anytime you crash on the left side you likely have to replace that tube because it is crushed. We run a Samco race kit, which means all of those metal connecting tubes are all made of rubber, so if you were to crash on the left side, the rubber will flex, and not crush. So you have a much higher likelihood of not having to replace the part.

Link to the race kit tubes


4. Wheels

i. Beveling Rear Brake Pads For Easier Wheel Changes

Bevel the rear brake pads so when you go to push the rear wheel back in, the brake disc opens the pads. If you leave them stock, and they have the straight 90-degree angle, and if the brake pads wigle *at all* then it won’t be a quick change. That is because your brake disc is pushing against the pad and won’t slide in. We don’t use the rear brake much so losing the braking power isn’t a big deal for us. 30-second wheel changes are.

ii. Glue Rear Sprocket Cush Drives In So They Don’t Fall Out

You go to pull your rear sprocket out of your rear wheel, but as soon as you pop the sprocket out, all the cush drives go flying everywhere. We glue the cush drives into our rear wheels using Outdoor Silicone Caulking. Put a little dab of caulking onto the sides of the rubber cush drives then put your sprocket in and the cush drives will glue themselves to your wheel. For some bikes, you can safety wire them in, but on my R6 we have to glue them in.

Caulking we use


Thank you so much for reading! I hope you were able to get something useful from my experiences.

-Nolan


5 thoughts on “Yamaha R6 Race Tips | Stuff I’ve Learned Building My Own Racebikes In MotoAmerica

  1. Nice write up man. I have been racing for a while and unless your around a veteran race tech or some professional teams it’s hard for people to learn tricks like these. Good share. Couple Questions, who makes the captive rear shock mounts. I have had them welded but never found a manufactured part before. Also are you running a specific wire loom, and how did you mount the rectifier? Good luck at MA!

    1. Thanks man! That’s exactly why I write these because that is exactly it. Its not that people aren’t willing to share, but you have to be around the right people at the right time. The upper clevis is made by Graves. The lower dogbones were made by an old mechanic of mine so I am not 100% sure, that is the only reason why I didn’t link them. I run the YEC harness and ECU and I used the stock rectifier mount.

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