First race on the Kawasaki A1R

Well, finally, at last…

Years after getting this bike home from the States with the help of  quite a few friends, years after it last ran, after months of tinkering with it, running about finding parts for it, or as I put it:

15 years for finding a genuine A1R
15 months of  work

all for 15 hours of “fun”! Insert Big Grin emoticon here.

You’ll find a map of the track here as well as a bit of info about the race, one of the oldest in Switzerland.
I hope I’ll be able to send a vid of the race as One of my friends had a camera onboard… and he blew me away!

Here it is on Google maps. And with a satellite view. It is a normal road with lots of Police controls normally as it’s a fave with local bike nuts. But once every two years, it’s blocked by the same cops who fine you and becomes the local replica of the “Mad Sunday”.

A slightly tense Spike

This was supposed to be summer… a very chilly morning, curtains of rain, all that with a brand new bike, with a new gearbox, new tires and a new rider… Can you you say uncomfortable?

I only did one of the runs before retiring wet and cold (10 degrees for F sake!).
Not fun at all.

Thankfully at mid-day, the sun appeared and dried the track… the rest of the day was thouroughly enjoyable.


This is getting better…

Better still…

I'll zip up my leathers next time, promise.

You really get into the game after a few runs, the track is a miniature Deal’s Gap, 7 kilometers long, a lot of blind curves, most curves cantered… Takes a while to get used to it. To make it more interesting, it is in the middle of a forest and the road is flanked by ravines: wiping out is NOT an option.

I did my first run with a non-functional gearbox, I was stuck in second gear. The clusters needed to be run-in. Thankfully, by the second run, it loosened up and got better and better. Thanks to Ellis of Moore Performance Engineering for his brillant piece of kit!


Ok a few things still need to be worked: the first gear is the looooooooooong race gear, I am probably running a too tall final ratio (16 x 32 or 2) I had a terrible time launching the bike and the starting line was on the flat.

Next race will see me using 17 x 32 or 1.8 ratio. I suspect it will need an even shorter ratio to help pick-up.

We can now start tuning the bike, it could do with more power as it is basically using a 350 street top end.

I will also  use straight cut gears (again thanks to Ellis) and purpose-made intake discs, not my factory steels ones. this is so they fit standard disc covers (deeper than factory castings).

I am investigating having both the covers and discs coated to reduce friction… parts are getting difficult to find.

Next or first on the list will be pipes. I am running original A1R pipes modified by the previous owner but they are getting too close to the tarmac for comfort, plus I feel they are restricting the 350 motor. They do deliver but you feel that they hit really high in the rev range. Something torquier would be better.

My Smiths Tach is obviously not running at the correct ratio: full blast on a straight, it read 5’500 rpms with the bike screaming… not right.

The rear original shocks are basically dead…  I’ll keep them for collection value but need a decent pair of Hagons or Konis. Every bump on the track was transmitted directly to my spine. Ouch.

The fairing is also pretty much in the way, I have to prepare the bike to run without it, but it means I need a front fender.

Riding in the rain without one gave me a very cold shower. Got my hair parted by a jet of cold, wet and dirty blast of road muck.


Apart from all that, the rider needs some practice sessions… getting passed by (ex Swiss Mountain king riding a) bog standard T250 is quite disheartening… not being able to follow him even more! Some more room for improvement.

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