Are you ready to go to the track with your R3? If you are serious about getting into this sport, one of the essential investments required will be to replace your OEM plastic with race bodywork. It will simplify and speed up the maintenance process when you are trackside by reducing the number of parts requiring assembly/disassembly. Installing race fairings means that you will, at a minimum, remove your mirrors, lights, blinkers, and a few unnecessary plastic trims.
The other advantage of using race bodywork is if (or when) you have an incident with your bike, a quality body kit will be much easier to repair than the manufacturer’s plastics. In my last encounter with a wall of tires at my local track, my bike suffered severe road rash on the lower fairing and a broken upper fairing. I was able to fix all of this with a fiberglass kit for less than $40.
But beware, not all race body kits are created equal. Here are a few things to consider when you buy a new body kit for your bike:
- Fitment – Will the holes line up properly with the mounting points on the frame?
- Material – Plastic, Carbon fiber, Fiberglass.
- Finish – Will the bodywork show up at your doorstep fully painted, primed only, or “naked”?
- Durability – The material and the overall quality of these materials will certainly have a significant impact on how durable your new fairings will be if you ever have a crash.
- Support – Will someone be available to answer your questions?
- Price – Many options are available, but remember that you get what you pay for…
If you are on a tight budget, you might be able to find used or damaged bodywork for sale in various forums or social groups. Watch a few How-To videos on YouTube, and you should be able to figure out how to patch things up with fiberglass reasonably quickly.
Fitting/Trimming the Bodywork
You will likely need to drill, Dremel, modify your fairings. Doing this type of operation is quite normal, especially if you installed extra aftermarket components like frame sliders, windshields, engine covers, etc. Parts might rub against the fairing, some holes might not lineup properly with the frame, you might have some annoying vibration when you ride, or you simply might decide to relocate your frame sliders. Do not panic! Modifying bodywork, even when it’s brand new, is totally normal. If you get race bodywork, be prepared to get your toolbox out and do, at a minimum, a few minor alterations.
I always focus on trying to simplify the process of servicing the bike. Hence why I am such a huge fan of quarter-turn quick-release fasteners. You will see in my video that various levels of quality are available. Do yourself a favour and get the DZUS fasteners! For all the other bolts that will hold the fairing in place, you have a few options: aluminum, steel, titanium. In some instances, you can even pick the colour of those bolts. Buying new bolts isn’t always required; you might be able to leverage several components that were holding your fairings in place initially.
Brackets (Stay), Windshield, and Heatshield
Replacing the fairing stay with a lighter aftermarket unit is a good idea if you are trying to reduce the bike’s overall weight. You must plan how the upper/front fairing will be secured to the stay. Will you use bolts, quick-release fasteners, quick-release rubber plugs? How many fasteners will you use? Will the bracket allow you to re-use the mirror holes, or will you have to drill a new set of holes?
If you purchase a Puig, ZeoGravity, or another aftermarket windshield, you will need to use your Dremel to grind all the extra plastic projections designed to fit on the OEM front cowling.
Heatshield barriers are sometimes required if your exhaust or engine is near the bodywork. If you notice that your paint is fading or even cracking, that could be the cause. You can install a peel and stick thermal shield barrier or simply use some foil tape.
The Final Touch – Paint!
I successfully painted many of my race fairings over the years, but nothing beats a professional paint job. If you plan on painting yourself, make sure you have paint that can take a lot of abuse. I had some success with Plasti Dip and with regular rattle spray cans. If you go with regular spray paint, I would recommend several thin layers of clear coat to protect the paint. Some of my friends also had their bodywork vinyl wrapped, and it looked awesome while offering some good resistance to chips. More info available soon – I’ll publish a new post on this topic shortly.
A Few More Things
I always enjoy race bodywork projects. They not only allow me to customize the look but also optimize the serviceability of the bike. Make sure you test everything by assembling and disassembling everything a few times before you go to the track. It will allow you to develop a process to mount everything correctly, and it will validate that everything is nice and stable. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a fastener(s) that only works a few times or does not sit properly. Do yourself a favor and eliminate these issues before you get a track.
Overall complexity for this type of work is a 3 out of 5.