When Petar Baksa saw our MotoGP Book competition in the last edition of Performance for a 'trick' machine featuring Öhlins components, he knew he had the perfect motorcycle sitting in his garage. The Croatian businessman had spent two years perfecting his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade by removing excess weight and fitting the best aftermarket items money could buy, turning the machine into a true track day weapon...
“I bought the bike towards the end of 2008,” explained Petar “and it arrived crated up straight from the factory so it really was ‘fresh in the box’. As much as I was tempted to, I didn’t ride or even start the bike in almost two years, I knew what building my dream bike would take and I had a vision of how I wanted the bike to look and ride when it was finished.”
While Petar’s patience would pay off in the end, he had to first begin transforming the machine. “The key aspects of the bike I wanted were driveability and low weight. Rather than tuning the machine into a dyno monster which nobody could really use I wanted the bike to be the lightest machine possible that I could then take on track days, which are a big passion of mine.
“First of all I removed any superfluous parts – the bike was only going to be used on the track so that meant I could remove parts such as the wing mirrors, licence plate and headlights. All this saved quite a bit of weight and from there, with the bike stripped down; I began to fit the best and lightest parts available to me.
“One of the first things that I wanted to do was to replace the standard wheels and keen to save as much weight as possible I opted for a set of carbon BST wheels, which are the best I’ve ever ridden on. I also fitted a CMC Brake Tech brake disk on the front which would not only shed some further weight but offer some incredible braking power, while on the rear I fitted a super light brake disk from Galfer which also had reader-slots for traction control – something that would come in handy on track days. Further weight reduction came from the fitting of Brembo monoblock SBK callipers, using an HRC alternator and by replacing the steel clutch plates with aluminium ones.
It wasn’t just aftermarket parts that Petar fitted to his ‘Blade, he developed his own lightweight fuel tank, which brought the centre of gravity closer to the centre of the bike and is a similar technique to that used on Superbike and MotoGP machines. This modification meant the bike would be easier to turn and corner, ideal for a fast lap. Petar also fitted a Motoholder aluminium subframe, which substituted for the complete rear end of the bike and with the addition of HRC fairings it meant his bike now looked like a true race bike and most importantly took five kilograms off the total weight of the machine.
With the CBR beginning to take shape again, it was time to start thinking about making the machine the best possible track day bike he could, “It was an easy decision when I had to choose which suspension to go for. For me, Öhlins have always represented cutting edge technology and their endless experience from race tracks all around the world and not to mention the countless victories and Championships they’ve won meant it was a perfect match for the track day bike I was building. I sourced some Öhlins Road and Track FGR803 forks and a TTX788 rear shock. Coupling with the suspension, I fitted a special KR (Kenny Roberts) swingarm. ” While he didn’t want a machine that was all ‘top end’, Petar ensured the engine still got an overhaul by fitting a host of official HRC and other exotic parts. With the machine almost ready to hit the tarmac, there were still some final weight gains to be made from fitting a brand new battery which was 65% lighter than the stock version, an Akrapovic titanium exhaust, Motec and HRC electronics, plus carbon fairings, air-runners and fender.
With this sharpest of Blades ready, it was time for Petar to hit the track, “I’ve been racing karts and bikes for the past twenty years and have always been passionate about racing. As a kid my hero was always Kevin Schwantz and now I would say my idol is Valentino Rossi – although I wear 58 on my leathers to honour Simoncelli. I run my own business so spannering and customising motorcycles is only a hobby for me, and track days are my chance to unwind so I couldn’t wait to take the Honda out, it weighed just 150kg with 12L of fuel and is a fantastic ride. Out on the track it’s so calm and precise through the corners, it handles just like I had hoped!”