The idea was simple; go as fast as a 1000 on a 600 with just a dash of cash tossed at it. The definition of fast is as broad as the sport of motorcycling, so instead of qualifying the statement by saying “it’s fast for a 600,” this budget bomber had to legitimately run with the big dogs.
Sure, a literbike (or bigger) would have been the easy route to big speed, but plenty of riders can’t afford the price of admission. While the notion of a 220 HP monster is nice, in reality the cost associated with such a beast can be crippling. Instead, forget the literbikes, ’Busas and ZX-14s; going quick doesn’t have to break the bank. With the right combo even the cash cows can be dethroned by the penny pinchers. We wanted to bring a knife to the gunfight and ride away victorious.
Since claiming a bike is fast without supporting facts is hollow, we decided to test Project Frugal Flyer on a trio of battlefields. The dyno was our first proving ground since big power on the drum will inevitably translate into aggresive forward motion.
Outside the confines of our SuperFlow dyno room, the drag strip and the standing mile were the next yardsticks to which this middleweight would be measured. In order to deem this project a success, it needed to stay around the $2500 budget, run nines at the drag strip and push 170 MPH in the standing mile. Knocking down literbike times on a budget 600 is a serious achievement. A tall order indeed, but it was worth a shot.
What started as a happy hour idea quickly blossomed into an all-encompassing quest for cheap speed. In search of the ideal platform we found that the latest Suzuki GSX-R600 fit the bill perfectly. It had good grunt, respectable top-end speed, a great chassis and, most importantly, is the lightest of the 600 class—a svelte 417-pounds full of fluid.
When we originally took possession of the 600 it had only been on the market for a month, which made finding parts a serious challenge. Nonetheless, we braved uncharted territory to win some…and lose a few as well.
In the early stages the goal was to cut weight and improve aerodynamics. It’s a proven recipe; less weight and better aero equal more speed. A Zero Gravity Double Bubble windscreen and a Yoshimura YRS fender eliminator were added to reduce drag. The stock mirrors were removed, as were the pillion pegs along with random bits that trapped wind and added weight.
The windscreen created a larger pocket of air for the rider to tuck behind and the Yosh fender eliminator not only shaved weight, but it also replaced the giant stock flap that was hanging in the wind while allowing us to attach a plate for street rides.
It’s been said that the most un-aerodynamic portion of a sportbike is the incoming air that rushes through the radiator and hits the engine. This abundance of air smacks the motor before spilling around either side and exiting through the side-mounted outlets. In some cases insufficient exit venting at high speeds can cause the air to back-up behind the radiator, preventing sufficient flow through the fins. When this happens a bike can quickly overheat. Because of this giant scoop-like hole we lowered the front by sliding the triples down over the fork tubes and added a Yana Shiki lowering link out back. The slammed stance diminished the radiator cavity and created a slippery shape with the nose tucked just over the fender.
The gauge hanging next to...
The gauge hanging next to the tachometer allows for a real time display of the air/fuel ratio.
A Scott’s steering damper was a prerequisite for combating tankslappers. Its high-speed damping circuit meant the bars were free of cumbersome damping until a high-speed wiggle was encountered; at that point the Scott’s was there to straighten things out. While it added a few ounces it offered unmatched piece of mind, particularly when tucked with one hand on the bars at top speed.
With a proper stance and sorted aerodynamics the first phase of power enhancements began. A Yoshimura R-77 stainless/carbon full system got the rear end of the deal while a K&N Race Spec air filter made sure the Gixxer kept its mouth wide open. The combo took the baseline numbers of 103.4 HP and 44.12 LB-FT and increased them to 108.64 HP and 44.99 LB-FT.
Since the free-breathing combo upset the air/fuel ratio, a Power Commander PCV was added to better blend the air and fuel inside the combustion chambers. With a custom fuel map the power jumped to 111.08 HP and 45.02 LB-FT for peak gains of 8.05 HP and just under 1 LB-FT. Not bad for bolt-ons.
The newfound power was great, but running nines at the strip and 170 MPH in the standing mile required more than just a good bump—it needed a Hail Mary. Where someone with money might consider a built-motor or turbo, the meager budget meant nitrous was going to be this project’s higher-powered savior.
A direct port system was the obvious choice because of its proven track record on racebikes, but the budgetary confines again pointed towards something more affordable—a dry fogger kit from Nitrous Express. Not to be confused with cheap, the NX kit uses high-quality pieces like its carbon-fiber solenoid to administer an even stream of N2O.
Since nitrous installation and tuning isn’t for the weekend warrior we turned to Herrera Racing for help (OK to do all the work). Since the budget fogger kit fed the motor by way of a line plumbed into the airbox, Herrera Racing directed the N2O before the air filter to help evenly distribute the spray.