Ever wonder where pro-class racebikes go, at the end of the season?
It depends which series you’re talking about, but chances are if you’re a lower-tier World Superbike outfit, or running a team in one of the national-level pro superbike or street racing series (MotoAmerica, Canadian Superbike, British Superbike, IOMTT), sooner or later you’re going to have some machinery for sale. Motorcycle technology progresses, deals with sponsors come and go, riders retire, life goes on.
This means that, if you really want to buy an actual pro-level racebike, it’s quite doable. Years ago, if you wanted to buy a bike like this, you had to be in the know. If you weren’t a friend of a friend, or otherwise on the periphery of the racing world, you’d never know what was up for sale, and what wasn’t. Now, thanks to the Internet, you can find these machines much more easily. For proof, here’s a 2019 Kawasaki ZX-10R, the bike Corey Alexander used this season in MotoAmerica’s Superstock series.
“Some work done”
The advert for this particular bike says “This is Corey Alexander’s race-winning & 11x podium placing MotoAmerica bike from the 2020 MotoAmerica Stock 1000 season.” Indeed, the bike was good enough to take Alexander to second overall in the season standings, with 204 points to Cameron Petersen’s 260 points. Third-place Travis Wyman had 148 points, so obviously Alexander’s machine worked out very nicely for him.
MotoAmerica’s Superstock series generally sees racers on litrebikes, although they aren’t tuned as hot as MotoAmerica’s Superbike class. So what race prep went into this ZX-10R?
In stock form, the 2019 ZX-10R should make about 207 horsepower with the help of ram air, and 83 pound-feet of torque (those numbers will vary, depending what market you’re in, but that’s a ballpark). This generation of the ZX-10R came out for 2016, and it’s done well on-track since then, with advanced electronics thanks to a five-axis IMU.
Of course, a race team will take things a lot further. Even though the series is called Superstock, this bike is anything but factory-condition. The legendary race tuners at Graves Motorsports built and maintained this machine through the 2020 season, and the ad says it “is being sold 100% as it was last raced including all AIM potentiometers and dashboard.” That means a lot of race electronics, on top of Kawi’s factory package. Just take a look at the list: “FTECU Software with Race Team License,” “AIM MXS 1.2 dash/data logger with 1.3m harness,” and so on. What does it do? You’d have to be a pro-level superbike tech to know. One thing’s for sure, it’s expensive; the electronics upgrades alone add up to almost $8,000 US.
The engine got a serious going-over, with a new EVR slipper clutch ($849.95, in case you wondered,), NGK Surface Gap spark plugs ($273.60), a full WORKS2 carbon fibre exhaust ($2,399), and the engine built to MotoAmerica’s Superstock specifications ($2,000). That engine was serviced every race weekend, and currently has three weekends of racing on it, but Graves says it will overhaul the engine at additional cost, if the buyer wants it.
What about the suspension? A set of “Graves-spec” forks and shock add up to $3,700 alone, not to mention skim kits, a trick preload adjuster and other tweaks. The bike has stock wheels, but Graves spacers add another $120 to the build cost. The list goes on and on; the advert says the build cost $15,399. Add in the cost of the bike itself, and the ad says this machine cost $40,230.36 plus labour costs.
Obviously, racing is very expensive business, and you can’t blame Corey Alexander for wanting to get some of that money back. Also, this machine obviously isn’t for the street; it’s been built for high-level racing, and there’s no point in returning it to public roads.
Who would buy it?
This is a really good question: Who would buy this motorcycle? The most obvious answer is “another racer,” but with a new-for-2021 Kawasaki ZX-10R, who’d want the previous-gen bike? Hard to say, because this more machine than many amateur riders could ever hope to deal with (remember that fancy-pants electronics package?). A top-tier team is going to want the latest and greatest. Not that you couldn’t race this bike very successfully next season. With the next-gen model in its first year of racing in 2021, some teams will still be struggling with their setup. A well-sorted machine like this will cause all sorts of trouble for a team that doesn’t have their act together.
There’s always the possibility of a collector’s interest, too, although the Superstock class might not have the same cachet as something like a World Superbike machine, or an IOMTT bike, and those are available as well, online.
But again, there’s the “online factor.” These days, thanks to the magic of the World Wide Web, this bike could go anywhere. Maybe an up-and-coming team in the UK or EU or even Asia wants a top-tier machine. This could be a chance to buy something super-fast and save a few bucks. The auction ends on Saturday, November 21. At time of writing, the bidding is still too low to meet the reserve price. By auction’s end, it’ll be interesting to see how close the bidding gets to that $40k build price.