Ah, so, the California Cycle Works M track tank. This thing rocks.
I did a weight comparison between a steel tank off an old M, a plastic tank off an S2R, and the MTT. Surprisingly to me, at least, the steel tank was the heaviest, at right around 15 lbs, while the plastic tank looked to be around 14 (I just used an analog scale to get a fair idea). I'd always just assumed the plastic tanks were heavier than the steel ones, they're just so bulky. The MTT came in at 10 lbs, which is a pretty good weight reduction considering the price - I've always thought $100/lb in weight reduction (in terms of lightweight accessories, i.e., replacing steel subframes with alloy ones, etc. Of course, if the bike came with them, well..) was a pretty good ratio up to the first 20-25 lbs; it starts getting exponentially more expensive beyond that. So, four to five pounds for $500 is a pretty good deal. and obviously, if you have a good, undented steel tank, this tank is a no-brainer if you're even thinking of going near a track.
Of course, a carbon tank weighs even less, at around 5#, but Fuel Cells are around $1300 and up, and DP ones are at least that much if you can find them. On the flip side, though, carbon tanks hold up even worse to ethanol fuels than the plastic ones, and, even with non-ethanol fuels, are going to degrade eventually - ask me how I know. Regardless, I was thrilled to lose 5 pounds for that kind of money.
Even better than the weight reduction, though, IMO, are the improved ergonomics. I'm a pretty small guy, and always fit the M well, but I always felt that the bulbous tank splayed my arms out too much, limiting my ability to really get off the bike and achieve a full counter steer quickly. I guess that I always got the bike turned, but I noticed the tank, a lot. From the very first lap I turned with the MTT, it felt perfect. I was thinking that maybe I had the race tail a little higher than the stock seat I always ran, but if it is, it's not by much. It's wider, and firmer, which would effectively increase the distance from seat to the ground, but I still have roughly the same reach, so I don't think it has much to do with the seat. CCW states that the MTT has the same ultimate height as the stock tank, which bears out to the naked eye. I'd say the real benefit comes from the upper indentations in the tank, allowing more arm clearance when leaning off the bike. This obviously seems like a no-brainer, just wanted to corroborate it with my thought process.
But there's more. The leg indentations, too, are deeper than the stock tank and really help. I've never liked Stomp Grip pads, they feel weird to me, maybe because I really move around a lot and like to get off the bike (with tire grip nowadays, the general orthodoxy is to only have about half the butt off the seat at any time). Usually, because I'm a pretty short inseam (28"), I tend to end up hooking my leg over the seat rather than bracing it against the tank. The deep cut-outs on the MTT really allowed me to use the tank itself for leverage, which is not usually the case for me on most bikes. I think the more pronounced lip at the upper part of the indentation really helps provide a better leverage point, too. This might not be as big of a benefit for taller riders, but it makes a big difference for me. Put it this way, I'd be inclined to purchase this tank just for the ergonomics, the weight savings is really icing on the cake. Chris hit it out of the park, I'd say.
Beyond that, I like the finish. Yes, it's soft, but it shines up nicely with the silicone spray polish that comes with it (gotta get more of that.) I thought the plate adaptor for carbed bikes was awesome; when I first got the tank, I was still thinking I'd run my injected motor at some point, and the flexibility is a real plus. My only sticking point on this tank, and it's a very limited window where this would be an issue, is the fact that the bottom of the tank is so close to the top at the filler hole that you cannot see into the tank whatsoever. For me, without any sort of fuel level sensor or light, this is a small issue as I can't even use the stick method to see how much gas I have. Like I said, though, this is a small issue. Most people could or would still use the stock sensor; I just slosh the tank around and estimate how much is in there. And then, I add a little more - I've run out of gas in races, and it just plain sucks. LOL.
So, obviously, I love this tank. I think it looks pretty cool with the 888 bodywork, like an endurance tank, and even more so from some angles. I think it looks good on more stockish M's, too. Again, though, the ergonomics alone are worth it. I'll finish up by saying that I am absolutely getting another one for the M600 I just started on, whether Chris sponsors me or not. Although, I hope he sees this and does. And I still need more stix. I'm tempted to get the white one so I can see the fuel level, but I'll likely go red again. I missed having red Ducks as I hadn't had one for years other than the S2R, briefly, and I've still gotta lot of that Torch Red left...
The racing went pretty well. Since 2011, I was out for exactly one shop track day in 2014, 2 practice sessions/races on the Ninja 250 in 2015, a couple of practice days and 1 race at BHF earlier in the summer, and a couple of practice days up at the AHRMA RA round, both of the latter on the yellow bike as this bike wasn't finished in time (are they ever??) At BHF, I got down to within 1.5 seconds of my best time ever in the GTL race, finishing 7th, which was mid pack. I was happy with that result after not riding a big bike there for 4 years (that Ninjette just doesn't count.)
In practice up at RA for AHRMA, OHMIGOD that yellow bike was stonkin' fast. I'd never had it up there; RA wasn't on our schedule in 11. However, I knew it'd be fast, because it was built for tracks like that, and boy howdy, it was. As in, I was gaining on Daytona 675s on the front straight. On the other hand, though, the Corsa close ratio trans was a problem, mostly because I didn't have tall enough gearing, and I had 15/30(!) final gearing on the bike (tallest I had, and it's just crazy. The rear sprocket is so small there aren't any holes drilled in it, and the chain just looks ridiculously close to the swing arm). So, on the front straight, with a headwind even, I would reach 8k rpm soon after the start/finish and just hold it for a while until I'd get to turn 1. Also, I hadn't been to RA for 5 years, so I wasn't getting as good of a drive off 14 (it matters, even there) as I did before, or would as I got more time. Regarding the headwind, too, it was a tailwind on the race days, so that would have been a problem, too. But wait, I'm not quite done yet. The other effect of the close ratio trans at those speeds was that it was SO close, as in, it effectively gave the bike a 500 rpm rev range, from 7500 to 8K, and it'd rev through that immediately up to fifth gear, and only slightly slower than that in sixth. Crazy. The shift points were all wrong for 2 corners, too, and less than ideal for a couple more - I was either too high or too low.
I always thought the trans in that bike was kind of a PITA at shorter tracks- I had a few guys tell me I wasn't riding the torque curve right until I explained what I had going on (the bike has Gia Ca Moto cams too!), but i had no idea what it'd be like on a really fast track. I'd have still tried to adapt and race it, though, if not for the fact that it was effectively circulating the track at or near redline as soon as I accelerated out of the pits. The motor has some old JE pistons (which were never very good even when new) in there, and I didn't want to risk blowing it up. I'll get into that motor as soon as I'm done with my others, and also, I'm pretty sure the bike still has 2:1 primaries, so I'll be changing those, too. I can't wait to get back up there on it, and down to Daytona, and whatever other tracks I can get it on.
So, AHRMA was a bust, but no worries, I had plenty of beer and grub, and that's an awesome event to spectate - Rockerbox out of Milwaukee puts on quite a production there that weekend. I was shocked the first time I went up there, I'd say the crowds are bigger than the AMA events nowadays. I could be wrong about that, but that's what it seems like. Cool any which way.
Lucky for me, CCS was back up at RA a couple of weeks later, and this bike was ready. My wife and I headed up there on Wednesday, nice and relaxed and well prepared, and settled in for a long weekend of fun.
I custom ordered my trailer with a few options, one of them was a walk on roof. How's this for a view?
It's pretty good for watching races, too.