2004 Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R (636)
What kind of riding did you modify this bike for?
I modified this bike strictly for competition stunt riding and doing stunt shows/exhibitions. I compete in the XDL Series (www.xdlshow.com) and perform shows all over (www.prostunters.com). I knew if I kept it street-legal, I would face the temptation of playing on the streets and getting into legal trouble.
How long have you been stunt riding?
I got my first bike when I was 23, it was my getting-out present when my enlistment was up with the Marine Corps in 2003. I started actually stunt riding in 2004 and have been at it every since.
How did you get started?
When I moved back to Indiana in late 2003, I started college and heard about these crazy guys doing wheelies and stuff. So, since everyone I rode with seemed to be working when I was out of class, I'd go play out on the county roads. Before I knew it, I was the crazy guy everyone was talking about. In the Spring of 2005, Abate of Indiana had asked if I would come do an exhibition at one of their events; since then, I've been hooked. So I started Vertical Limits and started providing motorcycle stunt shows to about every event imaginable, thus taking me as far as China for over three months last year.
Did someone teach you, or are you self-taught?
Almost everything has been self-taught—there weren't any local guys doing what I did on my level, so I had to just keep trying over and over until I figured it out. Going to competitions and meeting other riders helped me learn some of the more technical stuff and a few little tricks of the trade here and there.
What specific modifications did you make?
I try to keep the bike looking as stock as possible, but there have been quite a few modifications:
12 Bar: Serves two main purposes, Allows me to scrape the tail on the ground without destroying my sub-frame, also gives another place for my tandem partners to stand.
Crash Cage: The cage helps protect the bike from getting damaged when it's dropped or crashed.
Johnny P. Upper Stay: This replaces the brittle OEM fairing stay when sitting over the front of the bike and helps absorb some of the impact if the bike is flipped over or gets into a head on collision.
HoHey Designs Four-Piston Hand Brake: The hand brake allows me to control the rear brake when I'm not on the pegs to use the foot brake.
Thrust Company Pro Series Stunt Sprockets: The pro series sprockets give me added torque for slower wheelies. (www.moto-heaven.com)
OMR Sub Cage: The sub cage helps keep the sub-frame from twisting when scraping the 12 bar and gives a solid feel when standing on the rear pegs.
Front Fork Pegs: These allow me to put my feet on them while doing burnouts and is also another place for my tandem partner to stand.
HoHey Designs Rear Sets with Dirt Bike Pegs: Stock rear sets are made of cast aluminum and very brittle; the HHD rear sets are machined aluminum and almost impossible to bend, let alone break. (www.hoheydesigns.com)
Kleen Air Mod: This mod re-directs overflow oil from the crank case to the top of the valve covers. Doing this prevents the oil from going into the airbox and into the motor causing it to hydro-lock.
Aftermarket Easy Pull Clutch: I ride with one finger on the clutch and one finger on the hand brake, so this helps keep my fingers from getting fatigued pulling in the clutch multiple times.
Race Fairings: Cheaper than buying OEM plastics and easier to remove.
HEL Steel Braided Brake Lines "Color Matched": Braking plays an important role in stunt riding—upgrading the brake lines is a must! It helps against brake fade and gives a more consistent feel. Plus the colors match the bike! (www.moto-heaven.com)
Dented Gas Tank: Denting the gas tank helps keep me in place while sitting on it.
Did you make these mods yourself?
Stunt riding over the past five years has grown tremendously, so there are a lot of companies offering bolt-on mods for the most popular bikes. The Kleen Air Mod, Fork Pegs, Gas Tank, and Dirt Bike pegs are the mods I did myself, the rest were ordered through the respective companies and bolted on.
Have you ever had any close calls while doing these stunts?
Does kissing the pavement count as a close call? Ha-ha... I've actually been pretty fortunate for the amount of riding I do. My worst crash to date was actually pretty recently while I was practicing for a competition. I was working on coaster wheelies and overheated my brakes, this causing me to loop out somewhere between 60 & 70 mph. I ended up with some road rash, but that was about the extent of it—it pays to wear your gear and have angels watching over you!
What's next—any more modifications in the works?
Well, I've got some shows coming up soon and a few competitions. As for mods, I'm working on either getting a new paint scheme or going all out and getting a sweet vinyl wrap!
If anyone wants to learn more about stunt riding or booking a show, feel free to check out Chuck's website at www.prostunters.com or call him personally at (812) 580-BIKE.