A Grand National dirt track bike for the street…
In 2017, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 was the most popular model in the AFT Twins class of the Grand National Championship, the global pinnacle of flat track racing. Today, the Ninja retains a strong presence, piloted by riders like “Master of Miles” Bryan Smith, who has 30 career wins. Kevin Cameron of Cycle World credits a number of factors for the parallel twin Ninja engine’s flat track success, including liquid-cooling, all-plain-bearing construction, shorter-stroke reliability, and 4-valve design — features that enabled the bike to challenge Harley’s venerable XR750 air-cooled engine, which had more than four decades of on-track development.
Enter Ryan Maloney, a family man, racer, full-time HVAC tech, and “part-time wannabe bike builder out of my basement.” For a part-time builder, Ryan has created a street tracker as incredible as any we’ve seen, inspired by the 650R dirt trackers of the American Flat Track series:
“I wanted to build a Grand National dirt track bike for the street because so many people doubted it and said it wouldn’t work on the street and it would suck to ride.”
The heart of this Ninja street tracker — “Nightmare” — is a liquid-cooled Ninja 650R engine, placed in a center shock J&M frame, with loads of one-off CNC parts, carbon fiber bodywork, and some truly awe-inspiring paint from Bert Graphix. Below, we get the full story on this street-legal framer from the builder himself!
Ninja 650R Tracker: Builder Interview
Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Ryan Maloney and motorcycles have been in my life since I was a little kid. I always had to have the fastest toys. I modified everything because in my eyes stock sucks. From building 10-sec cars to choppers. I’m a full time HVAC tech and a part-time wannabe bike builder out of my basement.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Motor is a Kawasaki 650R Ninja, and the frame is a center shock J&M.
• Why was this bike built?
I wanted to build a Grand National dirt track bike for the street because so many people doubted it and said it wouldn’t work on the street and it would suck to ride.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Grand National flat track.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
All the foot controls are one-off CNC for this build. CNC kick stand, custom CNC side plates to hide the electrical.
Cut down Ohlins R1 forks. Beringer Brakes with a 310mm front disc and 6-piston caliper with a 4-piston rear.
Molded undertail for the brake light and to protect the electrical. Carbon fiber tail section and number plate.
Adjustable triple clamps and a lot more little things, and as usual Bert Graphix knocked it out of the park with the paint.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Honestly everything. I truly fell In love with this build.
Follow the Builder @maloney525_