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Nicky Hayden tribute: Analog’s Honda XR650L flat tracker

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
Nicky Hayden left a massive hole in the motorcycling world—and in all of our hearts—when he passed away unexpectedly in May last year. In a fitting tribute, the Kentucky Kid was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame earlier this month.

To commemorate the occasion, the Hall of Fame Museum commissioned two tribute bikes from Chicago’s Analog Motorcycles. American Honda donated the motorcycles, including a CBR1000RR to be wrapped in Hayden’s Repsol MotoGP livery. But the direction of the second bike was left entirely up to Analog shop boss Tony Prust (below).

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
Most people know Nicky Hayden from his time in MotoGP and the Superbike World Championships. But longtime fans will remember that Nicky actually got his start in flat track racing.

“I chose to build a flat track bike,” Tony tells us, “because that’s where Nicky’s roots were. I also wanted to remember his American racing heritage, so I chose the AMA 2002 Championship RC51 livery. The rest was about making all that happen, and not looking forced.”

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
Before he could execute his vision, Tony had to pick a donor. The AMA wanted the bike to be street legal, so the CRF250L and XR650L ended up on the short list. Then Honda announced the release of the CRF450L—but by then, Tony had already made up his mind.

“The 450 would have been fun,” he says, “but I think the air-cooled XR650 fits the bill pretty well.”

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
The XR650L is a fantastic choice. It’s a close cousin to the desert-dominating XR650R, makes decent power and doesn’t cost the earth. There’s also a ton of aftermarket parts available for it—unless you’re trying to build a flat tracker.

“I set out to find a fiberglass tank and tail kit,” says Tony. “But because of its oil in frame backbone and frame design, this proved very challenging. So, as I continue to hone my metal shaping skills, I decided to make it all.”

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
“That was not really in the budget—but since I was a Nicky Hayden fan and the Hall Of Fame is a good cause, we made it work.”

Tony hand-shaped a new fuel tank to fit the Honda, basing it on the shape of the classic Harley-Davidson XR750 tank. Then he fabricated a tail section, complete with number plates and a custom seat pan, which Dane Utech upholstered.

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
The fenders (yes, there’s a sneaky rear fender too) are also custom, as is the front number board. Everything flows and tucks together perfectly; the top of the front number board wraps around the speedo, and the right rear number board wraps around the exhaust. Analog used Denali optics at both ends, with two discreet headlights, and an LED taillight.

As for the chassis, the subframe was modified to accommodate the new tail piece. Analog installed a custom-built Hyperpro shock at the back, and a KTM 690 Enduro front end, rebuilt to suit the Honda’s specs. The wheels are flat track-appropriate 19” numbers, featuring Sun rims, Buchanan’s spokes and Dunlop DT3 tires.

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
Tony’s made sure the Honda goes as well as it shows. He removed the engine’s emissions ‘octopus’ (a common XR650L mod), then installed a Keihin FCR41 carb. There’s a custom intake with a K&N filter, and a Magura hydraulic clutch conversion. Analog also modified and ceramic coated the exhaust headers, and installed a Cone Engineering muffler.

There’s a host of smaller upgrades in play too. The team installed Magura handlebars and master cylinders, Oury grips, a Motogadget speedo, mirrors and switches, and their own brand of mini LED turn signals.

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
The bike was also completely rewired around a Motogadget m.unit, with an EarthX lithium-ion battery. And Analog even went to the trouble of wrapping all the wiring in WireCare sleeving and tubing.

Jason at Artistimo Customs handled the paint, successfully adapting the Kentucky Kid’s 2002 AMA Championship RC51 livery to the shape of the XR650L. Certain parts were powder coated to finish things off; some in-house, and some by J&J Powder Coating.

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
“We are super honored to be asked to build these bikes for such an amazing racer and human,” says Tony, “and had the pleasure of being at the induction ceremony in early December.”

“The AMA, American Honda and the Hayden Family all were there to unveil the machines on stage and they were all really impressed with how they turned out. It was a highlight of our year here at Analog Motorcycles and a great way to end 2018.”

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
Analog’s XR650L is an incredibly well-built, street-legal flat tracker. But it’s also a stunning tribute to one of motorcycling’s most beloved racers. We just wish the Kentucky Kid himself could put it through its paces.

Analog Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Studio images by Daniel Peter | In-process image by Grant Schwingle

Nicky Hayden tribute: A Honda XR650L flat tracker by Analog Motorcycles
Analog Motorcycles would like to thank: Dunlop Tires, Magura, Motogadget, Cone Engineering, K&N Filters, Spectro Oils, Buchanan’s Spokes, WireCare, and our own parts Company Analog Motor Goods.

The two bikes will be raffled off to raise funds for the non-profit AMA Hall Of Fame Museum. US residents came purchase tickets here.

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