Track Days on the horizon - Replies appreciated - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2003, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Track Days on the horizon - Replies appreciated

I've been riding sport bikes going on 12 years now, and I'm planning to get into track day riding. My rides have been, (in this order):

'86 Nighthawk 650
'87 Honda VFR
'94 GSX-R750
'96 GSX-R1100
'00 Honda VTR 1000
'02 Yamaha FZ1

At this point, the FZ1 is for sale and a track bike is my next purchase. I'd like some advise from people with significant track bike EXPERIENCE.
What bikes would you recommend? Realistically, how expensive does it get? How much is it to prep a stock bike for the track? I have most of the gear I THINK I will need, any advice on track-specific gear?
Also, I'm in Michigan. I'm looking for Great Lakes area tracks/events. Thanks in advance for all replies.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 10:08 AM
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First off, if you are talking track days you can run anything with very little prep or expense. If you mean racing it's a whole 'nother ball game.


For track days most prep is essentially free. Tape over the lights and lens' and maybe replace the coolant with water. Take off the mirrors and you are pretty much good to go.


If you do it a lot, tires will be your biggest cost. I have been running my 97 yzf1000 for the last couple years and done ~10 track days with NO costs other than tires, fuel, and track fees (other than crash repairs once, getting frame sliders is a HUGE must for the track, saved me big).

At a minimum you need leathers, I highly rec 1-piece but most places will let you run 2-piece, helmet, race gloves, race boots. That can be done for under 1k but 1.5k is more reasonable for quality but not extravagant gear.

AFA bikes go, anything will work just fine. Most people would have you start on a 600 or smaller bike. Any 600 will be fine or ex500, sv650 (with suspension upgrades ~$100-$1000). But really for a track day bike 90% of the performance comes from tires so run whatever and mod it later if you feel like it.

And remember, higher performance in tires and bikes just means that when you finally exceed the limits you be going much faster when you wreck. The lessons learned at the limits of an ex500 at 100mph are the same as those on a r1 at 130. It just hurts more when you fuck up on the r1.


Overall, don't sweat it too much. Just go out with the FZ1 for a few track days and then see what you want to do.

Repeal helmet laws, they only protect people we most likely don't need in the gene pool any way!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 10:42 AM
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That about sums it up! Just ride relaxed and work on technique, not speed. When the technique's right, the speed takes care of itself. It's a blast!

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 07:47 AM
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You've received some good advice so far, but I like to see my words on the screen, so I'll chime in too.

I am not a racer, nor have I ever been a racer. But I am a professional motorsports photographer, and as such I go to a lot of track days (80-100 per year) to take photos. I've also ridden on tracks about 30 times in the last three years. Which is a roundabout way of establishing my credentials.

For a track toy you want something which is forgiving (and slow) enough that you won't get in over your head while you're working on your technique. I'd forget about an EX500 just because you cannot get premium tires for that bike. The SV650 is a great track toy, but will need suspension upgrades as soon as you start picking up the pace.

And now for the really important advice: Take some schools as soon as possible. Doesn't really matter which school. CLASS, California Superbike School, STAR etc. are all excellent. You need to take a few schools (two or three) when starting out on the track so you can learn proper technique instead of just reinforcing the bad habits you've taught yourself over the years. (I'm speaking from experience here.)

Look around for a good used bike. If you don't want an SV650, look around for a used 600 sportbike. With Suzuki revving the GSXR600 for next year there will probably be a lot of good deals on the outgoing models as people trade up to the newest toy.

My next track toy will most likely be a used SV650, unless I find a deal on a 600 sportbike.

"In my opinion, there's nothing in this world/
Beats a '52 Vincent, and a red headed girl."
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 08:30 AM
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I currently run my street bike at the track (the Aprilia Mille) but am currently looking for a used bike for track only purposes. Since the track I frequent is tight, a mid 90's 600 (any of the big four), a FZR 400 or an SV650 are my prime candidates. 750's and 1000's are probably better on larger tracks, with longer straights. Small and light is the name of the game imo.
btw: after many years of riding on the street, this past summer was the beginning of my track addiction....its just INCREDIBLE!! ENJOY!!

Silly squid...specs are for kids!

I prefer 4 strokes over 2 strokes...you get 2 extra strokes!!!

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds -Einstein

Last edited by RSVRick; 10-16-2003 at 09:16 AM.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice. I'm definitly just talking about track riding as opposed to racing. My health insurance and life insurance providers are in complete agreement that nothing would be covered under the title of "racing". With a new baby girl and wife to look after, I can't take a chance on racing. But track days? I can sell that all day long.

Do I really need to take courses on track riding? Do I need to start in a novice bracket? After all the street riding I've done, I don't know if my ego could handle that. But on the other hand, dumping an account of "too much, too fast" syndrome wouldn't do too much for me either.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by superhawk74
Thanks for all the advice. I'm definitly just talking about track riding as opposed to racing. My health insurance and life insurance providers are in complete agreement that nothing would be covered under the title of "racing". With a new baby girl and wife to look after, I can't take a chance on racing. But track days? I can sell that all day long.

Do I really need to take courses on track riding? Do I need to start in a novice bracket? After all the street riding I've done, I don't know if my ego could handle that. But on the other hand, dumping an account of "too much, too fast" syndrome wouldn't do too much for me either.
As for taking a "course" to do track days...that would be up to you..but it's a good idea..as Photobug stated..

As for insurance, most will cover you on the track, as they aren't competion, or Timed events..check with your carrier...

Almost every track day organizer will require you to start in the beginer/novice group...Once the control/ track police...see that your faster, they will ask you to move the next faster group..One word of advice re: this...alot of canyon carvers believe they are fast, Until they get on the track, and are Humbled very quickly, that's not to say everyone that does track days are fast..but once you get into the advanced/ race groups....most riders usually see just how Slow they really are...Lastly, I'll add, that a track day isn't a race, there's NO trophies given out, the idea is to have FUN...Work on staying Relaxed while you ride, be Smooth, hold your line, i.e. don't swerv all over the track, being predictable will be appciated by the fast riders, as they will be able to find a safe way to pass you...as you get faster, you'll see that you'll appreciate others holding their line. Have fun, good luck on finding a track day weapon...the SV sounds great, as would a new generation gix 600...

Old, Slow, but ...Smooth
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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I going late model for sure on the bike, it's going to be strictly used for the track. I'll have to take an SV for a spin and see how I like it (I've heard nothing but good things). I've been initially thinking ZX-6, or GSX-R6.
I'm with you, at least for the foreseeable future, light and small seems like the best/ most appropriate choice. Especially since I'm about 170 lbs. soaking wet. I've had litre class bikes for some time, I can't see needing that much power on the track for quite a while. It's going to be a long winter, I'm already dying for next spring!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by superhawk74

Do I really need to take courses on track riding? Do I need to start in a novice bracket? After all the street riding I've done, I don't know if my ego could handle that. But on the other hand, dumping an account of "too much, too fast" syndrome wouldn't do too much for me either.
Trust me, I thought I was pretty fast until I got to the track for the first time...It's a pretty humbling experience. Most track day sponsers will require you to take their basic course before letting you loose. They will also start you in the beginner bracket until you prove to them that you are fast...and check your ego at the door...it'll only get you hurt!

Silly squid...specs are for kids!

I prefer 4 strokes over 2 strokes...you get 2 extra strokes!!!

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds -Einstein
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I am getting old enough to check my ego at the door when the situation requires. But lets face it...having the occaisional bruised ego is better than not having one to begin with. That's part of what hooked us on this thing in the first place!

"First you didn't want me to get a bike, now you want me to get rid of it? Make up your mind!"
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