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At the Track Some Katana's see track duty. Some owners have multiple bikes. This is the place to chat about track days.

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Old 09-16-2012, 02:53 PM   #1
WalkRunRide
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Default Track riders, racers...how do you get your kit/bike to track etc...

I'm pretty serious about getting myself set-up for track days over the long-term. I want to buy a used track bike and am unsure about that, and all the other things that go with entering the track world. So I have a few questions and am hoping anyone with track/race experience can give me their views/advice. I don't know anyone who races and just started motorcycling 5 months ago...so I really don't know where else to get this kind of information.

I've been doing the google searches and forum threads and am starting to get a clue, but am still a long way from making decisions...so any input is appreciated.

This summer I completed the Shannonville Motorsports Park RACE school phase 1 (once in July, and once in Sept) , and plan on attending phase 2 and 3 next year before I actually start going to track days.

Below are a few questions I have, but if you have any advice on things I've failed to consider I would also appreciate that.

1. I've thought about getting a truck and putting the bike(s) (I may end up with two eventually) in the bed, but that may not be suitable as I expect to arrive the night before at some tracks. What works well; truck and trailer, open/closed trailer, SUV and trailer....? (cost effective ?)

2. What can I expect to be wrong with, and how much to pay for repairs on a used track bike before I will be able to take it out?

3. I've seen some used track bikes on Kijiji for a variety of prices, but have no idea how to choose. What kinds of problems should I be looking for on a track bike that would be good reason not to buy it?

4. I know the track day registration will be about $120-140; add in gas (for travel back and forth as well as for the bike), food, etc I would expect each day to cost about $250-300. I know I will need to buy tires more often, I've read that I can expect about 8-10 track days on a set of tires. Are there other expenses I should consider?

5. I've read that some people change the oil after every track day...is that realistic and what other upkeep will I need to pay attention to? (I know to check the chain after every session).

6. Given my inexperience and lack of mechanical background, are there motorcycle mechanics who I can pay to do work on my bike who will also show me how to do my own repairs/upkeep properly?

7. Do you have any other advice?

Thanks!
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:30 PM   #2
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The regulations/rules/etc depends highly on what the local track organization requires. Here I can run track days without having a fully prepp'd/wired bike so long as I'm not running in the advanced group/doing timed events.

Is your goal to go and have fun, or to actually go and race. Those are two specifically different items. The gear and kit you will want will vary greatly between the two. If you are going to be doing timed events then that means a dedicated race trailer, practice several times per week etc. You can get away with a lot more if you mean skills days a few times per season.

1) If you are going all the time, you probably want a decently kitted out trailer that you may expect to sleep in.

2) With track bikes the biggest concern IMO is parts availability. When you crash, you want parts that are cheap, plentiful, and possibly borrowed from other people at the track. Shoot for late model GSXR, CBR, or R6. What class bike are you looking to run? 600? 750? 1k? That makes a big differents on price too.

3) Expect something purchased pre-prepped for the track to already have been beaten, crashed, burned, smashed and abused. Make sure it starts and doesn't make any funny noises.

4) see above

5) Depends on how paranoid you are, how fast you are running, etc. I would run full synth and not worry about it TOO much.

6) People at the track tend to be fairly helpful, but I wouldn't suggest showing up without tools. Know how to fix your ish.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steves View Post
6) People at the track tend to be fairly helpful, but I wouldn't suggest showing up without tools. Know how to fix your ish.
Big +1 there. If you dont know how to wrench on your own bike, your cost escalates dramatically.

Buy an early 2000s GSXR or SV650.
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but personaly I dont see a point in a 1000 you can get the same power from a properly tuned 600 with less weight and better handeling.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:50 PM   #4
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One, Pick-up truck. Hard to load/unload without a helper. Limited space to carry your kit/spares. Open trailer, a good option if you are not concerned about weather and leaving the bike(s) unattended. You may want to consider a cargo-van or a small box truck to get things to the track, and to be used as a place to stay once your there. If you go that route, or with the enclosed trailer, get one tall enough to stand up-right in so you can change in and out of your gear out of the weather.

Two, the bike. Suzuki, GSXR 750, best of all worlds. As light as the 600, almost as fast as the liter bike. Find a re-po or a total, places like "CrankyApe.com" are an excelent place to start shopping. Parts are plentiful. Hi wear items: Brake pads, clutch. Levers, and pegs usually snap off when the bike goes down. Exhaust cans get banged up, use a slip on or better yet, stock. There cheap. Don't worry about a fast bike, learn to be fast on the bike.

Three, see number two.

Four, You can not race on the cheap. Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go? Take a realalistic look at your weekend expences and make a budget. Don't forget things like fuel for the bike and your support equipment. Motel expence when weather is a factor. Fuel for you tow vehicle, food for you and any helpers/crew. The list never ends. Every weekend you will find another thing you "need" for your next event. Get together with a veteran rider at the track and watch/learn what they do.

Five, I am/was a prep freak. After every weekend the bike was looked at for all of the wear items, brakes, tires, clutch etc. I am a big believer in changing oil after each event. The oil is checked for metalic pieces, etc. Call it preventative mantenance. Cables are lubed, tires are checked. Don't be a cheap azz when it comes to tires. Those two patches of rubber, the size of a couple of credit cards are all that keep you upright!

Six. Start with a good factory manual. Read/learn, then do it. For me, unless you have someone that you trust with your life, I'm going to be the one that says the bike is race worthy or not. Racing/riding is a calculated risk and requires good decisions, on and off the bike. Find a mentor at the track, you are asking the right questions so far!

Last edited by superbike; 09-16-2012 at 05:48 PM..
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:10 PM   #5
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1. I have an SUV and tow an enclosed trailer. My gas milage in the truck goes from 22 to perhaps 13 once towing. Keep those costs in mind. Couple that with the fact that my brakes will need changed sooner and maintenance in trailer. I bought a brand new trailer for just around $3K and have a solid 200 in it now with racks and flooring and another 600 in pit bull trailer restraints (which I HIGHLY recommend). I am looking to switch to a pickup for the next tow vehicle to have a bit smoother towing.

2. Any track or scrapped bikes will have some wear items that need replaced, oil changed, tires, probably items like levers, rearsets, grips, ect. Figure an easy 1K right out of the gate on top of the bike for parts. Dont forget track plastics. Thankfully if you are goign to track only you can sell some items like headlights and such which offsets some of the initial investment.

3. see above for problems. Make sure you are able to hear the bike started and can get a fel for the clutch cable. Perhaps take it for a ride and ensure that he clutch is engaging correctly and the bike rides smooth.

Type of bike is up to you. I love my daytona 675 as I can out muscle most bikes in turns due to the torque but I lose out some on the top end. To get a similar feel go with a SV650 as there are more easily obtained parts. A GSXR750 is also a great bike. You lose a bit in the torque area and not as flickable as the SV BUT what you lose there you gain way more on the top end for those straightaways. Liter bikes will give you power for the straights but their weight and power is normally an issue for more technical tracks. I say this while also knowing in my mind that my next track bike will most likely be a liter bike. I am tired of passing people all over the track only to have them pass me on a long straight...

4. For me to have a track weekend I have the following costs:
  • Tires (I get about 4-6 days out of a set of tires.) $220+
  • Oil (Get 2 weekends or so out of the bike before an oil change) $50
  • Gas (bike) 3 tanks last a weekend which is about 12 gallons $48
  • Gas (truck) depends on the track but figure at least 1 tank $80
  • Track Fees $300 (I am a member though which is yearly $300 fee)
  • Food $50
  • Random Ish $50 (tools, parts, ect)
5. I get about 4-6 trackdays out of my bike on a oil change. It depends though on how I am riding whether I will change it sooner. If I had an open track day where I can ride pretty much all day then I would change it after that day.

6. I can do most normal maintenance that I will need to do at the track myself now. I have the parts and tools needed. Whatever I dont have or know how to do I am lucky enough to have friends locally as well as track friends who I see and pit with every time I go that are there to help out. Get a manual and find a group to roll with for some time. Just having someone to ride with who can show you what to do to set up your bike makes the weekend much more enjoyable.

7. Best advice I can give is to just go out and give it a shot. Get with a good track organization as it will make it much more enjoyable. Dont skimp out on gear for you or the bike. You will just have to replace it sooner costing you more. I have lower grade suit that will cost me double what it woudl have been to buy a good one out of the gate. And finaly dont think you will have everything or even need everything to get out there. The track community is awesome. If you need something they will have it.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:11 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help!

I plan to get out once a week or so if I can, just for trackdays, to basically work on developing some skill. If I become competent then I'll start thinking about races...but I'm sure that will be a while yet.

So I'll look for a GSXR600 2k0 to 2k6, I hadn't thought about the finding parts issue (and, I think the 750 will be too much to soon). I need to buy a torque wrench, the right drill bits and safety wire, I already have some brake pads.... then I need to re-watch the how-to videos on youtube to make sure I know how to do the basics...and then practice doing them... like change out coolant and oil along with the "high wear/snap off" parts. I need to get the manual for my current bike too.

I'm pretty sure I'll go with the enclosed trailer...just makes better sense.

As far as tires go, I agree fully....they will be changed out long before they're worn out, I'll ask the guys at the track.

I have a pretty good budget to get started, and with the advice you've provided along with other info I've read I should be able to be properly prepared so I can concentrate on riding!

Lots to learn!

Thanks again.

Soulpatch - would you let me know some of the specs on your trailor? I want to start looking around (and, given my ignorance) I don't want to spend 3k on the wrong trailer.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:22 PM   #7
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Again figure out if you need the bike fully prepped or not. No reason to drill bolts if you don't have to right away. If you aren't running sanctioned races, the requirements won't be as strict on bike prep.

soulpatch has a 6x8 enclosed v nose trailer with a cargo door and ramps. They are pretty universal with the track crowd. Bigger trailer = more space.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:24 PM   #8
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K, got it on the bolts. Thanks for the info on the trailer!
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:26 PM   #9
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My trailer is 6x10 and is actually closer to 13 foot long once you count the v nose. I am super glad I have the enclosed as well. It gives the dogs a place to escape the sun during the day, allows me to keep items in it when not in use like my canopy, tent, ect. Best investment I made for the track is the pit bull trailer stand though. It allows me to roll my bike onto the trailer snap it into place and drive off. No straps or chocks to worry about. After a long day of riding when you are loading yourself it makes life soo much easier.

You need to find a track org around you and find out their track requirements. For instance in my class I could ride my bike to the track, tape over the lights, loosen the chain, and ride the track for the day. If I went to the advanced group then I need to swap out for safety wire, new bolts, and race platics with solid belly pan to catch spills.

Things get real expensive as you go up but if you get on the boards you can find used stuff for fair prices. I got full set of race plastics for $250 which is about 1/3 the price I was looking at. I grabbed a spare dented tank from ebay to use as well.

Sooner or later though I will need warmers, generator, wiring of junction box for my trailer, spare wheels to have second rubber on, and even items like new fairing stays...

Specs on my trailer:

Homesteader 6x10 V nose
aluminum splash guards
vents
ramp door
side door
stabilizer jacks
interior light
gladiator storage system with hooks and bags
pit bull trailer restraints
textured flooring

Last edited by soulpatch; 09-16-2012 at 09:26 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:19 AM   #10
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K, thanks for the info...time to start looking around town to see what's available. I'll definitely look into the track org and make sure I'm not going overkill to get started.

Thanks again.
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