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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,
Recently the urge has been growing to finally get my ass out there onto a track with a motorcycle. I first read all of the stickies in this track section and so a lot of my preliminary questions have been answered. Great reads. The main thing I'm still trying to figure out is what bike to get for use at the track.

Up till now, I've always resisted the idea of taking my bike to the track because I didn't want to put my nice shiny street bike on its side. Back when I had my 929, I got very close to attending a track day - even bought a set of Sharkskinz fairings for it... but never got around to it.

Fast forward to now, and I've decided that if I'm going to track a bike, I might as well buy a bike just for that. I'm no stranger to track days - I have a turbocharged mazda miata built for time attacks - and I know the importance/peace of mind to know that if you crash at the track, you didn't just wreck the vehicle you need to use to get home/to work with, and my '08 1000RR is far too pretty to use at the track IMO anyways ;)

Now, I'm not a new rider - been riding for 4 years. I started on a SV650, moved up to a 929RR, had an '06 1000RR and now have an '08 1000RR, and as I said I'm also not new to the racetrack, but I haven't ever taken a bike to the track...

Because I still have a set of Sharkskinz for a 929 sitting in the garage, I'm tempted to pick up a 929RR for dedicated track days... but another part of me wonders if I should go smaller for a 'first track day' bike.

What do you guys think? I don't want to spend over $3k for the bike, since I don't need one in pristine condition cosmetically... an SV650 would be great, but the one I used to have was perfect - Penske shock, revalved forks, etc. etc. and I won't be finding that deal again, so I don't even want to get another SV for fear of liking it far less than my other one... other options could be an older R6, 636 (though I'm wary about Kawi motors), etc... from what I've heard though, the 929 is a fairly capable track bike... but I don't want to handicap my learning by having more power than I should starting off... but I do love 929s

Clearly I'm having some trouble figuring this one out ;)

-Ryan
 

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Depends where you plan on going with this. If its going to be for fun the 929 would be a blast to ride. If you think you might do some novice races with an organization you're going to want to get something that will be vaguely competitive in its class.

I would lean to a more modern 600 personally, on small to medium sized tracks most guys go faster on a 600 anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks Doug - yeah I don't expect to be doing any racing, just track days. The budget is low. One of the big things that draws me towards the 929 is that it is fuel injected - and just about everything else for $3k is not..

edit: the other fuel injected bike for that price range I thought of is an F4i.
 

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Any bike used as a track bike should be something your willing to crash and not be fazed by it, focusing on keeping a bike nice while on the track is a distraction.

For starter track bikes smaller is better mainly because it lets you focus on corner speed without having to worry about the rear tire spinning so easily under acceleration. The more power you have causes you to apply too much focus on traction versus all the other things you should be focusing on.

Can starting on a b***** bike work? Sure. Will it take you longer to learn? Depends on your ability and how you learn things. :)
 
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Any bike used as a track bike should be something your willing to crash and not be fazed by it, focusing on keeping a bike nice while on the track is a distraction
Thanks Mike. The above is precisely why I came to the conclusion that using my beloved street-ridden bike for track duty as well was out of the cards, and better to just get a dedicated track bike that I wouldn't mind scratching up.

I read your power to weight ratio thread and did the math on a 929 - which is actually not too heavy at a wet weight of 435 lbs.. That + me + gear is somewhere in the 620lb region. With ~125 whp, it's 4.96 lbs/hp. I know that matters less if you aren't within 110% of the fast guys, but I looked at that just to get a feel for where such a bike would put me in terms of hp to weight and if it would be too much... Naturally, being new to the track I'd not be near the limits and probably not be dealing with wheelspin early on... but I definitely know what you are talking about. In the world of cars, and especially with Miatas, which I track, it's the low-power, lightweight cars that really teach you how to get the most out of the car, whereas more horsepower just covers up other mistakes and hinders learning. With my time attack car I actually turned the boost down so I could focus more on learning to be fast. I imagine it's pretty much the same story on a bike...

-Ryan
 

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Thanks Doug - yeah I don't expect to be doing any racing, just track days. The budget is low. One of the big things that draws me towards the 929 is that it is fuel injected - and just about everything else for $3k is not..

edit: the other fuel injected bike for that price range I thought of is an F4i.
Oh you say that now but you're only 26 and racing is a logical evolution from track days when you get bored of just going round in circles.

A race weekend is actually cheaper then a weekend at a trackday because you get a lot less track time, but usually friday practice sessions can net you a ton of seat time.

Also keep in mind when it comes to the track you will eventually get to the point of pushing your limits on the bike, and trying to do that on what really is a big heavy turd like an older 900 is going to be a little bit frustrating. So much more rewarding pushing something that feels razor sharp and like it just wants to turn in.

id come up with an extra grand and get a FI 600
 
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Just take your current bike. After a few trackdays if you determine that you want a different bike that you don't care about trashing, then buy a SV.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
^ did you read anything above your post? ;)

I won't be taking my 1KRR to the track.
I don't want an SV - partly because the one I used to have was the tits, and would have been perfect for track days, but it's gone now and I'll hate any other SV because it's not the one I used to have. I'd also prefer an inline-4.

I'm also plenty aware already that I'm addicted to track days, and I have a feeling on a bike it's even more awesome than on four wheels, so I'm not worried about spending the $$ up front on a dedicated track bike and then finding out it's not for me after my first session. Slim chance.


Oh you say that now but you're only 26 and racing is a logical evolution from track days when you get bored of just going round in circles.

A race weekend is actually cheaper then a weekend at a trackday because you get a lot less track time, but usually friday practice sessions can net you a ton of seat time.

Also keep in mind when it comes to the track you will eventually get to the point of pushing your limits on the bike, and trying to do that on what really is a big heavy turd like an older 900 is going to be a little bit frustrating. So much more rewarding pushing something that feels razor sharp and like it just wants to turn in.

id come up with an extra grand and get a FI 600
Haha, I believe you - I'm sure it becomes a natural progression. I'm going to have to weigh heavily the fact that I may want to move on to racing down the road...

How does the classing work for racing? Would an F4i fit anywhere?
 

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Any used racebike is perfect. I would avoid two strokes, but your FI preference and $3K budget generally excludes them anyway. I know you want fuel injection, but once carbs are set up with a good jet kit, they aren't finicky on a I4 motorcycle.

Just be warned, you often find guys who show up at trackdays on literbikes who go fairly well. Then they start crashing... and crashing... and crashing... Liter bikes make it hard to learn. As stated, an SV is a good learner bike, as is an EX500, FZR400 and many, many others. Any of those or an old SRAD GSXR600 or F2/3 might be cheap enough that you can buy a bike a set of tires and pay for your trackdays for $3k.

Being in CA, if you choose to race, you'd have to figure out what organization you want to race with. Generally, the F4i is gonna end up racing against modern 600's. That's not to say that as an amateur you can't win on an F4i. If racing is a possibility, you'll have plenty of time to worry about getting a competitive bike.
 

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Haha, I believe you - I'm sure it becomes a natural progression. I'm going to have to weigh heavily the fact that I may want to move on to racing down the road...

How does the classing work for racing? Would an F4i fit anywhere?
Generally there will be classes for 600/1000 both open modification and stock class. Open class basically anything goes, stock you're limited to modifying fork internals and replacing the rear shock.

Then a bunch of classes for twins, two strokes, the geriatric and so forth.

Some org's let you use the cheater bikes in 600 class (636/675) and some dont. Every org is different, some run an open novice class with intermediate/expert broken down by bike, and some run just novice/expert and everything broken into classes. Depending how many bikes show up for something like twins they might run expert/novice at the same time.

Your best bet for racing is either an SV or a relatively modern 600.
 
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^ did you read anything above your post? ;)

I won't be taking my 1KRR to the track.
I don't want an SV - partly because the one I used to have was the tits, and would have been perfect for track days, but it's gone now and I'll hate any other SV because it's not the one I used to have. I'd also prefer an inline-4.

I'm also plenty aware already that I'm addicted to track days, and I have a feeling on a bike it's even more awesome than on four wheels, so I'm not worried about spending the $$ up front on a dedicated track bike and then finding out it's not for me after my first session. Slim chance.
I still stand by the SV recommendation. There's a reason why they're such a popular track bike. Sure it won't be the one you used to have, but you can get an awesomely set up SV track/race bike for $3k. There's not really any better of a bike to learn to ride fast on than a SV650.
 

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The best track bike for a beginner is one that has two wheels :p

Seriously... run what ya brung. When you first get started, you'll find that the focus is much more on the rider than the bike itself.
 

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If you have some $$ to play with to buy a 2nd bike for the track, I highly suggest a 600cc to start with. Even a Gsxr750 would be a great option if you can afford one, seeing you have experience riding motorcycles already.

Try to find a used 03-06 R6, zx-6R/636, CBR600RR, or GSXR600 in the $3-4k price range. Shouldn't be hard to find, esp if you look for ones that have been downed (as long as they're in good condition).

I can see why you wouldn't want to take your precious 1kRR to the track. I wouldn't if I were you, and just buy a 2nd dedicated trackbike for that purpose. In my experience, having a dual-purpose street/track bike will hold you back in a way. When I ride my bike on the track with the shiny street plastics, I never push myself beyond my comfort limits. You wont have this problem if you have a dedicated track bike that you don't mind crashing, since you still have your street bike.
 

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by the responses above as you can see there is no right answer to your questin, or at least no wrong answer.

All modern sportbikes going back to say the 99 R6 are amazingly capable machines and you will have a blast.

PS if you do become interested my buddy has a great SV racebike for sale with GSXR forks and it is about $3500. I have gone quite fast on it at Brainerd International raceway.

Good luck
 

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In my experience, having a dual-purpose street/track bike will hold you back in a way. When I ride my bike on the track with the shiny street plastics, I never push myself beyond my comfort limits.
You realize that's a GOOD thing, right? As it is, FAR too many people ride beyond their limits without even realizing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
You realize that's a GOOD thing, right? As it is, FAR too many people ride beyond their limits without even realizing it.
^ Yeah, I read that first as "be careful because having a dedicated track bike can allow you to push the bike beyond what you're comfortable with easier" but then I re-read it. I plan to always keep it within my capabilities/comfort level, but even then I know things happen - this is why I want the dedicated bike so that if it goes down, I can deal with the repairs, replacing gear, etc. without the additional depression of having damaged my beloved 1KRR.

This one is my dream bike, and the third fireblade I've owned - each successive one has carried some part from the previous one on it. The '06 had the gas filler cap from the 929, and currently the levers from the '06 are at ASV getting the mounts redone so they will fit the '08. I'm rather sentimentally attached to it now ;)


Sounds like you're not looking for advice so much as validation for the choices you have listed...So, just get what you want and go at it...

You can find prepped race bikes

HERE

AND HERE
Thanks for the links. I'm just open to input - with the one caveat that I'd prefer to not get an SV, but taking into consideration what others have said about how great of a track bike it is especially for learning, I'm not 100% opposed to going with an SV if the right one came around for the right price. Like I said - I was originally thinking 929RR, but I had doubts about whether it was the right choice - and most everyone's input has suggested that I'd be happier on a 600 (or SV) so I've definitely listened to that and am currently shopping for a 600, not really even looking at 929s any more.

I think to sum it up I KNOW I'll have a blast on the track, regardless of the bike, but since I'm in the position where I get to choose what bike I will do it with (within my financial limits), I want all the feedback and input I can get on what are the greatest fun and the best tool for tracking. I'm spending the $$$ either way so If I'm going to spend my $$$ I want to do it right once and be happy for years.

-Ryan
 

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Thanks for the links. I'm just open to input - with the one caveat that I'd prefer to not get an SV, but taking into consideration what others have said about how great of a track bike it is especially for learning, I'm not 100% opposed to going with an SV if the right one came around for the right price. Like I said - I was originally thinking 929RR, but I had doubts about whether it was the right choice - and most everyone's input has suggested that I'd be happier on a 600 (or SV) so I've definitely listened to that and am currently shopping for a 600, not really even looking at 929s any more.
I dont know why people would give you a hard time about not wanting to track your street bike. Crashing street bikes is expensive, you shouldn't take anything to the track that you're not okay with bringing home in boxes.

The SV is the cheapest way to get into riding, and repairs are cheap too. It's a great tool to learn on, but if this is just a toy to go wheeling around the track with and maybe do some novice races one day just get a 600 and be done with it.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
I take it a RC51 would not make the best bike for someone wanting to get their feet wet on the track? Just found one with a salvage title for a steal... ok back to reality. :banana
 

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I take it a RC51 would not make the best bike for someone wanting to get their feet wet on the track? Just found one with a salvage title for a steal... ok back to reality. :banana
IMO, a bike that's already prepped for the track is a better deal than one that's not. That said, why not get an RC51 if the price is right and it's what you want to ride? Just keep in mind that track riding works your suspension a lot more and rebuilding a stock shock can be anywhere from difficult to impossible. But that's a bridge you can cross when you need to cross it.
 
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