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Discussion Starter #1
WARNING: Sorry, but I needed to vent about this so this is sort of long. Feel free to read or, just cheat and look at the crash pictures.

Well it happened...I had my first crash at the track. I was at the Fastrack riders event on July 23rd at Buttonwillow and was having a great day. I was riding really well in the 2nd to last session of the day...everything felt good and I felt pretty smooth and in control. I was focusing on trying to get more speed in some of the faster corners on the track and I lost the rear tire heading into the "grapevine" turn (I diagrammed it on the track map). I figure I must have been going close to 70 mph, leaned hard to the right and easy on the throttle and without any warning I was down on the low-side. My right shoulder slammed pretty hard and then it was ass over tea kettle...slide, tumble, somehow airborne right as I left the asphalt and then more slide and tumble in the dirt. This is only the second time I have crashed and unlike my first crash I was actually a little scared during this one. My shoulder hurt and my left hand punch the pavement pretty hard as well...not to mention a good knock to the head. I think I injured the joint that connects my collar bone to my shoulder and plan on seeing a doctor today or tomorrow.

As far as the bike I need to take the plastic off to really see the full damage. I think from an operating stand point it just needs a new right clip on and foot peg. There is also a minor scratch in the frame which means that as soon as I can afford another street bike my CBR will become a dedicated track whore.

I knew that it was probably just a matter of time before I crashed at the track. I am interested in hearing what other track riders think about this, but it seems that as you increase your skill level on the track you slowly reduce your margin of error. I think that the line between challenging yourself and pushing yourself over the limit is blurry. I ended up on the wrong side of this line on Saturday.

I have gone through all the emotions after this crash. I am not really in a financial position to just shrug of the monitary results of a crash. It was also very humbling to my confidence in my riding skills. Before my crash I had kind of a holier than thou attitude about people that crashed at the track. I thought that they were pushing to hard and riding out of control. Now I don't know if I still feel that way. I felt like I was in control when I crashed, but maybe I wasn't...or again maybe that just shows how fine that line is between challenging yourself and reaching your limits.

In the end I just want to know how the crash happened. I have concluded that I either asked for too much from the rear tire Or that I lifted the rear tire off the track by dragging the exhaust. I have scrapped my exhaust before and should have used that as a warning to hang a little further off the bike and get my knee out even more. I seem to be able to get my knee down pretty well in the slower corners, but not in the faster ones like the one I crashed in. Live and learn...
 

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I've been around racing most of my life, mostly car road racing (SCCA and the like) but recently lots of motorcycle racing. Don't beat yourself up over it, I can understand the anguish of not having the funds to just bounce back after a wreck, but from a skills standpoint, every good racer has crashed. There is no way to know where the envelope is unless you push yourself to it. Unfortunately, on two wheels, the result usually puts you on your ass, literally. In a car you have more leeway; a skid, spin...something that doesn't involve you and your car in the wall.

I've heard from inexperienced drivers while testing: "The car feels great and I'm totally in control." The response from the team or his more experienced peers is usually "Then you aren't going fast enough!!!"
 

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what kind of rubber is on your front tire... I see you have a pilot on the rear. I ride pilot rear pirelli slick on the front
 

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Discussion Starter #4
seca2r6 said:
There is no way to know where the envelope is unless you push yourself to it.
I completely agree with that...it is just too bad that I didn't get some sort of warning before I ended up on the wrong side of the envelope!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
dueceswild said:
what kind of rubber is on your front tire... I see you have a pilot on the rear. I ride pilot rear pirelli slick on the front
I was running a Metzler Sportech (M1) on the front. I plan on getting a Pilot for the front as soon as that one wears out.

You must ride the track often if you have a slick in front? What is your opinion of the CBR's ground clearance? I think if I keep doing track days I need to get rear sets and and after-market exhaust....and hang off more!
 

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Sorry to hear about that, redcbr. Every time I've crashed on the track, I've spent a month wondering what the hell I did wrong. Sometimes I figure it out, sometimes not. Either way, I usually consider myself lucky that I can always try it again. Glad you're ok.
 

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Damn Dude, glad you are OK :cheers I plan own going on the 14 next month hope you get your bike back up soon, take care.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ServoR6 said:
Sorry to hear about that, redcbr. Every time I've crashed on the track, I've spent a month wondering what the hell I did wrong. Sometimes I figure it out, sometimes not. Either way, I usually consider myself lucky that I can always try it again. Glad you're ok.
Thanks...Believe me I have played this over and over again in my mind. I even still have the last image I saw while on the bike stuck like a photograph. I distinctly remember seeing the alligator teeth of the corner I was heading towards. In the end I think it comes down to needing to hang off the bike more. But looking forward to going at it again...I think I am going to pay extra for some one on one instructor time at the next track day.

Going to an Orthopedic in about an hour to find out what is really wrong with my shoulder.
 

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Are you sure you were scraping your exhaust? I have never seen anybody do that before, unless they lowsided....It could have been your feelers on your pegs. either way, glad you are okay..
 

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Brassballs1979 said:
Are you sure you were scraping your exhaust? I have never seen anybody do that before, unless they lowsided....It could have been your feelers on your pegs. either way, glad you are okay..

I can easily hit the stock exhaust on the ZX7 on tight right handers. It's fairly common. But you're right the pegs usually go first.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Anti-Hero said:
I can easily hit the stock exhaust on the ZX7 on tight right handers. It's fairly common. But you're right the pegs usually go first.
I have scraped both the pegs (took the feelers off because they touch way too soon) and the exhaust. I noticed from the track day prior to this one that I crashed at scrape marks in the exhaust. I made a mental note to be careful on right-handers until I got a slip-on...too bad I lost that mental note halway through the day.

So I went to an orthopedic... I was expecting some doctor lecture about how riding motorcycles are dangerous, but he was cool and actually used to ride when he was younger. My diagnosis is a Grade 1 AC separation. This is the least severe of that type of injury and should cause not longer term damage. It takes 6-8 weeks to really start feeling normal and right now it hurts like a bitch and I walk around holding my right arm like a gimp.

I will definitely be getting a better jacket in the near future. I just have soft armor in mine and I think the dual density foam would have made a big difference. Don't skimp on your safety gear!
 

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Glad to see you're ok. "Riverside" is a nasty turn to go down in. You can easily hit triple digits on that corner as you transition over the little hill they call "magic mountain." Just gotta be careful going those speeds on STREET tires.

But hey, that's riding. Can't get better without crashing right? Be glad you're still ok for the most part and get out there again. :) Maybe I'll see you on the track one day. :)

Edit: nevermind, i just noticed where you crashed.
 

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sorry about your get off dude. i ridden BW and it is a pretty fast track (faster than SOW). if you were doing 70 when you went down in grapevine the you were haulin a$$ in cotton corners. that's only like a 40-50mph corner, and the distance between the top of cotton corners (coming over the little hill) and where you went down is only about 75yds. glad you're ok. i'm gonna be at SOW Aug 28th & then BW Aug 29th, hope to see you at one of the events.
 

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Glad you seem okay. Crashing is part of the game, I totally understand you when you said you used to have a holier than thou attitude. I had that same attitude on my very first track day and I had 3 incidents the last one being a lowside. I got humbled very quickly.
 

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redcbrla said:
I think I am going to pay extra for some one on one instructor time at the next track day.
Glad to hear your Ok! I got highsided something nasty at Road America back in '98 while racing and ended up with a partially torn shoulder (no surgery required), I had the same low hanging shoulder thing for a while myself as a result, very painful to just move my body during that 1st week.

Since I don't know your level of experience or dedication to being on the track I will make some suggestions for you whether they apply or not. The absolute #1 thing you can do to improve your track times and control is to seek qualified instruction, 1 on 1 or very small groups is the best. This will help to identify what your individual strengths and weaknesses are, but be humble and don't make excuses about what your doing wrong - just fix it as/per their suggestions! Too many people think they can do it best on their own (I was included in that group as well) and will naturally improve as they gain experience on the track, though this is true to a point it's also flawed because doing something wrong from the start will be a hard habit to break the longer you do it. Being on the track is a unique experience that should be treated that way by seeking qualified instruction ASAP, this will help to save you alot of time and $ money $ by helping you to be in more control while going faster and smoother resulting in less time involving both tires unintentionally off the ground.

As far as upgrading your bike goes, absolutely the #1 thing to do here is suspension upgrades! I CAN NOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH! Your stock suspension sucks, period! I personally have always gone with Race Tech Gold Valves and proper springs for my weight and ability, this is much more economical than a quality aftermarket shock and/or forks. I took a 3 day long-8 hour per day-suspension seminar back in the 90's that opened my eyes as to how suspension works. I won't go into some long explaination as to why the damping characteristics of your stock valving blows large monkey balls, just accept the fact that it does! Improper springs for someones weight/ability is very common as well and will lead to problems when your suspension becomes fully compressed and can no longer follow the road surface leading to loss in traction when encountering even minor road surface variations. The 1st track I raced at after upgrading my suspensions valving back in '98 was Heartland Park in Topeka Kansas, this track had a pronounced 'dip' in the middle of the racing line in the old turn 1 that ultimately determined how you set your bike up to handle that 1 feature. After I revalved my suspension I could fly thru there as though that dip wasn't even there, talk about confidence inspiring, that was it! If you go the revalving route have someone qualified do it for you, If you don't know someone qualified to do the upgrade Race Tech can do it for you for a respectable charge, just ship the forks and/or shock to them and they will have them back to you with generally good turn around times. They will also revalve your suspension for free after that if so desired due to your skill level improving or what ever, only cost to you is the shipping, but most people won't ever need their suspension revalved again due to it being that good. Aftermarket suspension is expensive for the decent stuff (try $800+ for a shock alone), the biggest advantage to going this route is that most good shocks will have adjustable ride height for changing handling characteristics of how your bike turns & etc. This is something that only racers or really fast track day riders really need to be concerned with, of that group many don't understand how it effects handling anyways so it's an expensive luxury that may not be properly utilized.

Tires are of course an issue as well and it sounds as though your getting rather serious at being on the track. Though tire technology has advanced massively in the last 10 years there are still considerable differences between a full race tire and 1 that isn't. I think the biggest difference beyond grip is 'feel', true quality race tires don't just suddenly let go-they fade away predictably. I have exclusively used Dunlops the entire time I have raced, the only traction related crash I've ever had resulted from a front tire that needed to be replaced badly and I thought I could squeeze 1 more day of racing out of it (this was the crash I spoke of earlier and wasn't the fault of the tire. The end result was pain, money, frustration, and 1/2 my race season lost - all for the cost of a front tire). At this point in the game I would concentrate on using 1 model tire and not bounce back and forth between makes or models, make a choice based on suggestions and/or past experience and stick with it unless it has major issues.

I would be willing to bet your traction issue isn't with the tire as much as it is with bike set-up (suspension, tire pressure, etc.) and you personally as a rider - no offense intended. You need to work on your personal ability before worrying about the other numerous variables, this is where 1 on 1 instruction will help to identify what you need to fix. Other than possibly having fresh tires I would wait on upgrading anything else until you have someone qualified suggest what they think you should do after riding with you as an instructor. If you feel compelled to do something before then I would highly suggest correct springs for you in front 1st and rear 2nd, 3rd would be valving front, last would be valving rear (I personally would do all at once). I remember a statement that was said at the suspension seminar I attended: Good suspension is suspension that did it's job so well that when you come in from a track session you don't recall handling issues with the bike because it did exactly what you wanted it to. Quality revalving is an economical substitute for high dollar suspension and works very well, if you want to go the high dollar route I would definately ask around at an actual race what is the best aftermarket suspension to have for your bike?

Good luck in the future and heal up fast! :)
 

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Tony824 said:
Glad to see you're ok. "Riverside" is a nasty turn to go down in. You can easily hit triple digits on that corner as you transition over the little hill they call "magic mountain." Just gotta be careful going those speeds on STREET tires.

But hey, that's riding. Can't get better without crashing right? Be glad you're still ok for the most part and get out there again. :) Maybe I'll see you on the track one day. :)

Edit: nevermind, i just noticed where you crashed.
Riverside is on the other side of the track from where he went down. he went down in grapevine which is right past cotton corner (right by the corner worker). I LOVE LOST HILL (what you call magic mountain).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
HangTight said:
sorry about your get off dude. i ridden BW and it is a pretty fast track (faster than SOW). if you were doing 70 when you went down in grapevine the you were haulin a$$ in cotton corners. that's only like a 40-50mph corner, and the distance between the top of cotton corners (coming over the little hill) and where you went down is only about 75yds. glad you're ok. i'm gonna be at SOW Aug 28th & then BW Aug 29th, hope to see you at one of the events.
I was definitely moving...my crash happened during my best session of the day. Ironically I was going faster and smoother than I had all day. You are right about cotton corners being on the slow side, but I found that if you get your line right you can pick speed up pretty quickly on the exit. It is possible that I was a little under 70 (that was more of an estimation) but I don't think I was far from that. I might have just been trying to get too much speed in that area.

I won't be making it to the track for a while. I have some money pits in my life right now and haven't even had a chance to order parts for my bike yet. :bitchslap Doh! But I look forward to meeting a bunch of the guys from this board at the track one of these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Racer Mike,

As usual you have some very valuable things to add...I always like what you have to offer here. thanks!

I definitely will be seeking out some instruction at my next track day. I thought I was doing well by reading both Twist of the Wrist 2 and Smooth Riding the Pridmore way, but in the end I think having someone watch you "live" and give you immediate critique would make a huge difference!

I will keep the suspension upgrades in mind as well. I have noticed that even after dialing things in with the help of the Race Tech guys my suspension is far from perfect.

How do you feel about the stock suspensions on the more modern bikes...'04 and 05's. More specifically I am thinking about my fiancee's '05 ZX6R....the suspension on her bike seems flawless but I have never had the chance to ride her bike on the track. In comparison I am wondering how much mine would improve with the upgrades you recommended.

Thanks for everyone elses feedback as well. We definitely need to do a SoCal Sportbikes.net gathering at one of the tracks sometime.
 

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redcbrla said:
Racer Mike,

As usual you have some very valuable things to add...I always like what you have to offer here. thanks!

I definitely will be seeking out some instruction at my next track day. I thought I was doing well by reading both Twist of the Wrist 2 and Smooth Riding the Pridmore way, but in the end I think having someone watch you "live" and give you immediate critique would make a huge difference!

I will keep the suspension upgrades in mind as well. I have noticed that even after dialing things in with the help of the Race Tech guys my suspension is far from perfect.

How do you feel about the stock suspensions on the more modern bikes...'04 and 05's. More specifically I am thinking about my fiancee's '05 ZX6R....the suspension on her bike seems flawless but I have never had the chance to ride her bike on the track. In comparison I am wondering how much mine would improve with the upgrades you recommended.

Thanks for everyone elses feedback as well. We definitely need to do a SoCal Sportbikes.net gathering at one of the tracks sometime.
the stock suspension on the 05 636 is one of the best i've ever ridden. even when not dialed in the bike sticks to the track and maintains pretty tight lines. i had mine dialed in at BW with Catalyst Reaction Suspension Tuning. i thought the setup prior to having it dialed in was perfect, but after it was dialed in it was even BETTER. the bike was more stable under hard braking, the bike ran even tighter lines lines through the corners. the lines were so tight that i was able to increase my entry & exit speeds. the next trackday you do ride the 636 for 1 session w/o tuning the suspension, then have the suspension tuned and ride it again. you will see exactly what i'm talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
HangTight said:
the stock suspension on the 05 636 is one of the best i've ever ridden. even when not dialed in the bike sticks to the track and maintains pretty tight lines. i had mine dialed in at BW with Catalyst Reaction Suspension Tuning. i thought the setup prior to having it dialed in was perfect, but after it was dialed in it was even BETTER. the bike was more stable under hard braking, the bike ran even tighter lines lines through the corners. the lines were so tight that i was able to increase my entry & exit speeds. the next trackday you do ride the 636 for 1 session w/o tuning the suspension, then have the suspension tuned and ride it again. you will see exactly what i'm talking about.
I forgot that you ride the 636... Yeah I am really looking forward to taking that bike around the track a few times. I was actually supposed to ride it for my last session when I was at BW last time...the crash ruined that idea.
 
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