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Discussion Starter #1
OK, so I am starting to plan my first time attending a track day, likely not until next summer some time due to an already packed summer this year( going to see Lynard Skynard on their farewell tour as well as Cheap Trick and ZZ top). I've never taken my bike, or any bike, on a closed road track before. I chose Spokane County raceway fora few reasons, it's the closest track to me and also it does not look like a track that will overly challenge my skills. Basically it looks like a decent track for a first timmer.

SpokaneCountyRaceway.jpg

So i am wondering if anyone here has any experience with this particular track. Also I am looking for any advice for my first time on a track. I don't plan on getting to aggressive, mostly I want to have fun and improve my riding skills without wrecking my bike.
 

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Also I am looking for any advice for my first time on a track. I don't plan on getting to aggressive, mostly I want to have fun and improve my riding skills without wrecking my bike.
although ive done a few (testing after bike rebuilds) im not a big fan of them, better off finding a vintage/classic race group to race with. chances are you will be the only one out there on a "old" bike. you will see other " beginners" but they will be on GSX's R6's and BMW 1000 superbikes etc. advice- your instructors will give that to you , just listen to them
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It is sad, to me anyway, that I dont see more "vintage" bikes out there. There is a local'ish vintage bike group, but I've never rode with them
 

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:cool: start out slow and easy and then work yourself faster and faster always trying to follow somebody that is only slightly better then you,
if you crash that guy was too fast, don't follow him any more.

what tires are you going to be riding on, track or street?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
what tires are you going to be riding on, track or street?
I'll get new tires before I go, probably try and find something that's a good mix between track and street. With those ZX9 rims on the bike there should be plenty of options. Unfortunately I cant afford to have street tires AND track tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just watched this video in my search to gain knowledge for track riding. Thoughts?

 

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Body position on a bike is the topic de jour for trackday riders. Waaaayyyy too much emphasis is placed on something that makes NO difference to trackday riding for 85% of all riders. (100% of novice riders).

You want to be a trackday hero? Let me put together a little beginners trackday primer that will be your best go to reference...
 

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OK, here it goes...
Let me preface this by saying that I am not a racer, I am not a coach, I am not a fast rider. Hell, I'm not particularly gifted or smart either. But, having been where you are on the steep and start of the learning curve not so long ago despite years of track riding, I feel uniquely qualified to pass on what I've learned. Take it for what it is.


First, the only way to win a trackday is to finish how you arrived, with all your bones intact and the bike in one piece. I have not always succeeded in this and every crash has set me back more than I have learned from them, so... DON"T CRASH, DON'T CRASH INTO OTHERS, DON'T GET CRASHED INTO. In other words, there no trophy for first place, check your ego at the door, let your mind be a sponge and learn from everyone and every experience.

Second, despite how fast you think you ride on the streets, you will be pushed to new limits on the track. It's just a completely different world, IMO. Even in novice. Even without trying to "push it." That new limit will not necessarily be anywhere near the limit of the bike, but will be new limits for yourself.

Along that line, the biggest difference to me about riding on the street and riding on the track, it that on track, you are essentially always WOT or braking. The faster you are, the less time you are coasting, until you get really fast and you essentially are never not on the throttle or brake. What that means to you is that there is much less break time on track where you are just coasting and enjoying the scenery and letting your mind catch up. You need to be thinking next corner, next straight, next braking zone all the time. I think this is the biggest hurdle for new track riders. It's 100% concentration. (not really but you know).

Last thing I will bring up for this first post is that to succeed around a track you MUST LEARN HOW TO CORNER. You AND your machine must be able to negotiate corners easily. That means knowing how to get quickly into a lean, developing an effective body position to make good strong steering inputs, being comfortable at "extreme" lean angles. Learning HOW to feel comfortable at lean.

So how do you prepare for a trackday with these things in mind? Break it down into man and machine.

For your own preparation, I would find a stretch of road that you can do full throttle runs to 100+. In your case, a slower bike means you are going to acclimate to the speed much faster. That's why people promote small 300's as the best first trackbike. Your sense of speed requires less recalibration on the slower bike. In this sense it is good you are going out on your "vintage" ride. On the other hand, the other thing you should practice is full on braking. This will come in handy even if you don't use it on track the first time out. Knowing how fast your bike can stop and also how it feels to brake hard is part of the acclimation process. Do this 2-3 times every ride if you can. Accelerate as hard as it will go to 100+ and then brake successively harder until the you get used to doing full on stops from high speed.

In this aspect, your vintage ride is at a distinct disadvantage. I would upgrade the braking system if at all possible. You will be at a disadvantage if shit hits the fans and you need to haul speed down compared to modern bikes. I wouldn't worry about it, but something to keep in mind. The feel and power of modern braking systems are amazing.

As far as cornering, the topic could fill books. My recommendations are to read about countersteering. But also experiment using your lower body and body position to assist steering. You will need to be able to apply steering inputs harder than you ever have on the streets. Why? because the faster you approach a corner, the less time you have to get to your maximum lean by the apex. You can't just tilt your head and leeeaaannnn into a curve like an onramp all the time. Still, the smoother you are with the inputs, the less you upset the chassis.

Find favorite corners that mimic the track you are going to. A right angle corner, smooth flowing curves, a longer corner where you can develop a comfortable body position at lean. These different corners you can practice different entry techniques that will help you as you progress. Too early to talk about right now, but in your car, see what it feels like when you take early apexes and get on the gas early, versus going a little faster into a corner and scrubbing off speed with engine braking or a little drag on the brakes loading the front wheels as you tip in. This is higher level stuff, but practicing it in a car is a good way to get exposed to the feeling of trailbraking vs early throttle exits.

Practice, practice, practice.
 

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Looking at your build thread, cornering clearance (pegs and/or exhaust) and decent tires would probably be the first things on my list I would make sure of before signing up.

Next would be the braking system and fork bracing then a full complete suspension service and set up (if not done recently) and minor upgrades if available.

Your bike would be a cool sight at a trackday...
 

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and Video so we can all see how well it went ;)


... practice for track days on public roads ? lol interesting concept, maybe it's a U.S. thing, I can't think of anywhere I could possibly do that without ending up on the evening news.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
jcw, your post was great and full of good info. I played around with some of the things talked about in that cornering video on my ride home yesterday, braking harder and turning in later and higher in the turn. Felt weird, I have 25 years of just riding along enjoying the world around me, so it felt almost counter intuitive. But By the end of my ride home, I could feel the difference and it started to make sense.

I've already gone and pushed it past 100, ok 103 but that still counts, and my CB900F's acceleration from 50 to 103 was damn quick for a 37 year old bike. Not sure how fast it was but it felt like only a second or 2. I do need to work on breaking harder. I plan to upgrade to braided lines. The discs are already an improvement from factory ( I think).

My goal with track riding is not to "race" so much as it is to push myself to become a better rider overall. Someday(which feels odd to say since I will be 38 in a few months and someday does not have a lot of time left) I may enter a small amateur race just for the fun of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
My current tires are Michelan Radials. I will be looking into the best tires I can slap on there

Edit: My current tires are Michelian Pilot Power radials
 

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dont fall into the i need to be in a certain hanging off body position in a corner. it is almost a complete waste of time. And really only applies once you are Past the apex. the hardest part about going fast is how you get to the apex.
instead focus on body position as you are tipping it in.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
dont fall into the i need to be in a certain hanging off body position in a corner. it is almost a complete waste of time. And really only applies once you are Past the apex. the hardest part about going fast is how you get to the apex.
instead focus on body position as you are tipping it in.
It's not my #1 concern, that's getting my bike around the track without any new damage.
 
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