Sexy Irish Man God
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Denver, Co USA
Motorcycle: 2001 SV 650 Racebike, the street is for pussies
Thinking of riding the track?
Ok since there seems to be an influx of people seeing the light and heading up to track days I thought I would start up a post to help you out.
Riding the track is a much more fun experience IMO than riding on the street. Many riders give up on the street after a few track days. The feeling of taking your machine to its and your limits is an amazing experience.
First off contact your local track and find out when the track days are scheduled. Be sure to ask what requirements need to be met.
Here is a basic list of what most tracks *usually* require, again contact them to be sure.
1. New or basically new tire. I would suggest getting some race tires, they will help out so much with your cornering speed it is not even funny.
2. Remove your mirrors, tape up lights. This usually is track to track. Some want you to take off your signals and mirrors completely, some just want taping. As far as taping up is concerned I would suggest getting colored duct tape. It seems to come off easier than the silver kind. I would not worry about making the tape really pretty, especially over your headlights; it is easier to take off if the tape is not flush over the lights. Also UNPLUG your lights; the duct tape will melt onto your upper. Disengage your brake light, and signals too! No one wants to see your signals blinking lap after lap nor your brake lights
3. Some tracks require full race bodywork. Basically they want a lower that will hold oil if you go down or your drain plug comes off.
4. Safteywire. This is when you must drill the heads of certain bolts on your bike then safteywire them together so if it comes loose it will not go flying at the guy behind you at 100mph. Safteywiring is an easy but time consuming process, but if you don't want things coming off the bike it is a good idea.
5. Get your suspension set up for your weight before the track day. Sure your suspension may feel fine for street riding with your girl but you are going to be putting it through the ringer at the track, your riding will be greatly increased with a tuned up suspension.
6. Steering Damper. Most tracks will require you have a working one. Tank slappers do happen a lot at the track, be sure your damper is in good working order.
7. Remove your license plate.
8. Change your oil, oil filter, clean/change air filter, check torque specs on all bodywork and outer bolts is a good idea.
9. If your track day requires you to go through tech, save yourself the headache and clean your engine before hand, make sure you have no oil leaks. Tech really loves a clean and tidy engine and bike, help them out and help you out.
10. I would suggest taping over your speedo too, it is a distraction and you do not need to know what your indicated speed is.
11. Be sure to find out if you need to replace your coolant with water. Some tracks require this.
You and your gear
1. Suit. 1 or 2 piece are usually fine. The 2 piece must zip completely around your waist.
2. Back protector. Not the foam pad in the back of your jacket but an underlying back protector.
3. Full Face SNELL approved helmet. Be sure to find out what year they want minimum. Some ask for 5 years or newer, some 10 years or newer.
4. Gloves. Gauntlet style road racing gloves.
5. Boots. Road race style boots.
7. Knee pucks. You may not drag on your first track day but make sure you have them!
1. Air pressure gauge. I like the digital ones, small cheap and accurate. Your air pressure will be set much lower than street settings. If your track has trackside vendors talk to the tire man of your choice and see what they recommend. As a blanket idea of pressure on a warm day you will run around 30psi if not a little lower depending on weight, bike, temp ect. Check the pressure when the tires are COLD.
2. Race stands. You can use your side stand but it is better for your tires to lift the bike up after each session. Your tires become VERY soft when they are being balled up. Also remember to turn your tires right after you get into the pits a couple times. Your brake pads will be very hot and can warp your disk if you leave them in the same position for any long period of time.
4. Shade. Pop up shades are nice, back of the trailer, somewhere to get out of the sun.
5. LIQUIDS. Very important. Drink lots of water and Gatorade. Dehydration sucks.
6. Tools, bring a good socket set, wrenches, torque wrench, Service manual, extra duct tape ect. Sucks being without tools when you need them.
7. Food. You need to eat. lol
8. Notepad. You will learn a lot talking to others, it is good to take notes.
9. A buddy. VERY helpful. Bring a camera; they can take pictures of you during your sessions. Picts and video is also helpful when you go home, you can see how your body position is going.
10. Emergency contact sheet. Have it on you at all times. Just in case ya know, you are riding very fast with others doing the same thing, wrecks happen.
11. Gas can. One of those big 5 gal+ cans. You will go through at least one tank, again if there is a trackside vendor get some racing fuel!
12. Fire extinguisher. Most tracks require one to be in each pit and visible, don't toss it under a bunch of junk.
13. Seats, bring a lawn chair or two.
14. Pit bike. Bicycle, scooter, pocket bike ect. Sucks walking end to end in the pits in leathers.
15. Money, bring some extra cash in case you need more food, gas, parts ect.
The night before your track day make a checklist. Go over each thing and make 100% sure you have it with you. It really sucks forgetting things.
That is all I can think of right now, be sure to add anything else I forgot.
I highly recommend anyone with at least a year of experience on the street take a track day or a race class. They may be pricey but IMO it is money WELL spent. This is what sportbikes are really made for, experience it in a controlled environment!