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School me on cheap track bikes

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I did my first track day, and as expected, this might be the start of a new addiction. So, let's talk cheap track bikes. I know really nothing about sport bikes, other than the occasional video or review of the crazy new +$20k stuff. That's not going to happen, so I'd like to learn about the ins and outs of affordable options.


So: let's start with general questions:
1. Seems 600-ish is the sweet spot. I clearly don't need a liter yet, but maybe 400cc on a lighter bike would teach better habits?
2. Rider aids. ABS seems like a very good idea, and decent TC also seems like a good high-side preventer (reducer?). Or, for this stuff to be useful on tracks require them to be fairly new and thus fairly expensive? Should I be learning "old school" and get better habits via no aids at all?

I guess quick shifters can be added after-market? Same with slipper clutch?

Other option: keep riding my current bike:
I did my trackday on my FJ-09 with stock ECU. It was the least appropriate bike in the probably 60 bikes in the 1 class, mainly due to ergos and the 115 speed limiter - it was really annoying to pass slower riders in the turns, then have them whip by me in the straights. I could even consider that slightly dangerous given the speed differentials at the ends of the straights. That's fixable with a flash, of course. That leaves the ergos, which probably really can't change. Foot controls are in the wrong place and bars are way too high. Overall the bike is quite tall.

But ooh, that engine is nice! Coming out of a turn, pinning thee throttle and popping up thru the gears feels great - until hitting the speed limited in 4th.

Realistically, I'll probably do 2 to 3 track days year. If it's not street legal, that means it's just sitting and waiting 350+ days a year. Seems a little depressing. Is there really no other riding option for non-plated sport bikes?

What else am I not considering yet? What models kinda fall into this segment?
 
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On smaller tracks, smaller bikes seem to be perfectly fine. Everyone seems to really like the Ninja 400 and the SV650's are the goto starter bikes I've heard. Might check the for sale section on the CMRA FB page or forum.

I've never ridden there, but I hear Harris Hill is a good place to start. Might check that out starting off on a smaller bike on a smaller track. Then when you feel like you have it dialed in, move up to the liter bike and COTA.

@snlsmith is probably a good guy to talk to about this stuff.
 
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Interesting, yes I guess I should lap around a smaller track without crazy long straights like COTA to see what 'feels' right. CMRA forum is a good tip - not many bikes currently for sale, but the historical sales threads provide me an idea of what's out there at what asking prices.
 
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If you have the time and enjoy track days. I'd suggest a dedicated track bike.

You don't need electronics, just a sport bike with good suspension, brakes, and tires. (600s or even 750s are a decent size.... I started with a SV650, which was a bit too small, bought a R1, too fast and scared me, then bought a 2005 GSXR 750 and loved it)

Yes, you may only use it 2 or 3 times a year, but if you only spend 3-4K on it, it won't bother you so much.

And.... if you like it, you may find yourself using it more than that. I think I did over a dozen track days my first year. I totally got hooked on them and learned a lot.
My advice would be to save the extra 6K it would cost for a modern bike with electronics and use it for track days and track time. You can buy a lot of laps for 6K.

And.... with track fairings that are made to crash. You won't have to cry after your first low side.
 
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Side note, I'd stay away from COTA unless you have a bike that can do at least 130 mph. You are correct that the closing speeds are definitely a problem on that track. It takes very little skill to go fast on a 3/4 mile straight so every liter bike out there will be hitting 150+. That speed differential is like parking your bike in the middle of a 40 mph road and expecting everyone to go around you. It's just not safe. Add in the fact that you'll have a beginning track day guy that is going faster than they have ever gone and are thinking nothing except for when to grab the brake and they just aren't looking for you going that much slower.

You won't have that problem at Cresson... a beginning rider will probably only get to 100-110 on the straightaway so the closing differential is less.

For reference on tracks around here, COTA has the longest straight and will hit the top speeds. MSR Houston is the next fastest, Hallett and ECR are next and MSR Cresson is the tightest track and slowest speeds. Harris Hill is in there somewhere, but I've never ridden it so I don't know.
 
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I started with a SV650, which was a bit too small,
...meaning you found it lacking power relatively soon?

Side note, I'd stay away from COTA unless you have a bike that can do at least 130 mph
Yes, I was being blitzed down both straights - annoying, since even slow-me was back on some of their tails after a few turns.
But, COTA is soooo nice otherwise. Yes, it's the only track I've been at, but the S section is super fun, and the big right hand sweeper at 16,17,18 is also wonderful fun. The four tight turns (1, 11, 12, 20) also keep you on your (my) toes. The surface is perfect (as far as I can judge) and the up/down around T1 is nuts.

My advice would be to save the extra 6K it would cost for a modern bike with electronics and use it for track days and track time. You can buy a lot of laps for 6K.
That sounds right.
 
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...meaning you found it lacking power relatively soon?

Yes and no. An SV650 is a decent first track bike but it's not the same HP as a supersport 600. It's probably about 80 hp, fast, but not as fast as something like a R6 or GSXR600 which will be about 110 hp.

The SV650 also has conventional forks vs inverted so the suspension isn't as good.

I'm 240 pounds and a soft suspension and lower power motor seemed to be not enough. However, looking back, I could have learned a lot from the SV650. I actually raced a Ninja 250 in endurance racing and learned you can have a lot of fun racing a slow bike fast.

So...SV650 is probably a decent choice, but an actual sport bike / super sport 600 or 750 will be better.
 
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I highly recommend ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Ignacio runs a great track day. 3:16 Track Days. I did their track day last Monday at Cresson on my stock FZ10. I never hit the ABS or the traction control and I had them set for the earliest intrusion. I ran in the faster Respect group and passed more riders than passed me. I have a recommendation on a cheap track day bike. I have a Honda Superhawk 1000 that's just sitting there. It was my track day instructor bike up until about 5 years ago. It needs the tank and carbs cleaned, fresh oil and brake fluid. New brake pads and tires would be prudent. The Pilot Power tires on it have less than 100 miles, but they are over 4 years old. Before you say you don't want to start with a 1000, let me say all recent 600cc sport bikes make more horsepower. It's really easy to ride and very forgiving. Use it until you tire of it and give it back to me. It has Race Tech forks, Ohlins shock, rearsets, Scotts steering damper and slip on exhausts.
 
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bwdmax

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I bet the offer of the Superhawk comes with some tips, tricks, and wisdom that can't be bought either.;-)
 
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Reading that generous offer above, just reminds me that I've found track day folks to be some of the coolest riders I've come across.

I've seen lots of camaraderie and support among trackday regulars.
 
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Hey all. Jeff let me hang out during his track day at COTA. Even though I didn't ride, I seem to have caught the track day bug. So, I'm looking to buy a set of good used one-piece leathers if you see any. Probably size 38 or 40 US, 48 or 50 EU, Japanese LS or L. Thanks.
 
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Hey all. Jeff let me hang out during his track day at COTA. Even though I didn't ride, I seem to have caught the track day bug. So, I'm looking to buy a set of good used one-piece leathers if you see any. Skinny old 5'8" dude size - probably size 38 or 40 US, 48 or 50 EU, Japanese LS or L. Thanks.
I heard that Cycle Gear is blowing out their Sedici suits for $250 right now.
 
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Cheap Track Bike!
Evertime I see this post I laugh.
Me too. My last endurance bike was a 26 year old FZR400 that we raced in CMRA lightweight endurance. Tires for 6 races was $2,905 and that's way more than the bike cost.

I hosed the sawdust off. Despite being put on a battery tender once a week for the past 4 years, the battery is kaput. Imagine that.
IMG_4530.JPG


Race Tech fork kit
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I could not find a manufacturer for the rear sets.
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Steering damper
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Ohlins shock
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I told you wrong about the tires. They basically have zero miles, but both were manufactured in the latter half of 2016. I put them on for a friend to ride a track day. He backed out at the last moment and shortly after that I had to quit racing and riding track days due to family obligations. The tire slightly rubs on the mufflers. They will need to be tightened up and moved out 1/2" or so.
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Jeff, I live in Bryan. I'm going to a celebration of life for former CMRA race director Charles Brothers this Saturday, but other days are pretty much open.

Dennie
nine79466884four
 
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