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Track Day Questions

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Jan 27, 2010
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Allen, TX
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Steven
A lot of riders flip their tires after one side wears so they can get full use out of the tire. Rain sipe direction doesn't matter much on dry tracks.
On most tires it is the internal build that guides whether you can flip them, not the siping. Most (if not all) dedicated track tires can be flipped. Always consult with the tire rep before flipping a specific brand/model of tire.
 
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Allen, TX
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Steven
I do wish there was a "non-racer" track day event for folks on Harleys and other types of bikes. Would be nice to open it up to more riders. I think everyone would benefit from one.
Ridesmamrt use to have a cruiser class once or twice a year where one Level was specifically for those type bikes, not sure if they still do. There was a guy that would go tot he one at ECR and rail on his Goldwing. One time we saw him pulled over on the way home before he even made it back to I-35, so guess he didn't get it all out at the track, LOL!


There is a good chance I will see you at ECR (the track in Decatur) when you head out there. We bought the membership last year and I may be coaching with Jim Dugger (https://sportridercoaching.com/) this year. They may be the only school out at ECR this year, so if you are going out there, it is most likely with them.
 

2WheelNut

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What times/days are you going?
Leaving this Friday afternoon the 16th. We are doing the track day on Saturday, coming home Saturday night. It's a lot of driving for one day but we're meeting a friend that lives by there and I couldn't do 2 days as I have to travel for work in Sunday.

You could certainly stay the extra day to make it more worth your while but then you'd need to drive yourself vs going with us.

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Jarrett

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Leaving this Friday afternoon the 16th. We are doing the track day on Saturday, coming home Saturday night. It's a lot of driving for one day but we're meeting a friend that lives by there and I couldn't do 2 days as I have to travel for work in Sunday.

You could certainly stay the extra day to make it more worth your while but then you'd need to drive yourself vs going with us.
:ponder: I'll call you this week to discuss, if that's cool.
 

SpiritAtBay

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**** Jarrett, you're doing motorcycling the right way. I'll be left behind at this pace.

What do the others think about an ADV bike there? No money to buy a sport bike.
....

But the positives far outweighed the negatives in my mind. I think everyone that rides on the street should do a track day at least once. I do wish there was a "non-racer" track day event for folks on Harleys and other types of bikes. Would be nice to open it up to more riders. I think everyone would benefit from one.
Totally agree. There was some joking about doing an adv day at TWS a couple of years ago.
 
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Heath
Raising hand with dumb question: what constitutes an ADV bike? DRZ? GS? Anything in between that might venture off pavement?

Any motorcycle with proper tires should benefit from a track day. And a single cylinder would be a hoot! Then again, we all know it ain't the bike...


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Tourmeister

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When I was corner working, there were quite a few riders on dirt bikes with street tires on them, super moto I guess. This is a real cheap way to do track days, especially if you are prone to off track excursions ;-) One rider was on a pimped out CR500. I think he owned a powder coating business, so every part on that thing had some custom powder coat color on it. He was blowing by everyone in the corners, inside and outside, but of course everyone passed him back when he was tucked in going down the main straight at TWS. He was having a blast.

You can learn to ride ANY bike better at a track day, but obviously some bikes are better suited for the track than others considering the potential cost of making a mistake. A naked bike with frame sliders/guards is often the best way to go unless you just want to be able to hit max speed and need the fairings for aerodynamic reasons. On tracks with no long straights where you can really do the top speed thing, something like a dirt bike or Adv bike might be a real hoot because they often have more low end grunt and can be fun coming out of corners. They also generally have a LOT of cornering clearance because of their higher stature. Most any thumper would be fun!
 

Jarrett

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Raising hand with dumb question: what constitutes an ADV bike? DRZ? GS? Anything in between that might venture off pavement?

Any motorcycle with proper tires should benefit from a track day. And a single cylinder would be a hoot! Then again, we all know it ain't the bike...
Sure, any of those. It ain't the bike, to a point.

On tracks with no long straights where you can't really do the top speed thing, something like a dirt bike or Adv bike might be a real hoot because they often have more low end grunt and can be fun coming out of corners. They also generally have a LOT of cornering clearance because of their higher stature. Most any thumper would be fun!
I took my Zero FX dual sport/dirt bike out to Cresson last time. It was funny to ride for a few laps, but compared to track-oriented bikes, it was really out of its element despite its instant torque advantage.

The VFR could kinda keep up for the most parts in the straights, but would lose ground in the corners. The Speed Triple was better than either of them in their best areas. It was just as nimble as the FX, but quicker and it was considerably more potent in the short straights than the VFR was due to how quickly it would pull from say 30 to 100 mph.

There was a guy there on a Ducati Hypermotard Saturday and he was ripping the place up. He came around me enough times that I could identify him. A good rider came out on a Grom trying to get people and had some success I heard, but he never got me :)

The Speed Triple almost feels like cheating but I didn't mind having it to help make up for my lack of ability, hehe. There were better riders out there on other bikes working a lot harder than I was, for sure. There was a dude on a KTM RC 390 that was riding better than I could, but I kept passing him with power instead of technique. Had we swapped bikes, I suspect many would have been passing me all day. Side note, he blew up that bike before lunch.
 

Jarrett

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I think it was Honey Badger that said, some folks camp out in Novice/Level 1 for life. I found that to be the case at this event. On the track at the same time were 15-20 that had never done a track day before riding with a large number folks that had dedicated track bikes, enclosed trailers that have been doing them for a decade or more. I found that interesting. I just assumed people would naturally want to move up over time to see what Level 2 was like.
 
Joined
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Portland, TX
Level 2 is scary. Way too many variables. I definitely preferred level 1, level 3, or(eventually) the CMRA practice days. Also for summer days I would just ride half days and corner work the other. Saved money and was better for my health. All of my wrecks were at the end of the day.

Liter bikes at Cresson are such overkill. I remember once doing the small track and the only bike I had was an Aprilia Tuono. I did one session without shifting a single time.
 

GLFlyer

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Level 2 is scary. Way too many variables. I definitely preferred level 1, level 3, or(eventually) the CMRA practice days.
This! šŸ‘† :thumb:

I actually spent the least amount of time in Level 2/Intermediate for this reason. You have folks there who think they are fast because they can pass everyone on the straights in Level 1, but they can and will park it in the corners without observing any consistency for their braking markers or the apex.

@2WheelNut actually has a story about going back to a track day with his son after not attending one for a while, and deciding to drop down into Level 2 from Level 3 since they weren't sure they'd be comfortable at the L3 pace after being out for a while. I'll let him tell that story... but suffice it to say, once you learn not to be startled by those close to you, and to be consistent with your pace, braking, cornering, accelerating, etc... you'll fit in well with L3.
 
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A Hypermotard would be awesome! My ride is an '09 Multistrada, and they shared engine specs. 95 HP, air-cooled, light weight torque machine. Dive in deep, using the big 550 cc cans to decelerate, whisper on the Brembos, then back on the power before those high-strung in-line 4s. You feel like a super hero!

So, when is the next track day?


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Jarrett

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Level 2 is scary. Way too many variables. I definitely preferred level 1, level 3, or(eventually) the CMRA practice days. Also for summer days I would just ride half days and corner work the other. Saved money and was better for my health. All of my wrecks were at the end of the day.

Liter bikes at Cresson are such overkill. I remember once doing the small track and the only bike I had was an Aprilia Tuono. I did one session without shifting a single time.
Interesting. So much to learn with this stuff.

Not going to lie, I did a few laps in 3rd. It let me focus on everything else for a bit.

What's the right size bike for Cresson?

I actually spent the least amount of time in Level 2/Intermediate for this reason. You have folks there who think they are fast because they can pass everyone on the straights in Level 1, but they can and will park it in the corners without observing any consistency for their braking markers or the apex.

but suffice it to say, once you learn not to be startled by those close to you, and to be consistent with your pace, braking, cornering, accelerating, etc... you'll fit in well with L3.
I assumed L2 was all good riders.

Braking is probably my biggest weakness at this point. It seems consistent, but way too early.

That said, I have to admit, I was really surprised by the number of people I had to stop hard for or swing wide to keep from hitting at the corners. They would run down there so hard, I thought they'd be gone by the time I got there, but there they were.

So, when is the next track day?
September and October for sure. That might be all for this year.
 

Tourmeister

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hat said, I have to admit, I was really surprised by the number of people I had to stop hard for or swing wide to keep from hitting at the corners. They would run down there so hard, I thought they'd be gone by the time I got there, but there they were.
These people are focusing on being "fast" in terms of top speed rather than developing good technique that allows them to be fast as a result of being smooth and in control. Back when I used to lead a lot of group rides, I saw this all the time. People would scream out of corners and blitz down the straight, braking hard into a corner and then wallowing through the corner on bad lines until they could get back on the gas to do it all over again. Riding behind someone like this in a group ride can drive you crazy. They totally disrupt the flow of the ride.

I often had riders like this following me. At breaks, they would come up to me and accuse me of riding super fast so that they could not keep up. I'd tell them that I rarely got 5 over the speed limit. They never believed me. So I would show them my GPS max recorded speed and it might be 75 mph when we'd been riding 70mph posted roads. Once they saw that, it would inevitably lead to a discussion about cornering techniques. I was not slowing down as much or as abruptly for corners as they were. I always focus on the delayed apex, going slow in and fast out, but also being smooth in the process. Usually we'd have a discussion about all this over lunch, and then I would encourage them to go out and try the techniques for themselves after lunch. By the end of the day I often got good feedback from those riders about how different, but better, it was for them. I also encouraged them to do at least one track day if possible.

As for braking too soon, it is FAR better to brake to soon than too late. Unless you are literally racing and riding on the edge with other riders doing the same, there isn't really a penalty for braking too soon. During the MotoGP race this past weekend, there was a rider that went into a corner and his bike just died mid corner. It was really bizarre and you could tell the rider was surprised. The rider behind him was not expecting that and tagged him because he could not slow in time to avoid, causing the rider behind to crash. On the street, that should NEVER be an issue unless you are riding with someone that needs to learn that the street is not a track.
 

2WheelNut

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@2WheelNut actually has a story about going back to a track day with his son after not attending one for a while, and deciding to drop down into Level 2 from Level 3 since they weren't sure they'd be comfortable at the L3 pace after being out for a while. I'll let him tell that story... but suffice it to say, once you learn not to be startled by those close to you, and to be consistent with your pace, braking, cornering, accelerating, etc... you'll fit in well with L3.
I remember it a bit differently. Zach was passing someone in Level 2 and was too concerned about passing them too close and forgot to stay on line himself. He passed way too late and was completely out of position for the next corner and wadded up the bike.

True...he wouldn't have crashed if he was in Level 3, but he didn't crash because of bad riders in Level 2, he crashed because he forgot to ride his own line.

Regardless...I do agree there is danger in riding below your level as you simply have way more people to pass on any given lap.
 
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So Jarrett, how was the classroom portion? How do your two track days with two different companies compare? Curious for your perspective



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Jarrett

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So Jarrett, how was the classroom portion? How do your two track days with two different companies compare? Curious for your perspective
With RideSmart, it was nice having some video to look at, although the only instructor feedback I got from mine was "not bad." It was also nice to have a tire and suspension expert there to get my bike dialed in for me. I also like that they put X's on the track to mark the line, Eurosport didn't. Of course, getting the cool post pics to look at is a nice bonus as well, had to pay extra for them. RideSmart is $25 cheaper and includes lunch, but other than that, everything else was better for me with Eurosport's track day, imo.

Eurosport's deal was basically just customers of the shop and in most cases it was just old men that wanted to cut loose on their street bikes in a safe manner. No one was out there trying to become a racer or to raise their street cred, at least in their Level 1 group. The Level 1 classroom with RideSmart was just an instructor sort of rushing through a slide show that he was uninterested in. The classroom was much more involved with Eurosport and they answered a lot of questions and key points that I feel that RideSmart glossed over. Also, the instructors were much more involved with the riders with Eurosport, both in the classroom and on the track. Probably becasuse there were about half as many riders on the track and the instructor to rider ratio was considerably better with Eurosport.

The pace of the event was another big difference. With RideSmart, you are always late for the next thing and find yourself running to make it to the next class or next track session. Really hectic, no one was quite sure what was going on at any given time. Everyone was asking each other if they heard the last announcement. 20 minute track times/classroom with RideSmart versus 30 minute track times/classroom with Eurosport. WAY more crashes with RideSmart in my limited experience. Almost one an hour. I had two folks crash while I was on track with them. That's just in 12 sessions as well, I left after that. I'm not sure if the later sessions racked up more crashes or not. I was starting to fade and didn't want to become one of them.

By comparison, there was one crash total for the whole 16 session day with Eurosport and that was in the non-classroom bunch. Tony said that was the first one they had had in a while. Lots more unsafe things going on the track with RideSmart. That seemed like a combination of the different types of folks that showed up, the amount of riders versus how safety was addressed by each group.

Had I done RideSmart first before doing Eurosport's, I think I would have had a more negative view of track days in general. There were a number of new, slower riders at RideSmart that were done by lunch. I spoke with a woman during one of the breaks and it was her first track day and she did not seem to be enjoying it. She said something like, I don't know what's going on, I'm just trying to stay alive out there. I heard another rider say, "watch out for that guy on the green Kawi, he's holding up the track." The green Kawi was her and she was in earshot when the other guy said it.

There was a similar rider at Eurosport's track day and instead of getting that treatment, one of the instructor's kind of took him under his wing and watched out for him all day. Even took him for a ride as a passenger on his own bike so he could experience a better way to ride. By the end of the day, with all of that attention, this rider was riding much better and didn't stop at lunch like others did in RideSmart.

My take away was if you like a hectic, competitive pace where the goal is to become a racer and you don't need much feedback, then RideSmart. If you just want to go have fun on your street bike for a day in a laid back environment and gets lots of feedback from instructors, Eurosport. But Eurosport only does two a year and RideSmart has them all season. I do want to do another RideSmart event at COTA at some point. I might try one at Houston as well just to see what it is about.

My next one is going to be a 2 on 1 coaching deal in Decatur. I'm curious how that compares to both. They tout theirs as the best place to do your first track day.
 
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What's the right size bike for Cresson?
No clue. I am an internet expert, not a real expert.

I also have not ridden a liter bike on a track in a decade. The majority of my experience was on my CBR929 and 1st gen Tuono. It just required a lot more care to ride them. I would imagine that ABS, ride modes, lean angle sensors, traction control, etc have made the new bikes more manageable. If I started riding track again today (and I am debating it once I finish school) I think the ninja 400 would be the ticket. It should be decent enough power for the majority of Texas tracks and now has proper tire sizes.

Writing this made me visit the Kawasaki website and they are offering $500-750 manufacturer rebate. That is a lot of bike brand new for $4,500. that is definitely what I would do today.
 

Jarrett

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I would imagine that ABS, ride modes, lean angle sensors, traction control, etc have made the new bikes more manageable.
Yeah, I think my bike is allowing me to do a lot more than I would be able to on an old school bike.

It's got all that stuff. I saw the traction control light flashing a bunch while on the track.

I wouldn't be anywhere near as confident out there on it without all the nanny tech enabled.
 
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Dallas, TX
Electronics help, but in my (relatively speaking) slow opinion, they're not all they're cracked up to be. They allow some riders to get away with poor technique - until they don't. My TC did NOT save me from a rather epic-level high-side back in April of this year...I've had it kick in and work other times, that time it did not. Granted, the kawi TC is pretty poor compared to some of their competitors...

The ideal size bike is the one you want to ride and enjoy riding. Do you ever NEED a liter bike? Pretty much no. That doesn't make them not fun to ride :D if that's what you enjoy. Going fast on one does take more work and more skill and sometimes just some extra cajones lol.

I was out at Cresson on Sunday to learn the lines and get the CCW direction down before this weekend. Traction was good, track was good (for what it is), and had a ton of fun.
 
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