Track days ~ where to start? - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-11-2015, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Track days ~ where to start?

I've been riding nearly 20 years on the street. I have never done a track day. I feel like I really know who I am as a rider, what I like about bikes, how I use them, and the features that are most important to me.

I am missing the track day experience and I'm looking to correct that.

I have a local track (Cresson) with at least one upcoming open/novice day coming up in May.

What do I need to do to get the most out of it?

Upside is money doesn't particularly matter- I'm not looking to overspend, but I'll spend what it takes to see what a track day is all about.

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post #2 of 15 Old 04-11-2015, 07:42 PM
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Have you looked around to see what local track day organizations/schools there are? I just did a quick search and found these guys http://www.lstd.com/html/index2.html that's way cheaper than up here and sounds pretty good.

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post #3 of 15 Old 04-11-2015, 08:10 PM
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Be your first track experience be a school or a track day, consider the following.

FIRST
Get yourself a copy of Keith Code's Twist of The Wrist 2 DVD, and the book with the very same title. The DVD is excellent. The book is too, but a bit tedious at times, however the book reinforces and expands upon the DVD and is filled with excellent info and you'll be missing out if you don't get the book too. You can not watch/read them too many times. (Code’s manner of presentation in his books is totally different from anything else you will find. It is not the easiest reading, but is always loaded with really good and authoritative content.)
Most will benefit from
1 watch DVD
2 read book
3 watch DVD again on a stop and go basis to allow note making.
4 good reinforcement would be watch DVD again, referring to notes, and adding new ones.

I have all of the Keith Code (California Superbike School) Twist of The Wrist Books, and none of them are what I would call suspension referral text worth looking at from that point of view alone. The Twist of the Wrist II DVD has a sort of suspension section but it is very very weak. Keith’s work is very good on the overall and riding, but forget it on suspension, and note that he does not pretend that his books are suspension guides. They are riding guides, as is the latest DVD.

One last thing.
Keith Code is as much a disciple of Throttle Position as he is Body Position.
Everyone harps about Body Position, but I'm not aware of any others that "headline", train, and reinforce, Throttle Position. When you learn how critical Throttle Position is to having the best technique, you'll wonder why you don't hear so much about it from others.

SECOND
Try to get yourself a copy of Roadracing World's Track Day Directory. They do one a year. You may be able to access online. I keep them all, as each year has something new in it. Lots of great tips and excellent content.

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post #4 of 15 Old 04-11-2015, 08:12 PM
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Prep & Riding Index

1 1 Prep - Mental
2 Prep – Body
3 Prep – Bike
4 Prep – Pit Area
5
6
7
8
9
10 Misc.
----------------------------------------------------------------
2 1 Tire Warming
2 Practice
3 Starts
4 Lines
5 Passing 6 Avoidance
7 Rain Riding
8 Slides & Recoveries
9 Crashing
10 Pace
11
12
13
14 School
15 Misc
---------------------------------------------------------------
3 1 Vision & Visual Techniques
2 Traction (Grip)
3 Body Position
4 Throttle Position
5 Cornering
6 Braking
7 Shifting – Down
– Up
– Overall
–- Pattern
8 Smootness
9
10
11
12
13
14
15 Misc.
----------------------------------------------------------------
4 Pure Street
----------------------------------------------------------------
5 Miscellaneous

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post #5 of 15 Old 04-11-2015, 08:14 PM
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Track Day Experiences & Suggestions circa 2010

FIRST
Try to get yourself a copy of Roadracing World's Track Day Directory. They do one a year. You may be able to access online. I keep them all, as each year has something new in it. Lots of tips.

SECOND
Get yourself a copy of Keith Code's Twist of The Wrist 2 DVD, and the book with the very same title. The DVD is excellent. The book is too, but a bit tedious at times, however the book reinforces and expands upon the DVD and is filled with excellent info and you'll be missing out if you don't get the book too. You can not watch/read them too many times.

All of my Track Days have been at Calgary Race City, with the events run by BGPR.
I've logged about 1,000 miles on the track between last season and this season.
I started as a rank beginner Novice, and was moved into Intermediate after one school and 3 events. It is very well run, the clock is well adhered to. There are 5 minute warnings for every session. There are corner marshalls and a manned ambulance. There is also at least one “bike recovery” vehicle.
A Track Day is $ 200.
A Track Night is $ 140.
What a deal for what you get and what you get to do !


There are 3 classes:

Expert
This is where the fast roadracers go, aside from the Novice class racers.
This is also where the fast track day specialists go, guys and gals who would easily be expert or fast amateur roadracers if they wanted to race.
No passing restrictions.

Intermediate
This is always the largest group, by far.
Non Novice Track Day types go here.
So do slow amateur racers and novice racers.
It's mostly street bikes, but there is always a significant presence of prepped race bikes and dedicated track day bikes here.
Very few naked uprights, but this is where you will see most, if not all, of them.
At least 3/4s of the incidents will happen in this group.
Passing is allowed anywhere, but only on the outside. This is a problem, as some will pass on the inside, while others hog the outside to block, and others never do the same line twice. Once in an intermediate group and in with a pack near the back, you really have to be careful about following too closely or trying to pass.


Novice
This is not the place for racers, because it's not for racers.
First timers go here, as do first time track visitors - regardless of experience level.
Regular novices as well. Any out of town experienced visitors will start here and be moved out quickly if skill level says so.
First timers and first time track visitors get pulled aside after the Riders Meeting. They have two sessions paced by an instructor. Those still needing some on track guidance after that, will find themselves paired or up to a limit of 4 riders per instructor, at no charge.
Passing is only allowed on the outside of the two straights, and because the one straight is so short, it effectively means only passing on the main straight.


Required Bike & Rider Prep

Folded back taped mirrors, or mirrors removed. (Your local organizer may require mirror removal.)
Taped lenses.
Lean stand on is OK. ( I have heard other places require they be removed, and if so, make sure your lean stand switch is closed otherwise you will not be able to start you bike ! )
Street Coolant is OK (I have heard other places require you only have water, no glycol, but WaterWetter or Purple Ice is OK as an additive to the water)
No safety wiring is required (I have heard other places may require some, perhaps just the oil drain bolt.)
No lower chain run protector needed, as in a so called shark fin mounted on the bottom of the swingarm. (Maybe other places require that)

Full finger gloves.
Full leathers, but proper abrasion resistant ballistic nylon is allowed.
Two piece outfits must be upper / lower zipp together type.
Boots are required, bonafide boot, no ankle exposed, need at least some suit bottom/ boot overlap.
A helmet.
Armour is not required, but is recommended.


Tire Pressures
Get advice. As a general comment, cold 32 front and 35 rear will give you a tire that feels normal to those used to riding on street tires on the street. You’ll have more than enough grip for your first time. If you find yourself gumming up the tires after a few sessions, talk to someone at your track who is in the know, and get some revised pressure suggestions based on you as a rider and the tires you are running. If someone suggests starting with something like cold 30/30 and you happen to be on Michelin 2CTs or something like that, you’ll be fine but may get a bit spooked by the mushier tire carcass feel that you will notice. Run and hide if anyone suggests cold 36 front and 42 rear.

Chassis Setup
Do it at home, not at the track.
Even if all you do is check and write down your Free and Rider Sag numbers, as well as your adjuster screw turns or click counts.
Past that needs a book.
But make sure you have enough tools with you to be able to make basic changes, even if you don’t make any ! Rear shock collar tool, a wrench or socket for the front ride height adjuster, and screwdrivers that will actually fit your adjuster screws.

Asking for Help, Tips or Guidance
There are always people to ask.
Novices will get resources pointed out to them.
BGPR actually has their lead guy walk around and talk to people between sessions, focusing on the Novices in particular.
I’m sure many Track Day organizers have similar approaches and structure.
Like everything else, you’ll see people who look approachable and seem to have it together, and usually they are safe bet to try.
My experience has been as soon as I make it clear I need help, and am looking for it, I get helped or get steered to someone who can help me.

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post #6 of 15 Old 04-11-2015, 09:05 PM
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I think Ridesmart still does track days at Cresson, they are pretty good. They have really good Novice instruction, but their Novice groups tend to be packed (at least at MSRH near Houston) The class room instruction was good, but what I got the most out of was having an instructor follow me and give pointers, then have me follow him and show me lines and brake points.

mcromo44 pretty much hit everything. Definitely have the suspension guy set you up, it will make a HUGE difference. It's worth the $30 or so bucks they charge.

Do it, and try not to get hooked!

"A motorcycle is not just a two-wheeled car; the difference between driving a car and climbing onto a motorcycle is the difference between watching TV and actually living your life."
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-11-2015, 09:05 PM
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Nice. This thread should be pinned.

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post #8 of 15 Old 04-11-2015, 09:49 PM
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LSTD has a much better student:teacher ratio. Ridesmart is more about them making money than teaching you. I can't add anything to what these guys have said other than go in with an open mind and ready to learn.

if you love your motorcycle, set it free.. if it comes back and hits you.. you highsided
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-12-2015, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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I really appreciate the feedback guys. I will check out lstd and get the Keith Code stuff on order.

Thanks, I will definitely keep ya'll posted.

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post #10 of 15 Old 04-12-2015, 11:50 AM
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There is a free download of the keith cole in the helpful topics section I believe. Should be in the drop box.

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post #11 of 15 Old 04-12-2015, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W. View Post
I really appreciate the feedback guys. I will check out lstd and get the Keith Code stuff on order.

Thanks, I will definitely keep ya'll posted.
Are you using the 919 or the new bike?

My classified(s):
Nothing at the moment

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- '96 Race-retired GSXR 750 (Sold)
- '01 RC51 SP1 (Sold)
- '03 919

"Security is mostly a superstition, it does not exist in nature: avoiding danger in the long run is no safer than outright being exposed. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."-Helen Keller
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-12-2015, 09:33 PM
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post #13 of 15 Old 04-13-2015, 07:21 AM
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Get friendly with a cr, and let them instruct you. That's how I got better.

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post #14 of 15 Old 04-13-2015, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
Great video! If you have multiple td organizations to choose from you will definitely find a wide range of requirements and styles, make sure to pick the one that's right for you.

08 DR-Z400SM
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-13-2015, 01:26 PM
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I can't say enough good things about SportbikeTrackTime. Coaches are fantastic. They run a safe show. Expectations are clear. Novice group is great for everybody from first-timers to those who've been doing track days for a few years. Intermediate is a bit of a disaster, but I have a feeling that's a theme in other orgs. Advanced is just awesome. In spite of the broad range of talent in that group, I've had one close call ever. They'll get you home safe, and that's what matters.

Two pieces of advice I can't understate about your prep: bring lots of liquid and don't ride to the track. The rest you can more or less feel out as you go, but those are two of the most important, in my opinion.

2002 919 40,000 miles
"racing is life...everything else is just waiting"
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