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New to track. LOTS of street exp. Which bike?

Discussion in 'Information For New Racers' started by Jordano, Oct 2, 2020.

  1. Jordano

    Jordano Active Member

    Hey everyone. I'm looking for suggestions. Start tiny? Or get a bigger bike and "grow" into it?
    1) Tiny bike (R3/Ninja 400/RC390)?
    2) Med bike (R6/GSXR 600/ GSXR750, probably my first choice)?
    or 3) Big bike (R1/GSXR 1000, probably my second instinct)?

    Track Exp.
    I've done two track days only, both at Streets of Willow.
    - First time I was of the quicker in C group on a 2005 Yamaha FZ1, a model I once owned and put about 20k miles on the street on.
    - Second time I took my barely broken-in 2017 Aprilia Tuono 1100 Factory. I started in C, and was running about mid B at the end of the day. Of course, I had plenty of power; but instructors basically told me to work on cleaning up lines and being smoother with the power.

    Street Exp.
    -About 80k-100k miles on the street, I'm not sure exactly. Probably roughly half canyon, most of it in SoCal and a little in Nor Cal (Napa/Sonoma), UT, CO. The rest is commuter/freeway/pleasure cruise miles.
    -Never dragged a knee.
    -Ok, well I did once...when pushing an old 2003 Aprilia Falco in the local twisties a few months back. I then pulled my knee up (out of surprise?), leaned over more as the radius decreased, and crashed. It was after that experience of tumbling across a lane of what could have been oncoming traffic that I decided I need to redirect my penchant to pushing my limits and developing my skills towards the track.

    Bikes I've Already Owned
    -Lots. Started on rural roads riding dual sports. Had lots of cruisers. A couple older sportbikes (GSXR 600 and FZR600). But most of my canyon riding has been on FJR1300s, both gens of FZ1s, followed by few thousand miles on the Tuono 1100, and most recently on my Super Duke GT.

    So, what would be the suggestions?
    -I'm inclined to buy something small and cheap, to really work on technique.
    -I could also easily be happy with an older GSXR 750 or 1000, and hopefully get into one cheap ($3-5k or less) in case I crash.
    -Of course, I could also just keep going on my Tuono or alternate between that and my Super Duke GT. But then I run the risk of wadding up something I really don't want to wad up.

    I think I'm mostly leaning towards a GSXR 750. Maybe the 600 or an R6. Who has wisdom to share?

    (Sorry for the long-winded backstory. TLDR: I'm an experienced rider, but an inexperienced track rider.)
  2. Mongo

    Mongo Administrator

    Something used and prepped already. 600 is a good choice given you're used to them.
    R/T Performance likes this.
  3. mpusch

    mpusch Well-Known Member

    I think the 600 is a great choice for the track. Plenty of fun and chews up tires a bit less quickly (for most of us).
  4. Circacee

    Circacee Well-Known Member

    I'll sell you my 2008 GSXR 600 that's fully prepped for 4,500. I'm in Socal.
  5. Jordano

    Jordano Active Member

    You've sparked my interest! Let's see whatcha got?
  6. 2blueYam

    2blueYam Track Day Addict

    SV650. Good middle ground and you will make you a better rider. 600 would work fine too.

    Already track prepared as others have suggested.
  7. fastfreddie

    fastfreddie Midnight Oil Garage

    A nimble bike...for learning to keep your lines clean. Or, ride in the rain...with its associated risk.
  8. kenessex

    kenessex unregistered user

    Based on the amount of experience you have, I would also suggest an SV650. By the time you are ready for something else, you will have enough track experience to know what you want.
  9. Jordano

    Jordano Active Member

    By amount do you mean lack thereof on the track? That's what is causing me to think maybe get a 300 or 400; you know, really work on maintaining due to the penalty of slowing down given the time to build back up.

    Come to think of it, though, I remember when I bought my first FZ1 back in 2011. I test rode an R6 after having not had a sport bike for 6 years or so. I decided I definitely wanted more getup and go in the low and mid-range. The R1 was too expensive for me to insure then, so I got the FZ1. It turned out to be perfect.

    The Tuono was pretty much perfect for track duty last time I had it out; very comfortable, power all over, handles like magic. I just don't want to tear it up or crash it.

    So, yeah, SV650 doesn't take as long to spool up down low from what I gather, but it doesn't have the top end. I'd be inclined to stick with the Tuono for track duty, but aside from the cost I feel like a true sportbike's posture would help cornering.

    I fear I'll be bored with a 600 or 650 fast enough. Maybe I'll just go for an older 1000, or maybe 750. I have had over 30 bikes, after all; in the end I suppose I do already have a pretty good idea what I like.

    I keep looking for a good reason to get a smaller bike. I'm just not really finding the justification.

    Thanks for all the feedback so far.
  10. tgold

    tgold Well-Known Member

    Not if you're riding it well. If "bored" means that you think you'll make a 600 (or even an SV650) your bitch in a short amount of time, that's not very likely. If you get bored with a 600 or an SV you probably aren't pushing the limits of the bike. SVs and the little bikes are great tools for promoting good cornering technique and the power of the liter bikes can mask poor cornering technique. I can tell you from endurance racing an SV and a 300 Ninja that I've had to constantly work improve my corner speed in order to get in front and stay in front of bigger bikes. You'll be humbled by much smaller bikes for a while no matter how big of a bike you start with.
    If you really want a good 600, an excellent bike straight out of the box with no modifications is the 2003-2005 Yamaha R6, (in later years it was sold as the R6S). Very good front end feel that is confidence inspiring for a relatively new track rider. And they really can do quite well with zero modifications.
  11. stangmx13

    stangmx13 Well-Known Member


    It depends on your goals for track riding. If you want to get fast as quickly as possible, private instruction and a lower-HP bike are usually the easiest and quickest ways to learn how to ride properly. The small bike is especially important if you wont get private instruction. If you just want to have fun and don't care about how fast you are, ride whatever you want. A bigger bike will be more fun early-on because passing will be easier and you can be lazier with throttle/shifting/etc. But its harder to teach yourself to ride properly on a bigger bike.

    If you plan to race, you should buy the bike for the class you want to race in. Then you should pay for private instruction no matter what.

    No matter what bike you choose, buy a used prepped track bike. You can get a lot of well-setup bikes for less than 1/3rd what it would cost to build yourself. Look for good suspension, controls, and bodywork. Don't worry about built motors or race gas just yet.
  12. 2blueYam

    2blueYam Track Day Addict

    In fact I would suggest avoiding most built motors unless you are either very good at and like working on them yourself or have deep pockets and a good shop close by that you trust to work on them. This will vary of course on the level of build and the bike.
    Jordano likes this.
  13. Jordano

    Jordano Active Member

    Got it. Actually, I'm now thinking about just using the Tuono for the rare days I do go to the (bigger) track. And also maybe getting a Ninja 400, for the big track, but also to use on local kart tracks. That's the idea anyways.

    The reality of time constraints likely means I'll have a hard time getting to the big track as much as I'd like. Larger tracks are all a ways away, but there are two kart tracks close.

    Racing probably isnt a likely reality at this point, with all other obligations.
  14. TurboBlew

    TurboBlew Registers Abusers

    a full sized bike on a kart track is no fun. Youre better off getting a mini to put seat time on til you figure out what you want.
    dave3593, DmanSlam, sbk1198 and 3 others like this.
  15. DmanSlam

    DmanSlam Well-Known Member

    Agreeing with this. There are the rare exceptions. I know of 2 riders who have brought 300/400 sportbikes to a kart track. Requires a bit of 'backing it in' to get around some of the corners. Slow corners are not really fun on those bikes though.
  16. Jordano

    Jordano Active Member

    What do you all think about a 2003 GSXR 600? Decent bike?
  17. Jordano

    Jordano Active Member

    I'm thinking cheap is the way to go. Heeding the advice to buy one setup already. :)
  18. Lawdog78

    Lawdog78 Well-Known Member

    Loved my 03 600! Parts were dirt cheap. I bought a straight set of forks for $85 on ebay! Handled good, seemed stone cold reliable. In 04 they added radial brakes and inverted forks but just sayin
    Jordano likes this.
  19. Jordano

    Jordano Active Member

    Cool. I just read the 2004 also added a new ECU. Was the 2003 carburated?
  20. Jordano

    Jordano Active Member

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