ajcjr

Sort Of New Member And Looking To Get On Track This Year

12 posts in this topic

So a few years ago i posted some questions here regarding getting on track. It was then i made a decision to go for my SCCA racing license and started a racing career in a cage. It was a great learning experience and a ton of fun but i recently sold it to give this a try.

 

A little bit about me, i had a HD back in 06, raced 125cc karts for 5 years, raced a full size prototype car (3 years) on track such as Watkins Glen, VIR, Summit, NJMP, Pocono, NH, and i ride dirt bikes (ride dont race). I learned in 4 wheel racing alot of this is mental and i have a full simulator at home that i practiced on as well.

 

So my plan for this year is to get on the track but on two wheels. I am very interested in doing the (2) two day school so i can get a good education. Unfortunately the wife is giving my some push back with riding on the street ( we have a 12 yr old, living on Long Island its very busy), she wasnt to thrilled with track riding either but i gave her some information to read and i dont if she is giving in but said to give it a try.

 

Just like when i started racing or riding dirt bikes, there is a little fear here but i think that is healthy and normal. My ego is checked at the door and i am looking for this to be a fun, challenging hobby, im not out there to be the next MotoGp champ.

 

The school uses the BMW bikes which really intrigue me and felt great while i sat on one at the NYC MC show. My question is if i was to buy a bike after to do track days would that bike be to much for me? Most people i speak to have the same answer, start with a SV650. My plan here is to learn, the race car i started with was a momentum car and you had to learn to carry momentum into the corners, be smart with your lines etc.. it wasnt powerful but most said if you are fast with that, you can be fast in anything. So i am kind of looking for the same thing for a track bike.

 

One thing that concerns me is not being on track but now being on track minus two wheels and if my brain will remember that. I understand trail braking, slow in fast out, finding the apex but has anyone gone from 4 to 2 wheels and how was the transition?

 

I have both of Keiths books as well as others, i try to read anything i can, if anyone has any tips, books, videos, etc.. to prepare me, please pass it on. Im starting this as if its a new language and i know NOTHING! I plan on doing the earliest school i can at NJMP.

 

Thanks for your time, happy holidays and look forward to getting to know this sport, fellow riders and instructors.

 

AC

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My ego is checked at the door and i am looking for this to be a fun, challenging hobby, im not out there to be the next MotoGp champ.

 

The school uses the BMW bikes which really intrigue me and felt great while i sat on one at the NYC MC show. My question is if i was to buy a bike after to do track days would that bike be to much for me? Most people i speak to have the same answer, start with a SV650. My plan here is to learn, the race car i started with was a momentum car and you had to learn to carry momentum into the corners, be smart with your lines etc.. it wasnt powerful but most said if you are fast with that, you can be fast in anything. So i am kind of looking for the same thing for a track bike.

 

One thing that concerns me is not being on track but now being on track minus two wheels and if my brain will remember that. I understand trail braking, slow in fast out, finding the apex but has anyone gone from 4 to 2 wheels and how was the transition?

 

Hi AC,

 

Welcome 'back' to the forum :)

 

You don't sound like the average testosterone-filled 18-year-old (quite the contrary), so I think you'll do fine if you end up buying the S1000RR.

 

You do have a point about starting out on a low-power bike; it teaches you good roll-on of the throttle and a smooth riding style which is easy to carry over to a more powerful bike.

 

Usually a 600cc sportsbike is a good starting point, as they have goo drive but won't try to launch you off to the moon if you give it the handful (a 1000cc with zero traction control will try it's best).

 

Merry Christmas,

 

Kai

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It sounds like you are planning to do a 2 day camp as your first step - I think if I were you I'd wait until after that to decide on a bike. You'll have the best possible test ride on the BMW S1000rr at the school. Because of its various ride modes and nimble handling, it is actually quite an easy bike to ride and I think you'll find it friendly and an amazing amount of fun and if you are like most people you'll want to go right out and buy one. :)

 

That being said, it is not the cheapest bike out there to RUN at track days, since it eats more fuel and tires than, say, a Ninja 300 or an SV650, and of course costs more to begin with. If budget is a factor, you can often find a used race or track bike that has all the track mods already done for a lot less money than buying a new one and adding all the goodies. Most racers know they will never get their money back out of trick mods like exhaust, suspension, rearsets, timers, etc. and a used race bike can be a good deal.

 

(By the way the school SELLS the fleet of S1000rrs at year end every year and that is a good deal, too - between my husband and I we have bought three of them and been very happy!)

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Hotfoot,

I know you get folks like this guy all the time- lots of experience in one area (most of it transferrable) but very little on streetbikes. How do you recommend that he get the requisite experience beforehand so that he can make the most of the school time?

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Hotfoot,

I know you get folks like this guy all the time- lots of experience in one area (most of it transferrable) but very little on streetbikes. How do you recommend that he get the requisite experience beforehand so that he can make the most of the school time?

 

The biggest piece is to get enough experience on a bike that working the controls is comfortable and not a distraction. If a rider is staring at their hands trying to remember which handlebar has the clutch and which has the brake, that would be a problem.

 

Sounds like the OP already is comfortable on a racetrack and familiar with the flags and general racetrack etiquette, so there will actually be LESS to absorb than most first-time CSS students, many of whom have never been on a racetrack, so general comfort and familiarity with riding a motorcycle is likely all that will be needed.

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The biggest piece is to get enough experience on a bike that working the controls is comfortable and not a distraction. If a rider is staring at their hands trying to remember which handlebar has the clutch and which has the brake, that would be a problem.

Definitely NOT good! LOL

Any other baseline metrics or skills that need to be in place before a school? I like your analogy BTW.

 

I'm asking because all the other schools that I've seen SAY they can accommodate brand new riders (I have my doubts about that- but that's another story). I've also seen it stated somewhere (CSS website?) that 2,000 miles minimum experience is required. We all know that people learn and different rates and some won't get it in 3,000 miles. But nonetheless, IMO that's 2,000 miles of exposure in a high-risk activity may not be an ideal way of approaching things.

 

True- can't hold up the class because of a single rider who doesn't have the basics down (stalls bike, can't brake, has to THINK to operate the gearshifter, etc). What else can (or should) a new rider do to prepare to come to CSS in terms of experience? Any other metrics?

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We have said 2k miles and 6 months experience. We claim we don't train beginners, that the rider needs to be able to handle the control actions of the bike easily (as Hotfoot mentioned).

 

Most of the time this has made sense and communicated well, but there have been a few instances where a person was not able to do that, and we had to send them home (very rare in the school's history).

 

ajcjr: one of my coaches was an accomplished car racer. If he's at the school you attend, you can certainly talk to him about it.

 

One thing that has been seen with car racers is a bit more tendency to brake very late, very hard. This often messes with their entry speed and throttle control. If the rider is just willing to work with his coach, he'll get on the right track :).

 

A man after my own heart to be honest: I like dirt bikes, carts are ridiculous fun (I'm not that good in them, but also spent very little time in them).

 

If this helps with your wife: average age of students is in the early 40's, many 50-70+ (oldest was 80 I think). We get many that come back every year, or do a few dates with us a year. I'll admit/brag, our Course Control runs a tight ship. Riders can ride as fast as they are in control, and not too close when passing the other riders. He does a great job of keeping a good balance. One hears stories of other organizations and their crash numbers, I'll let you research that. We have many days with no incidents of any kind, and the average is about 1, and very rarely is anyone banged up. It certainly can happen, don't get me wrong, not claiming it's safe, that'd be silly.

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Thanks for all the replies everyone. I appreciate all the feedback and look forward to getting on track. Besides Keiths books anything else out there to read or watch?

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There's a companion video for TOTW2. I don't think it's a substitute, more like a supplement for the book.

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I'd agree with JB on this, the books are full of information. The videos are good, and made years later (so Keith paid attention in the videos) to things that students would ask about from the books--to try and really make sure those were cleared up.

 

Nothing else really to prep. Being in decent shape physically, and being smart with your hydration and electrolytes help too--so many are tired as the day wears on, and it's a lot to do with dehydration.

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I'd agree with JB on this, the books are full of information. The videos are good, and made years later (so Keith paid attention in the videos) to things that students would ask about from the books--to try and really make sure those were cleared up.

 

Nothing else really to prep. Being in decent shape physically, and being smart with your hydration and electrolytes help too--so many are tired as the day wears on, and it's a lot to do with dehydration.

Hydration is huge, i usually start to hydrate 2 days before my races, drinking plenty of liquids and some osmo nutrition.

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Good idea :)

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