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Got My First Trackbike!


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After 3 years of not messing with gearing, or taking weight off, or upgrading anything because my was riding my commuting bike on the track, I'VE FINALLY GOT A TRACK BIKE!!! The only thing is that it's an '05 ZX6R. My commuting bike is an '05 ZX6R. I figure if it works, why try fixing it? It's a great bike, and feels comfortable at everything.

 

The problem I'm finding is that no matter what I do, I can't get it to feel like my commuting bike. It's just not as smooth. I've been working on it relentlessly for 1 1/2 days with improvement over how I bought it, but not really feeling comfortable on it. Work work work.

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Nice one jason, have you had it on the track yet?

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@ acebobby- I haven't had it on the track yet. I got it a couple of days ago and don't have a trackday until the 23rd (Inde and I CAN'T WAIT).

 

@ Bullet- When I got the bike the throttle cable was real loose, and it's taking some work to get it to that sweet spot I'm used to. On the front, when I'm coming off the brakes it doesn't feel as stable as when I'm on my bike. Same tires on the same type bike. And I've kept my commuter completely stock. I've worked on the suspension today and can't get that planted feeling when I'm going in or turning. I'm not getting the peg to the ground or anything, but, on this backroad right by my apartments, I have two nice left and right corners to work with and even going just pretty fast I feel that I have to be completely off the brakes before going into the turn. I don't think I should feel that if it's the exact same bike. I'm hesitant on the street to crack the throttle normally, but I'm not sure if that won't affect getting back on the throttle on the track.

 

I was going back and forth and back again without any increased comfort. It still needs some balancing and obviously tweaking on the suspension, but I was uncomfortable riding home when I bought it because it felt so odd, and maybe that carried over. It rides so much differently than mine. I'm going to work on it Thursday or Friday, whichever day I have off, but I'll let you know how it goes.

 

I guess I thought it would be easy because it's the exact same bike. AND I NEED STOMPGRIP!!! First mod. Coming in the mail.

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@ acebobby- I haven't had it on the track yet. I got it a couple of days ago and don't have a trackday until the 23rd (Inde and I CAN'T WAIT).

 

@ Bullet- When I got the bike the throttle cable was real loose, and it's taking some work to get it to that sweet spot I'm used to. On the front, when I'm coming off the brakes it doesn't feel as stable as when I'm on my bike. Same tires on the same type bike. And I've kept my commuter completely stock. I've worked on the suspension today and can't get that planted feeling when I'm going in or turning. I'm not getting the peg to the ground or anything, but, on this backroad right by my apartments, I have two nice left and right corners to work with and even going just pretty fast I feel that I have to be completely off the brakes before going into the turn. I don't think I should feel that if it's the exact same bike. I'm hesitant on the street to crack the throttle normally, but I'm not sure if that won't affect getting back on the throttle on the track.

 

I was going back and forth and back again without any increased comfort. It still needs some balancing and obviously tweaking on the suspension, but I was uncomfortable riding home when I bought it because it felt so odd, and maybe that carried over. It rides so much differently than mine. I'm going to work on it Thursday or Friday, whichever day I have off, but I'll let you know how it goes.

Jason,

 

I'm scratching my head here for you, buddy. If the bikes are identical, they should definitely work identical. So, make sure that they really ARE identical :)

Go over all the hydraulic fluids and replace them: brakes, clutch (if it's hydraulic), front fork and possibly the rear shock. As an added benefit, you will be able to ensure that the oil levels are the same as your road bike and the former owner hasn't played trick with shims in the rear end or dropping the front end without you noticing.

Also, make sure to set the suspension back to either stock or the same you have on the commuter (pick yer poison). Could be that the front rebound is way too hard so it stays down too much.

 

If your commuter is completely stock, it's likely to be a good tad heavier than the trackbike - that is, if the trackbike has had all the lights removed and had to plastics replaced with fibreglass fairings.

 

Congrats on your new tracktool,

 

 

Kai

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Jason,

I can only imagine that the differences could only come from geometry and suspension setup,

I would start at the front end, are the forks sticking through the yolkes the same distance on both bikes?

If this is a track bike chances are it will be running linier springs as opposed to the progressive springs in your stock bike, these will feel a bit alien to you at first, this leading on to whats going on inside those forks? do they have the stock valves and pistons, an aftermarket piston kit, cartridge kit or even aftermarket forks? The only other way to replicate how your stock bike feels is to use the same oil and springs! If you really want to know if its the forks swap them over and try that out, see how the bike reacts!

Another thing If this track bike has race clipons and (or) aftermarket rearsets this will seriously change how the bike feels!

 

Bobby

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I find Jason, even riding brand new bikes from the school that they often feel a little different. The suspension is very open to changes, and the points bobby talks about all very sound. We've noted big variation on feel, even when they're on the same settings. It's just mass produced kit for you really to some degree.

 

I'd also check things like wheel alignment, and get the bouncy bits overhauled, makes huge differences. I know some of the Zx10's I've ridden have loads of shock problems, with the loosing all their gas.

 

Bullet

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Congrats and I bet you'll have a blast, that a great track bike choice. You mentioned that the track bike has the same tires, but are they new tires or the one that came with the bike? Might check that, it sounds obvious but if they are old or worn funny or out of balance that would probably give you a weird feel coming into turns.

 

Also I agree with the suggestion of checking the ride height on the bike - many owners of ZX6Rs raise the back or lower the front, it's common trackside advice, and I personally think it helps the handling a lot. If the front is lower than you are used to, it might steer quicker and feel sketchy, and if it is higher, it might feel like it is hard to turn or running wide on the exits. When I had my forks done on my ZX6R they moved the forks 2mm in the triple clamps (raising the front) and it felt totally different to me, ruined my corner entries until I figured out what the problem was and lowered it back down. It seems like a small adjustment but makes a big difference in feel.

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Jason,

 

That model was about my favorite of that line. Will for sure would be the top source on this, but one question I have is the bike straight, and are the wheels on straight? Bikes can come from the factory no straight. Or in a crash get twisted. In many cases not difficult to fix, but sometimes does require frame straightening.

 

I'd first check if it was straight, is the rear wheel aligned correcdtly (forget the swing arm marks) and the tires, how new, what brand, etc.

 

CF

 

ps--already stated, but there isn't going to be a better guy to ask then Will, and he will talk to you about it.

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From you guys (thanks) I've found a couple of things going on. The Pilot Powers on my bike are rounded from track riding on top of the commuting, and my new one has been commuted on, and still have the standard 1 inch chickenstrips. I think wearing it down will help with some of the issues, along with balancing the tires (huge difference).

 

One thing I found, and felt stupid after two days of screwing with it, is that the chain was ultra tight. Not even half an inch of play. For any newer riders: a chain that is too tight is going to lock up your suspension. It will limit the amount of play your rear suspension can give.

 

The rest is, I guess just down to suspension, although I am going to take some more advice from above and change all the fluids. My ZX has exactly 3 suspension adjustments to them with about a year between each. That's a lot of time to get used to a suspension. I just thought I couldn't have gotten that used to one set-up verses another. I'm going to work on it a couple days this week and next weekend at Inde.

 

I'll post up how it went so those of you interested can read the results. Thanks again.

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, so I am taking it out again this weekend, but a couple of weekends ago this thing was rough.

 

I have my bike and my trackbike. My bike is the one I bought new and I just picked up the trackbike.

 

The turning on my bike is so easy. It's fast and the steering is loose feeling. The trackbike is burdensome to turn. I had to hold the bars all the way at the ends. It felt like more of a struggle.

 

The end of the straight is about 140 mph. As soon as I started braking the front end shuttered more and more through the day. And that's not hard braking either. It's a small speed adjustment into 3, but it kept getting worse as time went on. All the hard parts are intact. Nothing is loose, but it was really starting to get to me. I'm doing Chuckwalla and won't hit that speed, but I'm going to take the front end apart to see if I can figure out what's going on.

 

The suspension is a work in progress. I'm not too worried about that. Tweak here and there and I'll be alright.

 

I'm going to make it something I can get used to, but I'm still scratching my head at how different the same type of bike can be.

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OK, so I am taking it out again this weekend, but a couple of weekends ago this thing was rough.

 

I have my bike and my trackbike. My bike is the one I bought new and I just picked up the trackbike.

 

The turning on my bike is so easy. It's fast and the steering is loose feeling. The trackbike is burdensome to turn. I had to hold the bars all the way at the ends. It felt like more of a struggle.

 

The end of the straight is about 140 mph. As soon as I started braking the front end shuttered more and more through the day. And that's not hard braking either. It's a small speed adjustment into 3, but it kept getting worse as time went on. All the hard parts are intact. Nothing is loose, but it was really starting to get to me. I'm doing Chuckwalla and won't hit that speed, but I'm going to take the front end apart to see if I can figure out what's going on.

 

The suspension is a work in progress. I'm not too worried about that. Tweak here and there and I'll be alright.

 

I'm going to make it something I can get used to, but I'm still scratching my head at how different the same type of bike can be.

 

Couple of things adding up here Jason, steering is heavy and front end shuddering on deceleration.... check the steering head bearings.

 

Lift the front end up using straps around the frame to an overhead beam, or jack under the engine (properly supported)... turn the bars gently left and right and feel if it's heavier to turn (or notchy) compared to your roadie. Grasp under the front wheel and lift/push (without pushing the bike over:))... see if you can feel or hear a clunk... If you're wondering at all, pull the top triple, drop the lower and check the bearings and races.

 

Could just be too loose, but could be worn... $50 will get you a new kit anyways.

 

Let us know how you go.

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Another thing Jason,

From what you have written it sounds like you could have warped disks.

I suggest trying a session with your roadie's front wheel to see how that feels!

 

Bobby

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Good thinking guys. I would have never thought about either one of those. Besides a counter-clockwise Chuckwalla Valley Raceway now one of my favorite tracks, but I've narrowed the problem down. The longest straights get me up to about 130. I'm in 4th gear and it's only initial braking to 120. When I downshift and let up on the brakes, the chatter is completely gone. I'm going to test both things you suggested and see what happens. Problem is I can't just get the bike going to 130 when I'm not on the track so I'll have to get creative. On a siting lap I've even gone as far as letting the bars go at 80 to check for balance. It's well balanced, by the way. I'm really starting to think suspension is part of it.

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