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Tips And Tricks For Low Power Bikes

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So I have "a friend" that's first time at the track was on an S1000RR where he learned a lot from a world class riding school. He then went out and bought an old Yamaha FZR400 to have some fun at local track days but soon was disappointing with the bike's lack of power and his inability to adjust to the different needs of the bike.

 

Is there anybody out there that can provide some tips and tricks for maximizing the strengths of a bike that handles well but does not have a lot to offer in the horsepower department? My friend says his ego is taking a beating from having the throttle pinned (probably at the wrong time) and being passing fodder for everyone on the track. He even went out and bought a new bike to solve this problem but he's hard headed and eventually wants to have fun on the little bike. :)

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Here are some thoughts, in no particular order:

1) Shed as much weight as possible, lightweight is one of the bike's advantages; lightweight components allow for quicker acceleration.

2) Learn to pass in the corners and in the parts of the track where big bikes have to slow down more than you.

3) If you are riding in the fastest group at track days, consider riding in the intermediate group - as long as inside passing is allowed in that group - you can rail around riders that overbrake for turns.

4) if you are riding in the slow group and inside passing is not allowed, move up a group. If you are only allowed to pass on straights, you are screwed on a low hp bike.

5) Find friends to ride with, that are on Ninja 250s or other low hp bikes, or consider racing, where you will at least be grouped with similar bikes, so you aren't constantly outgunned on horsepower.

6) Get tires and suspension that make you feel confident in corners - that is where you can kick ass.

7) Get really good at throttle control, if you can get on the gas early in the corners you can pass the big bikes. They may take it back in the next straight section but it's fun as hell to go around them in the turns!!

8) Lots of no-brakes drills - corner speed is paramount and the better you get at judging entry speed the faster you can go.

9) Gearing - make sure you optimize your gearing for the track you ride.

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imho...

 

GET A BIGGER BIKE.

 

Bringing a 400 ti a litre class track / track day is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight ... you will be VERY outgunned.

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Here are some thoughts, in no particular order:

1) Shed as much weight as possible, lightweight is one of the bike's advantages; lightweight components allow for quicker acceleration.

2) Learn to pass in the corners and in the parts of the track where big bikes have to slow down more than you.

3) If you are riding in the fastest group at track days, consider riding in the intermediate group - as long as inside passing is allowed in that group - you can rail around riders that overbrake for turns.

4) if you are riding in the slow group and inside passing is not allowed, move up a group. If you are only allowed to pass on straights, you are screwed on a low hp bike.

5) Find friends to ride with, that are on Ninja 250s or other low hp bikes, or consider racing, where you will at least be grouped with similar bikes, so you aren't constantly outgunned on horsepower.

6) Get tires and suspension that make you feel confident in corners - that is where you can kick ass.

7) Get really good at throttle control, if you can get on the gas early in the corners you can pass the big bikes. They may take it back in the next straight section but it's fun as hell to go around them in the turns!!

8) Lots of no-brakes drills - corner speed is paramount and the better you get at judging entry speed the faster you can go.

9) Gearing - make sure you optimize your gearing for the track you ride.

 

That's pretty much exactly the advice I was looking for. The friend in this case is actually me. :)

 

My big problem is I'm riding the little 400 like a more powerful bike and It's not really working well.

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imho...

 

GET A BIGGER BIKE.

 

Bringing a 400 ti a litre class track / track day is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight ... you will be VERY outgunned.

 

 

This guy is riding an FZR400. He seems to be doing ok for himself with the bigger bikes. Hopefully some day soon I'll be making a video like that of my own. :)

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2) Learn to pass in the corners and in the parts of the track where big bikes have to slow down more than you.

 

Why big bikes have to slow down in the corners and in other parts of the track?

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2) Learn to pass in the corners and in the parts of the track where big bikes have to slow down more than you.

Why big bikes have to slow down in the corners and in other parts of the track?

More mass typically means lower corner speed; the forces required to hold a heavier bike in a turn are higher: F=mA. (Lighter bike = faster through corners is a generalization, of course - a lightweight bike with terrible tires or lousy suspension would not necessarily get around a corner faster than a 600 with super grippy tires and great handling).

 

Areas of the track that have tight transitions (corners 4-5-6 at Streets of Willow, for example) favor lightweight bikes because you can flick them side to side more easily and faster, and thus carry more speed through the whole section.

 

As a personal example, my husband rides and races a BMW S1000rr, roughly 200 hp and 400-something pounds. I usually ride an MD250, 180 lbs and about 32 horsepower. We ride together at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana quite often; he leaves me in the dust on the two straightaways but I gain ground back through turns 3,5,6,7,8,9,10 and 11 and we ultimately turn almost exactly the same laptime.

 

(We also turn similar laptimes when riding EQUAL bikes - but that is more fun because we can duke it out corner by corner, riding right together, which we can't do on the very unequal hp bikes; and this is the crux of Robert's issue, he can't really "ride with" the 600s and 1000s, he has to ride it differently to achieve similar laptimes. )

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2) Learn to pass in the corners and in the parts of the track where big bikes have to slow down more than you.

Why big bikes have to slow down in the corners and in other parts of the track?

More mass typically means lower corner speed; the forces required to hold a heavier bike in a turn are higher: F=mA. (Lighter bike = faster through corners is a generalization, of course - a lightweight bike with terrible tires or lousy suspension would not necessarily get around a corner faster than a 600 with super grippy tires and great handling).

 

Areas of the track that have tight transitions (corners 4-5-6 at Streets of Willow, for example) favor lightweight bikes because you can flick them side to side more easily and faster, and thus carry more speed through the whole section.

 

As a personal example, my husband rides and races a BMW S1000rr, roughly 200 hp and 400-something pounds. I usually ride an MD250, 180 lbs and about 32 horsepower. We ride together at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana quite often; he leaves me in the dust on the two straightaways but I gain ground back through turns 3,5,6,7,8,9,10 and 11 and we ultimately turn almost exactly the same laptime.

 

(We also turn similar laptimes when riding EQUAL bikes - but that is more fun because we can duke it out corner by corner, riding right together, which we can't do on the very unequal hp bikes; and this is the crux of Robert's issue, he can't really "ride with" the 600s and 1000s, he has to ride it differently to achieve similar laptimes. )

 

 

That's pretty much exactly the problem. In the corners the bike is quite lovely but on the straights even the older 600's pass me like I am standing still. My most enjoyable trackday so far was in the rain where the FZR's handling was absolutely amazing. The lack of traction leveled the playing field a bit and I had an absolute blast.

 

Holy Moley Laura. I had no idea your bike weighted ONLY 180lbs. That's amazing. My FZR is a heavy pig in comparison to your bike even though it's about the same weight as many 250's. :)

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imho...

 

GET A BIGGER BIKE.

 

Bringing a 400 ti a litre class track / track day is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight ... you will be VERY outgunned.

 

 

This guy is riding an FZR400. He seems to be doing ok for himself with the bigger bikes. Hopefully some day soon I'll be making a video like that of my own. :)

 

 

If the track favors smaller bikes (lots of slow/medium speed corners) , sure.

 

if vice versa, you are really out of luck.

 

Which track? I would like to see the layout and give you a free assessment :)

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imho...

 

GET A BIGGER BIKE.

 

Bringing a 400 ti a litre class track / track day is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight ... you will be VERY outgunned.

 

 

This guy is riding an FZR400. He seems to be doing ok for himself with the bigger bikes. Hopefully some day soon I'll be making a video like that of my own. :)

 

 

If the track favors smaller bikes (lots of slow/medium speed corners) , sure.

 

if vice versa, you are really out of luck.

 

Which track? I would like to see the layout and give you a free assessment :)

 

You do have a very valid point there. On a track with a particularly big bias towards straight sections the more powerful bike will likely be at an advantage. The closest track like that to me would be Road Atlanta. The back straight would be very difficult to make up for in the corners if you were comparing lap times between the bikes.

 

Interestingly enough your original suggestion had been made to me by a few other people and I eventually ended up taking the advice. I bought an ex race R6. I'm just too stubborn to give up on a challenge. I will continue to ride the FZR400 occasionally until I learn it's quirks.

 

My goal is really just to improve my skill set. Learning how to maximize the strengths of a "slow" bike is probably not the easiest way to go fast I certainly admit. It's about having fun for me. Hopefully some day I can terrorize some R1's and R6's with my 24 year old clunker. :)

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imho...

 

GET A BIGGER BIKE.

 

Bringing a 400 ti a litre class track / track day is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight ... you will be VERY outgunned.

 

 

This guy is riding an FZR400. He seems to be doing ok for himself with the bigger bikes. Hopefully some day soon I'll be making a video like that of my own. :)

 

 

If the track favors smaller bikes (lots of slow/medium speed corners) , sure.

 

if vice versa, you are really out of luck.

 

Which track? I would like to see the layout and give you a free assessment :)

 

You do have a very valid point there. On a track with a particularly big bias towards straight sections the more powerful bike will likely be at an advantage. The closest track like that to me would be Road Atlanta. The back straight would be very difficult to make up for in the corners if you were comparing lap times between the bikes.

 

Interestingly enough your original suggestion had been made to me by a few other people and I eventually ended up taking the advice. I bought an ex race R6. I'm just too stubborn to give up on a challenge. I will continue to ride the FZR400 occasionally until I learn it's quirks.

 

My goal is really just to improve my skill set. Learning how to maximize the strengths of a "slow" bike is probably not the easiest way to go fast I certainly admit. It's about having fun for me. Hopefully some day I can terrorize some R1's and R6's with my 24 year old clunker. :)

 

 

Well if you are light like hotfoot, a MD250 might fit the bill... But upkeeping it WILL be more expensive than off the shelf newer 600's.

 

or you can learn some new tricks , a kasaki ZX-6R 636 with traction control will be alot of fun to learn imho, esp when you step up to R-abc and tunable TC. :)

 

Whats your version of fun? would live to hear!

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The MD250s are a bit hard to come by, and not cheap - but they have one big advantage that factored into my decision to get one lots of places to ride and race it. Due to the small chassis size, it is allowed on certain go kart tracks in my region - around $30 to ride all day. There are also classes to run it with some of the minibike racing clubs (although I haven't done that) and since it is a single it can run in the singles class with AHRMA, so I have a ton of rising options. The RS125 and MD250 are the only bikes I know that can run big tracks and small tracks.

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Whats your version of fun? would live to hear!

 

 

My version of fun? Any day I get to ride on the track and improve. Off the track any sunny wonderful day I get to spend time with my MV Agusta F4. :)

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Until this crop of BMW's I was for sure faster on a 600 than a liter bike (same situation, larger dimensions).

 

Rode a 750 at Phillip Island (nice bike), but it really felt slow compared to the BMW...wow, when a 750 feels slow!

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2) Learn to pass in the corners and in the parts of the track where big bikes have to slow down more than you.

Why big bikes have to slow down in the corners and in other parts of the track?

More mass typically means lower corner speed; the forces required to hold a heavier bike in a turn are higher: F=mA. (Lighter bike = faster through corners is a generalization, of course - a lightweight bike with terrible tires or lousy suspension would not necessarily get around a corner faster than a 600 with super grippy tires and great handling).

 

Areas of the track that have tight transitions (corners 4-5-6 at Streets of Willow, for example) favor lightweight bikes because you can flick them side to side more easily and faster, and thus carry more speed through the whole section.

 

 

Thanks, Hotfoot!

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Hotfoot,

 

How much does that super single of yours weigh compared to the MD250 ??

 

 

Tyler

MD250 is listed unfueled at 194.XX lbs which is below 200lbs= wow!

 

PS. which super single is that??

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I think it is the RS125, Which would mean that bike rider combo would be less than 325LBS ready to race.

I have one bike that maybe, on a very strict and expensive diet may reach that weight dry, that includes no oil, gas, and battery!!!

 

 

W00T!!!!

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Hotfoot,

 

How much does that super single of yours weigh compared to the MD250 ??

 

 

Tyler

MD250 is listed unfueled at 194.XX lbs which is below 200lbs= wow!

 

PS. which super single is that??

As Tyler already partially answered - the SuperSingle is a YZ450F dirtbike converted to a road racer. It has YZ450F motor, frame, transmission, etc., but the suspension has been shortened, it has roadracing wheels and fairing. I have done a lot to make it track ready (rearsets, GP shift, spools and frame sliders, fancy laptimer) but no engine work yet. I changed the gearing with the hope of getting a higher top speed out of it but haven't been able to test it out yet; if I can get it to top out at 125mph or so I'll be pretty happy and probably will leave the engine stock. It's still a kickstart, which turns some heads at the racetrack. :)

 

It is FUN to ride, very lightweight and flickable, plenty of torque; it has been a really interesting project, I've learned a lot in the process of getting it ready to race.

 

It is debatable whether it will be faster than the Moriwaki, it has more HP but doesn't handle as well, but it is a lot more comfortable to ride because it is much larger, and the torque makes it a kick to ride. :)

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Hotfoot,

 

How much does that super single of yours weigh compared to the MD250 ??

 

 

Tyler

MD250 is listed unfueled at 194.XX lbs which is below 200lbs= wow!

 

PS. which super single is that??

As Tyler already partially answered - the SuperSingle is a YZ450F dirtbike converted to a road racer. It has YZ450F motor, frame, transmission, etc., but the suspension has been shortened, it has roadracing wheels and fairing. I have done a lot to make it track ready (rearsets, GP shift, spools and frame sliders, fancy laptimer) but no engine work yet. I changed the gearing with the hope of getting a higher top speed out of it but haven't been able to test it out yet; if I can get it to top out at 125mph or so I'll be pretty happy and probably will leave the engine stock. It's still a kickstart, which turns some heads at the racetrack. :)

 

It is FUN to ride, very lightweight and flickable, plenty of torque; it has been a really interesting project, I've learned a lot in the process of getting it ready to race.

 

It is debatable whether it will be faster than the Moriwaki, it has more HP but doesn't handle as well, but it is a lot more comfortable to ride because it is much larger, and the torque makes it a kick to ride. :)

 

I wasnt expecting a formula 450 bike here , im very surprised in a good way!

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I changed the gearing with the hope of getting a higher top speed out of it but haven't been able to test it out yet; if I can get it to top out at 125mph or so I'll be pretty happy and probably will leave the engine stock.

 

 

I know for the CRF450R you can purchase a aftermarket Wide Ratio Transmission no idea if someone sells it for the YZ450F.

 

to get to 125 mph on a 17 inch tire my 450 would need the wide ratio transmission and a final drive of around 16/45, theoretically that is ...

 

 

Tyler

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