We ran this article last fall and now that it’s getting warmer, thoughts of track days might be literally springing up. If that’s what’s going through your head, and you’ve never tried it before, here are some tips you need to know to prepare you and your bike to make the most of it.
Spending the day running your bike around a controlled racetrack isn’t for everyone, but for many it’s the only kind of riding they prefer. No cars, no distracted drivers, everyone on a bike focused on one thing – improving their riding skills. That’s right, track day is far less about riding as fast as you can, although that’s an end result, than it is about becoming a better rider.
If you’ve ever thought of going to a track day, but weren’t quite sure what to do or expect, here are some pointers.
- The Bike — you’ve got to prep your bike. Most tracks have very specific requirements for what they will or won’t allow. At minimum you’ll be required to tape over or remover your mirrors and lights in the event of a crash. This eliminates the need to clean up broken glass. You’ll also need to safety wire oil drain bolts and filters and replace radiator coolant with distilled water. Both of these are meant to keep liquids that don’t immediately evaporate off of the racing surface.
- The Gear – a one-piece set of racing leathers is a must, although some tracks allow two piece leather suits that zip together. And, obviously, you’ll also need a helmet, boots and gloves.
- The Transport – even if you can ride your track bike to the track, team up with some friends and rent a truck or trailer. After a day on the track, you’ll be tired and probably not too keen on riding your bike back home. Plus, you’ll want to bring some things with you that just won’t fit on a bike. Keep reading!
- The Comfort – bring some type of pop-up canopy for shade and some folding chairs. Also, a cooler with snacks and water.
- The Tools & Parts – you should do all of your bike setup prior to going to the track, but you’ll still need some tools for basic bodywork removal and making adjustments to your chain, suspension, clutch and brakes. Some riders like to bring extra levers in case of a tipover, and different tires pre-mounted on a set of spare rims.
- The Other Essentials – extra fuel (10 gallons), a funnel, a fire extinguisher, a swingarm stand and a front-end stand. You also can’t count on electricity being available in the pits, so bring your own generator and the gas to power it. Now you can see why a truck or trailer are a good idea!
- The Right Attitude – remember, you’re not their to race anyone else, but the timer. Even when others are on the track, you’re there to learn and have fun. Not to be a jerk.
Source: The Total Motorcycling Manual
Photo courtesy of Race Sonoma