Given that you own a piece of machinery that makes sportscars look slow and cumbersome, it makes sense to want to push your bike closer to its limits in what is a far safer environment than public roads. But before you head off on your first track day with your street legal motorcycle, ensure you follow the below advice to get the most from your day.
1. Transport Your Bike If You Can
Not all of us are lucky to have a vehicle or a trailer to take a motorbike on, but it’s certainly convenient if you do when going to the track. The main reason why it’s beneficial to drive to and from the track with your bike in tow is fatigue. By the end of the day, trust us, you will be tired and if you’ve got a long way home afterwards it can be dangerous. Transporting your bike to the track is also an insurance in some respects – if you do bin your bike you’ll have a method to get it (and yourself) home.
2. Protect Your Bike
Many people fit crash protectors/frame sliders/oggy knobbs to their bikes which are often simple cylindrical pieces of steel that take the impact of a fall. Be wary though – there’s has been many a motorcycle that has slid from the tarmac onto the grass only to have the sliders dig into the dirt, flipping the bike over. It can potentially turn a cosmetic low side into a terminal crash that will see your bike destroyed. An alternative is to fit engine protectors which ensure the most expensive part of your bike doesn’t crack on impact but won’t cause your bike to flip if it hits the ground.
3. Bring Some Tools
Don’t go to a track on the assumption that your bike will work perfectly or that nothing will need adjustment. In addition to the tools that come with your bike, bring some extra spanners, sockets, screw drivers, pliers and whatever else you might need. It might be something as simple as adjusting clutch cables but if you don’t have the tools you’ll be hampered all day – or perhaps even unable to race.
4. Get Rid of Your Mirrors
Unlike on the street, your focus on a track day should only be in front of you. Your mirrors will therefore only distract you on focusing on braking points, turn in points and getting the correct line. If you’re worried about those behind you – don’t be. Just stick to your lines and faster riders will go around you and it’s there responsibility to do so safely. Most tracks will make it mandatory to fold your mirrors down or tape them up – but it’s much cleaner just to remove them for the day.
5. Consider Some Spare Levers
If you do have to ride your bike to the track, consider bringing along a set of spare clutch and brake levers. Cheap ones go for around $30 on eBay and AliExpress which is very cheap insurance considering that they’re one of the most common parts to hit the deck when you go down. There’s nothing worse than missing out on sessions because you can’t replace a part that takes less than 20 minutes to swap out.
6. Give Your Bike a Check-Up
Your bike will be under much more stress than when riding on the street which means it needs to be within its specifications. Ensure your chain slack is correct, that your clutch cable is operating correctly and that your brakes are working properly. From the front to the back of your bike, ensure there are no loose nuts and if there are tighten them accordingly.
7. Have Good Rubber
Your 20,000 kilometre old tyres don’t turn into slicks because you’ve gone down to the wear indicators. It’s critical that your tyres be in good condition because you’ll need plenty of grip when going around corners at speed. On the other hand, most riders don’t need top of the line rubber – good quality sportbike tyres that are made for the road are more than adequate for all but the best riders. You can lower your tyre pressures at the track too – a rough guide is about 34 psi at the front and 30-32 psi at the rear.