Looking for first track day, Chicago - TwoWheelForum: Motorcycle and Sportbike forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-12-2006, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Looking for first track day, Chicago

I live near Chicago. I want to start riding on some of the race tracks around here next season. I'd like to ride 2X/month or so. I've never been to a track day before.

I'm planning on picking up a older GSXR 600, CBR 600RR, or R6 and making it a track bike (keep my K5 GSXR 1000 for the street). I want something that handles well and not so nice that I worry about dropping it. They're all too fast for me, so I could care less about power.

My questions:
How much should I expect to pay for the track, tires, etc riding 2X/month?
Are there any good clubs etc I should join?

Any other good advice to get this started? I'm planning on buying and fixing the track bike up for the track this winter. Gives me something to do, and I figure everything will be cheaper on the off season.

I appreciate the help,
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-12-2006, 10:52 AM
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Its great that you want to do some track days. Its the safest way to enjoy sportbikes to the manner in which they were designed to be used.

Find a school. They will teach you the ins and outs of a safe ride on the track. Almost always make you a better and faster rider.

Tires; You can use normal street tire at the track. I prefer Pilot Powers or Pirelli Diablos. Both have race versions for just a few dollars more.

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Currently ride 1987 GSXR 50, 1996 Ducati M900, 2005 GSXR 1000
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-12-2006, 01:15 PM
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Just a rough guess would be that, after initial costs, you're looking at a minimum of $500/month if you go 2x/month. Jeeps is right about the school thing too, and IIRC there is even a decent one in the Chicago area...I'll post it up if I can find it.

As far as clubs go: STT and NESBA are the best in the Mid-West, join them, but wait until January to join STT because their memberships are for the calendar year (if you got one now it would expire Dec 31 of this year and you still have to pay the full price). NESBA's membership is good 1 year from the date you join. Also, if you're serious about going a lot, they offer packages at a discounted rate so look into those as well.

Also, I'm assuming you know that you have to have full leathers, a back protector, gloves with a full wrist gauntlet, riding boots (hiking or work boots won't cut it here) and a helmet that is less than 2 years old. You'll also need a trailer (unless you have a pickup) to get your bike to the track and back (especially when you wreck).

This all adds to the initial expense of getting to the track. So for the gear, assuming you have a helmet, you should expect to spend at least another $400-500 and that's assuming you skimp on the leathers. You can spend as much on a trailer as you would like ($200-$2000+++)

My would be to buy yourself a '99-'02 SV650 (naked) and make that into a track bike. At every track day I've been to they have been the most popular bike there for a number of reasons: 1) There are tons of parts around so replacing things is relatively cheap when you crash (and you will!) 2) the torque of the v-twin make for an easier learning curve and a more forgiving bike to learn on 3) there are very few plastics to break when you're starting out and lots of aftermarket racing kits if you want to add plastics later (which hold up much better than stocks in wrecks) 4) they aren't a bike that you have to worry about a lot, you can just get out and ride the crap out of them cuz they're practically bullet-proof (as long as you don't wheelie) 5) they just handle tracks very very well and are tons of fun to ride.

At one of the last track days I was at I was talking with a guy there riding an SV and he said that even though he's owned a bunch of Duc's (and still has a Desmo for the street) the SV was still probably his favorite track bike for exactly the reasons I listed above. Anyway, those are my thoughts, hope they help.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-12-2006, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
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thanks Knighthunter

Thanks Knight, very good post and great info. I've heard a lot of good things about starting on a SV 650. I've noticed they're pretty cheap too. I've already got leathers, etc. I'll definitely check out those clubs.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-12-2006, 05:44 PM
Join Date: May 2006
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No problem, glad to help! coughrepscough (the little scales under my sn)

Oh yeah stick around here and you'll get tons of good advice!
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