Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Farmington, MI, USA
Before you buy an SS for the track, you have to be honest with yourself regarding what kind of riding are you really going to do. Put yourself into one of the following groups:
1: Want to race. (lots of cash needed to be competitive - SBK may be a better starting point)
2: Want to do trackdays, and be with the fast guys. (You can get there, yet will require more investment than just stripping down an ebay deal.)
3: Want a trackday toy, and am OK with not being the fastest guy around. (excellent. Especially if you have another SS as a street bike. NOTE: Get a track only bike.)
Overall, everything that makes the SS a great all round street bike still applies for making it a decent track tool. There are issues that have to be either accepted, or improved. If you cannot do either, then buy an SBK. There is always a high dollar solution to making an SS a great track tool, yet I'll assume you are a practical person. The things that are a must do (at the minimum) are:
Ground clearance - Those darn header pipes will drag. Once you start to really ride the thing you increase the chance you will lever your rear wheel off the ground. Solution - find a spagetti system, cut/reangle the headers, or get a rear shock that has adjustable ride height adjustment (fixes the poor rear shock issue).
Power - The midrange that makes the SS a great streetbike makes the bike a very easy bike to ride on the track. The overall lack of top end power will make you bait on any straight. Get used to passing folks in the mid-field only to have their bike out run you. Solution - must have at least hi-comp pistons and FCRs to get the best performance bang for the buck. it at least helps you keep all of those SV 650's honest. (I've seen some 90hp SVs. They'll become your riding buddys because there are rarely other SS out there.) NOTE: you'll become a better rider faster because you'll learn how to maximize cornering speed vs. knowing you have tons of topend to bail your sloppy ass out.
Handling - It's a tradeoff here. The SS is super stable, so fast sweepers etc ... are great, yet the tight stuff makes you work hard to keep up with anything else. You won't need a steering damper until youve lowered your front, and raised your rear. Soultion - wheels, suspension, and a yoga class. WOW! never thought that wheels would have made such an improvement!! Take a yoga class, you'll get flexible enough to really move around on the bike. (don't laugh. You'll probably lose a few pounds as well.)
After that, the sky is the limit. My track bike started out as a typical $3K used SS that I found locally. Many SS out ther already have some combination of the above done, so you can get a bike that easily fit's into the "trackday" category.
Sorry for the ramble.
'03 Moto Guzzi V11 Lemans
'98 900 FE (#46)
'97 750M (904cc)
'93 900SS (track bike)