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Hi kids.

Finally convinced the wife that I could probably do a track day without killing myself. Only took a decade. Since it's my first time I have decided to take the Duc, rather than invest in a track bike before I even know if I am into it.

Suspension is sorted (see signature), but brakes are stock. Tires are M3s. Just bought my leathers, and ordered frame sliders, axle and swingarm sliders, and bar end sliders. Tow kit for the Jeep is on its way, friend is letting me use his trailer. I also need to get a sport chock because this track requires sidestands to be tied up (Toronto Motorsports Park). I am looking at September to be all set.

My goal is to take it easy with the wobbly group, just exploring lean angle and maybe get a puck down...and to bring the bike home alive. All the recent posts about guys binning it at track days have me a bit spooked though. It won't ruin my life if I mangle this bike, but I would prefer not to.

Any advice? What is the right mindset, and the right strategy to avoid exceeding my limits (or the bike's), or getting taken out by some other moron?
 

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I just did my first track day (at Barber) 3-weeks ago on an S2R1000 for similar reasons. Figured I'd just try it out and see what is was like.

2-Weeks later I purchased a dedicated track bike (of Japanese origin) and also traded the Monster for an '07 Sport 1000S.

I would recommend getting some better pads for the front calipers. The EBC HH sintered pads felt way better than the stockers and made me feel more comfortable.

After going around the track a few times behind the instructor you may be surprised at how quickly you get up to speed. The main thing is to relax at first and just try to learn the line and basics of body positioning. Sportbike Track Time was the outfit I went with and the Novice class had one instructor per every 6 riders.
 

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YellowDuck: Good for you!!
The first trackday is by far the best one... it bring so much excitement and adrenalin, that you would want more!! It helps you know your bike... and increase confidence in a well controlled environment.
Things to keep in mind:
- It’s all about safety – take it easy. (you do not want to endanger yourself nor other riders…)
- Start with the beginner's group.
- Make sure you tell the controllers that it’s your first track day. (some clubs offer free lessons for first timers, or at least give recommendations on what to do)
- Try to get a map of the track, and see which line to take
- Start by riding very slow, in order to familiarize yourself with the track. - Sometimes there might be cones telling you where to get in the turn, where the apex is located, …
- If they offer lessons, it’s highly recommended and a very good investment
- Be calm, and relax
- Definitely do not go fast… just start slow, and gradually increase your speed.
- It’s very important to drink lots of liquids (water or powerade…) to keep hydrated, and potassium (bananas are an excellent source)
- Get to the track early, tape your lights/signals
- Check tire pressure
- Some clubs might not allow helmets over 5 years old
- Learn the meaning of flags and the way they’re used
- Read books/watch videos… http://www.superbikeschool.com/keiths-corner/
- Ask lots of questions before starting
- It would be a good idea to check your club’s website, as they probably have requirements/information regarding first timers.

I might have missed if you points, but I'm sure others will chime in...

Have fun!!! & let us know how it goes

~k
 

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Funny....

I'm trying to convince my wife to let me go! With our first child on the way, I'm trying to convice her that it's a good place for me to get that exciting riding in with much lower danger.

And the battle rages on......
 

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general check over the bike.
check air pressure as the day goes along.
drink lots of water before, during and after.
listen to and follow the control riders.
dont worry about morons, you can't control what they do anyways.

have fun
 

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Agreed with what everyone else has said. I just ran my first track day in novice class two weeks ago. My top speed was about 100mph but we spent the day working on fundamentals for cornering speed and safety. I did it on my sportclassic and it is a fine bike for riding on the track. I found my body position isn't ideal, gotta work on slimming the waist so I can lean off the bike better. If you need arguments for the wife, remember these points. No cars, everyone is going the same direction, no stones/dirt in the corners and usually the surface is nice and smooth. Most tracks don't have any trees or guard rails 6 inches from the edge either.
 

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Tape your speedometer - don't worry about what speed you're going. Concentrate on being smooth!

Don't worry about anyone else but yourself, ride your own pace and be consistent on your lines so that you can be predictable for other faster riders.

Make sure you have the right tire pressure for the track.

Ask one of the instructor to take you out for a session or two. You will learn the track and the lines much better and much faster.
 

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Get their early, bring snacks/food and water, bring a folding chair, bring a small gas tank with extra gas, bring a tire gauge. Pay attention to the pit-in, pit-out rules, and pay attention to the flags. And the good lines on the track seem to be easy to find if you pay attention to the blackened strip :) ..at least for beginners like me. Have fun, enjoy
 

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Just relax and have fun , worry about what your doing , not what anyone else is doing . The SC is fun , just to give it a bit of stick , but not fast , and really not worth the effort over revving it and pushing it and you over the edge trying to keep up with ratty old 600's held together with duct tape , will never even come close , but is good to have a burn for your own pleasure thats for sure , and theres no prizes for 1st to crash and burn ( Theres always one ! ) , so I wouldnt waste your money on tyre warmers.

I do a couple a year at Phillip Island just for laughs with my mates but would never bother running my SC , cause its slow .
 

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Just ride at about 80% of your ability if you want to bring your bike back home in one piece. Like everyone has said, take it slow until you know the line.
Some may not agree with me, but frame sliders on a Duc are for when it falls over in the garage, not skipping across the runoff area. That bolt goes right through your engine case. Frame slider will NOT offer any protection if you highside and the bike tumbles.
You will probably be in the market for some Jap Crap once you have done one track day. That what those bikes are made for. Sacrificial.
 

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As the guy that the new riders in our club get to spend their first trackday with, my advice is:
#1 Breathe. Sounds stupid, I know. But the first time you run around the track without mirrors and someone passes you, going 100 mph faster, within 10 ft... the first thing you will forget to do is breathe. Going in, knowing that your body will be reacting to unimagined stimuli without your consent is the key to overcoming the side effects before they become more than a nuisance. (Narrowed vision, death grip, arse puckerage, dry mouth, terror, violent shaking, cramps, etc.) These things can ruin your day, don't let them.
#2 Go walk the track prior to riding on it. Those 14 corners will be your home for the day, so take a guided tour. Feel the pavement changes, watch other riders warm up, note braking and turn in points, blind spots, decreasing and increasing radius turns, bumps, hazards, oil spills, run off or gravel traps, armacos, pit lane, traffic crossings, pedestrian crossings, portapotties, ambulance parking, etc. Know the track like your own house prior to standing on the brakes into that haybale. Talk to track workers and find out where the crashes happen, as there will always be a few places that are more popular then the rest for turning your baby into a wadded pile of scrap.
#3 If your track day doesn't have chaparone, ask around. It's not too hard to find a seasoned vet who is willing to lead you for a lap or two during warm up and show you some lines worth chasing. You may not even have to ask, just look closely around pit row and follow.
#4 If there is little track traffic, be encouraged to throw out the anchors HARD on occassion so you know what to expect when the time comes. Because it will. Often, the tarmac on the track is quite different from the pavement you might be used to on your street. Slowly test it at different points so there are no suprizes later on which might result in you waking up in the meat wagon.
#5 Big one here: Warm up your tyres! If you go for broke first thing out the door, you are asking for it. Take it slow, build up to it, and when you are good and comfy, then pour on the coals. Understand that it could take weeks to fully get the feel for a particular track, so pushing it all the way around on day one may not be a good idea. Push it, ease off, push it, ease off.
#6 Respect your limits, be objective. Don't be afraid to get out of the way and let the fast ones past. They will be passing you anyway. Ride your OWN ride. I've seen guys intent on "backing it in" on their first track trip with very predictable (painful) results. Failure to be realistic is a good way to end your track day early, or permanantly.

Have fun!
 

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#1 Breathe. Sounds stupid, I know. But the first time you run around the track without mirrors and someone passes you, going 100 mph faster, within 10 ft... the first thing you will forget to do is breathe. Going in, knowing that your body will be reacting to unimagined stimuli without your consent is the key to overcoming the side effects before they become more than a nuisance. (Narrowed vision, death grip, arse puckerage, dry mouth, terror, violent shaking, cramps, etc.) These things can ruin your day, don't let them.
#2 Go walk the track prior to riding on it. Those 14 corners will be your home for the day, so take a guided tour. Feel the pavement changes, watch other riders warm up, note braking and turn in points, blind spots, decreasing and increasing radius turns, bumps, hazards, oil spills, run off or gravel traps, armacos, pit lane, traffic crossings, pedestrian crossings, portapotties, ambulance parking, etc. Know the track like your own house prior to standing on the brakes into that haybale. Talk to track workers and find out where the crashes happen, as there will always be a few places that are more popular then the rest for turning your baby into a wadded pile of scrap.
#3 If your track day doesn't have chaparone, ask around. It's not too hard to find a seasoned vet who is willing to lead you for a lap or two during warm up and show you some lines worth chasing. You may not even have to ask, just look closely around pit row and follow.
#4 If there is little track traffic, be encouraged to throw out the anchors HARD on occassion so you know what to expect when the time comes. Because it will. Often, the tarmac on the track is quite different from the pavement you might be used to on your street. Slowly test it at different points so there are no suprizes later on which might result in you waking up in the meat wagon.
#5 Big one here: Warm up your tyres! If you go for broke first thing out the door, you are asking for it. Take it slow, build up to it, and when you are good and comfy, then pour on the coals. Understand that it could take weeks to fully get the feel for a particular track, so pushing it all the way around on day one may not be a good idea. Push it, ease off, push it, ease off.
#6 Respect your limits, be objective. Don't be afraid to get out of the way and let the fast ones past. They will be passing you anyway. Ride your OWN ride. I've seen guys intent on "backing it in" on their first track trip with very predictable (painful) results. Failure to be realistic is a good way to end your track day early, or permanantly.

Have fun!
For Fecks sake, its a ride day not a mini Moto GP experience , Dont let him freak you out , Walk the track 1st ? is that before or after cycling 30klms to limber up , and dont have sex the night before , that will drain all your goodness :D
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks all for the great advice. Much of it I had thought of already, but a good bit is new food for thought. It never would have occurred to me to practice some hard braking, but that makes sense, assuming the opportunity presents itself with no traffic.

I definitely will not be trying to turn the bike into corners with the rear brake! And I have no specific interest in keeping up with anyone else, regardless of what they are riding. Just want to make sure don't get in anyone's way and cause an accident. The advice about keeping to consistent lines is very good, I think. Probably better to do that then try actively to make room for someone to pass and in the process do something they weren't expecting.

I am already comfortable hanging off the bike, but essentially never do while street riding because the cornering pace I am comfortable with on the street doesn't use all the tire even if I keep my bum in the saddle. So there's no point. Looking forward to exploring a bit more cornering speed, mostly.

Also, while riding last night (street) I was paying some attention to my use of the throttle, and realized that I never actually give it WOT in first or second, except maybe above 7000 where the torque has already dropped off quite a bit. This may sound funny to those of you with lots of hours on high hp machinery, but I actually find WOT in second to be pretty ferocious on this bike. I am hopeful that I can wring it out a bit more on the track and feel like I am actually using all of the motor, or nearly. I already do most of my upshifts clutchless when caning it, so that should translate well to track riding.

One question from all the good advice above: A few of you mentioned tire pressures. What are suitable tire pressures for the track - a bit lower than what I run on the street? Measured hot or cold?

I was surprised by Prem's comment about frame sliders. I was thinking that in a gentle lowside with no tumble the sliders might give a 50% chance or so of saving the tank. Wishful thinking?
 

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Most tracks I've been to are only a mile or two. If a person is in such bad shape that a short walk wipes them out, then a track day may not be up their alley either.. :D If it's a track like Sears Pointe or Laguna Seca, (or you ate a plate of grease down at Denny's earlier that morning), a pit bike might come in real handy for this. I'm a fan of the "No suprises" concept. Missing pit lane by only 4 feet is still missing pit lane.

Alternatively, a guy could just not heed any of my advice and just go jump on the track. That works too, I've seen me do it.. :cool:
 

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i disagree and i've tested my frame sliders many times.
my tank would be total junk right now if it wasn't for frame sliders.
will they help in a high side, nope.
Just ride at about 80% of your ability if you want to bring your bike back home in one piece. Like everyone has said, take it slow until you know the line.
Some may not agree with me, but frame sliders on a Duc are for when it falls over in the garage, not skipping across the runoff area. That bolt goes right through your engine case. Frame slider will NOT offer any protection if you highside and the bike tumbles.
You will probably be in the market for some Jap Crap once you have done one track day. That what those bikes are made for. Sacrificial.
 

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The really cool thing about a track day is that you will soon be doing speeds that you might never even consider out on the street. Obviously, everything changes with more speed. You have to look further, turn in faster, etc. Being smooth and predictable when the faster riders come by is much safer then trying to dart out of the way. You might never even see them coming until they have passed you anyway. For me, the jury is still out regarding frame sliders, but I have taken plastic completely off for trackdays in the past, just in case. It's not like I was going fast enough to enjoy the aerodynamic benifits anyway. LOL
 

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Hi there.

I've been doing track days for about 6 years now. Gotta say it's a ton of fun. Here is an interview with one of the guys I do alot of my days with. Give a lot of info on what to expect and how things are run in most organizations.

http://www.yourbikelife.com/audio/by...l090730_condon
 

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Although I am new to motorcycles and have never done a track day, I have done plenty with my car. Your first one can be a bit intimidating, but just remember that everyone was a novice once. Quite frankly, people are very nice and always willing to help or lend an opinion, so don't be shy about meeting people and asking for advice. You will learn as much in the paddock as you will on the track.

As for on-track time, remember to go slow and learn your bike and your line. If you learn the line and technique at managable speeds, you will be amazed at how quickly you will increase your speed. On the other hand, if you try to fly on your first lap, all you'll do is scare your self or worse, and you will be slower in the long run. Remember, Michael Schumacher didn't learn to drive at Monza!!!

And remember, though everyone talks incessently about increasing performance, as with any other sport the best mod for a beginner is seat time and instruction. It will make you faster and safer than anything you can buy.
 
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