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Discussion Starter #1
I know Sport Bike Track Times has a couple events a year at Nashville Super Speedway, and I'd really like to get out there and see what it's all about. One of the things I'm wondering is if it would be beneficial to take some kind of rider training course prior to attending my first track day. I took one of the "cones in a parking lot" AMA courses a couple of years ago with my wife because she wanted to learn to ride, but I'm thinking something actually on a track. Maybe hook up with someone here with plenty of experience to take me under their wing, or another novice so we can learn together.

And advice or dos and don'ts is greatly appreciate.
 

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I took the California Superbike school level 1 and 2 this year. I think it is well worth the cost. I used their bike, again well worth it. I'm headed to the track next week for the first time on my bike and I confident that the CSS has prepared me to get the most out of this track day. I don't mean that I'm ready to run at 10/10. But I know what is reasonable and I have the basic skills to enjoy the track day without having to guess if I'm doing things the right way.

Tom
 

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Dude, STT has class-rooms and instructors for Novice group. That will be all you need. STT is great for novice riders. do it! Nashville was my first trackday too. At almost any track day you will have instructors or Control Riders, who will show you the line, technique and what not. STT or NESBA are great. If you want to do something in the meantime, here is a guilt-free track weekend at Nashville. Track day for charity ;)

http://www.minniepearl.org/minniechallenge/

^ this was my first track event last year. Very nice instructors.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wasn't Minnie Pearl on Hee-Haw? Oops, showing my age a bit there.

Thanks for the info guys. Sadly I won't be able to do anything until next year since I'm closing on another house tomorrow and need more gear before heading out.

That brings up another question. Is showing up at your first track experience in full race gear a douchy move? I don't want to be "that guy", but I don't want road rash either. If it's all going to be low speed, bunny slope kind of stuff is jeans, sturdy boots and a good leather jacket the way to go? I've been looking into getting a nice two piece suit anyway, but like I said before I don't want to come off wrong to my fellow riders. Hell, it's hard enough already to be humble when you're on a Duc, LOL. Jokes aside, what do you guys recommend?
 

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Is showing up at your first track experience in full race gear a douchy move? I don't want to be "that guy", but I don't want road rash either. If it's all going to be low speed, bunny slope kind of stuff is jeans, sturdy boots and a good leather jacket the way to go? I've been looking into getting a nice two piece suit anyway, but like I said before I don't want to come off wrong to my fellow riders. Hell, it's hard enough already to be humble when you're on a Duc, LOL. Jokes aside, what do you guys recommend?
If you pull a wheelie on the track, then you'll be laughed at and most likely thrown out. They won't allow you to ride with jeans. A 2-piece suit is a minimum, although I would recommend a 1-piece. Get as much gear as you could. Back protector is a HUGE plus. Don't skimp on gear. You'll look weird if you don't have enough gear at a track day.

Look at these online stores for some good deals.

motorcyclecloseouts.com
http://stores.sportbiketrackgear.com/StoreFront.bok

1. helmet
2. 1 or 2 piece suit
3. track boots. A*
4. Gauntlet Gloves
5. Back protector (Back + Chest would be nicer)
6. Inner wear to get in and out of the suit
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You'll look weird if you don't have enough gear at a track day.
Ok, good to know. I didn't really think you could be "over dressed" for a track day, even as a novice, but better to know for sure. Looks like I need to start getting my Christmas list together for Santa so (s)he can get an early start:)
 

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Not only will you not look "douchey", but full gear is required. I joined STT and did my first three trackdays this year--one day at Road America and a weekend at Gingerman in Michigan. STT Novice will be perfect for you. You'll break down into groups of about 5 riders per instructor. After each session (expect to ride about 7 20-minute sessions in a day), all novices will meet for classroom instruction. It is an excellent introduction to trackdays and you will have a blast. Here's a video from my STT Ducati Trackfest weekend:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBMaKHjQfxo
 

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If you pull a wheelie on the track, then you'll be laughed at and most likely thrown out. They won't allow you to ride with jeans. A 2-piece suit is a minimum, although I would recommend a 1-piece. Get as much gear as you could. Back protector is a HUGE plus. Don't skimp on gear. You'll look weird if you don't have enough gear at a track day.

Look at these online stores for some good deals.

motorcyclecloseouts.com
http://stores.sportbiketrackgear.com/StoreFront.bok

1. helmet
2. 1 or 2 piece suit
3. track boots. A*
4. Gauntlet Gloves
5. Back protector (Back + Chest would be nicer)
6. Inner wear to get in and out of the suit
+1 on this excellent list of gear
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Awesome vid, love the Crystal Method too;) Was that some kind of suction cup camera mount thingy? I have a tank mount that I can already see will need to go back on. Man, I can't wait. The only problem I foresee is this becoming an ever increasingly expensive habit. And I imagine just like crack it only takes once to get you hooked. Hope I don't have to resort to stealing TVs or washing windows at stoplights to support it:D
 

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Hey Mainframe:

I've been an instructor with STT for three years, and as long as you're a compenent street rider, I think you'll be entirely comfortable riding in the Novice group. We keep pretty tight controls in the Novice group, especially in the morning, with a control rider in front and usually behind each group of five or six riders. We slowly ramp up the speed as the day goes on, and work one-on-one with riders as necessary or as requested.

The usual STT rotation is three 20-minute sessions per hour -- Novice, Intermediate, Advanced. The novices start the day with a 20-minute classroom session, then return to the classroom for another 20-minute session after each of their 20-minute track sessions. Our goal is to have Novice riders feeling challenged, but not overwhelmed. And we certainly don't want them to crash, as that doesn't usually lead to repeat customers. :)

As for gear, remember: "slow" on the racetrack is 50 to 60 mph. So next time you're in your car on the freeway, think about opening your door and falling out, and what sort of gear you'd like to be wearing if that happens. Believe me, no one will laugh at you for showing up with premium gear. Now if you show up with the full Valentino Rossi replica gear, with your leathers outside your boots and your own face on a Rossi-rep helmet, then you'll probably elicit a few chuckles. But short of that, I wouldn't sweat it.

By the way, don't forget STT will be at Bluegrass, the new track in Kentucky, for the grand opening on Oct. 10-11th, and will have a full schedule there next year. A *much* nicer and safer track than Nashville.
 

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Just add a set of foam disposable ear plugs and you'll be good to go. Do check the organization's website for details on prepping your bike for the track. Some groups are more strigent than others as far as safety wire and coolant. I recommend taking off as many pieces as possible. The org with make you tape over headlights and turn signals, so when you crash they won't shatter all over the track. But if you REMOVE THOSE ITEMS from your bike, then they won't break when you crash and you won't have to buy new ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@Wounded Duc -

That's reassuring. I am quite comfortable on the street, albeit kinda slow compared to the guys I ride with. They're still trying to convince me you can safely go double what the posted curve sign says but I'd rather not risk being a statistic just to keep up. Guess that pretty much sums up my riding style. Back country roads aren't the place to test the limits. That's really why I want to do this.

And I saw on STTs site that Bluegrass was cancelled.

@odrides -

Thanks for the tip. I'll have to see about the ear plug thing; I can hardly hear squat in my helmet as it is, but I'll take a pair JIC. Right now I already have the rear wheel, front brakes and front axle nuts wired. I shouldn't need to worry about that though unless I move up to serious stuff right? Track body work that contains fluid spills and the like don't really come into play until your running competitively do they?
 

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The track is the safe place to go fast. Don't worry about your street speed. Riding on a track is a completely different mental game. You should definitely try it and see if it's your thing.

They may have you wire things like the oil fill, drain plug, and filter. You shouldn't need a belly pan to start out. Maybe tape the guages.

Earplugs are to protect you from wind noise at high speed.
 

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I recommend taking off as many pieces as possible. The org with make you tape over headlights and turn signals, so when you crash they won't shatter all over the track. But if you REMOVE THOSE ITEMS from your bike, then they won't break when you crash and you won't have to buy new ones.
Agree 100%. Ducati headlights, mirrors, etc., are extremely expensive new, and even used are pricey (see my sig line;)) I always recommend removing them if at all possible. I even recommend people consider taking off their pristine street bodywork and putting on some rashed OEM bodywork or race bodywork. Ducati makes this fairly easy with their use of Dzus fastners, and rashed OEM bodywork or used race bodywork is usually pretty cheap.
 

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@Wounded Duc -

That's reassuring. I am quite comfortable on the street, albeit kinda slow compared to the guys I ride with. They're still trying to convince me you can safely go double what the posted curve sign says but I'd rather not risk being a statistic just to keep up. Guess that pretty much sums up my riding style. Back country roads aren't the place to test the limits. That's really why I want to do this.

And I saw on STTs site that Bluegrass was cancelled.
Most guys find themselves going *slower* on the street the more time they spend on the track. Once you get used to clean asphalt with no cars, adequate runoff room, and an ambulance parked just a few corners away, pushing hard on the street loses its appeal.

Good catch on the Bluegrass cancelation -- I hadn't seen that. Oh well, hopefully they'll be up and running a full schedule next year.
 

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Awesome vid, love the Crystal Method too;) Was that some kind of suction cup camera mount thingy? I have a tank mount that I can already see will need to go back on. Man, I can't wait. The only problem I foresee is this becoming an ever increasingly expensive habit. And I imagine just like crack it only takes once to get you hooked. Hope I don't have to resort to stealing TVs or washing windows at stoplights to support it:D
The camera is the GoPro Hero. They come with a bunch of mounts and cost less than $140 shipped on ebay. The camera looks like something you get out of one of those $.25 "claw" machines, but as you can see, the footage and even the sound is very impressive. The side views used the suction cup mount (which I duct taped over just to make sure). The high, rear view is one of the 3M adhesive mounts which are also included.

It's not exactly a cheap habit, but within reason for most. I'm a bartender and manage to afford it. Also, you'll need to bring extra gas and make sure you have tires in excellent condition. Most of the other stuff had already been covered.

Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Good call. I'll probably hit ebay up for some bodywork I don't mind to thrash. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to invest in some sliders as well. See, it's already getting more expensive and I haven't even started yet. Anybody have a TV I can borrow? Maybe you need your windows washed?

I did check out the site for Bluegrass. Looks like it's going to be a pristine facility. Rich boy playground for sure. The annual dues aren't bad, but $4500 for initial membership...ouch. I hope to make a track day there next year. Seeing that place my inspire me to get going on building something four wheeled to throw around it. I don't know why, especially since they're ugly as sin, but I've always wanted to strip a 914 down to little more than a seat and steering wheel and make a fun little club racer. Go-cart on steroids :) Ooh... Ducati powered shifter cart. Anyone know a good divorce attorney?
 

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I wouldn't concern myself too much with track bodywork for your first track day. You will most likely be taking it fairly easy as you learn what track riding is all about, anyway. If you are concerned about it, you can start with axle sliders and bar end sliders, as they are pretty cheap. That will lower your initial buy-in for your first track day. Having said that, people do still crash on their first track day! It isn't the track that does it, though, it is the rider. If you pay attention, stay focused, and ride within your limits, you won't have any problems.

If you don't get it before your first track day, I would definitely recommend track bodywork before your 2nd and subsequent track days. Once you feel the track out, you will want to push it a bit. OMG, is it fun! This is when you increase your chances of a fall.

I have sliders and track bodywork on my 999. I've low-sided on my last two track days. My Armour Bodies track plastics are still good to go, and except for minor break-easy stuff (levers, pedals), there is no damage once I put the street clothes back on her.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Good point, taken. I guess I really need to focus on getting myself properly geared first then worry about the bike. I tend to under ride any way, so unless I just ham fist it in a corner I should be fine. It takes me a while to build up my comfort level, so I don't see any knee down drifting corners out of me for a long time.

I guess that brings up yet another question; leathers. I'm kind of an odd shaped guy. Still working on losing some more gut and building some muscle after years of sitting on my ass, but looking at the sizing charts for the one piece suits has me a bit concerned. I saw someone on ebay that makes suits to your measurements. The specs look as good as the expensive stuff but they're under $600. Sure part of the price tag when buying Alpinestars or Joe Rocket is the name, but is something like that a bad idea? If it's going to hold up as well in a spill and fit me better I could care less about paying someone else to sport their logo. Now if they want to pay me:D. Never the less; thought's/opinions?
 

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I would question the quality. You can get cheap leathers for a few hundred bucks, and they will protect you in a fall, but they won't hold up well after that fall. The stitching will rip apart, the armor will be insufficient or won't stay put, or the leather won't be substantial enough.

A more expensive suit, made from a reputable manufacturer, can survive multiple crashes with only minor refurbishing (depending on severity of said crash, of course).

Don't skimp on riding apparel. Buy right the first time, and only cry once.

Personally, I prefer a two-piece because of the flexibility it gives me. Sure, a one-piece is ideal, but I also do a lot of street riding. When I stop for a break, for gas, at a destination, for lunch, or whatever, I like being able to remove my jacket. With a one-piece, you can unzip the top and let it hang, but then you look weird doing the duck waddle. My two-piece has a 360 circumference zipper, and provides plenty of protection for my style of riding and track days. One- or two-piece is completely rider preference...what suits your needs, and what can you live with.
 
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