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Discussion Starter #1
Today I signed up for my first track day which will take place June 2nd at PIR. I've been getting fit, prepping the bike and bought a new suit, back armor and boots. At today's sign up they mentioned three things which I was hoping to get some other opinions on. I know that ultimately the decision is up the the event organizer but it doesn't hurt to discuss.

First thing are the tires. The only requirement is 75% life left in tread. My tires are in good shape and appear to have the required tread but the production date is July 2013. They said to bring the bike by the dealership ahead of time so they can take a look at them but I suspect that new tires will have to be mounted to pass tech. Although I'm in C-group and may get a pass, I'm wondering if I should even bother and just get new rubber.

Second is my helmet. I have a AGV K3 purchased in 2012 and while it doesn't specify in the requirements they said they want a SNELL 2015 approved helmet. Can my helmet really be too old? Is this another cost I should just accept.

Third are my gloves. I have A-stars SP-2 gauntlets but they do not have the double wrist velcro adjustment. There's just a single large velcro piece. It's not specifically listed in the requirements but is this another disqualifier for tech inspection?

My brake pads are good. The requirement is 50% life. Coolent is OK to run. No safety wiring required.

I heard so many people say track days become a very expensive endeavor and I can shell out what's appropriate so I'm safe and up to spec. It just seems like every time I turn around there's another cost that pops up.

TLDR; Suck it up and buy new tires, helmet and gloves?
 

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Very few trackday orgs check your gear at tech inspection. I haven't personally seen that done at a trackday for at least 10 years and even then it was exceptionally rare.

I 100% agree with having a current helmet. If that is their rule follow it.

I would NEVER run 6 year old tires at a track event under ANY circumstances - not even a parade lap at the Historics Festival. You think tires and a helmet are expensive purchases wait til you see how much it cost to put your bike back together after you throw it into the kitty litter because your tires were old and shitty..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK. New Q3+'s have been ordered. Now I just have to sort out the Helmet. The rules state "Helmets must be full-face style, minimum Snell 2010 or ECE-approved with a full-coverage faceshield, in good condition". The contact at the dealer said Snell 2015 so I will have to call them for clarification (AGV doesn't carry Snell certification, only DOT and ECE). Last thing I want is for them to fail me from tech for such a minor detail.
 

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if you're in a newer name brand helmet you'll be fine.

they don't want people in decades old brain buckets, or in shitty amazon rip off helmets.
 

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My buddy thought he could run his 5 year old tires on his zx6r at Laguna Seca this last weekend.
He's a A group rider who's normally used to his track-only R6 with slicks.
Well, he was riding b group, and tires lost grip on turn 5. End of session. About $1500 to replace plastics.
 

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My buddy thought he could run his 5 year old tires on his zx6r at Laguna Seca this last weekend.
He's a A group rider who's normally used to his track-only R6 with slicks.
Well, he was riding b group, and tires lost grip on turn 5. End of session. About $1500 to replace plastics.
I found at a similar thing with older auto tires. Bought a couple OEM spare wheels with original tires on them, that had never been used. Still had the tits on them. When I took them to Les Schwab to get them mounted on a couple spare Ford alloy wheels I have, they wouldn't touch them, cause they were over 6 years old. Had to find a local tire guy that would do it for cash. Tires are fine, just beyond the legal limits for big chain tire stores to deal with. Out here in the country, its a good idea to have more than one spare handy, due to all the possible road hazards you get to deal with on a regular basis. I would never do something like that with my motorcycle though.
 

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SP2 eh? so matching gloves to the bike? :)



In our Dutch SP group we had a guy who firmly believed his older 2Ct's were ok for a trackday.
Doing 120MPH on his tacho at Bos Uit proved him wrong. Nice "Eddy the Eagle" video though.... :grin2:
He is now riding hooverboards for fun..... :)
 

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Track days initially can be a bit of a cost depending on what you want/need to do to the bike.... get a good set of tires, the cost isn't bad. The big issue is that track days tend to be addicting. If you are a C rider then your tires should last quite well and multiple days.
 

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So, curious as to how your track day went? What the guys mentioned is just solid common sense when it comes right down to it. Snell and ECE are pretty much standards these days for any track outing, recreational or competitive.
As to suits and gloves, boots, novice usually will allow two piece in either textile or leather (recreational often doesn't insist on CE protectors but really, it's your hide at stake so), gloves need to be full coverage above the wrist with at least one closure, boots again full coverage well above the ankle, different tracks and organizers usually will give you their own spec limitations. My first session I wore my textile armored touring suit (2 piece) but I immediately went out and scored a suit (Alpinestars Motegi) 1 piece leather, had an Arai Vector lid, but changed that out for an HJC RPHA10, bought Aplinestars GP Tech gloves, and Alpinestars SMX6 boots. Ran with that for 2 full seasons but the helmet did its job when I had my off, so it was toast (saved my melon though) and the suit had to be cut off in the emerge since my broken ribs and collarbone didn't allow for squirming out of it. Think losing the leathers that way hurt more than the injuries did LOL. Now have a custom tailored race suit (not quite HRC colors or logo style but I like it), and a replacement RPHA11 Pro brain bucket. Boots and gloves just had a few very small scuffs on them so I'm still wearing those. Bike landed on top of me so it fared very well through it all. There are I'm sure, many track riders that never have an incident, be it a low side or an off track excursion, but for the majority of us, especially if want to progress, get faster and just plain better it's inevitable. Protect yourself and have your bike in the best possible track shape to make sure it isn't the cause of one.
My point is this: wear the best gear you can afford, it's worth every penny. As the guys mentioned, tires are all that is between you and that greatest of all tattoo removers: asphalt. Or the weeds and as LDH put it, the kitty litter. Trust me, kitty litter is soft and cushy compared to most off track slow me down s**t.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the feedback. My track day went really well and I came away with a lot to think about. In fact, it went so well that I've already booked another track day on July 2nd. Here's how I would break it down:
Equipment - My main concern was my helmet and it's date of manufacture. It was a 2012, and while they frowned upon it they let it pass with the agreement that I cannot leave group C with it and I won't come back to another event with it. I have since purchased a newer helmet that conforms to the updated ECE and SNELL 2015 standards. I had already purchased a new 1-piece track suit, boots and back protector so I was good there. The gloves are a few years old but in great shape.

The Pit - I totally over did it here for my first outing but I'd rather have it and not need it was my approach. The most useful and appreciated items were my pop-up awning and my generator. The extra tools, chemicals and goodies were just extra junk that had to be packed and unpacked. I did use tire warmers between each session and I believe they helped once I got out on track. There were 2 others in C group that went off track in the 1st or 2nd laps and I think it was inexperience/cold tires that did it.

The Learning - This is the part that was the most fun and challenging. Thinking about all the adjustments I'm trying to make while I get around the track. My entire day was spent focusing on corner entry, apex, and exit. Looking through long corners to the exit and finding reference points around the track was great experience. Is wasn't until my last 2 sessions of the day that I started to work on my body position. Just trying to remember all the movements and keeping my head down and out over the bars. Moving my ass across the seat. Getting my foot position on the pegs. There is a lot of stuff to focus on while on the track and definitely want more time out there to keep improving. In short, I'm hooked.

The RC51 - So how did the bike do around the track? First off, my suspension was completely redone by Kyle Racing. Ohlins 20mm revalve and springs up front and Ohlins shock in back. Overall, the bike performed great on the track but it does not feel as light or nimble to turn as I'd like. I think I can tweak the damping and rebound a bit to improve the turning responsiveness but I need to read up on it more. There's a tuning guy at these events so I may chat him up about it.
The 15/41 gearing really helps getting out of the corners and up to speed. The piggy is fast but there were a couple bikes that were pulling me on the straights. The easy fix to pass these faster straight line bikes was to out brake them into the corners. The RC has fantastic brakes and I could stay on the throttle longer and get stopped quicker. The feeling of your weight transfer as you're braking hard before the corner, the rear getting lighter, it's an amazing feeling.
There were several times downshifting where the bike reminded me there is no slipper clutch and rear tire would chirp. It's the bike telling your ego to slow it down. The new Dunlop Q3+ tires did great and I ran them at cold 30 front and 28 rear based on the suggestions from the Dunlop vendor at the track.
 

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Sounds like you had a great introductory day. Not many newbies up here in the boonies run warmers on their first outing, but then having Mike do a full Ohlins number on your suspension (I'm drooling right now, but I just can't afford it for my bike) isn't something a newb would readily do either so I think you are well on your way to seeking a jump in classification. Do yourself a favor and take a race course and get licensed. A good race instructor can really show you so many things regarding body position, entry/apex/exit targets, braking zones, proper acceleration points, trail braking, visual focus and staying ahead of the bike in relation to the track layout (much like flying an airplane really), weighting your pegs properly and so much more. Lots of riders can go fast, but being efficiently quick on the track is a learned science for most new racers. An instructor well worth his or her salt can really dial you in it.
You mention that our bikes have strong brakes and you are very correct in recognizing that fact. Just remember the 100% rule and don't do like me and have a brain fart and ignore it as it will bite you hard and in the blink of an eye. 100 vertical is 100% braking and/or acceleration; every percentage point off vertical is what you have left for braking or accelerating. And that is under ideal conditions. Add temperature (or lack of it actually), and or moisture and it's even less available. Looking at the tire pressures you mentioned leads me to think you were riding in high 70's low 80's ambient and that is a pretty good DOT tire pressure setting.
As a newb I lofted the rear wheel by being ham fisted on the binders (for goodness sake keep a brake light on your bike even if you put track bodywork on it) but got away with it by feeling the bike's feedback quickly enough; until you have lots of experience it is sometimes hard to recognize a lead rider in front of you slowing down when you don't expect it. Some will scoff at a brake light, but most instructors will applaud you for it, at least for non race outings; my instructor is a CSBK professional and he certainly did.
Don't be afraid to ask other riders (especially more experienced ones) or the control riders if you have questions, they are there to help not just give warnings or reprimands. At the end of the day, we're all out there for the same reason, having fun riding our bikes the way they were engineered and built to be ridden. Let us know how your next outing goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
UPDATE: Completed my second track day yesterday. Still sitting in C group as I learn better body position, pacing, turn-in, etc. I work out and run on the treadmill 3 times a week and after yesterday I was spent! Moving these big machines around takes effort when you're not being a passive participant. Guy in the pits next to me was on a Panigale V4-R. He see's my RC and says, "I really like your bike".

Oh yeah... and yesterday they gave me shit during gear inspection because my A-star SP-2 gloves don't have wrist straps, but last month they were fine.

UPDATE #2: I was comparing my GoPro footage from my 1st track day to my 2nd track day. I wanted to compare my cornering and see what I was doing but I couldn't get the old and new footage in sync. I started timing the laps and found my overall lap time had improved by 20 SECONDS A LAP!. This was not because I was going faster in the straights. I was going faster every where else.
 

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You know, it's funny how the more you do it the better you get..... Nice write up.
 

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Its awesome to see others enjoy the RC51 cult classic machine! But, do yourself a favor and do not start chasing lap times. Just focus on being smooth, Holding predicable lines, Body position and eye sight i.e. looking through corners. Do this and your lap times will fall off and you'll be pretty quick before you know it. I do about 6-8 Track days a year, and have been doing track days since I stopped racing around 2001, Race from 1995 till 2001 in the CMRA doing Sprints and Endurance racing. The biggest ego trip I get is putting My 2000 SP1 back on the trailer the same way I took it off, in One piece! In my opinion, don't go getting a race license until you are ready! If that is your ultimate goal. If so, keep doing track days for a few years. Once you notice your not getting passed anymore more, move up a class. Take your talents to Endurance racing with some buddies to learn how to actually race. Do this before sprint racing. Once you get fast at Endurance racing then go show off sprint racing. If not you'll just spend a bunch of money and return to "Just Doing Track Days" If track day existed back in the mid 90"s as abundant as they are now, I probably would have never tried racing at all. "I just wanted track time" Now I just like taking to the track and letting the fat girl dance, while singing the song of my people.
 
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