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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had my first track experience on my - new to me - RC51 and I had a great time. It was a lot of fun to utilize RC in the environment it was made for. Since it was a bike I am not totally familiar with yet I asked to ride in a lower group, but after a few laps I found myself going as fast as ever. My body got much more of a workout than usual trying to haul its husky frame around a tight track, but I could stand to work out a few more muscles.

After being on the track I have a few questions for some of you more experienced RC51 track riders who are familiar with it's quarks. Some of you from Minnesota may be familiar with the DCTC; it is a shorter tight track with quite a few tight turns, which is not the greatest environment for a 1000cc. The turns are complex and challenging, and while it is <100mph it is still a lot of fun. The track conditions were not optimal; it was about 65f in the morning/very wet and 60f in the afternoon/60f and mostly dry in the evening. In the morning I was coming out of a sweeping 140ish degree turn and I was accelerating and ended up spinning up the rear which caught me off guard. I was accelerating out of the turn aggressively, but I sure don't think it was enough to do that on its own. The other thing that surprised me - in the evening - was apexing on a different turn (turn 1 if you know the track), and the front tire slipped out a few inches. In both cases the situation was under control, but not something I was expecting.

I was running street tires at 30/30. The front is kinda worn, but still not bad. I am thinking that these issues are likely suspension related - especially the front slipping - , but I really wanted to get your input and see if you guys have had similar issues with this bike. I have not had issues like this on other bikes on the track, so I am thinking it is a suspension issue, but I have heard that the RC suspension is actually pretty good, and I have not touched any settings, but that it is setup for really high speeds. The bike that usually goes to the track is an SV that has custom front and back suspension, so I guess I might just be spoiled!

My wife (140lb) was riding the RC on the highway today and I noticed that the front tire was bouncing a little too much over small road bumps. It was not leaving the road, but the contact patch was very small, and it really didn't look 'okay'.

Anyway, thanks for the input, wisdom, and experience. If you guys can steer me toward some great RC specific track suspension settings it would be appreciated. I can't wait to take it back to the track!
 

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Good to hear you enjoyed it, GWS. I've only been on the track a couple of times with mine and although I had a great time and wore the tires to their very edges - as you would on a circuit, I noticed none of the issues you've described.
But I wanted to make sure the bike was well prepared before going out on the circuit, so I had the forks reworked and a custom shock made. My bike felt quite different from these changes.

I'm fairly sure there will be some improvement from changing the settings on the standard suspension, but you'll probably be wanting to think of fitting an Ohlins shock or similar to the rear and match the forks for performance also, in addition to other performance modifications too! :D

Keep us posted on your progress.
 

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^^^
Definitely recommend suspension set up too.
You sound as if you are pretty fimiliar with bikes in general, so I'm assuming you have already adjusted what you have??
If not,.. fo' sho!

I keep mine more on the stiff side.:eek:
 

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There are so many variables to why you slipped out. Being too tight on the bars will enduce a slide way before the limits of traction. Tires brand, condition, and heat. Suspension settings, surface condition, the list goes on and on.

Keep in mind this is not an inline four so it does produce more torque then your 4 bangers. If your riding the RC the same way you would ride your SV (talking about throttle control) then you will have issues.

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For sure There are umpteen different things to consider. Other factors like tire choices and pressures used, riding technique, etc. will all contribute to how the bike responds to inputs.

As your wife mentioned the front was bouncing too much over bumps... Maybe you know this already but anyways:

Some people will consider increasing damping as a way to make suspension stiffer. The main thing increasing damping will do is make the suspension respond slower, which actually reduces grip in some cases.

Suspension should ideally go over bumps to absorb them and reduce shock - but keep the tire on the surface of the road as much as possible. Both front and rear should be well matched so the front & rear react the same & the bike doesn't pitch over bumps.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Being too tight on the bars will enduce a slide way before the limits of traction.
Now that you mention being tight on the bars I'm had an 'ah ha' moment, and I bet that is the reason I was having issues. I remember struggling with getting off the bars in the turns. I was not accustomed to being in that much of a forward angle in fast corners. My SV has a pretty aggressive seating angle but not as much as the RC, and the SV has grip pads.

My tires are both Dunlop Q2's; Front 2011 & back 2012. I ran 30psi in both tires when they were cold. I didn't know anyone else with an RC, so i took a guess. What do you guys think of those pressures? I went out and had a second look at the front and it looks like it has aged poorly. There are very small cracks in the tread.

Thanks for the great comments guys! This is a great group of people. I'm going to bring the bike in and get it setup for me. I had not set the sag. The last owner was like a carbon copy of my body size and I was scared to mess with it, but I am going to get that taken care of. An aftermarket shock will have to wait for the usual monetary reasons.

Just for fun I'll post a pic of me at the track in a few days when I get the images.
 

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There are so many variables to why you slipped out. Being too tight on the bars will enduce a slide way before the limits of traction. Tires brand, condition, and heat. Suspension settings, surface condition, the list goes on and on.

Keep in mind this is not an inline four so it does produce more torque then your 4 bangers. If your riding the RC the same way you would ride your SV (talking about throttle control) then you will have issues.
I don't understand why a tight grip on the bars will induce a slide. Please explain. Do you mean jerky inputs? That makes sense to me.

And it is a common misconception that twins have more torque than 4 cylinders. They may (e.g., 600) or may not (many litre bikes). My 01 GSXR 1000 had more torque at ANY rpm than my RC51 had. 50 pounds lighter too. Miss that bike.



As for OP, the bike should not be sliding (especially the front). It can happen from rough inputs to the bike (need to be smooth), wrong tire pressures, or worn/old tires.

If your tires are cracking they are gone big time. I wouldn't do much leaning on a bike with cracked rubber.

IMO and IME if one wants to be as safe as possible on the track, first and foremost buy the best tires you can and they should not be old or in bad shape. This is far far more important than suspension, etc. It literally is where the rubber meets the road.

I ran DOT race take offs from my 4th track day on. Switched to new DOT race tires from 2nd full year on. Riding on old tires is a recipe for bad times. And good street tires can be okay, but not as good as DOT race tires. Be careful who you are trying to ride and keep up with.
 

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Now that you mention being tight on the bars I'm had an 'ah ha' moment, and I bet that is the reason I was having issues. I remember struggling with getting off the bars in the turns. I was not accustomed to being in that much of a forward angle in fast corners. My SV has a pretty aggressive seating angle but not as much as the RC, and the SV has grip pads.

I went out and had a second look at the front and it looks like it has aged poorly. There are very small cracks in the tread.
Put some stomp pads on the tank, this will help with leaning off. I find the bike steers a lot more naturally if I bend my inside elbow to lean my upper body into the turn, or as Colin Edwards once put it, be like a bag of potatoes draped on the bike (Something like that, but it kinda gave the right idea when I thought about it :D).

As for tires, sometimes they can be considerably older than when they were fitted. Cracks on the front - if in the grooves means they're perished, but if on the contact parts is also not great. Maybe put up some clear photos? I think there are people here who will know more about reading tires...

I think Yoyodyne (Or is it Kyle Racing?) has some very good pricing on Ohlins shocks when you are ready to buy. check there when your wallet is ready. :)

Anyways, most important is that you're enjoying the RC51. Not the easiest or fastest bikes to ride, but they can be beautifully rewarding none the less.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the great advice guys. I thought it would be fun to post a couple of pics from that day.



Just after it rained:











Here is the wife on the SV:



 

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Need more pics of the wife, any from behind?


That said, holy hell man, jeans on the track? Time to get some riding pants that zip into your jackets. I can't believe they let you on the track wearing that. Every org I've ever ridden with wouldn't allow jeans. Some don't even allow any textiles past level 1.
 

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Great to see man & wife enjoying the track together - don't see that too often! :cool:

But if I may - it doesn't look to be a very safe track.... wet grass, mud and rubber don't usually mix so well (No traction to brake with) followed by wire fences! :eek:

The tracks I've been to had a lot more run off area followed by at least stacked old tires, if not big foam cushions covered in plastic. I've seen cars (Which don't fall over!) barely slow when coming off onto grass and keep spinning till they hit something hard... so be careful out there.

You're obviously wearing a protective jacket & it looks as if your wife may be wearing some protection under her synthetic one, but if she were to fall off on her back and her clothes rode up, she'd be hurt & scarred, possibly. I guess there are padded jeans too, but they won't offer the same level of protection as some decent leathers. Back protection is worth having too.

Maybe consider investing in some proper one-piece / two-piece zip-together leathers in the near future. They can be perforated so you get plenty of cooling in hotter months too. Riding with those you'll feel a lot more comfortable on the bike & probably ride better as a result.
May as well have a bath in your tight fitting leathers at some point too - they'll fit like a glove that way. :D

Ah, one more observation I learnt when taking my ex. on a bike ride for the first time. Your wife would do well to platt her long hair before riding. Saves on the split ends & you know how women dislike that happening! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Your concern is fully justified; I am totally onboard with wearing full leathers for tracking, and my wife does as well. These were taking during a few paced introduction laps for the beginner group to learn the track. I asked to ride with group 1 so i could ride with my wife and since it was a new bike. They are not regular jeans either, but I fully agree we both should have been wearing out full leathers, even for the paced intro laps, and we wore leathers for the rest of the day!

I don't have any pictures after this because the photographer got sick of the intermittent rain and went home, but I wanted to post something lol. I do appreciate your safety concerns!

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Your concern is fully justified; I am totally onboard with wearing full leathers for tracking, and my wife does as well. These were taking during a few paced introduction laps for the beginner group to learn the track. I asked to ride with group 1 so i could ride with my wife and since it was a new bike. They are not regular jeans either, but I fully agree we both should have been wearing out full leathers, even for the paced intro laps, and we wore leathers for the rest of the day!

I don't have any pictures after this because the photographer got sick of the intermittent rain and went home, but I wanted to post something lol. I do appreciate your safety concerns!

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If those are one of those "Draggin' Jean" or some sort of kevlar line jeans, you'd be surprised how easy they tear through.

I don't know any track day organizations that would allow anyone onto the track at any pace with jeans. Which organization and track is this?
 

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Your concern is fully justified; I am totally onboard with wearing full leathers for tracking, and my wife does as well. These were taking during a few paced introduction laps for the beginner group to learn the track. I asked to ride with group 1 so i could ride with my wife and since it was a new bike. They are not regular jeans either, but I fully agree we both should have been wearing out full leathers, even for the paced intro laps, and we wore leathers for the rest of the day!

I don't have any pictures after this because the photographer got sick of the intermittent rain and went home, but I wanted to post something lol. I do appreciate your safety concerns!

Was this the photographer ?

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That's awesome...I just so happen to be wearing my Zars (trackschool) shirt today and we do-not refer to these as trackdays those happen at mid- america Brainerd etc.

This class is riders school and is expertly structured. The intro laps are just that with a control rider setting super slow pace and they are done for new riders so that the following 20 minute classroom makes sense.
D.C.T.C. is a vocational school driving course and is super tight for the piggy.

The crf 450 woks great :D

I have done dozens of laps there with fatass and 30-22 power ones using warmers kicks ass.

Wanna buy some $150.00 like new ;)
 

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