Bike trackday basics.
This article will give you some hints and tips if you're a novice trackday participant. It specifically covers bike-related topics and is a contribution of Bertrand Roch[*]. If you're a car driver, please check this article.
To start with it is not really important, to have a new bike to participate trackdays and to have a good session. It is rather more convenient to have a good used bike, which is maintained properly rather than having a new flashing but poorly maintained bike.
Your personal safety equipment is very important and essential. It should be composed of: Overall in leather (one or two pieces), Helmet with visor in perfect conditions, glowes and race boots. Without this equipment no organizer will grant you access to the track.
Apart from a proper bike do not forget to have adequate insurance coverage and, if needed, a racing license.
Oil level: Fill it up close to the maximum but not over the maximu or you will create a holdup. Too little oil however could cause jiggering of the oil pump, especially in steep turn or when wheeling.
Water level: A proper water level is necessary not to overheat the engine. Water temperatur should not pass 110°C (general rule, specific manufacturer indications to be taken into consideration).
Brakes: Holders, conditions of the brake discs, as well as brake levers to be checked.
Chain: Regarding the wear of the chain you have to base any judgment on driven km. A visual check is rather difficult. Concerning the tension of the chain the bending should be 3cm, rider on the bike.
Screws: Check the screws of the main components like wheels, brakes, as well as all screws and lids of the liquids (oil, cooling, brakes).
Body: Make sure its tightened properly (if you have one), its clean and in proper condition (no broken edges, no cracks). Lenker Befestigung????. Flood lights, direction indicators, rear mirrors are allowed but lead to costly replacements in case of a crash.
Exhaust: Condition, fixation and authorization need to be checked. Because of increasing noise emissions genuine exhausts are the preferred ones. In case it has been modified make sure you've got the proper approvals. Check back with the organizer in case of doubts.
In case you travel to the track by car, take an empty spare tank with fuel with you. At the arrival to the track you can fill it up at any pump station. We do not recommend to travel with full spare tanks for hundreds of kilometers. They can leak, which has happened before.
A little reservoir with motor oil is also recommended since your bike will drive as it never has before. A more than normal oil consumption would be the result.
A manometer would also be helpful. They are not 100% accurate and you've got to take this into consideration. To know the difference measure let the pressure be measured from the person you buy the tires, the measure yourself with your manometer.
Useful tools: Don't overload yourself with too many of them. After you have completed sound bike checks you will know exactly what tools yo need to check and if needed tighten the most important screws and bolts. Limit yourself to these tools.
Be reasonable with pilots which are faster than you. At the same time use them on the track to coach you, in case you do not have an instructor.
Should you want to improve your driving skill, find a group of pilots that are faster than you, though not too fast. On the other hand we recommend you find a slower group should you not feel save.
Check conditions, wear and especially the pressure of the tires. It is of utmost importance you set the right pressure. It's the pressure the tire has been designed for in order to work properly, dependent of the intended utilization.
A sports tire (type Pilot power, Diablo corsa pro, Dunlop sportmax D209) works best with 2.5 bar on the front and 2.9 bar on the back tire. These are sports tires which can be used on normal routes.
Driving with too little pressure will lead to uncontrolled movements of the tires and therefore of the bike. At the same time you loose the good driving feeling, which again results in bad lap times.
Should you think sports tires are not suited for you do not hesitate to go for race tires. The numerous tire professionals are there to advise you. But be careful not to be persuaded to buy remaining stock items.
Example for the Yamaha 1000 R1 2010 (or equivalent):
|Type of tire
|Pilot Road||tire not adapted to this bike
|Pilot Power ou 2CT||f: 2.5||r: 2.9||f: 2.5||r: 2.9|
|Power one||f: 2.1||r: 1.9||f: 2.5||r: 1.9|
|Power one lettres Comp||f: 2.1||r: 1.5||f: 2.1||r: 1.5|
|Slick Michelin||not street-legal
Adjustments are possible as long as they stay between max 200gr front and 300gr rear. Don't use a Pilot Power with f:2.1 and r:1.9. The tires would not work properly, uncontrolled movements would result. This would cause instability of the bike which would impede you to feel the bike or to feel the limits of the tires. Improvements of driving skills would be impossible and you would not have a good race feeling, not to mention a proper stance.
Should you achieve a driving level where you reach the limit of the tires, then it's time to change type of tire and to move on. You should pick on that suits your improved skills.
Many thanks to Bertrand Roch for his help on this article! Bertrand is a professionnal test- and development-biker as well as a successful race-biker. Through a close partnership between his current project VB2R and renndays.com, we should be able to provide some high-level expertise in both car and bike topics. And some exciting pictures and videos too!