How much cheaper is racing a small bike really?

Discussion in 'General' started by aftriathlete, Apr 10, 2020.

  1. aftriathlete

    aftriathlete Well-Known Member

    Bored and overseas, thinking about bikes and stuff. When I get back next summer and I’m in the market for a bike to get back into racing, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about downsizing from the 1000 class bikes both for reducing the speed and associated risk for a guy that does this very occasionally and works for a living while raising two little kids, and also for reducing cost.

    How much cheaper is it really to race a ULW bike like a Ninja 400 or R3? With tire prices being the biggest recurrent expense I glanced at tire prices, and a set of Pirelli Superbikes is slightly cheaper by maybe 10% than a set for the big bikes, but then I’ve heard a lot of little bike racers can get more than a race weekend out of a single set. Anyone race(d) both and can directly compare the total race program cost for a big bike versus little?

    And is racing an R6 really any cheaper than racing a 1000? Plus side is they are ubiquitous and you can find a well prepped one for cheap. But the tires are very nearly the same cost as the 200 set for 1000s, and aren’t most middleweight riders going through tires on race weekends at about the same rate as bigger bikes?

    I know there is no such thing as cheap racing, tires are just one aspect of the expenses, and plenty of people still get plenty injured racing little bikes, so I’ll just put that out there as a flame disclaimer.
    track wagon likes this.
  2. fastedyamaha

    fastedyamaha Well-Known Member

    I used to race a gs500 and I could get 7-8 race weekends on the same set of tires...being able to get multiple race weekends on the same set of tires (safely) compared to multiple sets a weekend is a huge cost savings. Plus the sheer giggle factor of going relatively fast on 40 hp can’t be underestimated. You have to work harder to get those lap times because you just can’t turn the throttle like you can on the big bikes, and that’s more satisfying as well.
    SpeedyE and aftriathlete like this.
  3. joec

    joec brace yourself

    I know cb350 riders who have gone through a set of tires a weekend at some tracks. Which seems crazy. They're 400 a set nearly now. I realize that's not a set per Sprint but jeebus.
  4. aftriathlete

    aftriathlete Well-Known Member

    You raise another aspect of this I've been wondering to myself about -- the fun factor. I know everyone is different and everyone's answer will be different. I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie, my line of work demands it, so the appeal of the big bikes has always been obvious to me. But I'm a mortal pushing middle age who didn't start riding until my adult years, so the risk vs. reward ratio is changing for me over time. I always felt "on the edge" on the big bikes, like things happen so fast that it always felt like I was at my limits of control. But man I don't bounce that well any more. Seems like you think the little bikes can be just as satisfying as the big bikes, albeit maybe in a different way, less omg it's so fast and more challenging to ride fast. I'm also growing less interested over time in mortgaging my kids' future for tire bills (that's not to say I was actually dipping into savings, but every $1000-1500+ race weekend was that much less money I was doing something responsible with).
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
  5. SundaySocial

    SundaySocial Blue and Gold

    Your size and how fast you go determine tire life.
    Maybe rent a smaller bike for a track day, which would make an ‘experiment’ less expensive.
    @ 6’4”/240#, the SV is big enough to let me be comfortable, and fast enough to be entertaining. YMMV.
    cav115, Jedb, 5axis and 3 others like this.
  6. noles19

    noles19 Well-Known Member

    Your speed is going to determine the tire bill regardless... At tally or CMP at the pointy end of expert you'll probably be flipping the rear every 2 races or so. So maybe a set and half a weekend give or take which track you're at. Etc etc

    Sv650 or 400? A set a weekend or every other depending on speed again.
    cav115 and aftriathlete like this.
  7. joec

    joec brace yourself

    You can still drop a metric ass ton of cash into a little bike. Wheels bodywork suspension motors all cost. The big difference I see is you can buy 4 new 400s for the cost of a new r1
    track wagon, 418 and aftriathlete like this.
  8. aftriathlete

    aftriathlete Well-Known Member

    Yeah I need to look into an outfit that rents little bikes when I get back. I’m 5’10 180 lbs so I’m guessing I’m close enough to the right size for any bike. Are there places across the US that rent track prepped ULW bikes? I believe I remember seeing a SoCal option for renting a 400, I think Jeremy Toye had that going, could be wrong though.

    That’s actually a great idea if I can find a place that offers that on the east coast. My most likely landing point is the DC area for 2-3 years.
  9. Motofun352

    Motofun352 Well-Known Member

    Contact Emerson at Works with N2 at many east coast tracks like Summit and Pitt Race.
    rk97 and aftriathlete like this.
  10. Tas

    Tas Well-Known Member

    aftriathlete likes this.
  11. baconologist

    baconologist Well-Known Member

    I think Seth Starnes has some baby bikes in FL too
    aftriathlete likes this.
  12. TLR67

    TLR67 Well-Known Member

    Easy.... I will just leave you with this..

    Small bike LWT/300 ect tires $375 x 3
    Any 1000 tires $400 x 15
  13. tiggen

    tiggen Things are lookin' up.

    I did 250's for a couple years. Tires lasted all season, bike was inexpensive, and people I met were great. But cheap in racing is a purely relative concept.
  14. 418

    418 Expert #59

    It seems whatever LW guys save on tires they end up blowing $$$$ on motor work to gain extra 6HP.
  15. definitely not a cat

    definitely not a cat Well-Known Member

    Tires will be loads cheaper as everyone else has said. If you’re only getting 1-2 days out of set of tires with a little bike you’ll get 1/2 a day on a 600-1000cc.
    Chains and sprockets will last tons longer too.
  16. Tristan

    Tristan Well-Known Member

    The n400 has enough classes now to consider as a main/only bike, but the sv is still the king of cheap racing. That said,coming off a 1000 will be a shock... The way to get the most laps per dollar is Endurance racing.
    JBall likes this.
  17. pro69ss

    pro69ss Member

    I haven’t owned either race bike but I’m sure the smaller would be less expensive.

    I do believe the 1000 would be better for part time racer as you have the power to catch up !
    Riding a slow bike like the 250-400’s you have that thing at its limits just about all the time , so it becomes more dangerous to part failures and accidents to be competitive to the guys and young bucks racing those things .
    The 600 might be just a competitive as the smaller bikes.
    Riding the slow bike fast vs the fast bike slow . The margin for error will increase
  18. Pneumatico Delle Vittorie

    Pneumatico Delle Vittorie Retired "Tire" Guy

  19. Pneumatico Delle Vittorie

    Pneumatico Delle Vittorie Retired "Tire" Guy

    Buy a used bike where someone else dropped the big cash to buy the go fast goodies
    joec likes this.
  20. 418

    418 Expert #59

    Yeah because you know the other guys on 1000's just let off the throttle to let you come back past.
    turbulence, DWhyte91, JJJerry and 4 others like this.

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