Random Advice

Discussion in 'Information For New Racers' started by tophyr, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. tophyr

    tophyr D200 Reverse Track Guy

    Tip #1 for those just starting out: More power will not make you faster.

    You don't need a literbike. You don't need a built motor. You don't need fancy parts. Hell, you don't even need a young bike. When I started racing WERA in 2008 I had a bone-stock '03 CBR600RR and placed mid-pack in the expert grids.

    For just starting out, get a clapped-out, ridden-hard-and-put-away-wet, ugly as hell SV or 600 that's a generation or two old.

    This will do two things for you - #1, your tire bill will go down. Less power to the wheel = less violence to your rubber. #2, you will learn the importance of corner speed much faster than you would on a big bike. #3, when (not if) you crash, parts will be cheaper.

    Tip #2 is to leave your racebike exactly as it is, aside from maintenance and suspension and rider fit adjustments. Don't build the motor. Don't upgrade the brakes. Don't buy new suspension. Don't burn race gas. Spend your money on two things, and two things only: Trackday/race entry fees, and (used, current-year race) tires.

    #3: When you think you have found the limitations of your used, old, beat-up stock hardware, and you've taken the time to think about the cost effectiveness of upgrading to fresh, new, aftermarket stuff.... re-read and obey #2.

    #4: Finally, when you think you have found the limitations of your used, old, beat-up stock hardware, and you are able to explain to the tire and suspension guys exactly what the problem feels like and what steps you have tried to adjust your bike and your riding style to fix the problem, and they agree that you have exhausted the alternatives (they will tell you honestly), have your suspension redone. Still don't even think about building your motor.

    #5: Seriously, don't build your motor. More power, counterintuitively, is just about the last thing that will help you.

    These are the things that, if I'd known them a few years ago, would potentially have me sitting about $15k better off right now. I bought a new R6 and immediately dumped $2k into making it race-ready, and another $1400 into building the motor. Suspension I left stock. Instead of something that'd teach me about setting up a bike and taking corners faster, I had built myself something that rewarded bombing into a corner, parking it, and blasting my way out - it took me two years to begin training myself to work on corner speed, and even then the gains of that training didn't truly manifest themselves until I began working on my suspension with Barry at GP Suspension.

    Make no mistake, racing is an addiction and you will try to spend every dollar you can get your hands on in the pursuit of the guy ahead of you. I've spent my money, the bank's money, my parent's money, and my friends' money. If you are not careful, it will consume you. If you figure out that the absolute fastest way to get faster is to improve your head and connection to the bike (suspension), you'll be a lot better off than most.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  2. SPATT

    SPATT In a gravel pit near you

    You either have very nice parents and friends or very stupid parents and friends. Im still trying to decide. :D
  3. ryguy

    ryguy Well-Known Member

    Finally, after you've redone your suspension, and when you think you have found the limitations of your used, old, beat-up stock hardware, let someone faster than you ride your bike, and return to step #2
  4. L8RSK8R

    L8RSK8R Well-Known Member

    I started last May buyin my 1st bike, a 1989 GSXR 1100. Took it to my 1st track day and only loved it only on the straights.
    Then found a 98 GSXR 750 with nice bits on it and needed a fuel tank/pump. Got it together for under $1000 and have tracked it 3 times. Way better than the GSXR 1100.
    My 1st ride on the 750 and 2nd track day I was bumped to intermediate leval at Streets of Willow 1:35 to 1:38's but still back of the pack at that level.
    Found a 2001 Aprilia RSV Mille R for reasonable money and taking it to Willow Jan 14th for 1st ride.
    Why do I have 3 bikes and boxes of spare parts, tires, fairings in my garage right now?
    Is it because I'm an impulse buyer (addiction) or I think way too much & often about bikes and ridin at the track?
    Do I get rid of these bikes and go with a newer 600 track bike already setup (buy used) or stick with my 98 GSXR 750 and add an Ohlins/Penske rear shock (has GSXR 1000 front end, not sure of year, 50mm forks.)
    I'd love nothing more than to get invloved in any level of racing wether it WSMC or Chuckwalla's series.
    I feel really confident on the 750, runnin Battlax racing slicks.
    I could dump these bikes and the miriad of parts and clear $8 to $10,000 for updated bike.
    Confused? sure.
  5. tophyr

    tophyr D200 Reverse Track Guy

    Both I'm guessing :beer:
  6. caper656

    caper656 Well-Known Member

    one thing that i never get.....bikes are almost like computers, leaving last generations outdated. I feel the older bikes, or SV's are like handicaps. to me, learning to steer an old boat bike (01gsxr) and learning to steer a new style bike is like oranges and apples. Ive been trying to stick with newer bikes so that i dont learn bad habits.

    but again, i could be completely wrong in my opinion.
  7. LukeLucky

    LukeLucky Well-Known Member

    Any experience helps, but sure, experience n the actual bike you plan to race is better.

    Some bikes are outdated, but it doesn't mean they can't be competitive... especially in Novice. A friend of mine won a handful of 600 SS races on an '01 F4i this season at WSMC. Not because everyone was slow... the novice 600s were VERY competitive. He's just a really good rider and tweaked what he had to win. Now that he's moving to expert he has a newer cbr600rr.

    As for the SVs, they run in a different class, so they're competing against similarly performing bikes. That's almost always the case. Depending on your long-term goals, racing what you have now may prove just fine.
  8. pscook

    pscook Well-Known Member

    Ooh, I know! Well, not about the parents, anyway...

    Great write up, Chris. Going to cross-post it on WMRRA? I think you should.
  9. tophyr

    tophyr D200 Reverse Track Guy

    Racing SV's in their classes certainly isn't a handicap. The older bikes certainly don't turn as easily as the newer ones but when you learn to ride the older ones, the newer ones make it that much easier for you to concentrate on something else. When I went from my '03 CBR to my '08 R6, the only thing I could say about it was "I just *think*, and it goes where I want it to!!"

    Likewise, Austin DeHaven's dad, Eric, kept him on a bone-stock motor for a long, long time - but gave him top-notch tires and suspension. Austin had to learn to ride smoothly and with more corner speed than his WERA competitors who had built-to-the-moon bikes. Finally this year he built the motor halfway through the season and bam, look what happened - AMA SuperSport Champion.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  10. tophyr

    tophyr D200 Reverse Track Guy

    Where do you think I stole it from :rock:

    I wrote that close to two years ago now I think. Originally it was on PNWR but I'm pretty sure I posted it on WMRRA eventually too.
  11. dammyneckhurts

    dammyneckhurts Well-Known Member

    Good post from Tophyr.

    For all the new racers reading this..... I am sure Tophyr read exactly the same posts and heard the same advise before he bought that first brand new race bike.

    Unfortunately we all seem to think that such advise must me for "other people" surely it cant apply to me!

    But alas, we all go the same process, and years later wish we had listened in the first place!
  12. tophyr

    tophyr D200 Reverse Track Guy

    FACT, hehe
  13. ofcounsel

    ofcounsel Above the Law

    If you really want to race (for more than just a race or two, then drop out because you can't afford it), buy a prepped SV. Good ones can be found all day long for under $4k. They are very competitive in their class, they will teach you a ton about riding, and will save you money on tires. Tires is the biggest racing expense overall. You can cut that in half with an SV.

    I started on a 600 class bike, then got smart and moved to the SV class. I ran a clapped out hideous bike for a whole year. Other than suspension adjustments and oil, I did absolutely nothing to it. I loved it. I'm going on my 3rd year now on SV's. It's a fun, competitive class.
  14. L8RSK8R

    L8RSK8R Well-Known Member

    Ha ha, you just wanna beat me on your SV ;)
    You'll be at Chuckwalla 22nd/23rd ? I'll be there.
    Money's not the problem but makin the time to get out there is. missed so many opportunities to ride, learn. I've gone ahead and prepaid for 10 days this year to make sure I get my arse out there.
    Since my posting I've listed the GSXR 1100 on EBay to free up some cash.
  15. MadManx

    MadManx Retired for 2013-2014

    Oh shit. I spent the wad...
  16. ofcounsel

    ofcounsel Above the Law

    Haha! I want to beat everyone with an SV!!! Unfortunately, my bike has more talent than I do. :up: Yea, I'll be at Chuckwalla on those dates! Stop by and Say hi! I'm #83
  17. rugbymook

    rugbymook Under Construction


    Raced them for a few years to start my "careeer", and will probably pick up another one for fun. (I kept my good race plastics, tank, and spare wheels when I sold the bike two years ago expecting this!!)
  18. Vinny337

    Vinny337 Vin is in...Beastmode!

    Outstanding post!!
  19. L8RSK8R

    L8RSK8R Well-Known Member

    There was a beautiful SV on Ebay several months ago, the guy relisted twice (I think)
    I was close to doin the deal. It was seriously pimped out for track yet street legal also.
    Nicest one I've seen to date and really low miles.
  20. Vinny337

    Vinny337 Vin is in...Beastmode!

    I wish I would have read this last Nov before I bought my bikes, although I have learned a lot this year, I think I would have saved myself some time and money...:up:

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