Dedicated Track Bike
I love the track, and so do most of my friends. But working at STG, I still meet so many people that think the track is not for them. When I ask why, often the answer has something to do with the expense of the bike.
Sometimes folks don’t want to ride their brand new bike – that they’re still paying off – on the track. To that, I would argue that the track is actually safer than the street. There are no potholes, no cops, no intersections, no lights, and nobody is on their cell phone. Track days have multiple groups organized by the riders abilities, meaning you go just as fast as your experience allows. But I get it, I’ve been there. I rode my new Speed triple at my first several track days, and even though there were no issues, I kept thinking “don’t crash!”. Eventually I began to search for a track dedicated bike.
And that is what this article is about, the track-only bike. Lot’s of folks think this is an expensive investment, and well, it is. But it doesn’t have to be REALLY expensive. Sure, it would be nice to rip around the track in a brand new GSX-R1000, but I’m here to tell you, fun at the track can be had for much, much less.
Looking at the want ads, if you want to save money, look for “Bill of Sale only” (BOS). What that means is that the bike doesn’t have a clean title. So you won’t be able to register it or ride it on the street, but that’s okay, this a dedicated track bike! Bikes that do not have a title sell for less than bikes that do have a title. The downside is, the bike has no title because it’s likely been crashed, rebuilt, and is comprised of parts that are not OEM.
Buying a BOS bike can be risky. The best way to do this is to go to the track, talk to some folks, shake some hands. Yes, you can watch Internet forums and get to know people that way, but quite honestly I think there is real benefit to actually going outside and looking people in the eye. Once you’ve introduced yourself and talked to some folks, you’ll start to meet people with track bikes for sale. I had a guy offer me his CBR600RR for two grand my first track day. A CBR600RR is a great first track bike, and two thousand dollars was a helluva deal, especially since it was coming from a respected member of the track community and had lots of aftermarket go-fast bits on it.
Ultimately, I passed on the CBR and purchased a 2005 ZX-6R from another track guy. A buddy of mine had the same bike, I was familiar with it and knew I liked it.
Even though I felt like I was buying a good bike from a good guy, I was careful. I visited him at his home in Wisconsin and test rode the bike slowly through his neighborhood. Unfortunately, since we weren’t at the track, I couldn’t really rip around on it. I pulled the trigger on the bike.
My first track day revealed a couple of issues with the bike, the worst of which was the clutch slipping. It didn’t ruin my track day, I just short shifted and took it easy on the throttle, but once I got home I ordered a new clutch kit through STG. The replacement process was simple, but that brings me to my next point. I highly recommend your first track bike to be one of the Japanese Four: Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, or Suzuki. Eventually you will have to wrench on your track bike, and you want that process to be as simple as possible. The Japanese Four have been around forever, and spare parts are cheap and easy to replace. In most cases, you can even find the Service Manual online. A track bike is one you want to work on yourself whenever possible, to keep the operating costs down. Be prepared to make mistakes and pay for them, but in the end you’ll gain experience that you cannot get from sending your bike away for repairs.
During the Michigan winter, I went through the rest of the bike. With the service manual in hand, I made sure everything was adjusted properly and in good working order. I put a new set of Michelin RS tires on the bike, and to top things off, I got a new set of body work for her. Now she looks and runs like a brand new bike.
The bike cost me $2500 and included a full Yoshimura race exhaust, a Bazzaz Fuel Module, upgraded brakes, and some other improvements. The clutch cost close to $200, but I did the work myself so I saved on labor at least. The only upgrades I’ve done to the bike are the new body work and a B&G case cover for the clutch. Now all that’s left is for me to enjoy it at the track and replace parts as they wear out.
I could have saved myself some money and gone with that CBR600RR, but I really wanted a ZX-6R. Your budget and your own personal preferences will shape your track bike decision. The key take away here is, it doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive. The track is a great way to improve your riding skills. Improved riding skills may actually save your life on the street. So really, it’s a good investment if you think of it that way.
And if you have any questions about getting to the track, you can check out our previous blog post about getting on the track: https://blog.sportbiketrackgear.com/5-simple-steps-to-trackdays-with-sportbiketrackgear-com/
If you have questions about Track Bike prep, check out our page here: https://www.sportbiketrackgear.com/how-to-prep-your-bike-for-a-track-day/
Or just give us a call with your questions, Mon – Fri, 10AM – 6PM EST – 888.784.4327
Sales Manager – STG
The folks at Roadracing World Magazine read my thoughts, and their latest edition is chock full of tips and suggestions for those of you looking to try your first track day! It’s a great magazine. Some STG customers will be receiving this magazine free of charge with your orders. If you don’t get a copy though, go here and get a subscription! www.roadracingworld.com