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Track day learnings

Mr Fro

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The Snetterton novice session on Monday was my first day on my cheap as chips track bike – obviously I gave it a good old going over before hand and have been using it on the road for a couple of months to make sure it wouldn’t disintegrate the second it rolled out of the paddock!

Firstly, the psychological advantage of having a track bike is amazing – knowing that if I stuffed it then my pride and joy was safe and sound gave me that extra chunk of confidence to push way harder than I did on my ZX6r. I chopped a whopping 14 seconds off my lap time compared to the 6 even though the ZXR750 is slower, heavier and physically bigger with no swanky suspension like the 6 has.

I learned many things this time round: Tyre pressures being key, as is having quality tyres in the first place. I fiddled with my pressures a bit but ended up using 31psi front and rear which was what I felt worked best for me rather than what some geezer reckoned was best for all tyres on every bike for every rider... Having examined the tyres afterwards, I think I could probably drop the front pressure a bit as I was starting to get a few cold tears so that’s something for next time.

I also learned that it’s not a great idea to use DOT 4 brake fluid as the lever was getting really quite close to the bar by the end of each session – I’ll definitely be changing to DOT 5.1 for the next run! I was also a bit sceptical about my fork damping as I’d rebuilt them fairly recently using the OEM weight oil and had to have the adjuster turned all the way in to stop it feeling like a barge so I’ll change the oil out for something a bit heavier too. It’s a silly thing but I think I could do with quickening the throttle a bit as the ¼ turn I have is too much range of motion for track use in my opinion and probably made it look like I was trying to take off I was flapping my arm about so much! Finally, I’m considering a new sprocket set to bring the gearing down a bit further as I only just touched 6th on the straights – I’m in two minds about this though as I don’t want to make the gearing too short and the front wheel was already off the ground a smidge out of some of the corners.

Overall it was a great day and the weather was fantastic. I felt so much more relaxed than on my last track day which meant I enjoyed it even more – continually overtaking the shiny new bikes just added to my massive grin! :-)

But my supremo top tip of the day is... Take a kettle and a brew kit so you can have a cuppa between sessions – also, everyone will want to be your friend. ;-)



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sounds like you had fun

just make sure you change the 5.1 fluid regularly as it absorbs water a lot quicker then dot 4

with the forks did you just rebuilt them with stock springs etc? if so I would opt for springs to your weight or maybe even look to see if you can do a fork upgrade to something with radial brakes too

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Yep, all I did was replaced the seals and fluid. I got the bike pretty cheap and don't want to spend huge amounds of cash on it as it's just a toy so springs are a good idea but a whole new front end is probably out of the picture unless I can get one for a modest sum. having said that, it would be nice to have a bit more adjustment on them! :-)

For the brake fluid, I'll be changing it out at the pre-season service anyway so it won't be in there all that long.

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I know of a set of gsxr 750 k4 forks for a steel of £300 with calipers not sure if they could be made to fit though

but yeah while they are apart again I would look at getting some fork springs for your weight because if you are winding the damping right in to compensate for soft springs you maybe riding on a cushion of oil rather then the springs which isn't good

take a trip to the racetech website they have system where you put all the bike details in and yours and it recommends what weight spring you need

as for the oil racers change the 5.1 every race! I would be looking to change it every few months to be honest but you should feel it going off anyway

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Cheers for the raceteck tip - an automatic calculator thingy sounds way better than figuring it out on paper! I didn't realise 5.1 sucked in water that quickly - definitely worth changing out regularly. :-)

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they all absorb water pretty quickly to be honest but for road riding no one will notice the difference but 5.1 has a higher boiling point but with it absorbing water it lowers the boiling point the same with all fluids really

for track days I would change fluid every few months as you are working them hard :)

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