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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I will be taking delivery of a ninja 400 as soon as the current world situation crisis has gone away, it it does.
Anyway, I have been doing car track days in my Miata for several years and the ninja will be my first moto.

I would like to do moto track days (not really interested in moto street riding at this point) as I think that a bike on a track will be even more fun than a car on a track.

As a soon to be new rider (took MSF course and have license) I obv. have almost no moto experience.
My question is: how much experience should I have before I try to take a moto on track? What skills should I be comfortable doing?

thanks for any ideas/suggestions/info you can give me.
 

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Hi all,
I will be taking delivery of a ninja 400 as soon as the current world situation crisis has gone away, it it does.
Anyway, I have been doing car track days in my Miata for several years and the ninja will be my first moto.

I would like to do moto track days (not really interested in moto street riding at this point) as I think that a bike on a track will be even more fun than a car on a track.

As a soon to be new rider (took MSF course and have license) I obv. have almost no moto experience.
My question is: how much experience should I have before I try to take a moto on track? What skills should I be comfortable doing?

thanks for any ideas/suggestions/info you can give me.
There are a bunch of great track riders here that can answer better but in the mean time, I think everyone has there own learning curve. I would think a few thousand miles of driving experience would be a bare minimum to get on a track in any racing situation. I think most of the training schools require a minimum of 2,000 miles just to take their courses so that they are not teaching you how to shift and steer. Looking forward to seeing a picture of your bike all done up, don't see too many white ones yet.
 

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There is no substitute for seat time. Not sure where you live but best is to seek out twisty roads and start riding them albeit carefully. Riding on straight roads is ok to get a feel for the bike but cornering is where its at. You should get some feel for proper cornering and maybe watch some videos on body positioning. Perhaps you are a natural and track time is all the time you will need to hone your skill but for me I grab every opportunity to ride in the canyons.

Again, depending on where you are you can reach out to California Superbike School: California SuperBike School | California SuperBike School or check with local tracks which schools they host. Also, MSF usually have advance courses you may look into. I am not a professional track day junkie but there are plenty of other highly qualified members on this forum to give you a more comprehensive advice.
 

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Do some street riding long enough to get comfortable on the bike and develop some muscle memory with shifting, braking, turning, etc. but not long enough to where you might develop bad habits. I did my first track day after 2400 miles of street riding. Would've done it sooner had I known about the local track day org, although I was still in college at the time so I probably wouldn't have been able to afford a track day before that anyway. Different people learn at different rates. I've seen some people that have done car track days or racing and they picked up bike track days very fast, and they were very good at it despite the very little experience they had on bikes. While I know others who have been doing track days for like 7-8 years on bikes and they're still really slow.
 

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While I know others who have been doing track days for like 7-8 years on bikes and they're still really slow.
Lol yep, that would be me, more like 25 years... 😁 😟😕

Although I was faster when I was much younger(and also older age before my major accident).........maybe cause I was single, felt invincible, loved speed, had something to prove and did not care if I lived or died
 

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Lol yep, that would be me, more like 25 years... 😁 😟😕

Although I was faster when I was much younger(and also older age before my major accident).........maybe cause I was single, felt invincible, loved speed, had something to prove and did not care if I lived or died
I'm glad you decided to join the mundane world of the living. And glad you made it through those "growing up" years. Since we're talking motorcycles, here, I'm guessing you should be in good company.
 

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The track is where you take your riding skills to the next level, not where you learn how to ride. I say at least 3/k miles on the street, riding twisties not just straight highway riding. You have to be comfortable going over 100mph and heavy braking. Watching videos of proper body positioning is key and/or riding with experienced riders. I am teaching my youngest son how to ride. He has been riding off and on for over a year now. He has been riding more frequently now and we have stepped up the pace. Trying to have him ready for his 1st track day in June. If we have a track season.
I have been doing corner working at one of the local tracks for the last 5 to 6 seasons. The new track riders wear vest so you know who they are. I have seen some who were NOT ready. They were riding around doing 30 to 40 mph causing a huge traffic jam behind them. The passing rules are more strict in the beginner/novice/rookie group. Some did not progress and get more comfortable through out the day. They were eventually pulled off the track and told to practice on the street some more. They were a hazard to themselves and the others behind them. Some beginners looked awesome, excellent BP and moving at a pretty good pace. Others were straight up in the saddle and looked uncomfortable. WE ALL are a work in process!
 

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I have seen some who were NOT ready. They were riding around doing 30 to 40 mph causing a huge traffic jam behind them. The passing rules are more strict in the beginner/novice/rookie group. Some did not progress and get more comfortable through out the day. They were eventually pulled off the track and told to practice on the street some more. They were a hazard to themselves and the others behind them. Some beginners looked awesome, excellent BP and moving at a pretty good pace. Others were straight up in the saddle and looked uncomfortable. WE ALL are a work in process!
I remember last year the one weekend when I coached with Evolve GT, Felipe (may he rest in peace :() asked me to give a new guy a tow around because he was struggling on the track, and seemed very shy. I could not believe how slow that guy was! He was on an R6 and I was on my old R3 and I was riding around in 3rd gear most of the way and even then my RPM was pretty low I thought I was gonna stall a couple of times. The dude would not go more than like 30 mph in the turns, and even on the straightaway he would not roll on the throttle. He might've got to like 80-90 mph at best. He was a real hazard to everyone else out there. So bad I didn't even know how to help him. Problem was he also barely spoke English so when I got back in the pits I couldn't really communicate with him. They ended up refunding him the money and told him he can't be on track anymore until he gets some more practice in. I'm not even exaggerating when I say I could've lapped quite a bit faster than that on my scooter!
 

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I encourage everyone to try a track day, when they are ready. Not trying to discourage any potential new track riders, just do it when you have more experience. You will enjoy the day more and get more out of it. Below is a picture of a section of the track at NYST. A very technical track with lots of elevation changes. Coaches lead the new track riders around.
This is station 15 where the last checker flag is. I have seen literally 30 bikes almost come to a complete stand still behind a slow newbie who literally PARKED IT near the top of this hill!!! 😱😱😱 Like SBK mentioned, they had to pull some people off the track and refund them.
7C7F2A79-BDA9-4C87-87D2-00C6C565087E.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for all of the replies. I will take all of this into consideration. I will make sure I am comfortable on the bike before I sign up for a track day.

As an aside, I did some research online and found Tony's Track Days. They claim to have a very good new rider program. Does anyone have an experience with this? thanks.
 

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Thank you for all of the replies. I will take all of this into consideration. I will make sure I am comfortable on the bike before I sign up for a track day.

As an aside, I did some research online and found Tony's Track Days. They claim to have a very good new rider program. Does anyone have an experience with this? thanks.
YES, Tony Track Days runs a very good beginner program. I have ridden with them at Monticello and NYST. They run a very structured day. You will enjoy your 1st riding experience with them. I assume you are in the north east. Which track were you thinking of riding at when you are ready? I am looking forward to riding at PALMER this season.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
YES, Tony Track Days runs a very good beginner program. I have ridden with them at Monticello and NYST. They run a very structured day. You will enjoy your 1st riding experience with them. I assume you are in the north east. Which track were you thinking of riding at when you are ready? I am looking forward to riding at PALMER this season.

I absolutely LOVE Palmer. It is my favorite track in my car. I've done both clockwise and counterclockwise. I went there the first year they opened, and have been there at least twice a year since. You will love it!! (don't let the all the rock walls freak you out haha)

I looked at TTD schedule and I've been to all the tracks they are scheduled to go to in my car (except for NYST), so it doesn't really matter to me which one I go to first with the moto. It depends when I get the moto (which kinda depends on the virus deal), but I would think that a day in September (either Palmer or Thompson) would be good. I don't really like Thompson that much, so maybe I would go to Palmer near end of September, depending on how much riding I do this summer (I'm a teacher, so should have plenty of time to ride over the summer. I like to windsurf also, so the less wind, the more riding, and vice versa). or ride in the morning and sail in the afternoon. Just have to figure out where to add in bicycling and car track days. What a problem!! haha

Thank you for replying and I appreciate the info.
 

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Road riding and track riding are two quite different disciplines. There is a lot less going on around you to cluster your senses in a track environment and you can really concentrate on your riding rather than worrying about traffic etc. I get the impression that with your previous track experience in a car you will have a good sense of what sort of pace is required to not be a mobile chicane out there. Also you know the track etiquette and shouldn't be a danger to yourself or others.
Riding in a class of solely track newbies is an excellent idea. I'd vote for having a taste of it sooner rather than later.
 

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Road riding and track riding are two quite different disciplines. There is a lot less going on around you to cluster your senses in a track environment and you can really concentrate on your riding rather than worrying about traffic etc. I get the impression that with your previous track experience in a car you will have a good sense of what sort of pace is required to not be a mobile chicane out there. Also you know the track etiquette and shouldn't be a danger to yourself or others.
Riding in a class of solely track newbies is an excellent idea. I'd vote for having a taste of it sooner rather than later.
+1 on this. Everyone I've ever encountered at the track that came from doing car track days or guys that had experience doing bike track days and then did a car track day were way better off right away than the total beginners that haven't even seen a race track before. Being familiar with the track, knowing what the flags mean, typical track rules/etiquette, and already having a good sense of high speed, hard braking, being close to others at those speeds goes a very long way! I've seen quite a few people like that and they usually get bumped from novice to intermediate in the first or second day. As long as you know how to ride a motorcycle and are pretty comfortable on it, it'll be fine.
 
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