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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there! I have been riding for just under 1 year now, I have clocked just over 2000 miles on my 2020 Ninja 400 ABS. I found a group to ride with and I've noticed they ride much more aggressive roads than I've ever found before and are much more "spirited". Which I absolutely love but I also realize that I need more practice, and some coaching and better gear to be safe while riding with them. Currently the only mods I have done to my bike are an aftermarket slip-on exhaust, and a fender eliminator. I have tank-grips, frame-sliders and an engine cover set on the way. Do you guys have any suggestions on other things I need, or should get?
I would also really appreciate any suggestions on a 1 or 2-piece suit for the track and the group rides along with some gauntlet gloves and boots.
I have my eyes on the Alpinestars GP Pro R3 Gloves and Alpinestars SMX 6 v2 Boots but I'd love to know what you guys use and recommend!
Thanks for your help!
 

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You'll want to upgrade the clutch before the track day. I did the same thing as you, about a year after getting the bike I found some nice twisty roads to ride on and then went to the track. Never had any clutch issues on the road, but on the track it was slipping from the very beginning of the day which was very annoying - kills all your acceleration coming out of corners. You can find the details pretty easily on that if you search; all you need are:
  • new clutch springs
  • new friction plates (optional)
  • new gasket
  • 8mm/10mm socket + torque wrench.
  • about an hour of time

You can also take the feelers off the OEM footpegs so they don't scrape the ground. Those'll be fine for a track day but I did eventually upgrade to the Woodcraft clipons and new rearsets. In addition to frame sliders / engine covers I also have the Woodcraft swingarm slider spools on my bike, they did some work in a crash this past weekend.

I have the same gloves, haven't used any of the competitors but I do like my gloves. They've held up well in two crashes.
 

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Depending on your size you should consider suspension. Here is the one I just put together: Track Bike Completed (for now)

Gear is personal, but I have never had an issue with Alpinestars - For track a one-piece suit would be a better option - Something like the Missile - Not too expensive but a quality suit that you could use with a Tech-Air. I like the Supertech-R boots (they are on sale now) and have the GP Pro gloves and like them a lot.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You'll want to upgrade the clutch before the track day. I did the same thing as you, about a year after getting the bike I found some nice twisty roads to ride on and then went to the track. Never had any clutch issues on the road, but on the track it was slipping from the very beginning of the day which was very annoying - kills all your acceleration coming out of corners. You can find the details pretty easily on that if you search; all you need are:
  • new clutch springs
  • new friction plates (optional)
  • new gasket
  • 8mm/10mm socket + torque wrench.
  • about an hour of time

You can also take the feelers off the OEM footpegs so they don't scrape the ground. Those'll be fine for a track day but I did eventually upgrade to the Woodcraft clipons and new rearsets. In addition to frame sliders / engine covers I also have the Woodcraft swingarm slider spools on my bike, they did some work in a crash this past weekend.

I have the same gloves, haven't used any of the competitors but I do like my gloves. They've held up well in two crashes.
Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Th
Depending on your size you should consider suspension. Here is the one I just put together: Track Bike Completed (for now)

Gear is personal, but I have never had an issue with Alpinestars - For track a one-piece suit would be a better option - Something like the Missile - Not too expensive but a quality suit that you could use with a Tech-Air. I like the Supertech-R boots (they are on sale now) and have the GP Pro gloves and like them a lot.
Thank you! I am 5’8 around 165lbs, averagely slim. Would you say suspension is worth the upgrade?
 

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a newbie at the track needs a decent suit that can be rented, if bought 1 piece anything under the 1k mark should suffice (can also be used on the street) decent set of gloves and boots.if you have deep pockets and need the best of the best have at it otherwise look for some bargains on some sites to get you started ! being you'll start in novice class and have to do some classes and lead follow,your pace will be quite slow so a stock bike with new or slightly used tyres will be all you need.mods on the bike will not help in any way,SEAT TIME AND TYRES is all you need at 1st ! as you do more track days and you get faster you will have to update your trans ( fast guys are undercutting the tranny) everything pinky said is just a bandaid and not all bikes need em at the start,but good to do eventually...clip ons rearsets suspension at a higher level of riding
 

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A good suspension will cost you a good bit, but is generally the most important upgrade for riding track - I’m 5’10” and weight 155. My Ohlins front and rear were about $1,600.
 

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Rent a suit or buy a decent used set to start and at least change out the front brake line to a performance one. Then get signed up for some saddle time, stock tires and all. Get a couple of track days under your belt and decide rather or not you enjoy it enough to spend nearly the price of another bike to properly prep the bike for some faster track riding.

If you decide to continue, spend a fair amount on your personal safety gear more for the safety. As far as the bike goes, suspension is key which includes tires, they are connected. There are many ways to approach suspension upgrades and should be where you spend the most at first, a good set of tires will set you back at least $300 not counting mounting. Suspension can be done on a budget or the sky is the limit. The money will just keep flowing out after that because there is a lot upgrades to be had and if you're like the rest of us you'll want them all.....💰🤑
 

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Thank you! I am 5’8 around 165lbs, averagely slim. Would you say suspension is worth the upgrade?
Definitely worth the upgrade, but I wouldn't call it necessary day one. I'd probably leave it and see how it treats you after a day or two on track.
The stock suspension is very soft, and lacking adjustability. I found my tyres were wearing in weird ways due to suspension set up and lacked the adjustability to fix the issue.

Honestly I'd probably go minimum set up possible for your first track day. You'd be in a slow group, and likely riding slow. Do enough to pass scrutineering and protect your bike in the event of a crash (engine guards mostly). See what comes out of the day as far as upgrades go.

That being said, I would agree with @PinkNinja400Guy , the clutch upgrades are kind of a must if you want to ride the bike with anger. So if you were going to do anything mechanical I'd go for that. I never used the bike on track with the stock clutch, but I hit issues on the road, which would surely be amplified on track.

Obviously if you have a big pile of money you're happy to throw at the bike, go nuts, but personally I would (and did) start with a fairly stock bike on track and changed things as they made sense. It sounds like your goal is to improve your road riding, and making the bike really track focused is probably going to make road riding less comfortable. E.G. track suspension set up is generally hard, if you put track suspension on the road every bump throws you around. Rearsets/clip ons change the ergo to be more "athletic", on the road you probably want some level of comfort.
 

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Exactly. You can do all of this stuff later once you're sure you want to continue; for the first day all you need is proper protective gear for you, protection for the bike, and a non-defective clutch.

$20 for the Woodcraft mirror eliminators would make you look better, since you can't take off the mirrors with the stock configuration on the bike (I unfortunately discovered this right before the 1st session...). Alternatively, take one of the mirror mount bolts to your hardware store and find a washer that the bolt fits through. Four washers will work and are what I am using now since I lost the mirror eliminators.
 

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@Blitz I didn't read all these comments...but I'd probably agree with most of it. Some of us that have been at this for a long time and have spent stupid amounts of money on making these bikes really good can easily get carried away and tell you that you need everything, but you don't really need much at all for your first track day. The important thing is that you go do it, have fun, learn a bunch, then decide if you want to go more times. Then you can refer back to some of the many threads on here related to track riding and upgrade your bike as you see fit for your budget, needs, and skill level.

Where and when do you plan to do your first track day? I see you're in North Carolina. NCBIKE should be pretty close to you then and it's a great place for a first track day. There are also lots of events there between EvolveGT, N2, PRE and I think there might be another group that has an event or two there. VIR is another good option and probably also not too far away. A bit more challenging of a track, but also way more fun. One of the best in the country!
 

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$20 for the Woodcraft mirror eliminators would make you look better, since you can't take off the mirrors with the stock configuration on the bike (I unfortunately discovered this right before the 1st session...). Alternatively, take one of the mirror mount bolts to your hardware store and find a washer that the bolt fits through. Four washers will work and are what I am using now since I lost the mirror eliminators.
Yeah I'm cheap and just did the bolt thing. I'm in Australia and my options for mirror eliminator plates are $70 R&G things or cheap US products that end up being $100 once you add shipping.
I just smacked a fabric washer, and a metal washer then torque'd it up. Realistically most tracks won't make you remove mirrors (just taped), but outside of buying the washers it's a 5 minute job and makes it a lot more comfortable, and makes you look more "serious".

It's also pretty easy to remove your rear fender/plate as well if you can be bothered. 4 screws, 3 wires (that are a little annoying to reach). I just filled the holes with a bolt and nut to keep the spacers in place. Another thing you don't need to do, but makes you look serious.

The biggest wins I got as far as track day set up was:
  • Finding a good way to get the bike to the track without riding it. Historically I rode my S1KRR to the track. It made life a lot more annoying.
  • Tyre warmers + stands (which also requires a trailer/something)

People will say tyre warmers aren't needed, especially with road/treaded tyres, but it's a peace of mind thing. Why go out being dainty for a lap to warm the tyres / mentally "warm the tyres", when you can go out knowing they're already warm. Track time is expensive, tyre warmers give you back a lap / remove a variable so you can push harder quicker.

Again none of it really "needed", just nice to have. If you're riding to the track even the mirror removal will be a pain.
 

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As far as gear goes. I got my first suit from a racer on forums.13x.com. That is the WERA forums and you'll be able to find a great deal usually. Alternatively you can also pick up a brand new RST one piece suit from sportbiketrackgear.com for a really good price. Go to your local cyclegear or other motorcycle shop that has suits and find out what size you are. Hopefully something off the rack will fit, I am unlucky as nothing off the rack will fit me without heavy alterations. I really like Racer High Speed gloves, however the RST Tractech Evo R's are another great option. I've crash tested them and they held up great. As far as boots go any of the high end options are good, I like Dianese torque outs they fit me really well. You can check out motocard.com, can usually find pretty good boot deals on there the shipping just takes a while.

As far as the bike goes, put the protection pieces on and don't worry about the rest. You are going to be slow your first trackday, we all were. If the clutch gives you issues, put it next on your list of mods to do. If you keep doing trackdays you'll start to figure out what mods you want to do next. Personally I'd get tires like Dunlop Q3+, rearsets, and then the suspension. Most importantly have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@Blitz I didn't read all these comments...but I'd probably agree with most of it. Some of us that have been at this for a long time and have spent stupid amounts of money on making these bikes really good can easily get carried away and tell you that you need everything, but you don't really need much at all for your first track day. The important thing is that you go do it, have fun, learn a bunch, then decide if you want to go more times. Then you can refer back to some of the many threads on here related to track riding and upgrade your bike as you see fit for your budget, needs, and skill level.

Where and when do you plan to do your first track day? I see you're in North Carolina. NCBIKE should be pretty close to you then and it's a great place for a first track day. There are also lots of events there between EvolveGT, N2, PRE and I think there might be another group that has an event or two there. VIR is another good option and probably also not too far away. A bit more challenging of a track, but also way more fun. One of the best in the country!
I would like to go next month, but definitely planning to do it within the next two. NCBike and VIR happen to be the exact same distance away from me. Being that I don't feel all that unconfident going around turns and training days aren't that fast maybe I should choose VIR if its that much better. Ever since going on the really twisty roads I haven't been able to really enjoy the normal roads near me because I just crave that adrenaline rush now. I have to make a 4 hour ride out of that group ride though, 1 hour there, 2 hours with group and an hour back. I would say my stock tires are a bit over half tread left if I had to guess, would you recommend new tires? A while back when I looked into it I was recommended Michelin Road 5 Tires, or maybe I'd be better off getting the Dunlop ones recommended above in this thread ^^.
 

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I would like to go next month, but definitely planning to do it within the next two. NCBike and VIR happen to be the exact same distance away from me. Being that I don't feel all that unconfident going around turns and training days aren't that fast maybe I should choose VIR if its that much better. Ever since going on the really twisty roads I haven't been able to really enjoy the normal roads near me because I just crave that adrenaline rush now. I have to make a 4 hour ride out of that group ride though, 1 hour there, 2 hours with group and an hour back. I would say my stock tires are a bit over half tread left if I had to guess, would you recommend new tires? A while back when I looked into it I was recommended Michelin Road 5 Tires, or maybe I'd be better off getting the Dunlop ones recommended above in this thread ^^.
You will definitely like VIR way more. It actually has elevation changes, and it's more challenging and fun. Plus the paddock is much nicer, bigger, and with better facilities. However, first track day at any track is vastly different than any twisty roads you've been on with your friends. You will be put in novice group at first no matter the track and organization you ride with. Of course novice doesn't mean novice rider, just means novice track day rider.

I would say you should get some new better tires. Stock ones suck anyway, and it would be nice to have some fresh better tires too.
 

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I would say you should get some new better tires. Stock ones suck anyway, and it would be nice to have some fresh better tires too.
For what it's worth, I used stock tyres until their death. Never really did me wrong on the track in the slower groups, bike was at 2500km when I needed to change tyres and included 3 track days.
Probably would have lasted longer again if the track wasn't all right handers, the left side of the tyre had a fair while to go, right was completely obliterated as was the profile.

I guess the TL;DR of what I'm trying to say is, don't hold off waiting for parts, slow group it's not going to matter a bunch. I mean ****, a lot of the time you end up with riders you would class as slow on the road, except they pin it on the straights. Better off getting there ASAP, and find out what you feel you need to change. You'll appreciate the improvements more if you've noticed the issues yourself.
 
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