Getting The ZX9R On Track
I’ve always hired bikes for trackdays. The way I see it, although it is quite expensive, is that you’re getting the use of a dogs bollocks expertly set up and prepared race bike with super-sticky tyres, brakes that pop your eyeballs out every time you touch them, and generally an ability much better than you’ll have as the rider.
I’d highly recommend trying Lady Snoots for hire bikes from a great bloke, and also Smallboy and Pattracking I had no faults with whatsoever. The Focused Events trackbikes of a few years ago were shitters. They did the job, but they were blatantly cutting all the corners they could by using (old) sports-touring tyres and maintaining them like your average ped rider. Things do seem to have changed, but they’re still expensive… The biggest pisser is that you HAVE to use their own hire bikes on Focused Events days…
Anyway, my main reason for hiring was that my bike was my only transport. This has now changed now I have a license and car, and if I dropped the ZX9R and it was off the road for a while for repairs it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
So with funding nowhere near what it was after my redundancy, it makes sense to cut the costs by getting the 9r out on track this year.
It will still be a compromise, but I want to do it for as little cost as possible.
Ideally, I’d want: Full race fairing, race compound brake pads, aftermarket rearsets (I scrape my pegs in normal road riding!), some kind of protection for my engine covers, and sticky race tyres – possibly even a spare set of wheels.
The reality is that this would cost as much as it would to hire bikes for a couple of trackdays…
So, after scouring Ebay for race fairings (£340 from China!), I’ve decided that I’m just going to go for it with the bike in standard trim. If I do come a cropper, THEN I can buy a new fairing and replace the parts. I’ll just have to try my best not to come a cropper! But thinking about it I was well within my limits on the hire bikes, as I didn’t want to be liable for paying out the crash deposit!
What’s left to worry about?
Tyres. I use Pirelli Angel ST’s on the road, because they give a combination of awesome grip from cold, massive mileage, and just do everything better than any other road tyre. On track I’m sure they will overheat and slide around a bit – but am I capable/willing to push them that hard for them to become a problem? I shall just have to try it and see…
Ground clearance could be an issue, as I’m not afraid of leaning the bike over even on the roads. Someone from ZX-9R.net came up with an ingenious solution of taping a 5p coin in the hinge of the footpeg to raise them and give a few degrees more ground clearance, and so I may well try that.
Whatever – I can hear the call of the racetrack again, and I need to get back out there SOON!
Plus it would be great to have a few photographs of me on track riding my own bike!
Watch this space!