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How to Do a Motorcycle Track Day


[music playing] Hey, I’m Spurge. And I’m Alessandra. And we are here to
welcome you to the newest episode of RevZilla’s Redline. Today, we’re going to
walk you through something that’s been on my bucket
list for a long time now. And that’s attending
my first track day. Now, there are a lot of
reasons why you might want to attend a track day. Some folks just want to ride
as aggressively as possible, while others are honing
their skills for race day. But I would say that
for the majority of us it’s really just about
improving our skills on the track that will
translate back to being a better rider on the road. Now, regardless of
what your reason is, there is nothing to be
intimidated about when it comes to attending a track day. Easy for you to say, Spurge. It’s not your first rodeo. The fact of the matter is
that it’s something new and that can be intimidating. Me, I’m here because I
want to be a better rider. But I won’t lie. When I think of the track,
I think of sport bikes. I think a really high speeds. And neither of those aren’t
necessarily in my wheel house. Then you add things like
gear, cost, equipment– it adds up really fast. I get it. And if I’m being
honest, I would say that I was probably
scared out of my mind when I did my first track day. All I kept thinking
was everyone is going to laugh at me because
I have no idea what I’m doing. But what I found was
that everyone there was extremely accommodating. They wanted to
show me the ropes. And that’s our goal
for this video. We want to demystify
the process. We’re going to take you
on a step-by-step journey in what it’s going
to require for you to attend your first track day. And hopefully, we are
going to have a little bit of fun in the process. We should probably get going. I think we should. [music playing] So as you can see, we have
two track appropriate machines loaded up and ready to go. But if you have a motorcycle
that doesn’t quite look like this, don’t let that
stand in your way of tackling your first track day. I mean, I’ve seen
folks out there on dual sports and Harleys. Hell, my first track day
was on a Triumph Bonneville. And I’m sure that
if Alessandra wanted to go out there today
on her Sportster, she would fare just fine. I mean, keep in mind that taking
your own bike to the track is a great way to
really learn the ins and outs of your
machines, and then carrying that back with you
to take those new-found skills to the street. And regardless of
what you decide to ride, getting your
bike on the track can be a hurdle,
especially if you’ve never towed your bike before. Now, trailering your bike is
going to give you the comfort and convenience of packing
up all your supplies and all your gear. But more importantly,
it’s also going to give you a guaranteed way
home in case something happens. But you don’t need a fancy
truck or even a fancy trailer to get your bike to the track. No, I mean, before I
invested in a truck, I had a dinky little car
pulling a dinky little trailer. And it worked just fine. And if you’re not
sure where to start, reach out to your local
U-Haul dealership. They’re going to
be able to install a trailer hitch on pretty
much any car out there. And they rent motorcycle
trailers by the day. So for those of you that only
do one or two track days a year, it’s a super minimal investment
to be able to get yourself back and forth to the track. I mean, I’ve seen people
actually just show up at to the track
with their bikes in the back of moving trucks. And if you’re
really on a budget, but you’re still itching
to get to the track, you can always just ride. In fact, our friendly
common tread editor Lance does just that on his Daytona. Just keep in mind that if you
do decide to ride to the track, you’re going to be a little
bit more limited in terms of what you can bring. And of course, if
something goes wrong, you won’t have that
guaranteed way home. Now, speaking of Lance
Lightning Oliver, he is actually going to be
meeting us at this track day for a special guest appearance. And then he’s going to show
the kids how it’s done. So we need to head over there
and meet up with him right now. Do you have the
key for your bike? Yep, it’s in the ignition.
Cool. So that is the final
little tip here, is do not forget the
key for your motorcycle. It’ll ruin your track day. Ask me how I know. [music playing] Hey, so what are we doing first? So you are going to start
by taping up your bike. OK.
And I’m going to do the same. Sounds good. So like we discussed
earlier, you can bring any bike to the track. Street bikes are,
however, are going to require some extra
preparation before they’re allowed out on the tarmac. Now, every organization is
going to have their quirks, but nearly every one will
require the following. All lenses– that’s
turn signals, brakes, headlights– they’re
going to have to be taped. Now, a pro tip here is if you
can, pull the headlight fuse or remove the bulb to
prevent heat from melting the tape to the lens. So next up, take a look at your
mirrors and your license plate. Now, it’s going to be best
to remove these items. But if you can’t, if it’s
just not easy to do so, you can always tape them up. So when it comes
your tire pressure, there’s no set rule
for what you should be setting your tire pressure at. Every manufacturer
and every bike is going to be a
little different. But just keep in mind that
you’re really not going to be running the same
tire pressure on the track as you would on the street. So if you have any questions,
talk to one of the coaches at your track organization. Now, the final note here
is just the overall road worthiness of your motorcycle. Your bike can’t be leaking
fluids– no oil, antifreeze. You got to check those
fork seals, the shocks. All bolts holding the plastic
fairings must be secure. And there can’t be
any loose parts. So check your hard
parts, like your exhaust, to make sure that nothing is
rattling around on your bike. Now keep in mind, if you’re
already nervous about attending your first track day,
most of this work can be done the night before,
if you’re planning on trailering your motorcycle to the track. And that’s just one
less thing you need to worry about in the morning. Or you can do what
Alessandra and I did, and just get here a
little bit earlier and do the work right
here in the paddock. Right. And most track day organizations
don’t have advance requirements for the entry level group. So while you can safety wire
your bike if you want to, it’s really not required
if you’re a beginner. But what’s even more convenience
is that organizations, like the one hosting
us today, Evolve GT, will actually provide
you with a bike if you don’t want
to ride your own. All right. So that was the announcement. Let’s get over to
inspection right now. Sounds good. [music playing] Now, the biggest
misconception about track days is that you need
dedicated track gear. And while you always want
to make sure you start off by talking to the organizer
of your track event, the truth is a lot of the gear
that you were on the street can be used on the track
as well, especially if you’re starting out. Very true. I mean, look at
what I’ve got here. Most full-face helmets are
going to get you to the track, including this one. And if you already
have a leather jacket, chances are you can
find matching pants and zip them together to
make a two piece suit. Then, for gloves,
you really just want something that’s going to
be long enough to cover the wrist of your jacket. And for boots, you want
something that’s full height without external laces. This is easily the most
gear I’ve ever worn, but I didn’t have to
make a huge upfront investment to get me here. And when I was
first starting out, I did exactly what Alessandra
is doing right now. And in fact, I still have
that old two piece leather race suit hanging in my closet. But as I began to
do more track days, I began to accumulate more gear. The gloves, the
boots, the helmet– I’ve had these for a
season or two already. And I will say the Alpinestars
airbag suit is new. I wanted to try this
out for this event. But the real moral to the
story is that for most gear, you can accumulate
the gear over time. You don’t have to make one
large up-front investment. Now, one other thing
that’s worth mentioning is that most track
day organizations are going to require
that you wear leather. And that’s because leather
is paramount on the track where you might be
sliding on pavement. The other thing that
we definitely recommend is incorporating
a back protector. So you can do a back
protector insert or a standalone back protector. But the latter is going to
get you a lot more coverage. Now, if you’re
intimidated by the thought of having to buy all this
additional gear, fear not. Just check with your
track day organization. And a lot of those
folks will have gear you can actually rent,
so it’s a very minimal investment to get you started. So Spurge, are we
ready to ride or what? Not yet. [music playing] Last call for rider [inaudible]. Let’s get on track early. So we are all geared up. Our bikes have gone
through tech inspection. But the next step for
us is not the racetrack. We actually have to head
over the riders meeting. And that’s because
the riders meeting is where we’re going to
get all the information throughout the day. And this is a mandatory meeting,
regardless of what class you’re actually riding in. It’s because they’re going to
give you all the information you’ll need to know, like
what hazards you might run into on the track, what
the passing rules are for your riders group, as well
as what the different flags mean so they can communicate
with you when you’re out there on the racetrack. Right. And if it’s your first
track day like me, you want to pay special
attention during this meeting and make sure that you sign
up for the beginners class. Organizations,
like Evolve GT, are going to have more
in-depth classes and coaching for newer riders. In fact, after this, I’m
going to split off from Spurge and go do my own thing
and take some classes. All right. Let’s go. [inaudible] Good morning. Obviously, there’s
a big crowd here. There’s going to be
great weather today. All right. let’s get
to the safety first. Safety first. No inside passing. When I turn that motorcycle
and I’m heading for my apex, that is my track. There should never be
anybody on the inside of me. Coming off the racetrack,
when you go through turn 10, you have to signal
before turn 10. All right. Red flag displayed, we are
shutting down activity, and we’re going to come back in. Yellow flag, no passing. But do not come off pace either. Most likely there’s
something off the track. Heads up. That’s all. If a black flag
is pointed at you, that means you’re leaking
fluid out of the motorcycle, and we want you to
stop immediately. All right. Your checkered flag, obviously,
is the end of our session. Our session is over. So let’s do this, guys, a lot
of guys are new to doing this. I hope you enjoy and please
give me your feedback. If it’s negative,
hold it to yourself. Nah, I’m just kidding.
Thanks, guys. I appreciate it. [applause] All you guys are
first-time track riders. Right? When you go out onto
the track, you’ll see some cones out there. These cones are reference
points for you guys. That’s what we need to get
you guys focused on first. All right? [inaudible] Dude’s a rockstar. What bike you riding? So it’s a Speed Triple RS. My biggest thing right
now is braking too soon. And I see you taped up
the light pretty good. Can you give me a little
bit where I can see it. Absolutely. Sure. The first session, we’re
just going to go out. We’re going to loosen up. And I’ll just see kind of
how you guys are riding. And we’ll come back in,
and we’ll have a chat. [music playing] You shift your head, you’ll . That’s what’s going to
turn the motorcycle. [music playing] This next session, let’s really
focus on these apex cones. That’s what we call
outside, inside, outside. [music playing] [inaudible] [music playing] It was good. I think I needed to
get used to the people passing me and not looking back. When I tap on my bike,
stay close to me– OK. –because I know to
direct them around us. OK. [music playing] Can I have one of
your strawberries? Yeah. So– Friend.
Who’s your new friend? Angela.
She’s my coach. Oh, your coach. She adopted me because
I was so, so bad. Listen, you’re really
not good at this. Let me show you how to do it.
She’s like no one loves you. I’ll take you in. So how did you like it? I mean, we got like a
whole afternoon to go. But how did you like it? I am not an aggressive
street rider that moves around on
the bike all the time and is imitating what
they see on MotoGP. That’s not necessarily
my wheel house, even though that stuff is awesome. I totally respect it. So being on the bike, trying to
keep up with people in a group, and being at the end and
having people whiz by you was definitely a little jarring. And thinking about how
I’m controlling the bike, staying up to pace, the people
around me was definitely a lot. So I think I definitely was
overwhelmed the first session. It’s a lot to take in at once. And you can’t possibly
do it all in one morning. But the key is you
make that progress. The definition of success
is at the end of the day, you feel like you’re
a better rider, and you’ve had a good time. You’ve had fun. So the second session,
just going out with a coach and having someone one-to-one
like give you feedback and like just give you somethings
to work on so you can have like your own milestones
and be able to like measure your own progress,
that part is awesome. And so after the second
session and the third session, just trying to focus on what
I wanted to think about, that was great. I like the fact
that you can come and it’s just a regular track. There’s no school. But like there’s coaches
that are like, hey. Yeah. I saw you do this. And that can be fixed. Yeah. And here’s what I
want you to try. You know, practice
doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent. If you’re practicing
bad habits, you’re just going to ingrain bad habits. And so the great thing
about coming here, and this applies to the two of
us as much as it does to you, we’ve got somebody there
watching us who really understands and really knows
what we’re doing and can say, hey, you’re doing this. You may not even
know you’re doing it. But you’ve got somebody
there to tell you. I would say that actually
having a coach there really like changed the whole day for me. It went from what you were
mentioning my first session feeling like a guppy in a pool
of piranhas to feeling like– That was your analogy? You said she was a guppy
in a pool of piranhas? I believe I said barracudas,
but basically, yeah. Either way, it
really turned the day around for me to have someone– That’s why Lance isn’t a coach. –to give me that feedback and
to tell me, or just guide me. Because I didn’t feel like I
really knew where I was going. All right. So we are, obviously,
having fun. You’re, obviously,
learning a lot. We’re all learning a lot. But let’s get back out there. Sounds good to me. Eat your damn fruit faster. [music playing] OK. So last lap, I’m
following Angela. Really helping me
get my confidence up after a bad first lap. This is a physical
endurance test, in addition to a skills test. That is for sure. [music playing] So this morning, getting
passed left and right. But you’re focused on working
on what you’re working on. This afternoon, you start
picking up the speed, and all that work you
put in in the morning starts paying off
with faster lap times. So my coach is
actually behind me now. He’ll follow me for a
few laps, evaluate me, and then we go
back into the pits, he’ll let me know what
he saw, what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong. Because if you come
out here and you’re just riding around in a circle,
you’re not learn anything. You know?
You’re not getting better. You’re not going to get faster. Did you notice the rider we
kind of got stuck behind? Yeah. Five is where I would
have passed him. So what would you have done? Gone around the right side? Yeah, probably. OK. As long as your vision and
everything is working– Yeah. –you’re going to get by it.
Gotcha. Right? If you’re faster. Yeah. Otherwise, you’re just going
to have a fun time on the track with someone who’s your speed. Right.
You know? Yeah. So the braking looks good. The braking is
getting a lot better. Right?
Yeah. So that was the big thing
that we were talking about was like braking later
and holding the speed in. I feel like my cornering speed
has increased from this morning drastically. Yeah, yeah.
We’re moving right along. All right. We’re going to run back
out and keep going. You’re going to be on the back. Feet are going to
be on these pegs. Right? So how fast are you
going to be going? It’s all up to you. [music playing] I was like breathing
really fast. And I was like, all
right, I got to get off Oh, OK. Giving her the old English. The old [inaudible] English. That is all a track day is. Go out, pick a skill to
practice, work on that skill, and get a little bit
better every time. Now, this little guy is
going to run up and under. Give me one second, and
let me hop off here. Let me see. Teamwork. Booya! I need another
ratchet on that side. Now, this one, requires the
weight of a very heavy man. Luckily, I can do
both at the same time. Lance, this is how it’s done. I want you to put
some power on it. Ooh. It smells so bad. Stinky. There shouldn’t
be too much left. I’ll grab that cooler for you. Boom. All right. So we have brought you
along for a track day. We’ve showed you pretty much
everything you can expect. And maybe, just maybe,
we have inspired you to get off the couch and go
out and try this for yourself. Is this what you expected? It’s so much more
than what I expected. So I thought I was
going to come here, I was going to do some sessions,
maybe learn a few things. Instead, at my first track
day, 120 other people show up– A lot of people. –it’s super hot,
you know, high 80s. But I started the day really
unconfident, really unsure. And I think that by
the end, you know, not only did I learn
something, but I felt a lot more confident. And I was having fun. So I will be completely
honest in the fact that like when I watched
you on the first session, I was really nervous that
you were going to come back and be like I hate this. I don’t want to do it. We’re packing up the truck,
and we’re going home. And I was like, well, I want to
stay for the rest of the day. And from that moment, to
watching you take the classes, and then watching
you in session four and five run around the track
at such a more confident pace and watching you can just
turn the volume knob up, was really cool for me. What was your biggest
takeaway for this? So my biggest takeaway was
probably body positioning. So they talk a lot about
reducing your lean angle in a turn, so moving your
body so that you don’t have to turn the bike as much. And that’s something that can
really translate to the street, especially on my Harley,
which is a little bit lowered. That and the fact that
you had Bill from Evolve take you on a two-up
ride 140 miles an hour screaming down the straightaway. Yeah, that was insane. Super fast. Just, it blew my mind. But it gave me a ton of
respect for everybody who comes out here. But it also gave me
even more confidence just seeing him go after it. It was awesome. And about you? You were looking
so fast out there. You were looking great. I don’t know if I was so fast. I wasn’t Lance Oliver speed,
but I was I was doing OK. My biggest exercise that I
worked on with my coaches was really just carrying more
speed through the corners. And I left today tying my best
lap-time ever at Thunderbolt. And I did it on a bike that
I’d never ridden before. So for me, today was
absolutely fantastic. I am leaving with
a smile on my face. I mean, it looks
like you’re leaving with a smile on your face.
Definitely. And I want to thank
you for joining us for this first track day. If you want more information
on how to do a track day, you can always head
over a Common Tread. We got a ton of articles there. And as always, make sure you
subscribe to us on YouTube. You can keep up with all
the content we have rolling out at RevZilla.com I’m Spurge. And I’m Alessandra. Enjoy the ride. [engine starting]

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