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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Got a PM asking how to prepare a DL650 for a track day. The answer is "It depends" because different tracks and track day organizations have different rules. I've ridden my DL up and camped as well as taken it in a van, and ridden two tracks, NHMS in Loudon NH and NJMP in Millville, NJ.

You WILL NOT be the slowest rider and the DL650 WILL NOT be the slowest bike there. Even if you were - no one cares. Everyone's out to have fun and learn to ride better. Tourances, Anakees and the like do just fine on the track - no problems. If it rains, they're great.

The SV650 is probably the most-tracked and most-raced bike in America. If you go to a forum like SVRider you'll find plenty of threads on track day prep. The DL650 is virtually identical for most such preparations. So is the SV1000/DL1000.

Review the bike prep requirements for the track day organization in advance - they vary. It takes less than an hour to prep the bike the first time, and about 15 minutes thereafter.

Review the rider equipment requirements as well. Most will require a full face helmet with a Snell M2005 or newer rating. Most require gauntlet gloves and leather boots. Most will allow textile gear (no mesh) in the Novice group as long as it zips together: some require the zipper to go at least half way around, others not. Most organizations require a racing-grade back protector. They can be rented, borrowed or purchased.

If you don't have the necessary gear, you can usually rent a full leather race suit for $50 to $75 a day. A new Vanson race suit is almost $2,000 so that's not a bad deal.

You will need a cordless drill, some 1/16th drill bits (you can buy a pack of them for a few dollars), a hose clamp, some blue masking tape, some duck tape, and some zip ties. The only store locally that I found with safety wire was Harbor Freight. You do not need safety wire pliers but they make the job a lot neater.

You will always have to remove your rear view mirrors.

Most orgs want you to shut off the headlights. Pull the high and low beam fuses.

Some orgs don't require taping of plastic headlights. Some do. Bring blue (long life) masking tape to cover them if required. I usually put a layer of duck tape over them, if required.

Unlike the SV it's difficult to unplug the tail light and brake light and they are on the same fuse circuit as the tach. So tape them up - blue tape and duck tape.

Remove your license plate or tape the edges - it can cut.

TAPE OVER the SPEEDOMETER! If you want to know how fast you are going, bring a GPS or rent a GPS lap timer. Some orgs require it, some not, but it's a distraction you don't want.

Some track day organizations require you to safety wire your oil filter. This is really easy. Buy a hose clamp and put it around the oil filter. Then drill a 1/16" or so hole in one of the tabs on the engine and safety wire from the tab to the clamp.


Some track day organizations require safety wiring the oil drain plug. There is a tab just in front of the plug, so drill through it and safety wire around it.


A small number of organizations will require you to safety wire the oil fill plug. Drill a hole and safety wire it to the frame.

Some organizations will require you to replace the coolant with water (spilled coolant is as slippery as oil). No biggie.

Air your tires down to 30/30 to start unless otherwise advised. Check the wear pattern after a few seasons and check the pressures during the day. The rear will heat up a lot more than the front and you may have to let more air out. Ask an instructor or experienced racer if you aren't sure.

You will have to go through a tech inspection. If at all possible, get the bike there the night before and get it teched then.

Find out if there is gas available at the track. If not, bring a 5 gallon can. You will get less than 30mpg if you are really on it, and will probably do over 100 miles on the track.

If it is your first track day or first time at the track you will be pulled into a special briefing to review passing rules, pit in and out, etc. You will likely have one or more "Follow the leader" sessions where you will follow an instructor around the track to learn the line and get the feel of things. They will often have classroom sessions after you get off the track.

Lots of people have cameras these days so you can find all sorts of videos on youtube for any track.

Bring a chair to sit in, and if there isn't a pit garage think about a sun umbrella or other shelter. Some food and drink. A towel and a change of clothes to take a shower after you've finished. Bring Plexus and some microfiber towels to keep the face shield clean.

You can camp at most tracks. Fees vary. Tracks are often a bit out of the way and hotels may be 10 miles away so I find it more convenient.
 

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Thanks; sounds like you've been bitten by the bug! :yesnod: I've been tempted to look a little into the trackdays held at Barber (12 minutes away from me). I like the concept of taping off the speedometer.
 

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My first track day required that we remove out mirrors, with painters tape cover all lights and blinkers, no luggage, and since we were on the small track we were allowed to leave the radiator fluid as is. Pants and jacket with padding, gauntlet gloves and proper boots also required
On the bigger track the radiator fluid needs to be replaced with water-wetter, and a one piece suit must be worn.
IMO all this prep I did for day 1 was well worth it :thumbup:
 

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If you need to know your fastest speed of the session, get a bicycle speedo with a sample and hold feature for the top speed (I've got a Sigma). I found it useful to check gearing changes on my RD.

And mount it out of sight - you can check it back in the pits!

Glenn

Thanks; sounds like you've been bitten by the bug! :yesnod: I've been tempted to look a little into the trackdays held at Barber (12 minutes away from me). I like the concept of taping off the speedometer.
 

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Last weekend was my turn to test my DL1000 on a trackday. Slowest bike? Of course not! It make turns really really good, even with Anakees I. Have a impressive accelerations and stops well too.
I was used to do trackdays with my ex-bike, Hornet 600, and yes, these two bikes is pretty different. I thought the experience with Strom more intense (I didn't know how much the anakees can grip in a turn).

So, this bike is surprising me even more every ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you need to know your fastest speed of the session, get a bicycle speedo with a sample and hold feature for the top speed (I've got a Sigma). I found it useful to check gearing changes on my RD.

And mount it out of sight - you can check it back in the pits!

Glenn
I have a QStarz GPS lap timer that gives you lap times, splits, speed, G's, can link video to the data and can compare laps. You can rent them at the track for $25 or buy one for $170. There is an Android app called Trackmaster ($8) that can do a lot of those things but has a lower sampling rate and no software.

Any GPS will also record max speed. Only a few tracks are open enough for street bikes to hit anything near max speed. Most I've hit is about 135 on a liter bike, 118 on the SV650, and 108 on the DL650.
 

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Any GPS will also record max speed.
The max speed recorded on My Garmin IQue right now is 330mph and it has not flown anywhere. Stromette/AGirl flirted with the sound barrier on her 1000. Those max speed memories can be way off.
 

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The max speed recorded on My Garmin IQue right now is 330mph and it has not flown anywhere. Stromette/AGirl flirted with the sound barrier on her 1000. Those max speed memories can be way off.
I did max 297 kph on my 99 KLR (according to the
gps):jawdrop:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Could we please keep this topic on track bike preparation? A number of riders have asked about what is required so I'd like to keep it on topic. Your maximum speed means very little towards minimizing your lap time on most tracks.

Thank you
 

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Maybe I should have mentioned that I got the Sigma 10+ years ago, when GPS was crude and expensive, and the other toys were factory team only. The Sigma was cheap enough to regard as disposable. I haven't seriously looked at telemetry in eons - it shows, doesn't it?

Glenn


I have a QStarz GPS lap timer that gives you lap times, splits, speed, G's, can link video to the data and can compare laps. You can rent them at the track for $25 or buy one for $170. There is an Android app called Trackmaster ($8) that can do a lot of those things but has a lower sampling rate and no software.

Any GPS will also record max speed. Only a few tracks are open enough for street bikes to hit anything near max speed. Most I've hit is about 135 on a liter bike, 118 on the SV650, and 108 on the DL650.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There were two DL650's at the TTD track days yesterday!

This is my SV650 but the lap times (around 1:40) are a little slower than my best lap times on the DL650 (track was quite cold), so it's quite comparable. This was my test of the gyro stabilized camera mount we've been working on, using a GoPro Hero camera.

Maximize it to full screen for the full effect.
 

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Cool thread.

Interesting that you don't tape your speedo on the SV. Is it because its digital and easier to ignore? Because you have some experience ignoring it?

Watched the speedo readouts in your video earlier. Very cool stuff.
 

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I'm now signed up for a day at NHMS. Wholey cow, actually gonna do this.

Putting together my pre-day and day-of todo lists.

Your comment re: the tach and tails being on the same circuit, is this true for later model V-Stroms' too? That's a real drag as I figured I'd be able to whack the whole tail by just popping that plug in the rear cowl.

I've modified my tails to include aux brake lights via LEDs. So just pulling the bulbs from the brake assembly isn't going to fly.

Tape works too, eh?

Is fuel really an issue? I figured I'd show up topped off. Am I really going to smoke through an entire tank? Just can't believe it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Your comment re: the tach and tails being on the same circuit, is this true for later model V-Stroms' too? That's a real drag as I figured I'd be able to whack the whole tail by just popping that plug in the rear cowl.

I've modified my tails to include aux brake lights via LEDs. So just pulling the bulbs from the brake assembly isn't going to fly.

Tape works too, eh?

Is fuel really an issue? I figured I'd show up topped off. Am I really going to smoke through an entire tank? Just can't believe it.
If you unplug the wire for the tail lights you should be all set. I couldn't get at mine. Tape works also.

If you top off the tank you should be OK. I averaged 32mpg and you usually do 120 miles or so at a TTD. There's a gas station a couple of miles away so you'll have enough to get there at least.

If you bring a hose clamp I have some safety wire. I attached it to a tab I drilled, which was easy.
 

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Huge thanks to garandman for his help setting me up for my track day Tuesday. I had an incredible time and hope to do it again.

My experience setting the wee up for the day was pretty painless. I have an Eastern Beaver headlamp relay kit installed, so all I had to do was pop the fuse out for that from my fuse block. (Mental note, add needle nose pliers to my toolkit.) I was able to reach and disconnect the tail wiring harness through the cavity under the seat, despite my oaf hands. The org I rode with only required securing the filter. I did this using a large hose clamp and a length of safety wire. There is a tab one of the external oil lines is stopped up against right next to the filter. Securing it required about 6-8" of wire and about 15 seconds with garandman's handy harbor-freight safety wire tool.

I air'ed down to 30 PSI cold to start based on recommendations here. After my 2nd session I rechecked the pressure while hot and backed them down to a bit over 30 front and back. I think that worked.

I am running Michelin Pilot Road 3 tires. I was very happy with how they performed.

My bike breezed through 'tech' and I was later thanked for bringing a clean motorcycle. I had washed it a few days before.

I removed my GPS bracket and secured the power lead. I left the luggage racks on; the detached givi luggage was my tool kit and lunch box for the day. I rode into the track with a camp chair and a soft sided cooler bungied to the luggage rack.

I happened to have the opportunity to fill up immediately before and after the day. I rode 120 miles and pumped just under 3 gal on my ride home and averaged 40 MPG. I am guilty of coasting a lot. Low 30's seems reasonable for someone better at staying on the throttle.

I have Galfer HH brake pads up front. They performed well, but I noticed the lever getting spongy late in the day. I suspect premium/upgraded fluid might be a worthy investment. My factory fluid is probably about 2 years/14,000 miles old.
 
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