Over the weekend I had my last two trackdays of an incredible riding year. It's going to be tough to top this year, that's for sure!
My year started in Pahrump (near Vegas) in February, and fittingly, ended there in November. Nice bookends to an absolutely amazing year of fun and growth.
I was able to take both the RC and the new CBR600RR with me on this trip, which was fantastic. The bikes are quite different in nature of course, but both really fun in their own unique way.
The weather was very good for November - quite cloudy and breezy on Saturday with temps in the 60's, and sunny and beautiful on Sunday with a temp around 70. Not like the rain/snow mix I drove through on the 11+ hour journey from Idaho to get to the track.
The 600, formerly owned by a top racer, is an absolute rocketship. The drive coming off corners on the thing is just ridiculous. I can't tell you how much fun it was to blaze past literbikes and other middleweights through and out of turns. Didn't take much to spin the rear tire up coming out of the turns either, which of course I had to be careful with.
This was my first time using reverse GP-style shifting, and I was a little nervous about it going in - but suprisingly enough it didn't take much of an adjustment period at all! I switched the RC to the same pattern so it wouldn't screw me up when I switched bikes. I actually didn't miss a shift all weekend, which really surprised me. I definitely thought about it with every shift, but after a while it became pretty instinctive, and I really like it now that I've had a couple of days with it.
The 600 has the Dynojet Quick-Shifter on it, which is a trip! Fully pinned on the straight, just kicking it down to the next gear without clutch or letting off the gas. That is really cool and works great. Hit a couple of false neutrals or non-shifts over the course of the weekend, but it was 98% flawless, and I really dug it. The only problem was one time on a fast stretch between turns 5 and 7 when I was on the RC and I kicked it down to third or fourth without letting off the gas or clutching
THIS ISN'T THE 600! Oops! Oh well, it shifted!
On Sunday I started pushing pretty hard for lap times on both bikes, although I took it a little easier on the RC, as I had new Diablo Corsa III's mounted on the bike, and wasn't sure how sticky they'd be compared to the Power Races I'd been using with such satisfaction. It's kind of tough in a no-session trackday to push too hard - just when you think you're flying to your best lap yet you come up on some slower riders and need to back it down for safety. When it was all said and done I was able to turn laps almost two seconds faster on the 600. It'll be fun to try hard on both bikes with the same tires in the future and see how they compare.
Comparisons between the two bikes: The RC is more comfortable for now - it really fits me like a glove, but I've had more time to tweak the setup. The 600 was really cramped at first, but once I gave myself more room by lowering the rearsets (I'm quite a bit taller than the previous owner), it was MUCH better. I may also put the stock seat back on the 600 to make my legs less cramped too (he just had a thin little pad on there).
The quick-shifter is awesome. I'd love one on the RC too. Although the gearbox on the RC is just buttery compared to the 600, which is a little more clunky. The slipper clutch on the RC adds to the smooth feeling it gives. I'd love to add one to the 600 if they weren't so darned expensive.
Suspension on both bikes is outstanding - a little stiffer on the 600, but both very confidence-inspiring.
Both have fantastic brakes. I went into some turns very hot, and never felt uncomfortable with trail braking.
The weight of the 600 is significantly less, enabling quicker turning on the slower, tighter corners.
I guess to sum it up, the 600 is hyper-intense fun, and the RC is just badass sounding and smooooooth.
I'm waiting for the photo CD from the photographer - Mike LaPutt of Trackday.net. He's one of the best in the business. I'll post them up once I get them. For now if you want to check them out, look for bikes #62 and #51 here:
2006-11-11 SoCal Trackdays
2006-11-12 SoCal Trackdays
It's also fun to look at all of the different body positions on the bikes in the thumbnails. Note how many people have butt off the seat but head over the windscreen in the "twisted" position we've talked about. Pretty common!
No more trackdays until February!
Oh well, it's been an incredible year for which I'm very grateful!