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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking about doing some racing next season, but I'm not sure what to race. I've been riding a long time, but have never raced or even done a track day. I'd like to get into something simple to maintain & somewhat inexpensive (oxymoron for racing). I'd like be somewhat competitive, but I'm 28, can't devote all my time to it, and don't have any pipe dreams of world domination. I'm basically looking to have a good time, learn racing, and challenge myself. I've gotten suggestions of CBR's, SV650's, 250 class. Anyone have any ideas for a beginner?
 

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YSR50 baby! I am in the same situation as you. 27 yrs old, can't afford much. I have done maybe 7 track days and now this year I have done 3 race weekends and love it. It's so much fun and totally dependent upon skill, not horsepower. The buy in is cheap. You can get a race prepped YSR for 1000 bucks, the tires last an entire season, gas is cheap as you only use 2 gallons per weekend, danger is minimal since the top speed is around 50 mph depending on the track. I crashed twice last weekend and jumped up, back on the bike and was racing again. I highly recommend it! Just because they don't have the horsepower doesn't mean they aren't fun. Anyone who bags on these little bikes just hasn't been on the track with one. I scrape knees and pegs all over. The lean angles on these things gets extreme. It's all about race tactics and efficient use of the available horsepower (about 7 ponies). Check this out...

Team Calamari

They have links to various racing clubs around the country and information about the bikes and racing. Where I am they have former pro road racers on the track and some up and coming ones too. The competition gets fierce and the price is right. 35 bucks for the first race entry, 25 for the second. Compare that to 60+ for full sized bikes plus tire costs, etc.

Here is me last weekend leading my buddy through a corner.
 

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most racers suggest starting in the light twins (SV650).  It's a good ideal for newbs and cheaper.  Without all that liter bike power, you are forced to work on corner speed (cause that's all you got&#33. I'm jumping in the deep end and I'm going to race my 54 in '04.  I have been doing track days for 2 seasons and can hold my own against most novice guys and some white plates too.  If you do plan to race a liter bike.....Keep in mind WERA doesn't have a novice liter bike class so you have to race CCS.
 

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eeeek,

does your SV have USD forks? Is that a GSXR750 retrofit?? Stock its a fairly non-adjustable regular fork, right?
 

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I think the learning curve is a lot smaller when you start on a small cc bike. If you don't want to start with a small 2 stroke I think a SV would be an excellent choice. You might want to look into a racing school, and do a few track days. Then get into racing the begining of next year. With the SV it seams like you would be able to race many classes depending on what racing organization you join. I started on a 125cc and I'm still learning a lot, and having a ton of fun with just 38hp.
 

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ccwilli3 : eeeek,

does your SV have USD forks?  Is that a GSXR750 retrofit??  Stock its a fairly non-adjustable regular fork, right?
Stock SV suspension is GARBAGE. The conversion to a GSXR front end is not very difficult and gains you a lot; although, I rode an SV with reworked forks and F3 cartridges and it felt just about as good as mine.

Remeber to budget all the little things into racing. At a minimum, you need common crash parts, all the tools and stands to take your rims off the bike at the track, safety wire, drill, lots of good drill bits, hammer, Gas cans, fire extinguisher, tools to take off pretty much every part of your bike.

To make racing more comfortable and enjoyable, you need an EZ-up, a large mat to put on the ground for when you're working on the bike, a generator, tire warmers, air compressor, LOTS OF WATER, a vise, loctite, LOTS OF DUCT TAPE, zip ties, more sip ties, a shrapie, a pad of paper and a pen, a Lap timer, a wagon, a pit bike, a friend to help you pit (do not underscore how valuable a buddy can be) and about a million things I've forgotten.
 

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SV for me.

I've been doing a track day a month this year with my 954. A couple of months ago, I brought one of my friends, a former national champion endurance racer, with me so he could ride my bike and give me some tips. His take on my riding--- get a smaller bike ! He thinks (correctly) that I respect the power of the RR so much that it keeps me from getting past a certain plateau. He didn't come out and say I was a pussy..... But the idea is to get a bike on which I can whack on the throttle without getting spit into the bushes, or throw down the road without weeping.

Watched ebay for a while, and we bought a salvage title SV650 to take to the track next year. He may race it, but I'm more interested in developing technique that will translate into just becoming a better and bolder rider. It cost less than the plastic on my 954 !

2 strokes look fun, but there's so much to know about jetting and gearing (too much - too slow, too little, it siezes and drops you on your head) that it intimidates me.
 

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2-strokes don't get much simpler than YSR's. It's like a lawn mower with wheels. Or better yet, a weed eater.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the advice. It looks like an SV650 might be the way to go. Simple, fun, inexpensive. Does anyone know if I buy an older one (like 2000 or so) if I'll be so out-gunned I'll hate every second of it? Or is older a better way to start to save cash? Thanks again for all the input.
 

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If you have the money, just buy one that's already race prepped. In the long term you save thousands.

You see it all the time, class winning bike with over $10,000 dumped into them sold for under $5,000

You could buy a salvaged SV for, say $1,000 and put about $2,000 into it and have a decent race bike; however, in the long term, you will more than likely keep buying little parts here and there and quickly rise above the $5,000 mark.

Either way, DO IT NOW!!! One race weekend is better than three track days. You learn so much racing; it really is unbelieveable.
 

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Bananas you don't want to cramp up. Stretch before and after track session helps too.


There are a few 125cc riders on this site myself included that will tell you there is nothing more fun to ride that a 125. It also takes time to learn how to carry as much speed as possible into turns, power for the straights well its not there unless you weigh under 150lb with gear. Jetting and gearing is just something you learn with time. If you jet rich you don't have to worries about siezing. If you want to gas-N-go get the SV. Racing is not cheap unless you get a 50cc is the least expensive. I think Honda has a new 50cc.
 

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YSRs can spit you pretty hard too, just ask Pete.

An older SV should be plenty competitive with the newer ones at the club level. Sure, the new ones will have a little advantage, but probably not enough to offset rider ability.
 

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The only caution I have with buying used race bikes is to make sure the person you buy it from took care of it. You can run the crap out of a race bike and it still be in good shape. You can also run the crap out of it, not take good care of it, and have it be a piece of crap.

I have a friend who picked up a race prepped SV this past spring and has had lots of little problems with it. At this point he would have been better off buying a salvage bike and prepping it himself.

But, I also know others who have bought race prepped bikes and gotten a good deal out of it. It all depends on the original owner and how much effort they put into keeping the motor in good shape.

Edit: BTW, an SV650 is a good place to start. If you think you might be into it for a while then you could also go with a 600. The down side to the 600 is the classes will be full of morons whose only goal is to beat you to the finish line at all costs. I am going to be dicing it up with all of the morons next year...
 

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SV650 without a doubt.... Best bulletproof and without a doubt the most fun bike I've ever owned and raced.

h8
 
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