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Hey 899 members! I purchased my 899 this past February, and I have added almost 3k miles to the bike. With that in mind, I've come to realize that I need more than just practice on the streets!


I commute in the SF Bay Area and it's horrible. One of the freeways (680) has the most aggressive group of commuters I've encountered in my life. I mean, people drive 80mph at the slowest speed, and around 90-100mph on average. Mind you, the legal speed is 65mph. Since then, I've stopped taking that route and have taken another one--less people, same distance, and no more tolls (fastrak) to pay. However, there are a lot of bends, sharp ones too.



I've read a few articles, watched some YouTube videos, and read a few forums that give advice and tips. I've tried practicing them, but it's hard to when most of my time is spent commuting. I've been considering to spend some money to get real training and education on riding.



I am (kind of) close to Thunderhill Raceway and noticed that they have a few events that will occur in September. There are "Track Dayz" and the "CA Superbike Camp." Obviously it seems awesome when you look at the pictures of riders leaning on the track, but besides looking "cool" I'm sure that you learn a lot of techniques that will eventually apply to every day riding.



I'll stop making this a long beginning post, but I would like to ask some of you what your insight and/or experiences are in doing these? The downfall I see with the CA Superbike Camp is that the days are limited and the prices are pretty high. Also, it's a few hundred more just to use the camp's motorcycle instead of your own--I think I'd do that instead of risking my Ducati.


Thanks for any input here!
 

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I'm not familiar with track ride days in the USA but you do need to attend some for your development and would suggest using your own bike, go to a supervised tuition day and listen and learn from the experts I've found it the safest and quickest way to learn.

I'm sure a local person to you will chime in and advise you on the schools you have mentioned, riding schools take the stress and confusion out of track day riding so you can concentrate on just the riding.
 

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I'm not familiar with track ride days in the USA but you do need to attend some for your development and would suggest using your own bike, go to a supervised tuition day and listen and learn from the experts I've found it the safest and quickest way to learn.

I'm sure a local person to you will chime in and advise you on the schools you have mentioned, riding schools take the stress and confusion out of track day riding so you can concentrate on just the riding.

Hey able_duc, thanks for the suggestion. I guess I'll start looking into fairing protection lol.

Question, in your experience learning the techniques you did at your local track, where you able to apply those newly added skills to your everyday riding? And if you did, has it made your riding skills much sharper?



I ask because one of the things I've noticed in most of the commute I've done (racking up over 3k miles in about 4 months) is that I get nervous when I approach a huge bend/corner. And this is usually in heavy commuter traffic where most of the drivers in the SF Bay Area are aggressive and will literally tail your ass by 2-3 feet away.
 

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I ask because one of the things I've noticed in most of the commute I've done (racking up over 3k miles in about 4 months) is that I get nervous when I approach a huge bend/corner. And this is usually in heavy commuter traffic where most of the drivers in the SF Bay Area are aggressive and will literally tail your ass by 2-3 feet away.
Yes I suppose you can't outlaw stupidity, a lot of drivers are nuts. But yes riding on the track is a win win because you have fun and sharpen you reflexes, improve peripheral vision and perfecting heavy braking basically all the stuff that will save your life. Stopping steering and braking among other things becomes second nature to a track rider!
 

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I recently attended a California Superbike School two day camp with S1000RR rental at NJMP. I couldn't recommend the school more. Absolutely fantastic instruction by Keith and his team. The price may be steep at first but I can assure you it is some of the best money I have ever spent. Tons of track time and anything you could possibly need. Best way to get into track riding in my opinion.
 

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I recently attended a California Superbike School two day camp with S1000RR rental at NJMP. I couldn't recommend the school more. Absolutely fantastic instruction by Keith and his team. The price may be steep at first but I can assure you it is some of the best money I have ever spent. Tons of track time and anything you could possibly need. Best way to get into track riding in my opinion.

Thanks so much for your feedback Streetz! I spoke to someone that used to be the "corner advisor" on the track--guy that would radio in if riders braked on corners when they were instructed not to do so. And he told me the same thing. However, he mentioned it's best to take my own bike so I can familiarize myself with it. And to not put on the fairing guards as they do more damage than harm when dropped.



Every now & then when I search for Panigale parts on Craigslist, I find some people selling their extra/used 899 fairings. I may consider just buying some as backup for the track.
 

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CSBS, etc

My first 2-day camp with CSBS was on the BMW's @ LV. That's still one of the best 'learning' tracks around, those BMW's are incredible (although I think our 899 has more soul). Since then I've attended using my 899 @ NJMP. All of those experiences were money well spent, and the format of the school is such that it's significantly safer than any other track day I've attended.

Having done track days on both coasts, it seems the SoCal operators are a little more lax with regard to levels, etc. I'm further south, so I can't recommend a 'local' operator/track, but Apex Assassins is the only other operator @ LV other than CSBS and they're a great org.

Regarding the track, in general, it's really up to you as to the likelihood of an off. If you work with the coaches, check your ego at pit-out, and go there to learn you'll likely have years of riding without incident. Also, spend some time with a suspension expert to get your bike setup. That's probably the most important first step in improving your ride.

Be warned, tracking your bike is ADDICTIVE!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My first 2-day camp with CSBS was on the BMW's @ LV. That's still one of the best 'learning' tracks around, those BMW's are incredible (although I think our 899 has more soul). Since then I've attended using my 899 @ NJMP. All of those experiences were money well spent, and the format of the school is such that it's significantly safer than any other track day I've attended.

Having done track days on both coasts, it seems the SoCal operators are a little more lax with regard to levels, etc. I'm further south, so I can't recommend a 'local' operator/track, but Apex Assassins is the only other operator @ LV other than CSBS and they're a great org.

Regarding the track, in general, it's really up to you as to the likelihood of an off. If you work with the coaches, check your ego at pit-out, and go there to learn you'll likely have years of riding without incident. Also, spend some time with a suspension expert to get your bike setup. That's probably the most important first step in improving your ride.

Be warned, tracking your bike is ADDICTIVE!!!

Thanks so much for your feedback mcouper99! I've been getting this a lot, heads up of track addiction! lol I'm sure I will be, but by then, I will only be spending the $ to simply track and practice.



I think I'm 90% confident and sure to attend the September courses. The only thing left on my list of to-do's is continuing to lose weight. I've dropped 15lbs in the past month (keto) and I have another 15lbs to go. This is relevant because I asked the other guy that used to work there about gear. And he mentioned I can either do a full track suit OR if I have a jacket with a zipper, to get the pants to fit it. But I currently have a 58EU Alpinestars RC-1 jacket, but since then it's gotten much looser. I went a few days ago to Cycle Gear to try on a Dainese jacket. I was considering to swap brands, and randomly found out that I've dropped to a comfortable 54EU. Dude also said to keep it between 52eu-54eu considering my height and weight.



Once I can get the right gear, then I'll be 100% confident to hit up the track in September. Even the full suits, used on Craigslist, are still pretty pricey. So, I want to make sure I'm at a comfortable weight and size to purchase the suit.
 

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Go for jacket and pants until you become a complete addict, I used this style for years and they are much more road friendly which translates to using them always don't get caught out not wearing them because the road is much more dangerous than the track. As suggested use your bike and don't worry about race fairings at this stage of your development but do have your suspension adjusted by a pro the improvement will freak you out, talk to who ever runs the ride day you book there maybe a suspension person on duty.
 

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Welcome to the 899 family!

IMO at some point you'll need some in-person instruction and feedback to be more effective/safe riding your motorcycle. I do recall be so "lost" on the track during my first track day ... I had an amazing day, but was so overwhelmed with so many new things. I'm not sure spending a bunch of monies on a full day lesson would have been as effective as getting a few track days under my belt before I found some more serious instruction. At my local track days the guys that put the event on are willing to follow you around and provide you some feedback for free, perhaps they will do that where you are at. Furthermore, I'd be suspect of much of the advice from other riders at the track.

Here in Utah we have a six+ hour Advance Rider Training (ART) course for $250, 3 hours doing drills in the parking lot and then 3 hours of track time ... that is what I'd recommend if your local, both me and my wife have taken this class three times.

One of my favorite youtube channels is this local guy name Dave, he has some really good advice:

https://www.youtube.com/user/canyonchaser
 

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Thanks so much for your feedback Streetz! I spoke to someone that used to be the "corner advisor" on the track--guy that would radio in if riders braked on corners when they were instructed not to do so. And he told me the same thing. However, he mentioned it's best to take my own bike so I can familiarize myself with it. And to not put on the fairing guards as they do more damage than harm when dropped.

Every now & then when I search for Panigale parts on Craigslist, I find some people selling their extra/used 899 fairings. I may consider just buying some as backup for the track.

Taking your own bike is not a bad idea, just went with the S1000RR rental to not have to worry about my bike while learning at first. Now after the class I would have no problem taking my bike on track. Frame sliders are a fiercely debated topic. Some people will swear by them while others will say they do more harm than good. My opinion is that they will definitely help in a low speed lay down, but as your speed increases they can dig in and cause the bike to flip; not to mention some of them bolt to parts of the motor that I would prefer not to put shock and stress into. As your pace increases the best option in my opinion is race body work paired with engine case covers like those from GB Racing and R&G. There's a reason you don't see frame sliders on race bikes.
 
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