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going racing-2nd hand racebike, or streetbike from auctions?

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' at netrider.net.au started by mugget, May 22, 2008.

  1. hey all,

    I'm just looking for a bit of advice...

    i'm going to sell my GSX-R600 road bike and get something like an R1 and take up trackdays/racing.

    The thing i'm still wondering on is this - should i buy a 2nd hand race bike that has aftermarket suspension, full exhaust system, PowerCommander tuned etc or should i pick up a bike from the auctions for cheap and then just fix it up as cheap as i can and do some minor suspension work and just put race fairings on it?

    obviously either way you want a bike that hasn't been cart-wheeled and you want the frame to be straight etc. from the auctions it's really your best guess. buying 2nd hand race bike you've just gotta trust who ever is selling it...

    There's an '04 model R1 race bike that's had all the work done to it, it chipped a gear and has had an engine rebuild. I asked at the local shop about this and he said his main concern would be if they did a thorough job or if they just did the minimal amount of work needed to get it running...

    going the auction route, you would spend at least $8-10K for new rear shock, front suspension work, full exhaust system, PCIII + tuning, race fairing etc...

    So just wondering what you guys would do?

    Also if there's anyone who does some racing or track riding, is it worth going the new rear shock and front suspension work, or would it be okay with just a new rear spring for my weight (90Kg)?

    Thanks for any advice! :)
  2. My worthless opinion...

    Thing is, if it is your first time racing you will be slow anyway. Speed is something that comes with time, practice, learning lessons and reflection. You can have the best race gear/ bike in the world, but if your race craft is poor, you'll get toasted every time.

    I just finished my 4th round of racing and yeah I know it's only a CBR250R I’m on, but it has only been this last round where I felt that it came together. That I have started to feel I have the skill to become competitive in my class. Now I need to learn to be consistent and then I'll worry about better suspension when I know what I need from it. 250s are hard to race because of the low power factor, you really have to keep the engine spooled up and keep up the high corner speeds to not lose revs.

    A race ready bike is good, but how well do you know the machine? Not just its condition, but the bike itself. I am very happy that I do most my own work, I trust the manual, my tools (takes ages to acquire what you need), what I have done is right and noticing how what I have done effects the bike on the track. Learning your bike mechanically is a big part towards riding confidence.

    I'd say buy something you can start with and evolve with it. Then add to it over time as you feel you need more and add as your skill grows. Race with standard suspension, see how it feels, what it does, how it behaves…. Race prep is very time consuming, you also want to know your bike well enough that in the event of a problem, you'll not waste your race meet dosh on a race day because you can’t start your bike and compete. Bear in mind, even if you get a race ready bike, have no illusions of wining your first round, just get out there and ride to learn, learn to race.

    Trust me the sh*t is addictive, your are going to have so much fun :grin:

    P.S. the Ultra lite class is very cheap way to get into (being 250s) and a great way to learn racing skill in prep for bigger machines, without the huge costs of tyres etc… Oh but 250’s are slow….try this: one guy from Victorian Motorcycle Wreckers in Melbourne is doing 2 minutes even at Phillip Island on a Suzuki 250, that’s fantastic for a 250cc, given some track day junkies are lucky to do that on a 1000cc bike.
  3. +1 to RN.

    What are you hoping to achieve by racing? Do you want to win or are you ok just to go and have fun?

    1000's are mighty expensive to race if you want to win. If budget is an issue there are other classes you can race in that are 'cheaper'. No racing, not even the 250's are cheap. As soon as you start becoming competitive you'll want to spend money and start chasing fractions.

    Good luck. And when you've got some firm ideas, post back and we can start you on the race licence and bike prep.
  4. If the right bike comes up for sale with all the good bits already on it then you might get a killer deal. If you're building your own, dont think that you necessarily need the latest and greatest right away. a) you'll be slow anyway, b) outright hp is the least of your worries c) evolving with an ever improving suspension setup as you find your bike's limit can teach you a lot.

    I would also question getting a 1000 to get up to speed on.

    Apart from that, budget for tires and actual riding. At the end of the day the bike is the least expensive bit.
  5. I'd be looking at something like a VFR400 that's set up for racing, with stands, a stack of tyres, spare fairing bits and all that sort of thing. They often sell race bikes in the back of AMCN and a few other spots. Get in touch with MVrog, he'd know where to look for cheap racebikes.
  6. Why don't you keep your 600 and fix it up?
  7. In terms of overall costs (and the possible losses from experimentation with stuff that eventually doesn't work) a race-ready bike is the go. It's already set up, someone else has done the development work, and it's probably being sold so the owner can move on to something faster or better, not because it's trashed and worn out. You DO need, however, to get someone to inspect same with you, to make sure you AREN'T buying someone else's skid-pan special :LOL:.
  8. When your starting racing, I'd stay away from the big bikes.
    They chew money, and the extra power hides a lot of your mistakes.
    You also spend most of a lap being scared of the throttle.

    Go for something smaller and easier to ride and learn to race that first.

    An auction bike is cheap initial outlay then you can purchase parts as you go.
    You spend what you need as you need it and with the right advise, you spend on parts which have the most benefit first.

    Buying a second hand race bike may also be a good idea if you buy from someone you know or a bike you know the history of.
    A second hand race bike can be a time bomb. Having already spent a little more on initial purchase, you may be hit with un-usable suspension, worn out chassis parts and a worn out engine. Which means you spend nearly as much again as you would have on the auction bike.

    Buying the auction bike, you know your in for some spending to get the bike ready and can budget accordingly) the race bike may be an unknown.
  9. hey, thanks for all the advice and help! :grin:

    well i'm not wanting to take up racing to win, it's just for more track time really. i mean a track day (at Morgan Park) is $160 (or $145 if you have a race license) and that's for a single day of 5x 15 minute sessions. but if look at a race there it's about $40-50 entry for two days of practice/qualifying/racing. so basically i'm just doing it for fun. After doing just a few track days already I'm loving it. after the 2nd track day i didn't so a w'end ride for about a month, i just thought 'why bother?' after being on the track. i just did the last track day last Friday. except now i want that same sort of riding that you can experience on the track, which is not a good idea to try and experience on the road...

    and i am in the slow group at the track days... but steadily improving. i would not just go straight into racing...

    i do plan to do as much of my own work as i can. as i won't be doing

    w'end road rides this will give me alot of time to tinker in the garage... i'd pick up a workshop manual etc and it would be great to get really familiar with the bike mechanically.

    plus i have been wanting a 1000 for a little bit now. if i don't get a litre track bike, i would get a litre road bike anyway, so... i figure keeping it on the track is a good idea. so i'm not really getting into it to be competitive and winning races...

    i hear what you're saying about evolving with improving suspension, remidns me of a bit in Keith Code's book... he says something like no point in using slicks for example if you haven't reached the limit of a street tyre because you won't make full advantage of the better tyre. i can see how that goes for other components as well... but it does come down to cost also, if there's a good race bike for the right price it'd be madness to pass it up. i would like to start with a bike from the auctions and gradually upgrade it, but the banks say no... :p and it goes for the power of a 1000cc bike also, the extra power from tuning is nice but like someone else told me prolly very few people who are even able to use a stock thou to it's full...

    that's the other thing i wanted to get some info on - the actual running and maintenance costs? i would use 2nd hand slicks that have only seen a single race, so about half price ($300-350). Fuel, i would use 100 octane preferably... not sure how much that costs. also i've got stands already. my insurance and rego are due in the next couple of weeks on the GSXR, so if i can manage to sell it before then i can see myself spending that money on trailer, tyre warmers and generator. a couple of people i've been talking to have said that i'd get a year's use out of the engine without touching it (other than oil change and simple stuff like that). but then there's crash repair cost (no, i'm not going to delude myself into thinking that i won't crash...). that's why i'm thinking the R1 because there will be heaps of parts around.

    not sure what you mean about keep the 600 and fix it up?? you mean get it race-ready? that'd be a bit of a waste... taking a perfectly good road bike and making those changs to it. :eek: i did think about fitting a PCIII for more power, but then why try to make a bike something that it's not... just get the 1000 which has more power.

    good advice on taking someone to make sure it's not a Skid Pan Special! :LOL:

    i don't really agree with the race bike being an 'unknown' and the auction bike knowing how much you have to spend, because you still don't know if it's a straight frame, about any engine damage/abuse etc. so either way there's that risk... but hopefully i can get someone to check it out either way to reduce the risk.

    i know that it's probably better to start on a 250 or 400... but i just don't want to. :oops: i am itching for a thou.

    anyway, thanks or all the great advice so far, looking forward to your further posts! :)
  10. What I meant was, when you buy from an auction, you know the bike has been in a smash and would budget a frame straighten check/fix as necessity.

    When you buy a second hand race bike, it's likely the seller will not tell you the frame is bent (if it is) so you probably wont budget for it and then wont check it until you find a handling problem you cant fix.

    Buy from auction - You assume it bent
    Buy Second Hand - You assume it's straight
  11. Dont discount other forms of track riding/racing - ie Motard.
    Cheap (er), fast and fun. Ill go out on a limb and say maybe even safer.
  12. It's $200 for a weekend race at MP, and this equates to less track time than a single practice day. FWIW, MP isn't a 1000 track either. You'll be in 1 gear the entire time, and going on the fact you ride in the slow group, will be getting beaten by pretty much everything from buckets to 250 proddys. I really think you would have more fun and improve much more quickly on even a 600.

    J_B is right too. A practice day this weekend for me on the motard track is $50. 1st round of the Nationals 2 weeks after that will be $200 cross entered in 2 classes, and it is a LOT more riding (I normally drop one class once I'm in the groove for the weekend). I ride the same bike at MP too. Until you're getting A-grade quick, even a supersoft slick will last 3 or 4 races, with some c-graders going all year on a single set.
  13. 250 production is the way to go. If you can win in that class then you can win on anything.
  14. There was a bunch of bikes that would have made good trackies at the auctions here in Melbourne last Wednesday, as there are every month. Generally you can tell the likelyhood of the bike being bent, many bikes at the auction are there because of the cost to repair back to original, not to get it track ready. The cost of things like road plastics, keys, and dash make many bikes not a viable repair for the insurance company, but for yourself, getting cheap parts from wreckers and ebay, very do-able.
    I've done it twice now succesfully.

    As for which bike to get, on any track but Phillip Island I would not have a 1000cc bike, you will be safer and likely as fast/faster on a 600-750cc bike anywhere else in Australia (but that's just my uneducated opinion :wink: ).

    Any reason not to make your current 600cc your track bike?
  15. wow, i really mis-read that info about entry fee! :oops:
    yeah $200 for the southern downs and then $300 for an MRRDA round. :eek:

    well i might stick with track days between QR and Morgan Park before doing any racing... you'd want to win just to recoup some of your costs. what is the prize money anyway???

    well i don't want to convert my current bike to a track bike because it's a perfectly good road bike. but maybe it is worth thinking about picking up a 600 from the auctions... so ditch the road fairings, then about $1500 for race glass? hmmm... i just think it's a 'waste' to take a good road bike and convert it to a track bike.

    i think i will go and take some thou's for test rides though... just to see if i really want one or not.
  16. Take all the stock items off your 600, race it for a year, reinstall everything and replace lockwired bolts with new ones. Sell low mileage 600 to a sucker. That's what everyone else does.

    there is no prize money for southern downs that I know of. Forget about recouping costs.
  17. hmmm... you may have a point there...

    but still there's the thought of what happens if you have a big stack and then you pretty much totalled a ~$10k bike as opposed to picking up one from auctions which would be alot cheaper...

    well i'll think on this.
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  19. There is not really much left of the 250cc Production class. Don't go there.
    The 400cc thingys that Ian Wiltshire races, are an affordable entry level class. Don't start on an R1, cos you will be scared by just how fast those blokes are going. Learn to Race, don't just race. You will be a better racer that way. You will come out of it a far better rider. Enjoy it mate, either way.
  20. yeah, there are alot of bikes up for auction there... i would like to go there just to see what they're going for...

    but i've been thinking about this bike thing and while i would be able to sell my bike and get something else it makes better sense dollars-wise to just keep mine and take all the stock items off and use it on the track until i want something else.

    so now the question is - which bits to take off? obviously fairings (i hear about people making their own fibreglass fairings, does anyone have some links that show how to do this? or 2nd hand fairings for an '05 GSX-R600?) and then the stock exhaust can should go and footpegs and handlebars? how about removing the headlights? is this as easy as just disconnecting everything and taking it out? and all the switches on the handlebars, i'm thinking leave that on the original 'bars and i'll just get some aftermarket 'bars which will just need the start button and kill switch on there?

    well i was going to go for one last ride up to Mt Mee today but i just saw that the insurance expired a few days ago. so from this point it's not going to see much more road use! so i'll start taking stuff off it this w'end prolly...

    well i'll give the idea of actually racing a break for a while, although i do plan to be at the rest of the track days at Morgan Park this year, and maybe one or two days at QLD Raceway.

    big thanks for the advice thus far! :grin: