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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So at 51 years old, I went out and did my first trackday on the R3. It was great, but I was wondering what is the best way to ride the R3 at the track.

Should I redline it when I shift, what rpm in the corners etc. I used to race 125 motocross bikes back in the day and we always kept them in the higher rpm range. Is that how I should ride the R3? I find myself riding the R3 like an old 125 2 stroke motocross bike. I'm over 230 lbs so I feel like I have to rev it alot. I've been keeping it between 8000 and redline. Is that wrong?

I hope that some of the track riders and racers like Stir's, Capitalview, Contrails, jbluetooth and Aufitt could give me some advice on how to get the most out of the R3 without killing it.

Here are my questions


1. What RPM do you shift at?

2 What RPM range do you keep the bike in?

A. Straights?

B. Corners,
entry,
apex
exit.

3. How often do you shift on a normal track .
(I probably shift too much )
 

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First few times at the track, spend your time learning the course, lines, etc. Get your suspension dialed in, talk to your trackside tire guy about pressures, wear patterns, etc. . Turn laps, get some instructor time if you can. Above all, have a good time and go home with bike and rider intact (always a successful track day).

The bike makes the most power between 8000 and redline, so that's where you want to be. I'm shifting within 1000 of redline usually. Straights - tuck in tight, grab as many gears as you can. Corners - depends, but be in the gear you want for exit at corner entry. Some long turns you can shift mid-turn, but I don't usually. I'm in 4th most of the time for the courses I run. Grab 5th here and there, 3rd once a lap.
 

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Agree with Stirz. First and foremost get the suspension set up for you. At least as best you can with the stock suspension. Learn the track and then worry about shifting.

Also, keep your weight up on the front of the bike. Especially at your weight (I can sympathize being 210) This means getting right up on the tank. Once you start going faster the front end may start to lift if you put your weight to the rear of the bike. Remember, at 230, you weigh over 60% of what the bike does. So your body position will have a huge impact as to how the bike rides and performs in the corners.

When you do learn the track and feel comfortable on the track, keep it above 8k rpm. You will need to figure out how that works out for whichever track you are on. At Blackhawk, I am shifting from 2nd up to 6th and back again. I do shift mid corner 3 places at Blackhawk, but they are long high speed corners. That is also why I use GP shift. That way I don't have to try to get my toe under the shift lever while leaned over.

Depending on what you have on your bike will effect when you shift. I shift at about 12-12.5k, but I have a full M4 system, PC V, and the auto tune running. The stock bike will lose power before that so shifting at 11-11.5k would be acceptable.

This bike really is kind of like a 2 stroke with the narrow power band. It just doesn't hit as hard as the two stroke though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys, that's exactly what I was looking for from they guys I wanted to hear it from. It sounds like I'm on the right track. In motocross I used to shift alot when I rode smaller bikes to keep them in the powerband. I didn't know if that's how I should ride the r3 or not, I didn't want to blow the thing up. A few times I went into long sweepers around 6000 rpm and then I downshifted on exit mid turn to get more exit speed out of the turn, but maybe I should down shift 2 gears entering the corner and keep it above 8000 rpm thru the corner. On long sweepers, what rpm do you have the bike at? Is it ok to stay above 8000 or 9000 thru the corners? Is it more dangerous? Or not a big deal since its a 300.

Do you guys use the rear brake at all? I have a bad habit of using it. I try to out brake the bigger bikes by staying on the gas longer and braking harder, It works in the c Group because everyone coasts into the corners. Hopefully I'll use the brakes less and less as I get used to the track.

I'm still pretty slow, but I did follow an instructor for 2 sessions and once I learned his lines we started passing some 600 and 1000's in the C group. (the slower guys) The funny thing is it actually felt like I was going slower, but I probably dropped 10 seconds off my lap times by taking the right lines.

Hey Capitalview, If you are racing at 210 lbs, don't you feel like you are at a huge disadvantage against the lighter riders? Do they pull you on the straights? Do you ever think you should move up a to a bigger bike? or is there a reason you prefer a 300 over a 600 or 1000.

Personally, I'm thinking of maybe moving up to 600, I think my laptimes would drop if I was on a 600. Will riding the 300 make me a better rider, or will I just have to work harder to go as fast as a 600.
 

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Thanks guys, that's exactly what I was looking for from they guys I wanted to hear it from. It sounds like I'm on the right track. In motocross I used to shift alot when I rode smaller bikes to keep them in the powerband. I didn't know if that's how I should ride the r3 or not, I didn't want to blow the thing up. A few times I went into long sweepers around 6000 rpm and then I downshifted on exit mid turn to get more exit speed out of the turn, but maybe I should down shift 2 gears entering the corner and keep it above 8000 rpm thru the corner. On long sweepers, what rpm do you have the bike at? Is it ok to stay above 8000 or 9000 thru the corners? Is it more dangerous? Or not a big deal since its a 300.

Do you guys use the rear brake at all? I have a bad habit of using it. I try to out brake the bigger bikes by staying on the gas longer and braking harder, It works in the c Group because everyone coasts into the corners. Hopefully I'll use the brakes less and less as I get used to the track.

I'm still pretty slow, but I did follow an instructor for 2 sessions and once I learned his lines we started passing some 600 and 1000's in the C group. (the slower guys) The funny thing is it actually felt like I was going slower, but I probably dropped 10 seconds off my lap times by taking the right lines.

Hey Capitalview, If you are racing at 210 lbs, don't you feel like you are at a huge disadvantage against the lighter riders? Do they pull you on the straights? Do you ever think you should move up a to a bigger bike? or is there a reason you prefer a 300 over a 600 or 1000.

Personally, I'm thinking of maybe moving up to 600, I think my laptimes would drop if I was on a 600. Will riding the 300 make me a better rider, or will I just have to work harder to go as fast as a 600.
I wouldn't worry about being leaned over and being at high revs. You are only leaned over for a couple of seconds.

Definitely keep the revs up going into the corners. You can up shift mid corner if you run out of RPMs. Just be careful in left hand turns if you are using standard shift pattern and stock foot pegs. You may end up hitting your toes trying to get under the shift lever. It isn't a big deal, I have hit my toes a number of times even with rear sets. It just takes some getting use to.

I don't usually use the rear brake. Unless I end up in the grass. Front brake in that situation is, almost always, an instant fall. I am going to try to test using the rear a bit this coming year though. Just to see how it works out. Most mortals don't touch the rear brake though. Nothing wrong with it if you know what to expect out of it. Just don't lock it up. :) If you watch Moto GP or World Superbike you will see them use the rear brake all the time.

You want to keep as much speed up through the corners with these little bikes as possible. That is one of the really nice things about these bikes. They really teach corner speed. I know it sounds obvious, but the less you brake the faster you will go. Just be comfortable when you are doing it. Track days are NOT races. Use them for what they are, a time to learn how to ride better. Don't worry about lap times right now. Work on body position, learning the track, looking through the corners, and being smooth.

As for my weight and other riders, I actually use to race a SV650. I wanted to go smaller. I have always had a thing for little bikes. Sure, a light weight kid on the same bike with similar skills might beat me. Of course, s/he might do the same on the 600 or 1000. I do have a goal of losing 30 lbs this winter though.

As for the 600/1000 option, I have no urge to ride them. I consider them point and shoot bikes. They go through tires almost every weekend, are heavy, and cost almost two to three times as much as my R3. In both maintenance and initial buy in. 4 cylinders vs 2 cylinder, much larger and more expensive tires, more expensive exhausts, more oil, more fuel, etc...

On my SV, when I did track days, I was running in the advance class. It didn't happen as much then, but even on the SV the liter and 600 bikes would sometimes hold me up in the corners. I am currently running in the Intermediate class because of the slower lap times I do on the R3. The 600 and liter bikes drive me up a wall. They make up much of their quick lap times in the straights. The riders just don't seem to be able to figure out how to corner though. If I can get by a bigger bike in the first half of Blackhawk I will not see that bike again. A track like Road America, which has 3 really long straights, that won't be the case.

Yes, you will lower your lap times if you get a 600 or 1000. It doesn't mean you are a better rider though. It may just mean you can go faster in a straight line. Almost anyone can go fast in a straight line. The corners separate the good/experienced riders from the mediocre.

Instead of spending money on a bigger bike I would invest in better suspension and braided lines and better pads. At a minimum you will need stiffer springs for the front forks. Not sure if the rear shock can have a heavier spring put on it, but you will need that also to get the bike set up correctly for your weight. There are a couple threads in the suspension section on rear shocks and front forks. YSS has a couple cheaper ones that would serve well as a starting point. You could probably do front and rear suspension for under $1000 and it would totally transform the bike, both on and off the track. Heck, I bet you could do it for under $600 if you just wanted to do springs in the front and install them yourself and the cheapest YSS shock. I do have to give a shout out to @forks-by-matt though. Very happy with the cartridges he put in the stock R3 forks. Plus at almost half the cost of aftermarket cartridges, and about the same cost as emulators, it is a heck of a deal.

One last, often repeated phrase, it is more fun to ride a little bike fast than a fast bike slow.
 

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There should be special sub-forum for the "old fat guys riding little bikes fast" demographic - we got a few. Lies could be told, tales of purported greatness expounded, and generally paint could be blistered from yon wall.

On topic - If it were me doing my first track days again, I'd spend my money this way (after TD fees):

Novice Track/Race course/instruction
Suspension bits and set-up
Tires
Brakes (braided lines, pads)
"Go-fast" parts last (exhaust upgrades, weight-droppers).

Instructor time is invaluable - basic track skills you will retain forever. Suspension improves handling and confidence, makes lap times drop. Tires same deal. Hey, we all want more power but you really don't get a bunch with new pipes, but you know you're gonna want them sooner or later anyway. I'd go instruction first, followed closely by suspension and brakes/tires, then the other stuff as budget allows. Throwing money at equipment is no substitute for investing in technique, so there's a balance there somewhere.

Like Cap says, for your weight a fork upgrade is a must (track or street). The bike is undersprung for we of robust build. Get a respring kit for your weight as a minimum, emulator/spring kit is better, cartridge is better still. Also true is that the R3 gets you on the track for R3 money, not R1 or R6 money and ongoing expendables costs. Tire budget is a good example: R3 - one set of tires for 8 or 10 track days, R1 or R6 - one set per 1 or 2 track days (and more cost per set)

The 'technique' with small bikes is to focus on keeping corner speed. The line through turns is different than bigger bikes that have horsepower to bail them out. You can keep revs up and not worry about spinning up the rear through turns, so try to keep in the upper RPM range as much as you can everywhere. You (probably) won't grenade it. The tighter the course, the less the advantage of bigger bikes - you WILL pass them. I almost never use the rear brake and keep off the front as much as I can -
 

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To paraphrase Tommy Boy, (in Tommy Boy voice) "Fat guy on a little bike. Fat guy on a little bike."

Just don't rip the bike. :D

Yes, the suspension thing is a real balance. Can't go fast without proper set up, but hard to get faster without some coaching. Set a budget and stay within it. You have many years to develop your R3 and learn.
 

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I am learning alot from this thread and like it. I was actually with SDR3 on his and my first track day.

Little back story: I started riding in 2013. Met up with a bunch of local San Diego riders along the way and would ride with my buddy Danny who has been riding quite long. Most of the guys I rode with all ride track or race locally here. They always ask me to hit the track with them but Ive always found a reason (family, work, time constraints etc) not to go. A few weeks ago I posted a ride for the 94 and SDR3 tagged along. He mentioned the track and I happened to have been on 3 weeks off work time. We ended up making it happen and we went to Chuckwalla together with Danny (who is always late and probably gave SDR3 high blood pressure that day).

I will post a video here shortly. SDR3 actually is about 4 seconds faster than me on the track. I think my main problem is I treat the ride more like a cruise, as if we were on a canyon ride, rather than a track. I tend to cruise through the entire track rather than do things like speed up through the straights and out of the corner, use all available gears etc. In fact the only time I am treating it like a track is THROUGH the corners lol. I thought I actually posted my video in my own thread, but it looks like I did not. I will post it here and hopefully get some tips from you racer/track day types. Ironically my gopro only worked properly on my crash session haha:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwQUfh0l1y0
 

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SDR3, if you like reading as much as I do, there are tons of books and online resources.

When you are in town, give me a ring and I will let you borrow two of my books, TOTW2 and Total Control.

I also get this in my inbox and he gives riding tips. I wont say who has the best or even correct information for me, or anyone, but the information is there and you should be able to sift through it, try it, and see if it works for you:

http://biketrackdayshub.com/improve-corner-entry-speed/?awt_l=69DWf&awt_m=405EHLBdzIijHHD

My friend Frank that was racing said he used to go to fastersafer.com which posts tips, but they charge 6 and 12 month subscriptions per year.

This might have tips you need/want:


There is tons of information out there. I will post more as I remember them.
 

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I notice you seem to be having a hard time getting comfortable with your body position. You really move around a lot. Are you finding it hard to slide around on the seat like I am? You really lift yourself up off the seat when you do move.

Work on making your body movement more smooth. It will help settle the bike going into and during cornering. You also won't be as tired when you get off the bike.

As for your ride pace when on the track, don't focus on lap times, focus on learning and having fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
THIS FORUM IS AWESOME!!! Thanks for the tips guys!

I think I got it.
1. tires
2. track days and instruction
3. suspension
4. enter a moto gp race...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Question
Can I just take off the fork caps and slide in new stiffer fork springs? Or do you have to disassemble everything?
 

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I notice you seem to be having a hard time getting comfortable with your body position. You really move around a lot. Are you finding it hard to slide around on the seat like I am? You really lift yourself up off the seat when you do move.

Work on making your body movement more smooth. It will help settle the bike going into and during cornering. You also won't be as tired when you get off the bike.

As for your ride pace when on the track, don't focus on lap times, focus on learning and having fun.
Compared to other bikes, it is hard to move around smoothly. The bike seems to have a smaller seat, compared to something like a 650 or 600, and the material those seats are made of actually feel slicker.
 

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Question
Can I just take off the fork caps and slide in new stiffer fork springs? Or do you have to disassemble everything?
For these particular forks you can do that. But then your sag would be off. You can get 41mm fork adjusters to help set sag properly because having to open, pull out the spacer, measure, cut, and then try out the new spacers gets old and boring. I can help you out if you need. You will want a fork adjuster like these :
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/251994409525?ul_noapp=true&chn=ps&lpid=82
 

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Question
Can I just take off the fork caps and slide in new stiffer fork springs? Or do you have to disassemble everything?
It isn't that terrible to do. You will need to keep the front end supported either by the headstock or straps hanging from the ceiling to the frame. You can do one fork at a time too. The one issue you might run into is that the new springs may be a different length. If they are you will need to cut new spacers. Spacers should come with the springs. The instructions that come with the springs are pretty easy to follow. You will need to pull the fork out of the triple to get the correct measurements if the springs are a different length.

If you really wanted to you could also put some heavier fork oil in while you have the forks and springs out. It will help with your weight.

Compared to other bikes, it is hard to move around smoothly. The bike seems to have a smaller seat, compared to something like a 650 or 600, and the material those seats are made of actually feel slicker.
Yeah, I really hate the material they have on this seat. It is really difficult to move around smoothly. I am going to see what I can do to correct this heinous crime by Yamaha.

For these particular forks you can do that. But then your sag would be off. You can get 41mm fork adjusters to help set sag properly because having to open, pull out the spacer, measure, cut, and then try out the new spacers gets old and boring. I can help you out if you need. You will want a fork adjuster like these :
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/251994409525?ul_noapp=true&chn=ps&lpid=82
Definitely get the preload adjusters! They will make your life so much easier.
 
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