Life of a YZF Ninja GSXR-1 Rider - repost from my buddies at ZXForums.com
Life of a YZF Ninja GSXR-1 Rider
Long read but some of it is true!
So you've seen them zooming through the canyons, hanging out at the beach, racing on television or parked outside the classroom. Your mother hates them and has vowed to never let you have one of them. You know someone, who knows someone, who had an uncle/brother/sister/friend who wrecked on one and feels the need to relay this story to every one that rides one. You think you shouldn't get one because "You know yourself, and you would kill yourself." You have probably called them a "Crotch Rocket, Death Trap, Ninja or Rice Rocket". BUT REGARDLESS, you've decided to buy one for your very own.
Sportbike Riders tend to follow a path of evolution after purchasing their first bike. From squid to retired racer, we all tend to follow a certain path on our Sportbike lifestyle journey.
Pre-purchase -After growing tired of sitting in traffic and (not) seeing these two wheeled machines go in between the cars while you dance the brake/clutch shuffle, you decide to get a bike. Unless you're a doctor, lawyer, or CEO, spending $20K for a retro, under-engineered relic of bike may not sound like the best way to get around on two wheels. So you opt for a Sportbike.
Lesson #1 is to call this bike by a proper name. Have you ever heard a Ferrari called a crotch car? How about a Lamborghini a 911 because that's the only Sports Car you know. While we all thank Tom Cruise and his 80's fighter-jet chasing antics for giving Sportbikes one of their first big breaks, not every bike is a Ninja.
Purchase time - Your expert buddy who has been riding for an entire month says the YZF Ninja GSXR-1 is the ONLY bike to have. It's the fastest thing out there and you'll be able to smoke everyone on the road.
Off to the local dealership -- and you agree the YZF Ninja GSXR-1 is the perfect bike to learn to ride on. The salesman tells you how cool you will look and even gives you a GREAT deal! $500 off MSRP!! You say, "SOLD!! I'll take a helmet and matching jacket with the extra money I saved." After adding freight, set-up, taxes, title, license, cleaning fee, advertising fee, adding a flux-capacitor and changing the brake light oil, you leave the dealership, paper plate and all, off to show some people up! What better place to show your riding skills then the local hangout parking lot. Not before taking a dull hacksaw to your rear fender and ripping off the signals for that "racer look".
After meeting some fellow riders one of them does something AMAZING! WOW! How did he ride down the street with the front wheel in the air! Seeing how you bought the biggest, baddest bike on the planet, you slam the throttle wide-open riding down the freeway. Up, up, up, oh s**t, Wham! The front end rises effortlessly and crashes even harder after a quick chop of the throttle. After only a week worth of practice, you can carry this for a while and getting pretty good at it! Your confidence grows and you begin to show your newfound talent in front of others. It's usually at this point you manage to get interviewed by a local news crew or reporter as a designated representative of the emerging Sportbike scene. Then after about a month, while riding a nice stand-up wheelie down the freeway in front of all your buds, the front end keeps going, going, going..BOOM down you go on the ground. The bike goes sliding, grinding all the pretty paint away. Some one shows up mysteriously in a truck and quickly offers you some cash for it. Your first bike quickly gets turned it into someone else's nice YZF Ninja GSXR-1 race bike.
Back to square one.
This time you're a little smarter and able to walk out of the dealership a little less soar then before. Perhaps you'll try that canyon thing. So you meet some buds at the gas station on Sunday morning. A few thoughts run through your head, "Why are they all dressed in leather? Who do they think they are, racers or something? Why do they keep looking at my tires?"
Off you go down the canyon road. Within a few corners, your buds begin to pull away. How is this possible? You have the YZF Ninja GSXR-1, the fastest bike on the planet? In order to keep up you find yourself hitting the gas HARD on the straight-aways only to use the brakes HARD before (and sometimes during) every corner. But somehow, despite your best effort, even the guy on the old slow bike is STILL pulling away. Before you know it, they're long gone. A few miles down the road you find your buds sitting at the local eatery, helmets off, feet up relaxing as you pull in. You think, "WOW, these guys are fast!"
End of Year 1 - You've managed to survive. Along the way you probably have met some GREAT people. Your life has begun to revolve around your bike. Sat/Sun rides are becoming a regular part of your life. Wednesday's are reserved for a bike night somewhere in the city. You have a screen name and a regular user of one of the many message boards. You know every wheelie spot and where to hang out given the night of the week. Your canyon friends still dust you, but at least they aren't looking aged by the time you meet up with them.
Year 2 - Sometime this year, one of your buddies tell you about a Track Day. Track Day? I can't go to a track day! Here's 10 excuses why you can't go.
Somehow, you get coaxed into going. As you get to the track, you're scared to DEATH! You're not sure where to go, what to do. MORE
Some how, they convince you and you find yourself on the track. After the first session, you feel like Eric Bostrom dragging elbows in every corner (until you see the video of you someone shot). "Good lord, I look slow" you think. Your new track buddies are lapping you every session. How are they going so damn fast?
Once the nerves are gone, you are having the time of your life. After every session you are grinning ear-to-ear and can't wait to discuss race lines excessively with anyone who will listen. By the end of the first day, most of your buddies aren't lapping you anymore. You start to pass other bikes and realize that there's more to this state-of-the-art YZF Ninja GSXR-1 then you originally thought.
After your first track day, you're wiped out. You've dropped 20-30 seconds off your morning lap times and live to tell about it. The next day you have newfound bragging rights you can't wait to share with everyone on the message board. By this time, you're hooked. You can't WAIT for the next track day and begin looking at SoCalRPM to find where/when the next day is scheduled.
On your next canyon ride, you're riding right with your canyon buddies. They are all impressed with how fast you have gotten. You feel confident taking corners at speed, but there's a nagging voice in your head. "Whoa, look at the dirt. What if that car pulls out in front of me? Does that guy see me?" After a few more track days, that nagging voice begins to take over. You see yourself actually going SLOWER in the canyons. Why? Next track day is in 2 weeks. Save it for then.
End of Year Two - This bike is now your life. All your friends are ones that ride. You own a set of leathers. You watch races regularly and know the racers by name. Your friends are getting tired of lending you their truck. You save and plan in advance for track days.
Year three -At this time a few track classes from the pros are in store. You have been warned more then once for being on the Internet at work and for looking at models on Sportbikes. You have more Sportbike videos than porn in your video collection. You sold the car and bought a truck. Your wrecked your beautiful daily ride late-braking in turn 2 at the track, trying to get around that damn squid on the YZF Ninja GSXR-1. You own more then one bike -- one for the track and one for the street. After all, those rolling burnouts are getting expensive on race-rubber. You enjoy the Canyon rides more for the experience of hanging out with your friends and sharing stories over breakfast. Track days are now an addiction. You are hooked on track riding like a rock star on groupies and heroin. You decide to get your racing license because you hear about the $65 track day practices. Your track day bike has slowly evolved into a full out race-only bike.
Year four thru ten - Hobby? It's not longer a hobby but an obsession. You find yourself brown-bagging lunch to save a few bucks to get that lightweight sub-frame that will help you shave 1/.003 second off your lap time. Sorry honey, no anniversary this year, it's a race weekend and I need the points. Kids can't eat this week. You need a set of tires for the upcoming double-header weekend.
Post racing years - O.K. your hopes of a factory ride are over. The house is mortgaged 3X over and the kids will have to get financial aid for college. You still ride the canyons and laugh at the kids on the latest YZF Ninja GSXR-1 with the sissy stripes on the tires. Now the canyon rides aren't scheduled, they are just something you do. The spouse and kids know that on Sat. morning daddy/mommy rides. What's this? Over 40 racers class? Hmmm...
ďWhy do I ride as number 69? Well, itís a number that you can still read when the bike is upside down after a crash." - Nicky Hayden
These fine gentleman are expressing their frustration with your learning style.
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