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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey All,

I haven't been here for a little bit. As some of you know I sold my zx6r. I was able to sell it for a good price and part out the after market stuff pretty good as well. I went with an S1000XR because I wanted to do some toruing and camping around the west coast since I'm not from here. Have a lot of fun trips planned! I do have my first track day booked on the XR on october 9th. I'm pretty excited! I fear that after that track day ,I will want to buy a Ninja 400 to convert to a track bike. I figured I'd go with a 400 this time because in general, the up front cost of the bike is cheaper and the after market bits would as well. The biggest thing is, that I assume on a 400 you get considerably better tire life as well. I think I'll start trying to do one track day a month out here and get into some racing. Back to my track day with the XR. I think i should have around 3k miles on my Bridgestone Battlax T31s by then. So after that track day my tires would be toast and I'd get a new set. Or should I buy some Michelin Power Cup 2s, shred those in a day, and get the T31s back on. Only downside to this is that I'd be paying for two tire change fees. I’ll rob ably change the oil after this too.
 

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Just my 2 cents here, but if you look on the WERA racing forum, you can get track only bikes DIRT cheap. The nice part about that, is that all the aftermarket bits are already on them and somebody else already sorted it out. Keep your eyes on the page, you can find ninja 400s for a couple grand with all the goodies already. Depending on the tracks I may recommend you going to something like a track built SV650 or maybe even a 600 if you can find one. (seriously you might pay 3000-4000 for an older gsxr 6000 or maybe older r6 if you get lucky. Reason i say that, is I ride track like Pitt International or VIR or Nelson Ledges (east coast guy), and a 400 would be pretty underwhelming for me, especially if you are used to some power already. I wish I knew about those forums before I dropped money on a brand new zx6r..


On your point on tires, I run 5-6 Track days a year depending on my schedule (Really wish I got a lot more in), with a bit of street time in between on my zx6r, and can usually get a half season on a set of tires. I run Battleax S22s all year around front and year no problem. Excellent street behavior and really great when you air them down for the track. (I know guys in the Intermediate classes running S22s and they run 20 seconds faster on the lap times than I do)
 

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LOL at finding ninja 400 track bikes for a couple of grand! Never gonna happen. The 400 has been and still is a very sought after bike for track day and racing and they have held their value incredibly well. I have yet to see one for under $5500-$6000 and that's with a very mild build, like just the basics (bodywork, rear sets, clip-ons, exhaust and a few other bits). The ones that are better setup, with suspensions, and some power mods go for $7000 or more. I have a ninja 400 and a zx6r race bike. I'm so far $4000 into the zx6r and about $16,000 into the 400 lol (started with a salvage stock one though back in 2018). Difference is I bought the zx6r already setup for the track, while the 400 I put everything on it and almost all the parts were new too. You can certainly save yourself a lot of money by buying a race-ready one, but finding one for a couple of grand like the guy above mentioned is a fairly tale. I just sold a set of stock wheels for the 400 for $850 and engines sell for like $1500-$2000!

With that said, the 400 is an amazing little bike. I've been racing one for 3 years and it's one of the most fun bikes I've had. They are very capable for the track too once setup. Especially fun for racing where all the other bikes around are going to be similar. At track days it can be a bit frustrating since you'll get the 600 and 1000s blowing your doors off on the straights then park it in the corners, but in racing they're a ton of fun. Tire life is definitely better on them too compared to 600s or 1000s and they also cost a bit less since they're smaller, but it depends on pace. In the beginning when you're just getting started, you probably won't be very fast so your tires will last quite a while. If you plan on racing, I highly recommend the 400 to anyone.

If you're doing your first track day, you won't roast a brand new set of tires in that day, not even close. So it's up to you if you want to change now or after the track day, but everyone is really slow on the first track day. At the pace a typical first track day goer does, you could do like 8-10 days on a decent set of street tires.
 

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Here's my rambling:

I know my friend used a t31 on his cb1000rr on the road no problem, his first ever track day he said he felt them get s bit 'greasy', (no one else had tire slip that day in our group, and due to experience were all faster track riders)
I'd put some s22 at the least on the bike. I had power cup 2 on my duke 890r also a very nice tire, got 5000km on the rear. The front is on a spare track wheel now.

I picked up a 2007 zx6r as a track bike because prepped, and sorted for the job. I'm struggling with the lack of power where I'm used to on a 600 as all my street bikes have been larger displacement more torque down in the midrange bikes. I know the recommendation is to learn to ride track on a smaller bike because you'll learn the fundamentals, I hope to get back to having fun driving out of corners eventually... If your power corrupted on the 1000 the 400 might kinda feel frustrating.
 

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Yea I can also say you won't be pushing tires to the point of them being toast on your first track day. Especially if you start out in novice group your first time. I used the same set of Michelin Road 5's for my 1st 4 track days before they were toast. Then my pace dictated that I needed to step up to a more track day orientated tire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for the feedback so far! Regarding the track bike stuff, my logic for trying to go with a 400 is, for me to get good I need to practice a lot. The upfront cost of a bike doesn't bother me as much as the maintenace cost and tire budget. So with the 400 I could practice a lot more for cheaper. There is a go cart track here with a 400 CC limit that is $65 for a whole day. Good for practicing technical riding and working on fundamentals. If I was just going to track days, I would consider a 600. Being wiser now I would only add crash protection, race fairings, brake lines, rear sets, and maybe a rear shock. A Ninja 400 would require a bit more work I assume. Crash protection, race fairings, brake lines, rear sets, front and rear suspension, and brakes. I guess I would need a guage of once I'm an advanced rider, how many days would I get out of the tires on a 400 vs the 600? A 400 just seems like it wold be really fun though! I'll have to decide if I want to do just one race for the experirence, or if I'll actually want to do a full season at a club. Which then makes something like this tempting. GRS Ninja 400 Build List 2020 $14.5k new. But everything is set and good to go from a reputable team. I assume this would be the price, or greater if I tried to build on my own. I assume the resale value on this would be better too. One more thing. How man track days do you go before changing your oil?
 

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Thanks for the feedback so far! Regarding the track bike stuff, my logic for trying to go with a 400 is, for me to get good I need to practice a lot. The upfront cost of a bike doesn't bother me as much as the maintenace cost and tire budget. So with the 400 I could practice a lot more for cheaper. There is a go cart track here with a 400 CC limit that is $65 for a whole day. Good for practicing technical riding and working on fundamentals. If I was just going to track days, I would consider a 600. Being wiser now I would only add crash protection, race fairings, brake lines, rear sets, and maybe a rear shock. A Ninja 400 would require a bit more work I assume. Crash protection, race fairings, brake lines, rear sets, front and rear suspension, and brakes. I guess I would need a guage of once I'm an advanced rider, how many days would I get out of the tires on a 400 vs the 600? A 400 just seems like it wold be really fun though! I'll have to decide if I want to do just one race for the experirence, or if I'll actually want to do a full season at a club. Which then makes something like this tempting. GRS Ninja 400 Build List 2020 $14.5k new. But everything is set and good to go from a reputable team. I assume this would be the price, or greater if I tried to build on my own. I assume the resale value on this would be better too. One more thing. How man track days do you go before changing your oil?
That makes sense, I think there are so many different ways you can get into this and you really have to do what you want. Anyway you slice it, this hobby will take all your money LOL! So after you decide how you wanna get started and happy doing that (whether its karting tracks or whatever etc..) then you'll figure out how to reduce costs. However, one thing I realize now that I could have listened to was to buy a track ready bike when I was committing to track riding with the intent of racing. I def spent way more money converting my street zx6r into the race bike it is today. However, for a total newb like me, it was worth it to learn about all the different perfromance parts and how the affect my riding. So at the end of they day, we all have different reasons for doing what we do, I don't think there is just one right way to do it. So it seems you are heading right where you wanna go as well.

And I change my oil about every 4th track day, and the filter every other oil change. I use Motul 7100 and when it turns from red to brown, then I know it's toast, and that takes about 4 track days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That makes sense, I think there are so many different ways you can get into this and you really have to do what you want. Anyway you slice it, this hobby will take all your money LOL! So after you decide how you wanna get started and happy doing that (whether its karting tracks or whatever etc..) then you'll figure out how to reduce costs. However, one thing I realize now that I could have listened to was to buy a track ready bike when I was committing to track riding with the intent of racing. I def spent way more money converting my street zx6r into the race bike it is today. However, for a total newb like me, it was worth it to learn about all the different perfromance parts and how the affect my riding. So at the end of they day, we all have different reasons for doing what we do, I don't think there is just one right way to do it. So it seems you are heading right where you wanna go as well.

And I change my oil about every 4th track day, and the filter every other oil change. I use Motul 7100 and when it turns from red to brown, then I know it's toast, and that takes about 4 track days.
I haven’t been able to find any used 400s yet, at least not for a reasonable price. I would do one track day a month with coaching on a real track. And just use the kart track to supplement in between.
 

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Thanks for the feedback so far! Regarding the track bike stuff, my logic for trying to go with a 400 is, for me to get good I need to practice a lot. The upfront cost of a bike doesn't bother me as much as the maintenace cost and tire budget. So with the 400 I could practice a lot more for cheaper. There is a go cart track here with a 400 CC limit that is $65 for a whole day. Good for practicing technical riding and working on fundamentals. If I was just going to track days, I would consider a 600. Being wiser now I would only add crash protection, race fairings, brake lines, rear sets, and maybe a rear shock. A Ninja 400 would require a bit more work I assume. Crash protection, race fairings, brake lines, rear sets, front and rear suspension, and brakes. I guess I would need a guage of once I'm an advanced rider, how many days would I get out of the tires on a 400 vs the 600? A 400 just seems like it wold be really fun though! I'll have to decide if I want to do just one race for the experirence, or if I'll actually want to do a full season at a club. Which then makes something like this tempting. GRS Ninja 400 Build List 2020 $14.5k new. But everything is set and good to go from a reputable team. I assume this would be the price, or greater if I tried to build on my own. I assume the resale value on this would be better too. One more thing. How man track days do you go before changing your oil?
That's a solid build but expensive. If you do it yourself with the same exact parts bought new it would be about the same, but nowadays there are enough people selling used parts, and even some race-ready bikes that you can get a similar level bike for a lot less money. Wait until after this week when MotoAmerica ends. There will be several MotoAmerica Jr Cup bikes for sale I bet. I know Rodio Racing will be selling both their bikes and they are top notch!

I change the oil about twice a season only. At the beginning and then again mid-season. Ends up being about every 500-600 miles or so. On the 400 front tires last a long time. You could probably get away with one front for a full season. I generally use 2 though since I do about 10-15 race/track days in a year. Rears though don't last that long if you're faster. I used to be able to get 4-5 days out of a rear when I was slower. Now I get about 2 days. Still more than on a 600 though. I can trash a rear in a day on the zx6r.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Are there other dedicated hot spots for race bike listings other than the Wera Forum? Damn 2 days on a rear on a 400! Well, I won’t be at that pace for a bit haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
With the 400 there is the added bonus of, if I reach a high skill level on the track, I can pass newbies on 600s and 1000s in the corners 😃
 

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Are there other dedicated hot spots for race bike listings other than the Wera Forum? Damn 2 days on a rear on a 400! Well, I won’t be at that pace for a bit haha.
There are a few Facebook groups, like TDJ Yard Sale (or whatever the new name is), Trackday Junkies Sales Universe, and some that are bike specific.
 

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With the 400 there is the added bonus of, if I reach a high skill level on the track, I can pass newbies on 600s and 1000s in the corners 😃
Not just newbies, but even people that are pretty fast! There are definitely various levels of fast. When I'm at a track day on the 400 in the advanced group I can pass a good amount of people on 600s and 1000s (depending on the track too) who are obviously also advanced level track riders, that's why they're in that group. And as an expert racer, I know there are kids out there that can run faster on 400s than I do on my zx6r! For example at NJMP, Tyler Scott just broke the Jr Cup lap record with a 1:29.2 on his RC390. There are expert racers on 600s and 1000s (myself included) who can't go that fast. In CCS, running 29s on a 600 would win an amateur race and would get probably about 5th-7th in an expert race, out of an average grid of 20 racers. At a typical track day, 29s would make you one of the fastest people there regardless of bike lol
 
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