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Motorcycle track day Checklist

Updated on July 4, 2015
Rounded teeth on sprockets
Rounded teeth on sprockets

The days before the track day.

It is a good idea to start your preparations a couple days before you actually head out to the track day. This will give you time to get things that may not be functioning quite right or that you may not have thought of. Go through your list a couple times to ensure it is working and the bike is in proper condition. The speeds and hard cornering that is done on the track means that your motorcycle must be in top condition. Getting to the racetrack only to find you cannot participate because your bike is not up to standard is a terrible feeling.

Bike Preparation:

  • Check your brakes still have meat (pad) left on them. I would suggest leaving at least half of the pad left as they will be used very hard on the track. Secure brake bolts holding the caliper or at least make sure they are tight. Check brake fluid levels and top up if needed.
  • Check your chain is oiled and that the tension is correct. It should have about an inch to half inch travel up and down when in gear.
  • Check the sprocket teeth are still square on the top. If they are round or have broken tips then replace them. If you do choose to go for a track sprocket such as 1 tooth smaller in front and 2 bigger at the back, remember it will change your gearing and sometimes your speedometer will be incorrect.
  • Check your engine oil levels and top up as necessary. I like to do a quick oil change if it has been a while or I have used the bike for a good number of miles. Ensure that you are using a premium motorcycle oil as you need all the performance you can get.
  • Check tire wear and age. Any tire that may still have tread but is older than 7 years should be replaced. on the side wall there will be a 4 digit number which is the month and year of manufacture IE 0512 which means it was made in 2012. If you need some advice on tires, check my hub regarding correct tire choices.
  • ensure all bolts on fairings and around the motorcycle are tight and will not fall off with heavy riding.
  • check suspension for leaks on the seals and adjust rebound rates for the track as this does really help the handling. If you have never set up your suspension for body weight and size, I recommend going to a motor cycle dealer to get these correct. I cannot stress what a difference suspension makes to turning. Even more important than tires to an extent.

Any leaks or loose parts will result in the bike failing scrutinizing and you will not be allowed to ride. Any oil leaks that will result in losing oil on the track is dangerous to you and other riders. Do not endanger other riders because of poor motorcycle maintenance.

Tire pressure gauge

Solat Tire pressure gauge, Cheap and reliable.
Solat Tire pressure gauge, Cheap and reliable.

The night before your track day

The night before, you will get all the items you are taking with to the track. If you do forget a couple items it is alright, Just make friends at the track and most will allow you to use their tools and pressure gauges. If you are towing your motorcycle, check the tire pressures before you leave when the tires are cold. Warm tires will give an incorrect pressure reading.

  • Tool box for at the track maintenance and quick fixes.
  • spare bike parts such as levers, handle bars and foot pegs. If you do come off, at the track and depending on the fall, the damage may be minor so a quick 20 minute fix with new parts can mean you carry on riding.
  • cable ties, duct tape, electricians tape and brake fluid
  • pressure gauge to adjust pressures of tires. Check the manufacturers suggestions, You would normally keep the pressure a little lower than the road so the tire can heat up quicker.
  • Ensure all your gear is correct and working, Helmet visor is clean, suit and knee pucks are still in good order, gloves, boots and ear plugs.
  • tire air pump as some air will escape during the day or if you let too much out while adjusting pressures. Even a bicycle pump will work on your motorcycle as you are not having to pump that much air in hopefully.
  • Camping chairs.
  • Extension leads and camera chargers, make sure your camera is fully charged and has a memory card. There is nothing worse than starting out and you realize the camera has no power or that it cannot record.
  • Tire warmers if you have.
  • lunch money unless you pack your own food and of course plenty fluids to consume. Do not consume any alcohol as this is not only illegal but also you are endangering your life and will ruin the track day.
  • fuel
  • Driver's license and medical aid details.

And most important is your bike key. If you are towing your bike it would be a real shame to get out to the track only to find your bike key is still hanging up at home.

Full race leathers with after market knee pucks / sliders.
Full race leathers with after market knee pucks / sliders.

The day of your track day.

Hopefully you were able to sleep and were not too excited and kept up all night long. Good sleep is important as you will have to focus intensely all day. Double check that you have all the items and that you didn't use something from your kit in the last couple days.

It is advisable not to consume alcohol the night before or at least in moderation. Riding a motorcycle is hard work and takes a lot of concentration. Alcohol can dehydrate you which causes muscle cramps and loss of mental focus.

If you are towing your bike to the track, do not tie it down on its side stand. just strap each side of the bike with the suspension slightly depressed and the front tire strapped down and it will be fine.

Go through your checklist one more time to ensure everything is still there and you have already started to consume your liquids for the day. I like to start off with a small protein and carbohydrate breakfast to ensure that I have enough energy to last the morning before lunch.

If this is your first motorcycle track day then, check out my hub on your first motorcycle track day and what to expect.

Go out and enjoy the day and ride safe.

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