Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill PowerDork
4/29/19 8:33 a.m.

I took the kids to watch a friend ride his R1 around the track yesterday and the bug has officially bit.  I want a bike.

With that in mind, I was hoping you guys could recommend a few models for me to look at/try over the course of the next year.  The focus will be the track, but it'll need to have a license plate so I may ride it on the road a little as well (say 90/10 track and street?).    My budget is about $10,000 and it has to include everything to have my butt in the seat on the grid (helmet, leathers, tires, fluids, etc). 


The baseline you're working with:

I grew up on dirtbikes, the most powerful being a '99 YZ250 I had until 2004 (I was in my early 20's).  All trail riding.

The last "street bike" I've owned was a Derbi GPR 50 (6-speed, 50cc 2-smoke.  It did about 60mph tops). 

I'm 37 years old, 6ft tall, and 150lbs soaking wet.

I have exactly one track-day under my belt, and it was a Nurburgring rental (car) so it doesnt really count.

I don't want something that's going to actively try to kill me (passively trying to kill me is ok)


Cheers guys, and thanks!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
4/29/19 8:36 a.m.

In reply to Hungary Bill :

I have no idea what's available where you are, but over here my recommendation would be SV650- there are spec classes for them and prepped bikes always seem to be for sale.  Fast but not modern 600 supersport fast.

Alternatively, supermoto?

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
4/29/19 8:53 a.m.

I second the SV650 recommendation.  Kawasaki Ninja 650, the twin cylinder model, also interests me.  I want to recommend a 5th gen VFR but they're just too complicated vs. the previously mentioned.  


Figure $3500 to $4000 for either of these in good condition, a grand for leathers, $500 for gloves and helmet, $250 for boots (rough guess, that), $400 for tires mounted and balanced,  yadda yadda I bet $7k would get you through a first year doing what you've outlined with either of these bikes.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill PowerDork
4/29/19 9:30 a.m.

Interesting.  I'm pretty positive I saw an SV running in the beginners group!  I had no idea what it was until I googled it just now 


I saw the supermoto in the other "what bike" thread but still kind of uncertain about it.  More research required on that one wink


That ninja 650 has my attention though.  I need to look more into that as well.


Thanks guys!

BoxheadTim MegaDork
4/29/19 10:06 a.m.

Another vote for SV650. SV650s are pretty friendly bikes. Supermotos tend to be hooligan machines that require at least some skill and probably not that great for a beginner. OTOH you did say you had some experience riding dirt bikes.

lrrs HalfDork
4/29/19 10:23 a.m.

Sv racer here. Find a low miles first gen if you can. Mine has been on the track for about 15 years. Engine has not been opened, frequent oil changes, fork oil, olins shock are about the only maintenance out side of tires and brakes. 

With my fat butt on it, it was a frequent amature winner, and mid pack expert bike, and always has been faster than me. 

There are lots of race Svs for sale in the northeast as loudon is a perfect track for the light weight classes.  Find one that was well maintained. 

FSP_ZX2 Dork
4/29/19 10:34 a.m.

Harley XR1200 (2009-2012).   My opinion is highy biased.  I have a 2011.

A nice example can be had for $5-6K

Super fun bike to ride daily, they run with the 600s on track.  They're heavy but have so much torque you hardly have to think about the gearbox.  

BoxheadTim MegaDork
4/29/19 11:18 a.m.

In reply to FSP_ZX2 :

IIRC Hungary Bill is not in the US so an XR1200 might be a lot harder to find than and SV650.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill PowerDork
4/29/19 11:22 a.m.

That Suzuki SV has too many votes not to take a serious look at.  Reviews are extremely positive, a quick search found 24 "S" models in the area starting at about $2000.  


Looks like I need to go for a test ride devil


Cheers guys

the_machina New Reader
4/29/19 1:08 p.m.

The SV650 is great. You may also find that there is a lot of action in the 250/300 cc size range. Ninja 300's and YZF-R3's make great track bikes because they're disposable if they need to be, and they make great teaching tools. For a fun track bike, can't go wrong with a SV650 or a little 300cc bike. See what runs often at the track(s) that you're interested in, and pick what they run there.

wearymicrobe UberDork
4/29/19 1:15 p.m.

SV650 again it really is the best bike that has been made in a while that covers all of the major bases for not much cash.  Plus when you upgrade and you will you will get 90% of what you paid back. 

Rodan HalfDork
4/29/19 6:24 p.m.

Well, in case nobody mentioned it...  SV650... cheeky

Cheap.  Stone reliable.  Friendly to start on....  and they can be quite fast with a good rider.  You'll probably want to spend some money on suspension pretty quickly, though at 150lbs you're closer to what the stock suspension can work with than most riders.  At 200lbs in gear, I was pretty easily able to bottom the forks under braking on street tires.  Mine was a short term street bike, but I took it to the track a few times, and it was great fun to pester the guys on liter bikes.

If you keep it streetable, they're really good street bikes as well.  I even did a couple of 1500 mile weekends on mine with some soft saddlebags.  I preferred the handlebar version, but the clip-on version (SV650S, IIRC) would be better for straight track use.

The alternative is the I4 600 racebike of your choice.  I would go Japanese for reliability and parts cost.

Whatever you end up with, if you track it seriously, you will drop it, so don't be too concerned with perfect cosmetics.  I highly recommend race bodywork to preserve the stock stuff, which is very expensive to replace.  Another advantage of the SV650 compared to full-fairing bikes.

Spend mod money on suspension, brakes and tires before power.  If you learn to be fast on a smaller bike, if/when the time comes to step up, you'll be far ahead of the guys who start on liter bikes.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill PowerDork
4/30/19 5:50 a.m.

Machina:  I looked briefly at the Ninja 250 and the R3 (actually I took a LONG look at the R3) but was having a hard time selling myself on it.  On one hand it's a great learner bike, but...  well, you know the normal "buts" that come with these bikes.  The SV seemed to have the same "great learner" stigma while being just a bit "more".


Microbe:  By the sounds of it, this bike should last me for a long time (both in "longevity" and "growing into").   If I get any resale value, that'd definitely be icing on the cake!

Rodan:  The SV650S, (full fairing) is the one that's making my heart go "pitter pat" at the moment.  The roads here aren't really conducive to bike riding (narrow, 2-lane, and very bumpy), but the track is a mere 30-minutes away and you get almost the entire day for a little over $100  (9am to 5pm, 3 groups running 7-laps at a time for qualifying.  Race at the end, followed by 7 more laps), so how could I say no to that? laugh  I'll need to look into "race bodywork", but yeah.  I completely expect this thing to be a gravel eater the first... well... I'm kind of slow so take the normal learning curve and double it and then we should probably double it agian.

My hope is to work my way up to an I4 600 racebike.  I think my ability level now is far below the requirements for riding one of those with any skill, but maybe in 4 or so years?  Kind of hoping Yamaha will toss that cross plane crank they got in the R1 into an R6 by then.  (My buddy's R1 sounds fricking amazing with that deep growl.  I'd love to have that in 600cc form)

So yeah, good times.  and thanks agian everyone!

fatallightning New Reader
4/30/19 10:23 p.m.

In reply to Hungary Bill :

Sv is great. Supermotos are super fun, but they take a beating on bigger tracks. They're just not geared typically to be held WOT for that long/far, and have terrible aero, so get spooky light as you approach triple digits. 

In the US, the 300 class is booming. Just like Miatas, you'll always have a decent field turnouts and it'll teach you to ride with momentum. Besides the cbr300/ninja 300/r3 also check out the ktm 390s. They have a bit more poke then the Japanese bikes. The local series have a weight restriction if you ride the 390, i.e. you have to be over a certain weight to keep them competitive.

clutchsmoke SuperDork
4/30/19 10:43 p.m.

I will also recommend the SV650. It has a very approachable powerband. 

wawazat HalfDork
5/2/19 9:36 p.m.
FSP_ZX2 said:

Harley XR1200 (2009-2012).   My opinion is highy biased.  I have a 2011.

A nice example can be had for $5-6K

Super fun bike to ride daily, they run with the 600s on track.  They're heavy but have so much torque you hardly have to think about the gearbox.  

Erik-can you give me your opinion of big rider fitment on a Sportster?  I’m 6’3” tall long in the torso and 270 lbs.  I wasn’t familiar with the XR1200 before your post but after reviewing them I like what I have read.  

914Driver MegaDork
5/3/19 6:49 a.m.

SV-650s are great bikes, but I would recommend something almost disposable.  Buy a small, light bike for practice and taking the road test (assuming you have to) and for when you do stuff like get off and forget the side stand, lay on too much front brake in a very slow speed turn, stuff like that.

You don't want to dump your pride and joy bike.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill PowerDork
5/6/19 10:04 a.m.

914driver:  Honestly, the SV650 was probably going to be my "dump bike".  They look to be plenty and cheap out here (most are about $2000), so I figured "meh, why not".  If it does survive, I stand to make most to all of my money back.  If it dies from too much gravel ingestion, then I'm not out much. 

Also, FSP_Zx2: that Harley sure is pretty laugh

Patientzero New Reader
5/6/19 10:18 a.m.

A very good alternative to the SV-650 is a Yamaha MT-07.  Very light an nimble for a beginner but just enough power that you wont outgrow it too fast and the newer ones have ABS.  I bought one new in 2015 and I'm still kicking myself for getting rid of it.  I put a Penske shock on it and went one tooth down on the front sprocket.  Amazingly fun bike for a very good price.

FSP_ZX2 Dork
7/2/19 6:29 a.m.

In reply to wawazat :

I am 6'6" 205, with 36" inseem.  I ride it with stock bars, seat and pegs.  I am comfortable for about a tank of gas--150mi...then a good walk, stretch is required.  I am also 51--so not as flexible as I used to be...

FSP_ZX2 Dork
7/2/19 6:33 a.m.
Hungary Bill said:

Also, FSP_Zx2: that Harley sure is pretty laugh


wawazat HalfDork
7/5/19 12:43 p.m.

Thanks for the reply Erik.  

One popped up local  to me and I was wondering about the “big guy on a Sportster”comments I keep seeing.  It sold so it no longer torments me via craigslist. 

FSP_ZX2 Dork
7/6/19 10:24 a.m.
wawazat said:

Thanks for the reply Erik.  

One popped up local  to me and I was wondering about the “big guy on a Sportster”comments I keep seeing.  It sold so it no longer torments me via craigslist. 

There are active groups on Facebook and XR1200 Owners Group internet forum; both almost always have bikes f/s.

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