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Track day bike - rent or buy?

  1. #1

    Track day bike - rent or buy?


    Found an R3 for $300/day to rent (gas tires etc)...worth it?

    I hardly ever ride track since I left MA...but I figure in socal with so many tracks so close I'd be doing myself a disservice without trying each once. CA is $2-300 to transfer a title + $125/year to reg + $250-$500/year insurance + tires = why not just rent a bike 4 times/year?

    I am total track noob...street noob...bad habits expert...but totally stacked with the rest of a day setup (truck, leathers, RR boots, 2 sets of gauntlet gloves, cooler, umbrella, blah blah). I would likely not benefit from a R6 track bike over a 250/300. And I need forks + steering head bearings + tires for the Vstrom to run that piggy anyways, so not really feeling a run with that.

    I am cheap, but poorly guided in application of such frugality.

    Rent?

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  2. #2
    Powered by Kurtz theducman's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Rent it until you decide to go all in. You might not like it.... I highly doubt that but

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  3. #3
    Bizarro Zoolander Petorius's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    That sounds like a great option! You should do it, but go over the bike very carefully yourself before taking it on the track.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Your cost calcs are off.

    You don't need to register or insure a track bike (actually, you CAN'T register or insure a track bike....). And a whole lot of 'em are bill of sale only, so no title transfer, either.

    Actual costs if you already have everything else you need are just consumables (tires, mostly, and if you're riding at entry pace on street tires, a set may well last you a season... the rest is no different from your street bike) and that's it, assuming you don't crash.

    Downside: You need a place to store it.

    $3,000 - or two year's worth of rentals - will get you a decent albeit older dedicated track bike that will have had all the stuff you're going to want to do already done.

    You say you're cheap, but take the long view. Be realistic about how much you'll be riding. Rental costs add up quick and are money down the drain. Buying is an investment that you can recoup later on.

    It's like buying a car vs. leasing. That low lease payment may look nice, but it's WAY WAY cheaper over time to buy outright and run the car into the ground. I haven't made a car payment in 20 years... the money that would go to a loan or lease goes into savings and when I've got enough, I'm clear to buy a new one.

    Having said that, ducman has a point. Renting is a zero-commitment way to get your feet wet. It doesn't make financial sense over time, but it's a viable entry strategy. Just don't be that guy who tries to win the track day and winds up buying the thing because you've binned it.

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  5. #5
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by adouglas View Post
    You don't need to register or insure a track bike (actually, you CAN'T register or insure a track bike....). And a whole lot of 'em are bill of sale only, so no title transfer, either.
    If you go this route and do not plan to use it for legal road use maybe try the auction route:

    The Best Tow Auctions and Police Impound Car Auctions in California * Auto Auctions California

    https://www.salvagebikesauction.com/...-Sale/state/CA

    https://www.copart.com/vehicleFinder...null%7D&page=1

    Time consuming to find a good deal, but frugal if scratch & dent or title issues aren't a problem. just another option beside scouring CL

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  6. #6
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    You can get a cheap EX500 trackbike for a thousand buck all day long.

    Buy it, put good tires on it, don't reg it. Done.

    Or find a salvage/binned SV. Even better. Get it mechanically sound, put good tires NOT SHINKOS on it, good brakes, then go enjoy.

    Keep the battery on the tender for long stretches of inactivity.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member capitalcrew's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    I'm in the buy camp myself. I don't like to rent things. It's literally throwing money out of the window. At least if you buy you can resell.

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  8. #8
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    You can get a cheap EX500 trackbike for a thousand buck all day long.

    Buy it, put good tires on it, don't reg it. Done.

    Or find a salvage/binned SV. Even better. Get it mechanically sound, put good tires NOT SHINKOS on it, good brakes, then go enjoy.

    Keep the battery on the tender for long stretches of inactivity.
    Plus be honest bhavesh.... What the fuck would you do with a modern bike?

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  9. #9
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    $1000 is clean, clear title gen 1 SV money. Salvage/binned condition should be half that..

    Doesn't Kaliphornia prevent people from owning unregistered bikes somehow? I remember Phil complaining about it. Sounded like their DMV was a real pain in the ass.

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  10. #10

    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    kinda...anytime a bike is reg'd, it will collect fees annually that compound if not paid on time. If an owner just ignores the renewal notices for a couple years a $1,000 bike can accumulate $800+ of back fees...which, is it then worth it to buy? When you go to re-sell it, it will still be $1,000. "Observation" has found many bikes "out of the system" after 8-10 years of fees not being paid and then it's an un-titled, non-reg'd, "bill of sale only" bike. That's what you want for a track bike...except for that one time you get pulled over and the officer wants to check for registration to make sure it's not stolen. And as a buyer, a lot of times if it's not titled or "title was lost", a lot of time you can assume it's stolen

    An alternative to minimize registration costs is out of state...AZ is pretty easy, but I have to drive over there...which will be $100 round trip in gas itself.

    The last way is register as "planned non-operational". Tires can't touch a public road. Reg'd to you (so not stolen)...I don't think you have to insure it...pay $21ish/year...that's probably my best option.

    anyways...

    The issue I have with $1,000 ex500/sv650 really depends on how much extra maintenance items it will need that I'd likely outsource...shot tires? $300 installed...chain + sprockets? $300 installed...fork seals + steering head bearings? $400

    this doesn't include any suspension setups for my weight + blah blah track day accessories. Smutty is right; I won't take advantage of modern tech so I wouldn't bother paying for it, and for this discussion, I'm not including it in my calculations.

    so I guess if I bought...it would need to be a price point I can re-sell to get some $$ back + good condition tires/chain/sprockets/forks/bearings and I would register as planned-non operational

    maybe I will join some track day facebook groups and see if there is an adequately setup "member" bike being passed around

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    Last edited by breakdirt916; 02-21-18 at 11:07 AM.
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  11. #11
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    A rented bike won’t be setup for you weight either.

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  12. #12
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Buy a fully depreciated and readily repairable-for-cheap bike (like an SV or EX or even a older 600) that someone else already paid and sweated to make track ready, eat the maintenance and tires instead of paying rental fees, sell it when you are done for what you paid or close enough to it.

    Otherwise you will be learning a different bike every time you rent, instead of purely building skills on the same bike.

    Either that or use the rental fees to use your vstrom and enjoy whatever improvements you make on the street too

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  13. #13
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Sorry man, but you're way too cheap to do track days.

    Either grip it and rip it or don't.

    And this is me saying that.



    By the way. I used to think that "lost title" => "stolen, red flags". But after having done the track day regular => racer thing I no longer feel this way. I have had two bikes that came without titles and I'm quite sure that neither one was stolen. A lot of racers have the mentality that bikes are disposable and prepare themselves for the idea that the bike will be flung down the track and entirely destroyed. That they do not properly care for the paperwork or give two shits about street registration shouldn't really surprise you.

    Given, that's here in New England. Things may be totally different for you in SoCal.

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  14. #14
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Seems to me there are quite a few non titled bikes that weren’t stolen in the grab and throw in a van sense, more in the never got around to finishing off the payments in order to get the title and who cares about my credit sense

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  15. #15
    Member Zolden's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbeek View Post
    Seems to me there are quite a few non titled bikes that weren’t stolen in the grab and throw in a van sense, more in the never got around to finishing off the payments in order to get the title and who cares about my credit sense
    This is important IMO, you see people throwing bikes up on Track Day Junkies FB group all the time and to me there are clear indicators that this is the case, which would be buying a bike still technically owned by someone else. Though I don't know what should be bouncing back if this is the case when you get a VIN checked. When I was seriously hunting for a track prepped bike I always wanted the title even if it didn't come with street fairings. You could register it and buy comprehensive and if it gets burned to ground in a fire or stolen it should be covered. That's cheap "investment" protection.

    There is also a lot of truth in pure race bike builds missing titles. I keep seeing bikes only purchased from a dealer with an MSO in order to avoid tax & title fee when it gets track built. State by state this can mean different things when trying to get it titled/owned in the system later.

    If I didn't buy new I would be buying a track specific bike for the season with some targets others have laid out: properly prepped, good running condition and for a price that has already reached full or almost full depreciation.

    On the flip side I am using the California Superbike School BMW when they come around in May, mainly because I missed out on registering early enough to BYOB... it is very convenient to show up with gear and ride when these class days are back to back and all the misc in between session stuff is taken care of.

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  16. #16

    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    okay, so I didn't give the full truth - there *is* a way to check - once you grab the VIN, call AAA socal w' DMV access & they can tell you if it's stolen. I can definitely just get a non-titled bike.

    speaking about it out loud I my fear mongering is telling me I'd get pulled over and hassled for it not being papered up in my name.

    I should be fine going no-title

    still on the fence about rent vs. buy

    maybe I am too cheap for track days

    maybe I better stick to the original plan to just Vstrom tour socal/nevada/coastal this year and keep riding the YZ moto...maybe just pony up to the cost and do it next year. Budget the $2-$3,000 for a dedicated track bike and another $1,000 for fees + transportation + blah. 5 grand and see all the (major) tracks in a year.

    I am just sooooo



    alternatively how about this - so -> 3 rentals are $900

    $900 = close to covering fork seals + steering head bearings + 1 rear tire on the Vstrom?

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    Last edited by breakdirt916; 02-21-18 at 11:59 AM.
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  17. #17
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Why the fuck aren't you fixing your street bike anyway?

    Fix the 'strom.
    Track the 'strom.

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  18. #18
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Keep on reading "but if I get pulled over..."

    It's a track bike. You have a street bike. There is zero reason to ride a track bike on the street.

    Maintenance? It's really simple and no different from your street bike. Easier, even, since a track bike has simpler bodywork and less on it to go wrong in the first place.

    Plus... you're cheap, but unwilling to do stuff as simple as changing tires and super-basic maintenance? Good God, swapping chain and sprockets is literally nothing but undoing a fistful of bolts and riveting a chain together with a cheap hand tool. I've never done it in my life but I'd bet my second-favorite girlfriend I could pull it off in about an hour start to finish.

    That's a lot of money you're flushing down the tubes for no particularly good reason. Plus, you may find that your friendly local trackday-organization-associated tire guy will not only have pricing comparable to what you find online, but will mount for free at the track. That's what MTAG does here in the Northeast.

    Let's get real here. You know (or should know) that doing just a few track days and then moving on is a silly idea. Sure it happens, but the vast majority succumb to the addiction immediately and try to do as many days as they can. So the smart thing to do is invest in what you need right away, because you know it'll wind up being cheaper in the end.

    The only reason I can think of to rent is if you've never ridden on the track and want to find out if it's for you before diving in. It's certainly not a viable way to save money over time.

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  19. #19
    Senior Member MHenry600's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by adouglas View Post
    Keep on reading "but if I get pulled over..."

    It's a track bike. You have a street bike. There is zero reason to ride a track bike on the street.
    I can only assume he means if he gets pulled over with it in the truck or on a trailer.... a cop might ask to see paperwork for the bike as well, to make sure it's not stolen.


    My argument for the buy/rent discussion: what will it cost you if you crash on your second track day on a rented bike?

    My guess is it will cost you more in the long run than finding that cheap track bike....

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  20. #20
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Another option is buying the same type of bike, titled...and possibly streetable. Thats what i did, bought s crashed but clear titled SV for cheap, repaired it to streetable, rode it on street and tracked it in that form, then got addicted and turned it into a track bike that can still be a streetbike if I wanna put that bodywork back on and register it (which i might do this year, because after tracking it so much, i love it on the street, too)
    This isnt the cheapest way but its not crazy expensive, it can be done in stages, and offers max flexibility.

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  21. #21
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Sorry man, but you're way too cheap to do track days.
    This is pretty much the end of the thread, right?

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  22. #22

    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    For the DL650 - after busting a clutch push rod backing it into a traffic light and scraping pegs just turning left from a dead stop, I just assumed the bike was "not designed for that...stop trying to ride it like a (supermoto,sport) bike"...but cost wise, it may be best...I am considering it. Maybe just do the maintenance and do one track day to see how I feel.

    @adouglas - I may get addicted...not sure...my first love/moneypit is my 94 YZ250 for desert trips. I barely do that monthly as is...I have 2 motors, 3 cylinders, $1,000+ in suspension, rebuilt it twice from the crank up with wide ratio transmission conversion and have ridden 500+ miles in 2 days from LA-Barstow to Vegas. Not looking to replace this.

    So for street bike track days, I just was looking to graze the tip and pull out...just tour the tracks cuz I am in Rome...and I have no problem getting the tires/chain/sprockets/forks done...I do it (well, pay a shop) all the time on my street bikes and the services are in such supply that it's cheap. $50 for chain/sprockets. $30/tire off the bike...but I always, always, always found it added up over time... sometimes the maintenance is more than the bike! that's when I thought - when is it cheaper to rent without the hassle factor?

    A modifiable bike sounds like a good idea...made me wonder: why not do the Strom work, tour with it, then replace it with a street bike I can double as a track bike

    The last option is make the YZ in sumo trim for a grand...but who wants to run a big fast desert track with a smoker two fiddy...sumo kart track day only $36

    Quote Originally Posted by MHenry600 View Post
    I can only assume he means if he gets pulled over with it in the truck or on a trailer.... a cop might ask to see paperwork for the bike as well, to make sure it's not stolen.


    My argument for the buy/rent discussion: what will it cost you if you crash on your second track day on a rented bike?

    My guess is it will cost you more in the long run than finding that cheap track bike....
    Ohhhhhh that's an excellent question - I need to find out how much it would cost...I am guessing you break it you cover the repair costs

    And no....I would not run a track only bike on the road

    Seems like most people are saying buy...maybe what I need is to swap out from the DL into a commuter bike with a top case that can store jacket + helmet that I can also convert to track trim....ride it a year and hit as many tracks as I can, then move on

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    Last edited by breakdirt916; 02-21-18 at 06:50 PM.
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  23. #23
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    As far as rental damage cost, some rental track bikes are insured for the purpose, either by the track day/rental bike provider themselves or through a specialty insurer. So, there is a deductible you eat if you crash it, in the range of 300-500, but at least not the whole value of the bike...unless that’s all the bike is worth! This is how California super bike school covered their bikes when I did it a long long time ago, and there was also a rule that you couldn’t ride any more that day if you crashed, which was just as much a deterrent to going crazy as the deductible.

    I didn’t crash, but the bikes were used by other students on the alternating half hours when we were in the classroom, and “the other guy” crashed the bike I was using. Fortunately they had spares...

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  24. #24
    Member Zolden's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbeek View Post
    As far as rental damage cost, some rental track bikes are insured for the purpose, either by the track day/rental bike provider themselves or through a specialty insurer. So, there is a deductible you eat if you crash it, in the range of 300-500, but at least not the whole value of the bike...unless that’s all the bike is worth! This is how California super bike school covered their bikes when I did it a long long time ago, and there was also a rule that you couldn’t ride any more that day if you crashed, which was just as much a deterrent to going crazy as the deductible.

    I didn’t crash, but the bikes were used by other students on the alternating half hours when we were in the classroom, and “the other guy” crashed the bike I was using. Fortunately they had spares...
    CSS rules now are you cover the cost of the repair up to $1250, and yes sit out the rest of the day with few exceptions. That can make for a pricey low side.

    Another good thing to think about is, how janky are rental bikes likely to be? Not a concern with a meticulous operation like CSS but in other orgs a track rat rental might leave you with less mechanical confidence when you want to push it. I like knowing that I've done my pre-flight prep, checks and fiddlings personally.

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  25. #25
    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Track day bike - rent or buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by breakdirt916 View Post
    For the DL650 - after busting a clutch push rod backing it into a traffic light and scraping pegs just turning left from a dead stop, I just assumed the bike was "not designed for that...stop trying to ride it like a (supermoto,sport) bike"...but cost wise, it may be best...I am considering it. Maybe just do the maintenance and do one track day to see how I feel.
    I know there's a few guys on here that have tracked their Wee's: NHbubba, Garandman, maybe they can offer their input.
    If you're scraping pegs from a stop, your body position needs improvement. Perhaps you're trying to ride it like supermoto, pushing the bike down.
    They make inexpensive adjustable footpegs like these that you can use to raise them up if need be: Bikermart: Biketek Adjustable Footpegs Motorcycle Footrests, FOOTRESTS & REARSETS

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