Buy new, no matter what you do it's still a ten year old bike,
New bike's are better, all the magazines say so. If you don't have the very latest new bike each year you can't possibly keep up with anyone. Make sure you carry all relevant test data in your tankbag in case you have to prove you case.
Really if you're happy with yours keep it, if you want and can afford it buy new, the performance level is pretty much determined by your skill, not your bike.
Spend the money on SUPERIOR suspension upgrades. Ohlins out back, and Race Tech up front. Make sure you have a professional help you dial them in. A set of new brake lines, some Speigler or Brembo discs should make you happy too.
There's no worse money spent than suspension upgrades that aren't dialed in. If you don't get it setup right, then you're no better off than you were before.
If you still have some money left over, spend it on a riding school. Schwatnz, Kegwein, Code, Pridmore so you'll learn how to get the most out of your current ride.
As a racer of the lowly EX500 Ninja I have to tell you that new brakes and suspension work will make your bike feel sooooo much better on the track.
My war horse EX500 was purchased just for the track. In the LW Sportmans class you can have a lot of fun on one of these and a twisty little track like we have near me. I figured I would not need a Penske rear shock and front suspension right away as my limited racing skill wouldnt find the limit of the stock suspension right away WRONG!
Stock suspensions suck on the race track. Maybe the newer repli-racer *may* be able to get your set up close to what it should be but for the most part Stock suspensions are built for the street and cant handle the abuse of track use. Not only are they usually low cost (read crap) units they are infamous for having spring rates for a 140 lbs rider.
So when I did my EX500 over with a new Penske rear and rebuilt the front with near heavier springs and damping it made a huge difference. I thought I had a GSXR rolling chassis under me compared to the stock crap.
Brakes Nothing makes more sense than to replace the pads with race compound for track use. That little bit and throw a set of braided lines will have your stock brakes working a bit better for you. Next is replacing your rotors with floating units. After that then think about better calipers. You may be happy enough with the stock calipers with lines and pads.
Once you set up your ride with this stuff youll be amazed at the difference on the track. Youll be passing guys on newer equipment and making them feel like idiots for being passed on an old sled. I know I enjoyed passing GSXR1000s, CBR9x9RRs and other bigger "faster" bikes on my EX500. Of course it was a tight race course and I bet money that Id go slower on their bike as well.
No, suspension upgrades will not get a YZF750 near a new 600. Technology is advancing on sportbikes at a pace just shy of the computer industry's.
Another thing---I've been to a few trackdays and I can now say that a lot of what you hear about guys dusting liter bikes on their ex500s is all B.S. Pretty soon they're going to be saying that a well-ridden YSR-50 will smoke a GSXR1000. Perhaps the guys on these liter bikes just came from the dealership and never rode, but anyone that can ride at all will go much faster on a new R1 than on an EX500 or even an sv650. When I was at the track there was a licensed racer there on an EX500, and the other guys were complaining that he was a "hazard" because he was so slow. No offense to the EX500 riders but frankly I'll believe it when I see it, and I haven't seen it yet.
Consider a new Kawi ZX-6R. It makes 750 power, has unbelievably good brakes, and excellent (if a bit nervous) handling through the corners. I wouldn't recommend it as a full-time Iron Butt bike, but it's a hoot for 100-200 mile rides throught the twisties and an absolute beast of a track bike. I just took mine to the Code school and had a blast. Bone stock, the Sixxer makes my '96 F3 feel like exactly what it is ... a good, but outdated bike.
The improvement in sportbikes over the past 10 years really makes this a no brainer to me. Putting nice suspenders on your YZF will undoubtedly improve it. But you'll have spent a ton of money on a bike that is still relatively heavy and makes less power than any of the new 600s.
Oh yeah, and I know that speed, etc. all ultimately comes down to the rider. Please everybody, save your stories about how you and your stock Hurricane smoked all those guys on Gixxer1000s at the last track day. Fact: some people ride fast and some people ride slow, no matter what the equipment. We get it. But if any given person is looking for a better ride and a faster personal lap time, a new 600 trumps a 10-yr old 750 in just about every way.
Keith Code noted about ten years ago that the bikes were much better and the improvement in tires and suspension should have netted his students 2 seconds a lap. He then noted that there were no improvements in student lap times, and that was 10 years ago! Many people are faster on slower bikes. It's a fact. The latest and greatest is for the racers. For the average rider, the ability of the bike outstripped your ability to ride it faster about 15 years ago.
Only three riders faster than the ex500 out of 30 riders....
Sure in Daytona and other wide open tracks the EX is a joke but in small tight tracks you will pass much bigger bikes and may it stick.
BTW I finished ahead of a lot of people on SV650's from a wave in front of me at Daytona this past Feb. while I was on my EX500. They were so slow around the infield I thought if was funny. Pass two SV's in the first horseshoe around the outside... I does happen.
I completely agree with you, and yet you're wrong. Wait, I just confused myself ...
I agree with the fact that motorcycle technology has outstripped the skills of many / most riders, but I think this is only manifested at the extreme low end of the rider spectrum. For a complete newbie, the extreme capabilities of new bikes are a hindrance, because it's damn frightening to have 100+ ponies lurking under your groin. Spastic new riders will have all their difficulties magnified by the power and sensitivity available.
But for someone who has learned the motorcycle basics and is becoming a good rider, it's really silly for them to self-censure themselves down to an inferior bike. Your argument is comparable to saying that only Eric Clapton should play a strat, which is silly. Better equipment removes hurdles for someone who is capable and trying to improve. If I'm trying to figure out why my lap times aren't falling (and they're already respectable), why should I subject myself to evaluating both myself as a rider and my bike (motor, suspension, etc.). Getting a bike that's "over your head" takes it fundamentally out of the equation, putting responsibility squarely on the rider to improve up to the level of the bike.
Oh ha ha! Tell that to the guy on a Duc998 that was holding *ME* up at VIR North course and I'm on a GS500e which makes 42HP which is even 10HP less than an EX! You haven't seen what a white-tag racer can do on a 70HP single to the likes of 100HP supersports despite the fact that his competition is not exactly inexperienced in the racing circuit either.
The machine is just the tool of the rider. And I'm not at all fast nor experienced. Would I lap faster if I was on the Duc instead of the GS? Yeah, I'm sure I would. On the GS I get smoked by RS125's like nobody's business and arguably we have similar engine outputs.
"It's the RIDER, stupid" to steal a phrase...Your belief that an R1 mounted rider who isn't a rank neophyte will go faster than an EX/SV just shows how much you DON'T know.
As to the "licensed racer" being a hazard, depends on a few things. Yeah his top speed is 110+ compared to 160+ for a supersport. So "hazard" he might be on the front straight. But did you bother to compare lap or split times? I'll bet the EX rider could make some choice comments about the R1's parked in the corners he kept having to dodge and check up for.
It doesn't really matter what you ride, it's HOW you ride it.
I had an old Hawk GT and took it for my first track day. Got hooked, thought HawkGT was too slow & old. Sold it and bought a new faster bigger bike, but it was a wrong choice. Sure it went faster on the straights but there was no improvement in my cornering speed.
Any squid & any new bike can go fast on the straights. What matters is; get the right line, set the bike right, brake but carry your speed through the turn, exit turn with precise acceleration.
i struggle with this too. it always takes me a while to get used to a new bike. i was buying the latest and greatest always believing what i read. i would be transformed. but i wasn't.
i have adopted this rule to save my idiotic self. i wait at least one generation of changes. for example i have an 01 zx7r. i would love to own the new zx10. but i am going to wait until the 10 gets updated and think about that one. based on this i think you should ride a new bike.
Better lap times are rarely a function of the motorcycle at less than race winning pace. Going faster down the straights with the same corner speed is no real improvement, which is why the Willow Springs track record was held by a 125 for a long time. Learning to turn better is a function of tires and suspension and skill, and nobody needs a new gixxer 1000 for that.
remember track days aren't races (aka, nobody wins a practice), they are meant to have a blast and improve your skills in a safer environment - I doubt a new bike would help there, and do you really want to throw your newer expensive GSX-RR-R1-ZR down the track in a mishap. Upgrade tires, brakes and suspension and work on YOUR skills on track days with that bike. Get a more comfortable bike for the streets and use that for that purpose - you'll be ahead on both counts. I find the more track days I do the less I need to push beyond safe limits on the street.
Forget the Gixxer for a moment, because that's an extreme example. Essentially, you're saying that tleighbell won't be able to carry faster cornering speeds on a new 600 than on his 10 year old 750. That is just flat ridiculous.
Sure, there's some learning curve involved in getting comfortable with a new bike, but any moderately skilled rider will notice the subtraction of 50 lbs. and additional 5-10 hp (totally guessing about the YZF data here) and improve accordingly. It's not just that the bike is inherently superior, but that a better bike challenges the rider to grow into its capabilities rather than hold the rider back with unsettling weight and wallowing suspension.
It simply doesn't make sense for someone to pay $1,500 on their suspension when their bike is still saddled by uncompetitive weight and power limitations. No offense, but a decade old Japanese sportbike is a sow's ear, and suspension upgrades won't turn it into a silk purse.
Keith Code is probably seeing a relative increase in new track riders. I'll bet the new rider population has increased a lot in the last ten years. Also, it probably depends on the track. For years I could keep my old Triumph TR6 up with the fastest riders on the latest machines in corners well into the late '70's. But once the road straightened out I watched Japanese tailight disappear into horizon.
You're asking what should you do, not what other riders can do compared to you on similar machines. In that case you will find that the more modern 600 you can afford the faster you will go. You may still get passed by an EX500 or pass a GSXR 1000, but if you could race yourself, you would pass yourself on the upgraded YZF, with the 2000 or later 600. Instead, you might ask yourself how much money should I spend to go around a corner a little faster? In my case it was $8200.
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