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Discussion Starter #1
i'm thinkin about snaggin a 250 over the winter for track ridin/racin next season. question is, does anyone have any recommendations? (btw, search function is borked for me atm, so sry if this post if common)

i've seen one or two nsr250's for sale overseas, but parts are hard to get i gather. i know a guy w/ a kawi 250r who's lookin to sell. i like the cbr 250rr, but kinda pricey and i worry about parts due to import.

anyone got good suggestions for me? thanks!
 

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You've mentioned 2-stroke 250s (e.g. NSR, TZ/R, RGV) and 4-stroke 250s (e.g. Ninja 250, Interceptor 250), but they are VERY different bikes that would race in completely different classes.

The 2-smokers will require regular top-end maintenance. They are serious race bikes and need to be cared for as such. Insane power-to-weight ratio. Any of these bikes, in reasonably competent hands, can eat a 600 (or literbike for that matter) alive on the track.

The 4-stroke machines are street machines at heart, obviously less "race-bred" but that does not mean they cannot be loads of fun on the track. And as you mention, parts availability is much better. Much less maintenance too. Out here in AFM the 250 Production classes are very competitive. The machines are much slower of course -- a "fast" 250P rider's laptimes will still be slower than those of an "average" or even "slow" 600P rider at all the tracks out here -- but then again, I'd bet that 250P rider has more fun and has more "racer credentials" than the 600P rider.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
yea, the 2 vs 4 stroke is something i'm not too sure about. i'm a shade-tree mechanic, and do my own maint and repair and such. i know the 2 is a much more finiky and also snappy motor.

i've heard that riding a smaller bike on the track will help you become a better rider b/c there isn't as huge a gap between the rider's and the bike's capabilities. so that's what i'm lookin for, a good 250 i can take to the track and use to grow as a rider.
 

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I raced an RS125 over the weekend and have ridden a TZ250 at the track as well. By far some of the most fun you will ever have on 2 wheels. They are not the fastest things in a straight line but when it comes to the corners you will eat every one alive. YOu can brake way way late and carry a ton of corner speed. When I rode the 250 I could easaly hang with the 750s and some of the 1000s. on our long course. On the 125 we ran short course and I was running 1-2 seconds off of the 600's. They would eat me alive in a straight line but when the corners came I was back on thier ass. If you are taller a 250 is the way to go. I am 5'8" and I had leg cramps on the 125. They are race machines though and require regular maintnance and you have to be good with carbs because depending on the temp you have to pick the right jeting or you are gona sieze the motor. But for all of the work that goes in to them they are the most fun you will ever have on 2 wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
after reading up on the tz and rs, it sounds like they require serious dedication and fundage.... since i'm a total newb, i'll start w/ a 4 stroke. anyone got any recomendations? is the 250r a good one to go w/? they seem pretty cheap and abundant....

tx for the feedback!
 

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Well, given that the Ninja 250R is one of the few "sportbikes" available stateside, I'd go with that due to sheer availability of parts. The old Honda VTR250 is another choice, but I'd stick with the Kawi.

Any reason you're limiting yourself to 250s? You might want to consider the SV650 as well. Very fun, lightweight v-twin bike. First-generation (1999-2002) models are in abundance, and they are very highly regarded in the racing circles. It's a very good middle-ground between 250s and 600s in all respects. And there are TONS of mods you can do to them. Power is about 65hp for a stock motor (but mine is putting out about 77hp with relatively simple simple motor mods). I've got buddies who go 4 race weekends on a set of tires; it's easy to make them last longer when you don't have a bike that shreds them after 1 day.

While I think the 250R is a great bike to get into trackday riding / racing, the trend I often see is that the serious guys (and gals) often want to move up to more power within a year or so -- which is fine. But the SV is also a great introductory track/race bike, and will stay with you much longer as your skills improve. Some people never feel the need to "graduate" beyond an SV. In fact, an AFM racer out here did fairly well in the SV classes over a few years, "graduated" up to the 600 classes, and realized he just really didn't care for the inline-4 bikes, and eventually switched back to the SV.


Something to consider.
 

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I want an aprilia or yamaha 250 so bad it aint even funny
If you want a four stroke though I would go with a 600 an sv would be fine.
The ninjas aren't really made to race so it takes a lot of work to make it a good track bike. A four stroke 250 would just make it slow. the two stroke motor is really light weight as are most of the components in a 250 but a four stroke 250 would weigh a good bit more eliminating the advantage in starting on a 250.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
hrmmm.... i had no idea about the sv. like that bike, and might be able to buy it "for my wife" ;) they're pretty cheap... mb find a salvage one over the winter and fix er up...

mb i shoulda made this post "hey, i'm a newb, and i really want to get to the track next year, and i hear the 600rr is so much bike that i'm better off riding a diff bike to grow into my rr. i just want to do some track days and mb get into races."...

anyway, tx for the info!!
 

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And go here: http://forums.13x.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=85115

I have sold my 600 without a blink and now have a tz250 and a tz125. Not going to bash 600's but four strokes fail to give me wood the way two bangers GP bikes do (Yamaha TZ, Honda RS). Either way you go, get off the street and have fun. Aprillia RS250 is kinda in between, not that much maintenence but not same as a true GP bike.

:D

 

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quasi888 said:
-- a "fast" 250P rider's laptimes will still be slower than those of an "average" or even "slow" 600P rider at all the tracks out here
Here are wera mylaps from Jennings:

1st place in Formula2 - Mark Brown 99TZ250 agains SV's and such http://www.mylaps.com/results/newResults.jsp?id=190824

1st place in HeavyWeight Twins - Mark Brown 99TZ250 - http://www.mylaps.com/results/newResults.jsp?id=190833

I would say that an average racer will be faster on 600, but an expert will ride circles on a 250 around 600's and give 1k's a hard run.

Two strokes and four strokes have very different riding lines and different breaking and acceleation points.


My .02
 

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Discussion Starter #14
tx for the links and the info! and nice pic alex :D what track is that? interesting lookin forest in the background...

prolly start w/ an sv, and like others said, if i find a tz or an rs at the right price once i'm into racing and feel ready to dedicate the time/money to a 2 smoker, then hop on over to that world.

i'm kinda peeved. i'm heading out to CA over thanksgiving to be w/ my fam who just moved to SF. i really wanted to hit the CA superbike school, but the dates don't match up. I found some other school, but it's $400 a day and then another $400 for bike rental. blah, i guess i'll hit a track school some other time. i really wanted to ride leguna tho :(
 

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dxh13 said:
i'm kinda peeved. i'm heading out to CA over thanksgiving to be w/ my fam who just moved to SF. i really wanted to hit the CA superbike school, but the dates don't match up. I found some other school, but it's $400 a day and then another $400 for bike rental. blah, i guess i'll hit a track school some other time. i really wanted to ride leguna tho :(
Don't worry about missing CSS. For a trackday noobie, the return on investment is just not there, IMHO. On your first trackday you are going to be worrying about enough things like relaxing and getting acquainted with the track -- having to absorb things they teach will just be information overload. Your primary goal on day #1 should be to be safe, keep it upright, and have fun! As you get better, then you can start focusing on more classroom-oriented topics.

Having said that, the SF Bay Area is blessed with a number of high quality trackday providers. For you I would recommend Zoom Zoom Trackdays (www.zoomzoomracing.com). Their "C" group is basically like a regular trackday for first-timers, but they offer classroom instruction in between riding sessions, as well as one-on-one riding sessions with instructors, IF YOU WANT IT. Basically, if you want to just ride, you can, but if you want to pick up some pointers or concentrate on some specific topics, you can do that too. I think this semi-structured format is perfect for first-time track riders.

There are a few other trackday organizers out here that I can highly recommend, but I would not describe them as particularly the best choice for first-timers. Similarly, I wouldn't worry about Laguna Seca either. Although there are some Laguna trackdays still on the schedule, it's a track that has a particularly high crash rate, for various reasons. In fact, it has claimed me twice in one year. Lack of runoff makes it not a very nooby-friendly track.

PM me if you would like more info, or check out www.bayarearidersforum.com. Lots of fellow trackday junkies and racers on BARF.
 

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Looks like you're pretty SOL for Thanksgiving trackdays, only CLASS is running Laguna that weekend for 4 bills, yikes! Zoom Zoom, who Dave recommended is at Infineon (Sear's Point) on the 7th, with space still available but I don't know if you'll still be visiting. I was supposed to be there that day, but I don't have clearance from the doc to track/race till next season.
 

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In the realm of 4-strokes, I would suggest an SV or you 600RR before I would even recommend a Ninja 250 for a track bike. The Ninja 250 is a great beginner bike for the street, but for a trackbike, you'll end up spending quite a bit of money on it to make it perform like a track bike should. The SV650, on the other hand, is an excellent all around street and/or track bike. It's, relatively, light and ready to go out of the box.

Now in the world of 2-strokers, you're pretty much limited to 125's and 250's. Yeah, there are 500's around here and there, but unless you have some inside connections, they're not worth looking into.

I haven't riden a 250 yet, but if you're dead set on a 2-stroke 250, I would suggest the TZ250. The parts are a bit more abundant and cheaper than the RS250. If you're looking to get a 2-stroke 125, I would suggest a 95+ RS125. Unlike the 250 world, parts are not abundant for TZ125 but are for RS125. Now, unless you're super tall or on the heavy side, you should be able to fit on a 125. Otherwise, you may want to lean towards a 250. I'm 5'10", 170lb w/out gear and my rs125 is just slightly on the small side.

Other things to consider... The benifit of a 4-stroke versus a 2-stroke, maintaince schedule. There are no piston replacments or crankshaft replacements associated with 4-strokes. The benifit of a 2-stroke versus a 4-stroke, less tire wear. 2-strokes are significantly lighter then 4-strokes and will not wear tires as quickly, for the most part.

In the long run, a 2-stroke is cheaper to run. Eventhough you'll be have a more strict maintance schedule, the cost of replacing 1 crank, 2-4 pistons, and 2-3 sets of tires a season is way cheaper than having to buy new tires every 2-3 trackdays...
 
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