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Bike Preparation and Tech Inspection

One of the most common questions people have about riding on the track is 'What do I need to do to prepare my bike?' In this section, we'll describe everything you need to do to pass tech inspection.

We'll also talk about some things you should do, regardless of the Track Day organization you're riding with. Always remember, tech inspection is for your safety. These aren't rules to simply make your life more difficult... they are here so that in the event of an accident, the damage is minimized.

Something else to keep in mind: There are only so many things the inspector can check at the track. You really should get in the habit of performing your own tech inspections, and consider this to be your own responsibility.

Supplies Needed

Obviously, we'll be making modifications to your bike so we're going to need some tools. Each bike is different, so we can't cover everything you'll need. Below are some of the basic tools you'll need to prep your bike.

  • Tape (Electrical, Painters)

  • Screw drivers (several sizes)

  • Socket set

  • Pliers

  • Wire cutters

  • Zip-Ties

Note: for taping your bike, you can use duct tape, painters tape, or electrical tape.

Preparing the bike

  1. Disconnect your headlight and brake lights.

    1. On most bikes, this can be done by simply removing the fuse. If not, you may be able to unplug the light at it's base.

    2. Be sure to start your bike and make sure it runs normally after doing this.

  2. Tape over all glass and reflectors. This includes:

    1. Headlight

    2. Mirrors (I prefer to remove these completely, but most organizations don't require it)

    3. Tail light

    4. Turn signals

    5. Any reflectors on the forks or tail section

    Note: Be sure to completely cover the glass or plastic. There are two reasons for taping. First, to prevent any glass or plastic from shattering if you should crash. Secondly, reflectors and lights can be very distracting to other riders.

  3. Tape your wheel weights

    Note: Not all organizations require this, but this is a good safety precaution, and we recommend this regardless of group/organization requirements.

  4. Replace your antifreeze

    1. You should replace your antifreeze with water, or WaterWetter¨.

    2. You can also replace your antifreeze with "Engine Ice"

    3. When adding water, don't use it from the tap! Buy distilled water.

    Note: Many organizations will allow slower groups (beginner, intermediate) to run with antifreeze, but generally it's better to use water. Antifreeze is very slick if it gets on the track and could be very difficult (and time consuming) to clean up.

Things to check

  1. Brakes

    1. Brake fluid level should not be too high.

    2. When you squeeze your front brake lever, it should be smooth and firm.

    3. Your brake pads should have plenty of life left in them.

    4. Some tracks will fail you if the "ball" at the end of your brake lever (or clutch lever) is broken off.

    5. Brake lines should not have any kinks or splits.

  2. Tires

    1. 80% tread should be remaining

    2. Tire pressure should be set based on your Mfg recommendation.

    Note: There always seems to be questions about tires. Different brands (and models) behave differently when they're reaching the end of their life. Some tires start to let go gradually while others give less warning. Never assume that because you have plenty of tread left that your tires will last for a full track day.

    Our opinion: If you're unsure about your tires, change them. Rubber is cheaper than steel, plastic or a trip to the hospital.

  3. Throttle

    1. Your throttle must fully return to the closed position.

    2. Cables must be in good shape.

  4. Chain

    1. Ensure your chain is properly lubed and doesn't bind at any link

    2. Ensure that you have at least 1 inch of travel (slack) in your chain.

Tip: It's easiest to check your chain if the bike is on a paddock stand. Lift the bike and spin the rear wheel while examining the chain.

  1. Muffler

    1. Ensure your muffler is properly connected to the bike.

      (I have actually seen several mufflers fall off at the track.)

  2. Foot Pegs / Rearsets

    1. Pegs should be straight with no sharp edges

    2. Check to make sure all bolts are tight

  3. Oil Filter, Oil Filler Cap, Oil Drain Bolt

    1. Check over these at least 3 times to ensure they are all tight!

    2. Some groups now require that the oil filter and oil filler cap are safety wired – check with your track club/organization.

  4. Give your bike a once over

    1. Check the tightness of your major fasteners, like clip-ons, pinch-bolts, caliper bolts, axle nuts, cotter-pins, etc.

    2. Don't have parts of your fairing hanging off, a loose windshield, missing fasteners, etc.

  5. Helmet, Gloves, Suit, Boots, Back protector, UnderArmor

    1. Your helmet should not have any cracks and fit properly

    2. Your gloves should be "gauntlet" style (come past the wrists)

    3. Your boots should cover the ankle.

    4. Your suit should not have any tears or open seams. Two piece suits should zip all the way around (not just the back)

    5. You should have a back protector (not a necessity - but a good recommendation)

Once again - keep in mind that these rules exist for your safety, and the safety of others. Don't think of bike preparation as a chore, but rather an opportunity to get familiar with your bike.

Bike preparation shouldn't be an excuse for purchasing parts you may (or may not) want to buy. If you look back through the list we covered, there are actually very few tools or items you'll need to buy in order to prepare your bike.

As a final note - think of this list as things that you should do, regardless of inspection rules for the track. Keeping your bike in good shape is common sense and should be done whether you're riding on the track or not!


Photos by Marty
FASTTRAX Moto Series