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Thread: Took 1200GSA to the track yesterday!

  1. #1
    robert.bantly
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    Smile Took 1200GSA to the track yesterday!

    Well, with my track bike down and the day already paid in advance and non-refundable, I decided what the heck and took the GSA in for a day at Putnam Park west of Indianapolis.

    I set up for the track by removing rear seat and luggage rack, and the usual blue tape and light disconnecting. I pulled the rear seat and rack to get a little "high and back" weight off of the motorcycle. Tire pressure for a 185lb rider: 33 rear (let 3 out) and 29.5-30 front. This got almost perfect 10% warmup through a session.

    Here's what I found:

    Push-button suspension setup
    I'd previously discovered that without bags installed, the stock "one rider" preload just isn't stiff enough for sporty riding. "One rider + bags" and damping set to "sport" along with good throttle control will keep her quite composed. I clipped around pretty good and didn't even need to hardly slide out of the seat to use all of the front and rear tire.

    Good news: the stock Metzeler 80/20 tires are very sticky and didn't slip at all on the track. NO traction control engagements!

    Bad news: after 3 20 minute sessions, I had to quit as (see pix below), 3 or 4 more would have totally killed an almost new set of very expensive tires, especially the front one.

    Rear Tire (not as bad as front)




    Rear Tire Closeup



    Front Tire (aahhgghh!)



    On every front except for extreme acceleration, the GSA did really well, way better than I thought it would. The brakes are really remarkable and I was able to out-brake and enter corners to the point where I had to slow down for the sportbikes in front of me. Did manage to get one 120mph run down the front straight with 4cylinder hornets zipping past me, though this motorcycle isnt' really meant for that sort of duty.

    What it does say is: "I can tour." "I can go offroad." "I can carry loads of stuff." And, "I can ride pretty darn sporty and even go to the track if my rider wants to!" Cheers for GSA, she saved the day when my 1000rr is on a factory recall!!!! However, if you take yours to the track, you might want to spring for a set of sporty sport-tourers, they'll likely last longer!

  2. #2
    Registered User f14rio's Avatar
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    good on ya, mate.

    ntxt
    "Enemy fighters at 2 o'clock!...Roger, What should i do until then?"

    2010 r1200r, 2009 harley crossbones, 2008 triumph/sidecar, 1970 norton commando 750

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert.bantly View Post
    Well, with my track bike down and the day already paid in advance and non-refundable, I decided what the heck and took the GSA in for a day at Putnam Park west of Indianapolis.

    I set up for the track by removing rear seat and luggage rack, and the usual blue tape and light disconnecting. I pulled the rear seat and rack to get a little "high and back" weight off of the motorcycle. Tire pressure for a 185lb rider: 33 rear (let 3 out) and 29.5-30 front. This got almost perfect 10% warmup through a session.

    Here's what I found:

    Push-button suspension setup
    I'd previously discovered that without bags installed, the stock "one rider" preload just isn't stiff enough for sporty riding. "One rider + bags" and damping set to "sport" along with good throttle control will keep her quite composed. I clipped around pretty good and didn't even need to hardly slide out of the seat to use all of the front and rear tire.

    Good news: the stock Metzeler 80/20 tires are very sticky and didn't slip at all on the track. NO traction control engagements!

    Bad news: after 3 20 minute sessions, I had to quit as (see pix below), 3 or 4 more would have totally killed an almost new set of very expensive tires, especially the front one.

    Rear Tire (not as bad as front)




    Rear Tire Closeup



    Front Tire (aahhgghh!)



    On every front except for extreme acceleration, the GSA did really well, way better than I thought it would. The brakes are really remarkable and I was able to out-brake and enter corners to the point where I had to slow down for the sportbikes in front of me. Did manage to get one 120mph run down the front straight with 4cylinder hornets zipping past me, though this motorcycle isnt' really meant for that sort of duty.

    What it does say is: "I can tour." "I can go offroad." "I can carry loads of stuff." And, "I can ride pretty darn sporty and even go to the track if my rider wants to!" Cheers for GSA, she saved the day when my 1000rr is on a factory recall!!!! However, if you take yours to the track, you might want to spring for a set of sporty sport-tourers, they'll likely last longer!

    I don't understand the problem! The tires are getting to hot because they aren't made for that kind of riding? Is that what you are trying to show in the pictures. ~TJ

  4. #4
    Mind is not for rent
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    I'm no expert, but I think you and your tires would have fared better with more pressure. With more pressure, heat would have been less of a factor, and you would have had sharper turn-in.

  5. #5
    robert.bantly
    Guest

    It was a furnace out there!

    Stock is 32.5 and app. 29.5 - 30 got the 10% increase in pressure you are supposed to get when warm on the track. May be that an additional pound or 2 would have helped the front a bit without compromising traction but I still think a set of dedicated ST tires would have lasted longer. Certainly couldn't complain about traction from these it was wonderful.

    Was a super-hot day (95 degrees F) and that probably contributed to the cooked tire (and cooked rider) also. Best part is what you always get from a track day - you learn that the motorcycle you took is capable of a lot more than you thought and have a much bigger "window" when dealing with street emergencies.

    This was an FYI post for anyone wanting to do this - yes you will enjoy your GS on the track, it will work well, but you may want to consider some different tires than stock based on my results.

  6. #6
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    A few comments

    In general tire pressures are lower for track time than for normal street use. Bigger footprint, allow for heating, etc.

    For cars it is true that pressures may sometimes need to be kept high to prevent tearing big chunks out of the edges of front tires on vehicles with significant understeer (eg 4WD Audi's in tight corner, for example) but this is more of a statement about the inadequacy of the suspension and chassis for track use than about what is best for tire traction. Large deep tread blocks tend not to do well in track use- too much squirm rips off bits...

    The front tire pattern is about as expected and shows tread temps reached what is desirable for track use. Rubber gets soft when hot enough to be really grippy and that pattern is the result. Front tires generate more heat than rears on virtually all vehicles simply because the heat of braking forces is seen much more on the front of the vehicle. Takes extraordinary horsepower levels to balance out the front and rear appearance because acceleration on most vehicles doesn't even come close to putting as much heat into the tire as braking.

    Bikes don't shed as much rubber from tires as cars- smaller tires, etc etc. Car racers and race spectators are quite used to seeing large amounts of shredded rubber on the outside of corners on tracks- this stuff is like hot glue when shed from the tire and when hot is called "gummy worms" by racers. Known as "marbles: when sitting cold on the track simply because that's what they feel like if you drive into them- not good and a fast way to visit the wall. I can pull a small bucket of this junk out of the nose of my track car after a couple sessions and like most use sturdy screens to keep it out of oil coolers, radiator, intercooler, etc....

    FWIW, DOT tires that have not been heat cycled to a high operating temp and then cooled will wear much faster than a properly broken in tire. It is possible to buy heat cycled tires for cars - they're run in on roller machines. True race tires are very different rubber and both wear and feel different than any street tire by a large margin- they will loose enough traction to be uncompetitive long before rubber wears away which is why tire managment matters a lot in racing' any idiot with a lot of testosterone can go fast for a few laps but find himself totally out of the race if he prematurely uses up what the tires can do. Severely overheated tires are describing by racers as "greasy" because driving on them feels a lot like driving on grease. Many hard driiven street vehicles can push street tires to feeling greasy in only a few laps on a track- generally the heavier the vehicle the faster it happens.

  7. #7
    robert.bantly
    Guest

    They never got greasy!

    And they stayed quite consistent throughout the day. Just wanted to keep some of the usual 5-6K of street life they have, though I suspect at least 1K of that is gone

  8. #8
    Mind is not for rent
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    For cars it is true that pressures may sometimes need to be kept high to prevent tearing big chunks out of the edges of front tires on vehicles with significant understeer (eg 4WD Audi's in tight corner, for example) but this is more of a statement about the inadequacy of the suspension and chassis for track use than about what is best for tire traction. Large deep tread blocks tend not to do well in track use- too much squirm rips off bits...
    Hence my comment. My track experience is limited to 4-wheeled vehicles.

  9. #9
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    I have seen many GS's embarrass sport bikes at the track, and on the street. Very capable bikes, glad you had fun.

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