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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

Got my 9T 18 months ago after about 18 years off motorbikes, and only about 6 months on the road to begin with.

I'd never done a track day before and finally gave it a go in mid-2021 at the Broadford Racetrack in Victoria, Australia.

Track Day 1 - I was a little nervous going in but needn't have been. My bike was stock from a performance perspective other than an outex tubeless kit. I started in the beginner group but was the quickest rider by some margin and moved up to the slow intermediate group by the end of the day. I thought I was hanging off the bike but after seeing some photo's (in rented gear) realised I was not at all and my body position needed work. I was grinding pegs around some corners and needed additional clearance. Otherwise I was really comfortable on the bike and feel it did really well on this relatively tight track - lacking nothing except some top end speed/power against the sports bikes and other beginner/intermediate riders.
It was also a heap of fun! I was hooked.

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Track day 2 -

On my second track day about 2 months ago, I concentrated on getting further off the bike. I realised I could get a fair bit further off the bike than I thought and this helped a lot with corner speed and drive out of corners. I had updated the rear shock to a Wilbers 642 with +25mm ride height by this stage as well as Gilles rearsets and this helped with ground clearance. I was still scrapping my toe sliders on corners (despite having feet inboard and on tip toes) until i adjusted the rearsets the the fully back and slightly up position.

By the thrid session I was finally scraping my knee sliders around both the left and right hand corners and this really improved my confidence and corner speed and entry - knowing I had a safe lean-angle reference point.

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Track Day 3 -

Last track day about a month ago. I had upgraded to Nitron TVT25 racing cartridges to go with the Wilbers 642. Heavier springs to go with my 80kg in full gear and more damping really helped on braking and corner entry. I was however still using the full suspension travel so will probably reduce the air gap.

Day was wet for first sessions before drying for last three sessions. Riding in the wet was interesting and taught me there's a fair bit more grip in the wet than i'd thought. I can't stand the mess though and I certainly didn't push as I am too worried about my precious baby.

Wet sessions -

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Again I concentrated on hanging off the bike and using my knees as reference points. I also began using my brakes a lot more aggresively - this is where i still have a lot of improvement to make as they definitely have more in them than i'm using. I rode in the fast-intermediate group and was lapping in the front half of that group. The bike was not lacking at all in the corners but was losing ground from half way along each straight where the bigger bikes had more top end power and speed. I wonder if aerodynamics is a big factor there - maybe a racer cowl would provide significantly higher top speeds down the straights?

I was comfortably dragging knees around most corners and it felt both more fun and comfortable getting around the track this third time out despite riding a bit faster. My best laps were 1min 8s which is not quick given the lap record is 57.x seconds and lap record in the category the 9T fits into is 1min 3.5seconds on a Triumph Thruxton 1200R. So still a long way from that - I think my fear of damaging my bike is the biggest thing slowing me down after aerodynamics down the straights.

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Tbc,

Dom
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
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I was running Pirelli Rosso Corsa 2's without warmers and throughout the course of the day was dropping the cold tyre pressure. I found that at 31psi front and 26psi rear (cold) grip and feel were still improving, having started at about 34 psi cold front and 32 psi cold rear.

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I definitely don't want to push too much as i would cry forever if i scratched or destroyed my bike but feel I have plenty in reserve when i'm at the track and if I had a cheaper track bike i'd be pushing a LOT harder. But i can't help thinking about trying to get a bit more out of the bike lol.

I have since removed the pillion subframe, taken off the flapper and charcoal cannister and replaced the headers with Akra Ti headers and fitted a lithium battery. This takes another 11kg off the weight of the bike and maybe provides a few more hp. So i'm keen to try it out again in February. May get a proper lap timer / angle sensor etc for fun. But i also don't want to out pressure on myself to push this expensive bike more than 90%. I can't help but feel a racer cowl conversion would provide much more top-end speed though, however given the need to buy the expensive subframe this would be a $3000+ (aud) job along with clip-ons and then i think some AC Schnitzer forged alloys may be a better upgrade for that money?

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I'm curious if others have been tracking their 9T's? Do you have the bug to try and keep up with the Jap 750/1000cc sports bikes?

Cheers, Dom
 

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I'm old now but raced way back in the 70's. I'm well past the idea of track days but when out on some of our "interesting" winding roads can hold my own with the "Jap 750/1000cc sports bikes". As long as the the corners are close to each other it's all about the rider and not so much the bike. I'd suggest after a couple more track days you join a club and get into it, racing is rubbing, track days not so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm old now but raced way back in the 70's. I'm well past the idea of track days but when out on some of our "interesting" winding roads can hold my own with the "Jap 750/1000cc sports bikes". As long as the the corners are close to each other it's all about the rider and not so much the bike. I'd suggest after a couple more track days you join a club and get into it, racing is rubbing, track days not so.
Yeah, on the road there is no issue keeping up with faster bikes on the 9T. On the track above 150kph it starts running out of steam against them though.

I would love to race in the 9T in the BEARS Heritage Class, but realistically I can't afford to at the moment. It would definitely mean a crash at some point I imagine and you'd have to accept that in order to push properly - which I can't with $34k of bike i can't afford to replace. It would be lots of fun though!

Cheers, Dom
 

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2019 R nineT Scrambler: enhanced by Ohlins, Pirelli, SW-Motech, Unit Garage & 8-Racing
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Kudos for you for getting your R9T on the track. Yes the boxer will always lack the top-end like the 4cyl BMW S-bikes, as they are more dialed for track vs road, like the R9T. But it's always balance between street-able and track-able setups. Also honestly, mastering the track and handling/setup for corner entry and exit speeds is the really the key for track days. HP doesn't make up for skill outside of WOT on a long straight away.
 

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To my immature and somewhat reckless mindset, taking the wee wee out of R1's, Blades, Gixer1000's etc etc is a very big chunk of the fun in owning an Rnine......riders just can't believe their eyes when an "old man's" retro styled antiquated air cooled boxer twin is giving their cutting edge whizz-bang race rep a pasting in the twisties and at roundabouts etc........a humbling experience for them I reckon!!!! Hehe.

I agree with @gasket that there's a big difference between doing trackdays and racing. If you're not prepared to push 100% when racing then there's no point being there. You will crash when racing, it's inevitable, and some might say if you don't crash then you're not trying hard enough. Racing can hurt, and is horrendously expensive, crashing makes it even more hurty/expensive.....but racing is a massive rush, and huge fun.

So @DomNineT , if you don't mind throwing loads of money at it, and occasionally throwing your bike down the road, I'd say do it........racing is the biggest thrill you can have with your clothes on.......... and memories will last forever!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Kudos for you for getting your R9T on the track. Yes the boxer will always lack the top-end like the 4cyl BMW S-bikes, as they are more dialed for track vs road, like the R9T. But it's always balance between street-able and track-able setups. Also honestly, mastering the track and handling/setup for corner entry and exit speeds is the really the key for track days. HP doesn't make up for skill outside of WOT on a long straight away.
Yes true. I've learned a lot about how to move my body around on the bike and get it into, and out of corners, more effectively through the three track days. This has translated to more reserve capacity and smoother, more effortless, and safer speed on the road.

I guess I was daydreaming about maybe racing in the appropriate category and got caught up thinking how one would make this bike quicker (beyond also improving as a rider). I that case, I feel some aerodynamics, couldn't hurt but i'm thinking lighter wheels may be even more important to improve acceleration and change of direction.

Cheers, Dom
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To my immature and somewhat reckless mindset, taking the wee wee out of R1's, Blades, Gixer1000's etc etc is a very big chunk of the fun in owning an Rnine......riders just can't believe their eyes when an "old man's" retro styled antiquated air cooled boxer twin is giving their cutting edge whizz-bang race rep a pasting in the twisties and at roundabouts etc........a humbling experience for them I reckon!!!! Hehe.

I agree with @gasket that there's a big difference between doing trackdays and racing. If you're not prepared to push 100% when racing then there's no point being there. You will crash when racing, it's inevitable, and some might say if you don't crash then you're not trying hard enough. Racing can hurt, and is horrendously expensive, crashing makes it even more hurty/expensive.....but racing is a massive rush, and huge fun.

So @DomNineT , if you don't mind throwing loads of money at it, and occasionally throwing your bike down the road, I'd say do it........racing is the biggest thrill you can have with your clothes on.......... and memories will last forever!!

Yeah, being honest with myself there really isn't much sense in starting a new, expensive, sport like motorbike racing and I don't particularly want to afford it. I think I'm more just dreaming. I'm also rather competitive, or at least I like to feel i'm always improving at something and improving things as well - so my thoughts naturally turn to how to both ride faster around a track, as well as how to make my 9T faster around a track too after a track day.

If I had ample spare cash racing a 9T would be a heck of a lot of fun.

And yes, beating up on much more track capable bikes is a LOT of fun on the 9T. Hence my desire to make it even more capable to have that extra bit more fun, even if only on the occasional track day. I like that the 9T already punches above its weight in sporting ability vs appearances and a little more hidden performance would make that even better.

Cheers, Dom
 

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Thanks for sharing all that, @DomNineT . Great write-ups and photos! (y)

I think with the suspension upgrades, adjustable rearsets, and unnecessary parts recently removed, you might already be pushing the R9T close to its limits. Of course, we can probably all go faster, but not without risks to yourself and the bike. It's understandable you're reluctant to push it much harder, as no one wants to crash, especially their pride and joy. If you really got into track days and racing, maybe you could find a cheaper dedicated track bike, something with some cosmetic flaws and which you wouldn't have to license and insure.

I suspect the biggest reason the inline 4 bikes are faster is hp. Your R9T has as much or more torque than many of those bikes, at least the non-liter bikes, but the hp is lower. When you're already moving, especially revving it high on the tachometer, the supersports just have more top end - especially when they rev much higher.

The other big factor is weight. Most of those bikes weigh less than yours, even after you've removed some parts.

You mentioned aerodynamics, and I'm sure that is a factor, but I wouldn't think it's as much of a factor as power and weight. Even if you added a Racer style upper fairing the cylinder heads are still going to cause drag.

Also, I hate to say it, but you're losing some drivetrain efficiency with a shaft drive, vs. the sportbikes' chain drives.

As an example, I just looked up the specs of a 2018 Suzuki GSX-R 750. 150 hp (63.6 kW) @ 13,200 rpm, 63.6 ft.-lbs. (86.2 Nm) of torque @ 11,200 rpm, and 419 lbs. (190 kg) wet weight. And redline is just over 14,000 rpm.

By comparison, a 2018 R nineT has 110 hp (80.3 kW) @ 7,750 rpm, 85.6 ft.-lbs. (116 Nm) of torque @ 6,000 prm, and a wet weight of 489 lbs.(222 kg). Redline is at 8,500 rpm. As wonderful as our Beemers are, it's hard to compete with more track-focused machines.

(Note: These specs are all from one website. The numbers could be off a bit from those reported elsewhere, but I did use a single source for both bikes.)

None of this is to say the R9T can't compete, but it just has some limitations which are difficult to overcome. But I'd much rather spend a day riding my R9T than any pretty much any supersport in existence. I couldn't ride more than a couple hours per day on a Gixxer, CBR, or R1 (or R6). But I can ride my R9T Pure (with a Sargent seat) all day and still be able to walk when I'm done. If I can have only one bike but I still want to track it occasionally, I think a modded R9T is hard to beat, though admittedly I'm kind of biased.

Honestly, my admiration and respect to you for modding your bike and doing those track days. I'd love to do this myself, but I'm unlikely to ever do a track day, let alone a series of them. I'm sure I could afford the fees and a new set of tires, but the bigger problem is my weight. No one makes leathers in my size, and buying a custom racing suit is the thing that would break the bank for me. Truth be told, I'd also worry about wadding my baby up in a corner, or maybe screwing up and wrecking some other poor soul's prized machine.

Keep up the great work on improving your riding, and please keep sharing the results with us! :)
 

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Nice write up and photos Dom. Understand your passion :) . I did some track days on my nineT, was fun, but I love it too much to do it very often. Gambo is 100% right - if you want to be faster, you need to push harder and you will crash, that’s for sure. Instead of that I have track bike for track days (MV Agusta F3) and I enjoy nineT on mountain curvy roads.
 
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Looks like you're really getting a handle on the track thing, I wish Broadford was close to me. Allow me to recommend the best investment in track or road riding, and that is Keith Code's book Twist of the Wrist 2. It explains the dynamics of what the bike requires from the rider to grip and turn in a language that is easy to digest. The 2nd read through gave me even more. The Superbike School's curriculum is based on the book.:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looks like you're really getting a handle on the track thing, I wish Broadford was close to me. Allow me to recommend the best investment in track or road riding, and that is Keith Code's book Twist of the Wrist 2. It explains the dynamics of what the bike requires from the rider to grip and turn in a language that is easy to digest. The 2nd read through gave me even more. The Superbike School's curriculum is based on the book.:cool:
I've heard of it many times before. I just might get and read a copy. Thanks mate.
 

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Great write up and it looks like you had some really fun sessions. Clearly you had the coolest bike on track and that shaves off a couple of seconds per lap in style points. I have thought about racing several times with cars and bikes, but in reality track days are perfect to scratch the adrenaline itch. You'll improve to the advanced group soon enough and will find some people who like to push a bit and create some good "gentlemen battles" during the sessions. Always fun to mix it up with experienced track riders who know what they are doing and you can ride fast in a safe manner. I'd suggest getting the 719 tubeless wheelset to shave off more rotating mass. This was by far the most impactful upgrade I did on my R NineT to free up the torque and HP of the Boxer engine. Now the bike literally punches you in the ass every time you grab the next gear.

Been 10 years since I was on track with a motorbike, but you make me want to go back with the R NineT.
 

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An interesting read in total and it makes me feel good that I own one and can do so much and even tour with such a bike.
 

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Great post Dom.

My story is fairly similar- back onto bikes after ten year family 'responsibility break', quite in love with my RnineT/5 and took it on the track a few times, ground the hero pegs off, scratched my cylinder guards and had a real blast surprising litre-plus riceburners and Dukes out of corners and catching up under brakes at the end of straights (my cojones probably exceed my ability - same when approaching females in my youth). I didn't really like repeatedly red-lining my baby though - and even though not racing I perceived that I would inevitably collide with reality as I tried to improve on a bike which is ultimately pretty soft-edged and wallowy compared to more sporty models.

In just a few sessions I saw a middle-aged bloke like me break his clavicle, then a good mate low-sided his KTM390 but wasn't hurt. The bike was damaged. We discussed whether it was worth the risk of injury to yourself and damage to your bike when you have professional responsibilities and kids to put through private school.

Some track riding is essential in my view, so you can understand what you and your bike can do at speeds way higher than than would be allowed on public roads. I learned a great deal in a very short time and toyed with getting more into it as you have, starting with a suspension upgrade.

Then a family man much like us was killed outright on a track day when my mate was there. A noob reportedly cut him off at the end of the straight and he fell off at 200-odd kph. Game over. Not wanting to be a downer, but after that I decided to concentrate on being the best road rider I can be and stick to occasional track days.

Would enjoy more updates re your track experiences!
Cheers
Evan
 

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Dom man, follow your heart. Grab the bull by the horns and hang on, your looking good, you’re talking sense about style and posture … I haven’t hear you mention the word fear, ….your learning about tuning suspension and trail braking, You sir have been bitten by the bug. The only thing you’ve left to do is let your self go … right to the edge and realize there are times when you ride the motorcycle and times when she rides you and it’s how long you can stay in that zone where you are doing the riding but right on the edge of loosing it, and confidently bring it back under your control time again and again …. It’s when this is done on command, confidently with no fear that you begin to log the long hours of training that will lead to reaction rather than thought/consideration/action and a familiarity with your machine that blends you into the bike it self …that’s when you then find your self alone and in the lead with the pack close behind you just waiting for you to start thinking about it instead of reacting, relying on your training and just how it feels to slide on by in a high speed heavy banked turn riding the edge. Then you when you least expect it … your in the grove, the zone, the flow, the mix and tasting the “sweet-wine” at 130+ …. You my friend are a Cafe’Racer … Your the kind of man UpOn2 that needs to plan a vacation to the Isle of Man and watch what racing is truly all about. The first machine that goes by you at 190mph down a country road, not a prepared track but a public street … you’ll see how badly those men are bitten by that bug, “TheNeedForSpeed” ….. “Mastering a Machine” …..”On the edge of Disaster” ……and completely in Love with the whole thing ! ..You go Dom.. Please allow my literary license when I say…. “You’re on the right track Man …. Literally !”
…….. Nice job, the picts are worth a thousand words, thanks for the rush. BeWell StayUpOn2 and live the dream while your still young enough to recover from the injuries GoFast/HaveFun ..….Blitz ….. more picts and story line …. I love it ! 🏍👍🏻
 

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Allow me to recommend the best investment in track or road riding, and that is Keith Code's book Twist of the Wrist 2. It explains the dynamics of what the bike requires from the rider to grip and turn in a language that is easy to digest.
Good call Sir.
 
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