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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello FZ community,

I'm becoming more and more interested in taking my 2017 FZ 09 on the track. I plan on doing so hopefully next month or Oct. the latest. If not then I'd have to wait until next year. I really love my FZ 09, and it would be great to learn track riding on it.

My greatest concerns are the limitations that may come with using an FZ 09 as a track bike. In your experience, what are some limitations that you've come across taking your FZ 09 to the track? I understand that the suspension systems are definiltey something that needs to be worked on, but I hear the peg clearance is a big issue as well.

Any and all advice is welcome.

Thank you!
 

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Hello FZ community,

I'm becoming more and more interested in taking my 2017 FZ 09 on the track. I plan on doing so hopefully next month or Oct. the latest. If not then I'd have to wait until next year. I really love my FZ 09, and it would be great to learn track riding on it.

My greatest concerns are the limitations that may come with using an FZ 09 as a track bike. In your experience, what are some limitations that you've come across taking your FZ 09 to the track? I understand that the suspension systems are definiltey something that needs to be worked on, but I hear the peg clearance is a big issue as well.

Any and all advice is welcome.

Thank you!

Done a couple track days now. My first impressions, no real limitations on the first track day. You will be learning the track and the bike and it will do what you ask it. I would take off the peg feelers though. Ive never touched a peg with those off. Make sure you have proper foot position on your peg though as you WILL drag your toes if not.

Now that I've learned the track and really pushing the bike, there are some upgrades needed, but I'd say not super required until you are starting to get into solid intermediate group.

Brakes.. They get SQUISHY once you start late braking hard into the corner. Stainless lines will help a ton.

Next would be the suspension. Rear shock (aftermarket or a Kawasaki shock or whatever.) I have a ZX6R shock in the rear and its great. Nice and planted in the rear. Front fork is my enemy at the moment. Back to the braking aspect, the front end nose dives so bad on hard braking. At a minimum I'll be getting springs that are the correct weight so they wont bottom out and dive so bad. Better valving will always be handy too though.

Then of course tires. Shitty tires on the track really suck. I've done 2 track days on sport touring tires. Never had a tire slip on the first track day learning the track but still hitting it pretty good. Second track day I couldnt keep the rear wheel under the bike in a corner it seemed. Granted, I was getting on the throttle a little too soon, but it came out like butter and had a high side save on this last trip.

So after some track days in fairly stock condition, I feel ive reached some limits and wont go back to the track without proper tires, (Settled on Dunlop Q3+ tires) Street tires but still great reviews and really sticky for track. Heavier fork springs to kill the nose dive and braided stainless lines and better brake pads to actually carry some speed deeper into the corner.

This is just of course my opinion and still being a fairly new track rider.

And this bike is a damn blast on the track BTW
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Done a couple track days now. My first impressions, no real limitations on the first track day. You will be learning the track and the bike and it will do what you ask it. I would take off the peg feelers though. Ive never touched a peg with those off. Make sure you have proper foot position on your peg though as you WILL drag your toes if not.

Now that I've learned the track and really pushing the bike, there are some upgrades needed, but I'd say not super required until you are starting to get into solid intermediate group.

Brakes.. They get SQUISHY once you start late braking hard into the corner. Stainless lines will help a ton.

Next would be the suspension. Rear shock (aftermarket or a Kawasaki shock or whatever.) I have a ZX6R shock in the rear and its great. Nice and planted in the rear. Front fork is my enemy at the moment. Back to the braking aspect, the front end nose dives so bad on hard braking. At a minimum I'll be getting springs that are the correct weight so they wont bottom out and dive so bad. Better valving will always be handy too though.

Then of course tires. Shitty tires on the track really suck. I've done 2 track days on sport touring tires. Never had a tire slip on the first track day learning the track but still hitting it pretty good. Second track day I couldnt keep the rear wheel under the bike in a corner it seemed. Granted, I was getting on the throttle a little too soon, but it came out like butter and had a high side save on this last trip.

So after some track days in fairly stock condition, I feel ive reached some limits and wont go back to the track without proper tires, (Settled on Dunlop Q3+ tires) Street tires but still great reviews and really sticky for track. Heavier fork springs to kill the nose dive and braided stainless lines and better brake pads to actually carry some speed deeper into the corner.

This is just of course my opinion and still being a fairly new track rider.

And this bike is a damn blast on the track BTW
First off, this is exactly the information I was looking for!

What year is your FZ?

I just pulled the trigger on Ohlins YA335 for entry level upgrade, and gonna try it out with stock forks. I believe the '17 forks are a bit of an improvement over first gen. models. Brake pads are currently on order, I went with EBC high performance front pads, and stock rear.

Something I will look into getting would be the stainless steel brake lines, and stickier tires over stock.

Further down the road I will look into upgrading forks.

Thank you for your input. I really look forward to my first track day. My local track runs a promotion for $99.99 for first time users that I might just take up.
 

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First off, this is exactly the information I was looking for!

What year is your FZ?

I just pulled the trigger on Ohlins YA335 for entry level upgrade, and gonna try it out with stock forks. I believe the '17 forks are a bit of an improvement over first gen. models. Brake pads are currently on order, I went with EBC high performance front pads, and stock rear.

Something I will look into getting would be the stainless steel brake lines, and stickier tires over stock.

Further down the road I will look into upgrading forks.

Thank you for your input. I really look forward to my first track day. My local track runs a promotion for $99.99 for first time users that I might just take up.

Mine is a 14 and my buddy I track ride with has a 17. We are pretty much the same pace. His forks bottom out as well. He is a little heavier than I am though. Both our preload settings are maxed on the front as well. They are a bit improved, but still leave much to be desired. Your weight will be a big factor as well. I am a hair over 205 lbs fully geared.

I would absolutely say take that $100 track day offer up! Ours are $220-$240 for a day. I believe every motorcycle rider should at least do one track day. It was so much more enjoyable than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be really fun. I will be doing a handful more next year. I am hooked. For the day itself, use the rider coaches! Ask them questions, ask them to follow you, go to their little classes between sessions if they do that. Its an amazing source of information and you should soak up all you can. This is what they do and they will love to help you. Lines, corner entry, speed, when to get on the brakes, when to start letting off the brakes, when to start getting back on the gas as you start to stand the bike up coming out of the corner, etc.

Here are some photos from my last track day a few weeks ago.

https://www.threesixtyphotography.com/MotoFitGroup-1/2018/Aug-11-12-2018-ORP/Green/127/


And here is a video of the same day of me and my buddy on his 2017 going back and forth with eachother.




Do it! :icon_thumright:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mine is a 14 and my buddy I track ride with has a 17. We are pretty much the same pace. His forks bottom out as well. He is a little heavier than I am though. Both our preload settings are maxed on the front as well. They are a bit improved, but still leave much to be desired. Your weight will be a big factor as well. I am a hair over 205 lbs fully geared.

I would absolutely say take that $100 track day offer up! Ours are $220-$240 for a day. I believe every motorcycle rider should at least do one track day. It was so much more enjoyable than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be really fun. I will be doing a handful more next year. I am hooked. For the day itself, use the rider coaches! Ask them questions, ask them to follow you, go to their little classes between sessions if they do that. Its an amazing source of information and you should soak up all you can. This is what they do and they will love to help you. Lines, corner entry, speed, when to get on the brakes, when to start letting off the brakes, when to start getting back on the gas as you start to stand the bike up coming out of the corner, etc.

Here are some photos from my last track day a few weeks ago.

https://www.threesixtyphotography.com/MotoFitGroup-1/2018/Aug-11-12-2018-ORP/Green/127/


And here is a video of the same day of me and my buddy on his 2017 going back and forth with eachother.




Do it! :icon_thumright:
I float between 178-183 lbs.

Yea you really can't beat $99 for a track day, they even have free leather rental for first time riders. Although I'll definitely think about getting my own leathers before.

I plan on using as much available resource as possible. Especially since I'll be riding with a Facebook group in my area with a bunch of really helpful bunch. Idk how else to prepare before I start seriously thinking about going on the track. Suggestions?
 

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With order of importance, according to my experience:

Tires, rear suspension, front supension, braided brake lines, ecu reflash (for smoother throttle and to get rid of the top speed limit), rearsets.

The stock foot pegs actually give great clearance, as long as you get rid of the feelers. You could even try some clip ons later on, but this has to do with personal preference.

Pay great attention to your air pressure and try to set your suspension correctly. Good tires won't work as they should if they don't have the correct pressure and also getting the best aftermarket suspension won't do much if they aren't set according to your body weight and your riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
With order of importance, according to my experience:

Tires, rear suspension, front supension, braided brake lines, ecu reflash (for smoother throttle and to get rid of the top speed limit), rearsets.

The stock foot pegs actually give great clearance, as long as you get rid of the feelers. You could even try some clip ons later on, but this has to do with personal preference.

Pay great attention to your air pressure and try to set your suspension correctly. Good tires won't work as they should if they don't have the correct pressure and also getting the best aftermarket suspension won't do much if they aren't set according to your body weight and your riding.
Ah, I see that tires are a big thing. Which year are you running?

Thank you for the information, definitely taking note of a few things to start thinking about.
 

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The one and only time I took mine to the track (Road Atlanta in Nov. 2013 right after I bought it), to me the glaring shortcoming was suspension. The front was in dire need of help and rear was almost as bad. Keep in mind I was an Instructor with Sportbike Track Time and had a dedicated track bike, so I was very accustomed to very fast track speeds, very late braking and being able to lean the bike over to extreme lean angles. The stock suspension will just not work for anything over a faster Novice pace, especially if you are in the 200 lb range. Stock brakes were actually pretty decent, but then again, I wasn't pushing the FZ like I did my track bike. For someone just starting out doing track days, I would say that tires are probably a top priority for the track. As your pace starts picking up, you will soon realize how poor the suspension really is (this was based on my bike which is a 2014). I was already smooth on and off the throttle and brakes, so a flash to smooth things out wasn't important for that reason. The FZ09 will have tremendous drive out of the corners if done correctly and you have sticky tires. If you don't, it's very easy to spin up the rear tire applying the throttle coming out. As stated in a previous post, take advantage of the coaches/Instructors when you are there. We were always very willing to work with folks and provide as much help as we could. Don't be shy about asking......we can't read your mind if you are wanting help and don't ask. Riding the FZ is a different animal on the track though, as it doesn't allow you to get really good body position because of the upright bars. It felt downright weird to me after spending all my trackday on a CBR600RR and then riding an "upright" bike on the track. It's not something you can't deal with, but just keep in mind you will not get the body positions that a sportbike will allow. Most coaches are aware that an upright bike is not going to do the same things on a track as a supersport, and any good coach will work with you based on the bike that you are on. Have fun and enjoy....oh, and get ready for the addiction to start as soon as you get a couple of sessions under your belt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The one and only time I took mine to the track (Road Atlanta in Nov. 2013 right after I bought it), to me the glaring shortcoming was suspension. The front was in dire need of help and rear was almost as bad. Keep in mind I was an Instructor with Sportbike Track Time and had a dedicated track bike, so I was very accustomed to very fast track speeds, very late braking and being able to lean the bike over to extreme lean angles. The stock suspension will just not work for anything over a faster Novice pace, especially if you are in the 200 lb range. Stock brakes were actually pretty decent, but then again, I wasn't pushing the FZ like I did my track bike. For someone just starting out doing track days, I would say that tires are probably a top priority for the track. As your pace starts picking up, you will soon realize how poor the suspension really is (this was based on my bike which is a 2014). I was already smooth on and off the throttle and brakes, so a flash to smooth things out wasn't important for that reason. The FZ09 will have tremendous drive out of the corners if done correctly and you have sticky tires. If you don't, it's very easy to spin up the rear tire applying the throttle coming out. As stated in a previous post, take advantage of the coaches/Instructors when you are there. We were always very willing to work with folks and provide as much help as we could. Don't be shy about asking......we can't read your mind if you are wanting help and don't ask. Riding the FZ is a different animal on the track though, as it doesn't allow you to get really good body position because of the upright bars. It felt downright weird to me after spending all my trackday on a CBR600RR and then riding an "upright" bike on the track. It's not something you can't deal with, but just keep in mind you will not get the body positions that a sportbike will allow. Most coaches are aware that an upright bike is not going to do the same things on a track as a supersport, and any good coach will work with you based on the bike that you are on. Have fun and enjoy....oh, and get ready for the addiction to start as soon as you get a couple of sessions under your belt.
Can you give me an example of how the front suspensions were a limitation to you on the track? Was it due to the nose dive? I ask because I'm pretty content with the 2017 FZ 09 front suspensions, but I may just have to experience it for myself on the track to see what I need to work on next.

I will definitely get a pair of good street/track riding tires. Any suggestions?

If it helps any, I've got a woodcraft clip-on bar fitted on my FZ. It may help a bit, but I'm sure it will be nowhere close to supersport ergonomics.

Thank you, I will definitely try not to get too hooked. Seems like it can become an expensive addiction.
 

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Can you give me an example of how the front suspensions were a limitation to you on the track? Was it due to the nose dive? I ask because I'm pretty content with the 2017 FZ 09 front suspensions, but I may just have to experience it for myself on the track to see what I need to work on next.

I will definitely get a pair of good street/track riding tires. Any suggestions?

If it helps any, I've got a woodcraft clip-on bar fitted on my FZ. It may help a bit, but I'm sure it will be nowhere close to supersport ergonomics.

Thank you, I will definitely try not to get too hooked. Seems like it can become an expensive addiction.
The front end nose dive was awful, in stock form. I am a very late, very hard braker and generally trail brake all the way to the apex. The stock suspension simply did not allow for that. And remember, once you bottom the suspension out while on the brakes hard, you run the risk of sliding the front tire......which in my experience (only a couple of times) is never a good thing. Then, when you finally do get off the brakes and start to get back on the gas, the rebound compression is also very inadequate. Mix that in with the rear wanting to squat on power and you get a pogo stick under you coming out of the corners. The only real option for me that day was to just back off the pace and ride the bike more like a non trackbike.......which technically it was with stock suspension under it.

I ran a set of Q3's that day and they stuck pretty well for a mostly street tire. Seems like, if I remember correctly, I had the rear at 25 psi cold and the front at 27-28 cold pressure. The Q3 is a pretty good tire for a casual track rider, but I only got 2700 miles out of the rear with all street riding and one track day.....and actually, I didn't even run the FZ the whole day. I put about 4 sessions on it and then rode my 600RR track bike for the afternoon sessions.

The clip-ons will help you a bit getting your body position lower on the bike for sure. I never did change mine from the OEM bars, as I had no intention of riding the FZ on the track on a regular basis. In fact, that day at Road Atlanta was the only time it was on the track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The front end nose dive was awful, in stock form. I am a very late, very hard braker and generally trail brake all the way to the apex. The stock suspension simply did not allow for that. And remember, once you bottom the suspension out while on the brakes hard, you run the risk of sliding the front tire......which in my experience (only a couple of times) is never a good thing. Then, when you finally do get off the brakes and start to get back on the gas, the rebound compression is also very inadequate. Mix that in with the rear wanting to squat on power and you get a pogo stick under you coming out of the corners. The only real option for me that day was to just back off the pace and ride the bike more like a non trackbike.......which technically it was with stock suspension under it.

I ran a set of Q3's that day and they stuck pretty well for a mostly street tire. Seems like, if I remember correctly, I had the rear at 25 psi cold and the front at 27-28 cold pressure. The Q3 is a pretty good tire for a casual track rider, but I only got 2700 miles out of the rear with all street riding and one track day.....and actually, I didn't even run the FZ the whole day. I put about 4 sessions on it and then rode my 600RR track bike for the afternoon sessions.

The clip-ons will help you a bit getting your body position lower on the bike for sure. I never did change mine from the OEM bars, as I had no intention of riding the FZ on the track on a regular basis. In fact, that day at Road Atlanta was the only time it was on the track.
Oh okay I see. I wish I had the chance to ride a stock '14 09 to see the difference in stock forks. I guess I will try practice hard braking and see how bad the nose dives.

Thank you for the information on the tires. I've heard good things about the Q3s and most likely will choose them to upgrade to.

Thanks again for all the info!
 

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Oh okay I see. I wish I had the chance to ride a stock '14 09 to see the difference in stock forks. I guess I will try practice hard braking and see how bad the nose dives.

Thank you for the information on the tires. I've heard good things about the Q3s and most likely will choose them to upgrade to.

Thanks again for all the info!
You're welcome. I've not ridden the '17, so it may be quite a bit better than the '14 I have. I now have a Penske rear and new valving and springs in the front end....but it's still a street bike for me. I live in an area though that will challenge the suspension, so it's definitely NOT wasted money. 18 miles from Deals Gap and some of the finest roads on the East Coast.
 

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I think you've gotten some great advice, but I'll just hop in with some other tidbits:

Highly highly recommend a set of Q3+ if you plan to do at least a few track days a year. Huge improvement in grip & feel over the stock Bstones, PR4, and conti roadattack3 I've used at different times. They offer a good mix of track performance while giving decent mileage (they won't compare to a set of sport touring (e.g. PR4) in terms of longevity, but are about as good as it gets compared to more track focused options)

I struggled a lot with dragging pegs & toes. Highly recommend the aliexpress (or ebay/amazon now) CNC options. Only ~$100, lift your pegs, and move them back into a more sporty position. Depending on how tall you are, and if you ever have a pillion, I found that moving the pegs necessitated removing the passenger pegs & mounts to give me proper heel room

Woodcraft clipons, or at least the Hurricane fat swallow (or other more aggressive bar) bar is a great improvement. I found it almost impossible to feel dialed into corners with the high stock position

Get some protection on there (just in case). Axle/swingarm sliders, frame sliders, and ideally engine cases

And I don't want to beat a dead-horse here, but upgrading the suspension is immense. And not just for the track, it's great for the street as well. I've got matris internals up front and a matris spring out back
 

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I started doing track days on my 09 and now have 05 CBR600RR track bike. The suspension was one glaring issue, the handlebar is weird but manageable. Rearsets do help a lot, however, with correct body position, you will knee drag(knee as a feeler) only if you are taller than 5ft 9in. I am now accustomed with 09s more comfortable position over more aggressive trackbike.
 
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