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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 335 > TRACK TOYS

TRACK TOYS

A track bike is for life, not just for Christmas, but there really is no better time to treat yourself to a new toy.

31@TRACKDAY BIKES

BOOTH IMAGES:GARY BAILEY/ PICMAN

Tons of you out there will have done a trackday and thought there’s no greater thrill than jumping on your pride-and-joy road bike and flying around the likes of Brands Hatch or Silverstone at whatever speed you want/can.

You would be nearly right; there is one thing that’s better and that’s flying around any of this fine isle’s multitude of circuits on something that doesn’t have thousands of pounds worth of lights, mirrors, bodywork, paint, pillion pegs and all that malarkey to worry about. If anything is going to detract from the fun to be had on the circuit it’s the thought of taking home your beautiful road bike in numerous boxes or bin bags, because bin bags aren’t cheap you know (not if you’re investing in the decent ones), and nor are new bike parts. Joking aside, we’re massive trackday advocates and we know first-hand the benefits of owning a purpose equipped track weapon – which can be had in all shapes, sizes and prices.

A track bike has never been so easy to buy and there are so many available that should you set out to find one you will soon discover that you are spoiled for choice. Better still, buying one in these bleak winter months is likely to save you hundreds, even thousands of pounds as people are looking to upgrade for the new season, or flog theirs to fund this year’s Christmas prezzies. It’s a merciless world that we live in, but you may as well take advantage of that. To give you some idea of the ready-made track bikes on the market right now, we’ve cobbled together a bunch of our very own track hacks. In the red corner is my old man’s Aprilia RS250, which is cool if you like smelling of two-stroke and performing regular repairs.

In the other red corner is my mate Clive’s Suzuki SV650, which is great for trackday novices and those with ambitions to start racing. In another corner (pick a colour) is my old British Superstock Kawasaki ZX-10R, and last but not least is young Brod’s (Dangerous Bruce’s brother’s) Triumph Daytona 675R.

Among this select mix there’s something for everyone, and better still nothing here’s going to set you back more than £7,000. That’s about a month’s wage for me…

CORE TEST

It’s not big, but it is clever.

APRILIA RS250 Two-stroke tomfoolery

These days the only two-stroke you’re likely to see (or hear) is your wife’s chainsaw… or the kid next door’s remote control car. I’m sure I speak for many others out there when I say that it saddens me to think that such an important technology is all but redundant in today’s motorcycling world.

Be that as it may, there are still a fair few good examples of recent(ish) two-strokes out there, and not all of them will require you to re-mortgage your house to own one. Take my dad’s Aprilia RS250 for example; it set him back £4,000 and it’s in pretty decent nick. I say decent-ish because it’s not a minter, and the truth is that it’s a thoroughbred two-stroke, which means it craves more maintenance than a needy missus. Funnily enough, this little outing at Cadwell Park was no exception to the rule, as the carbs needed stripping before it was running properly. Still, my dad was in his element, whipping the spanners out and getting stuck in.

Fettling finished, the actual riding proved even more satisfying than the fixing. Weighing in at only 138kg it was the lightest bike on test by a good chunk, with its agility consequently knowing no bounds. Cadwell Park’s one of the windiest tracks in the country, and it’s on such technical circuits that the Aprilia really comes into its own. In reality, on the right day with the right rider and a fistful of ear-piercing revs, this little whippet would show-up the majority of trackday riders. And that latter point is the real linchpin to mastering decent lap times; this featherweight fancy demands being screamed to high heaven, which takes some getting used to if you’re more used to doing battle on torquerife four-strokes. I’ve raced this bike, so I knew that was always going to be the case, readily anticipating the thing being flatter than a fart at anything under 10,000rpm.

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About Fast Bikes

In this month's issue of Fast Bikes .... - Bike hacking secrets - unlock your ride's hidden potential - The best bits of 2017 - road, tracks, kit and bikes rated - Track toys buy now play later - Retro Renegades old school's cool, but does it still rule? - Can small capacity equal big fun? - Know your brake lines - BMW K1200S Buyer's guide - Racing rules: make or break - Project TZR grand finale - Rocket RON interview
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