Trackdays are one of the best ways to experience the true performance potential of your motorcycle in a safe environment. For that exact reason, new and experienced riders alike are coming to trackdays in record numbers, and that's the reason behind this is list. Here are a few things you can do in order to prepare your bike and gear for that first trackday.

Whether you have a brand-new bike or plan on dusting the cobwebs off that relic in the far corner of the garage, you will need to come to the track with a motorcycle that is track worthy. Every trackday starts off with a tech inspection to make sure your ride is in good running order, and this is the minimum you need to be prepared. You must have a properly adjusted chain, the controls must be routed so they do not interfere with the movement of the handlebars, there can be no leaking fluids at all, no loose bodywork, and all lights and mirrors must be covered in tape. Your riding gear must be in good condition as well. The suit, boots, and gloves cannot be in tatters, and your helmet must be a current design with a Snell rating and no visual impact damage from crashes or being dropped.

Bike Prep

As we mentioned above, you will need to go through your motorcycle and make sure everything is in good working order from the controls to the tires. A good way to start is by spending time inspecting your machine closely while you wash it from tip to tail.

Driven Racing Standard Clip-Ons
Driven Racing Standard Clip-Ons
All cables and controls need to work without hitting the tank or bodywork when you swing the bars from lock to lock.Driven Racing

The throttle should operate freely with the bars in all directions. Make sure your levers and switches don’t hit the upper when the bars are moved into the forward position. This can sometimes occur after you replace OEM bodywork with race bodywork, rebuild a wrecked bike, or simply by adding aftermarket bars, levers, and other equipment to your machine.

RK 520 Steel Chain/Sprocket Kit
RK 520 Steel Chain/Sprocket Kit
The chain should be clean, lubed, and adjusted correctly as well.RK

An old cruddy chain will not be allowed on any track, so if you have an older bike, make sure the chain is in good shape, and if it is not, this is the time to replace both the chain and sprockets. There are a multitude of chain-care products available including the chain scrubber brush, chain lube, and other tools of the trade.

Motorcycle Complete Fairing Bolts Screws Fasteners Kit
Motorcycle Complete Fairing Bolts Screws Fasteners Kit
The bodywork cannot be loose or mangled to the point where it even appears to be unsafe so make sure all the fasteners are tight, replace any missing ones and if you have jury-rigged parts, make sure the repairs are done well or you may lose time making adjustments.SMT-MOTO

Tape Your Lights

All of your lights and mirrors need to be covered. You can save a lot of headache by doing this at home before you get to the track.

Gaffers Tape
Gaffers Tape
Over the years we have learned a few tricks to make this less painless too.TapePlus

If you can easily disconnect your rear brake light, do it now. Use gaffer's tape or painter's tape to cover the lenses of your headlights, taillights, and blinkers and the reflective surface of your mirrors if you cannot take them off all together.

You can make your tape job look nice and tidy by first laying large, full strips across as much of the surface as possible. Take care to follow the lines of the lenses so you don’t have to use extra layers of tape to cover everything up. Use an X-Acto knife to carefully trim the edges of the tape job so your bike looks good in photos too. We choose these types of tape because they do not leave sticky residue on your precious parts. Go ahead and use duct tape if you want to spend hours cleaning that stuff off your bike, or just trust us and get the good stuff.

Vinyl sticker/decal Red, square font, race number 5
Vinyl sticker/decal Red, square font, race number 5
Every trackday has an on-site photographer too, so if you can place some contrasting 4- to 6-inch numbers on your front cowling like a number plate, it will be easier to identify yourself in the images.Graphic Effects

Tires

If you have old rubber, get new tires before you go to the track. This is the single best performance improvement you can do to your motorcycle. Tires must be in good condition, not cracked, bald, or shagged take-offs, so plan accordingly and don’t skimp here.

Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa SP V2 Tire
Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa SP V2 Tire
Now is the time to justify getting a new set and one of our favorite trackday tires are the Pirelli Supercorsa but there are many other good tires out there.Pirelli

Tire Selection: Not everyone needs a set of slicks to have a good day at the track. In fact, most modern sportbikes come equipped with pretty good rubber right off the showroom floor. But the problem is that after a couple of years the tires are not as effective as they were when they were new. So, rather than risk tossing your bike, we recommend you get some new sticky buns because it will make the experience that much better.

Most trackdays have an official tire supplier so you can always pick up a new set at the track. It will cost you some time, so if you are not proficient at making tire swaps, just pay them to do the whole job unless you get it done in advance.

Motion Pro 08-0402 2.5" Tire Pressure Gauge
Motion Pro 08-0402 2.5" Tire Pressure Gauge
Each trackday provider will have some idea of what tire pressures they recommend for the tracks they attend, but as a general rule you want 40-to-42 psi front and rear so bring your own gauge. Make sure to double-check the pressure before you head out on track for your first session.Motion Pro

Riding Suit, Boots, Gloves

Your riding gear needs attention too. If you have old gear, you might not pass tech inspection, so be sure it isn’t haggard and leave yourself a budget to replace your stuff if it is.

Alpinestars Motegi V2
Alpinestars Motegi V2
In almost all cases a trackday provider will only let you on the track with a leather suit.Alpinestars

There are some exceptions so check your provider if you do not have a one-piece leather suit. You can wear a two-piece suit in most cases but again, double-check with your trackday provider and don't make any assumptions. Many of us have to get into this sport on a budget or we might even use borrowed gear to get to our first day. If the gear you have is used or has been through a crash, make sure to inspect the crash area closely. If the road rash has compromised the seams or the leather panels, you might not want to trust it to protect you in a crash.

Alpinestars GP Tech Men's Leather Street Bike Racing Motorcycle Gloves
Alpinestars GP Tech Men's Leather Street Bike Racing Motorcycle Gloves
The same goes for your boots and gloves. Nice shiny stuff is best but we understand that not everyone can afford brand-new gear. I have always found that Alpinestars produces excellent track gear but it is not always cheap.Alpinestars

Helmet

Your helmet needs to be Snell, ANSI, or equivalent rating so check with your trackday provider if you have a weird brand. All helmets have a shelf life of roughly six or seven years, sometimes less according to certain manufacturers.

Shoei RF-1200 Parameter Sports Bike Racing Motorcycle Helmet
Shoei RF-1200 Parameter Sports Bike Racing Motorcycle Helmet
For your sake, make sure you have a current lid like the Shoei RF-1200 or similar style.Shoei

You will likely want to have a tinted or smoked visor for your helmet. Since trackdays occur when the sun is out, there is a real need to shade your eyes from the blazing sun. It's a good idea to bring both a clear and tinted visor with you though as some tracks have features, hills, and bridges that might cause you issues. It's always a good idea to have options, especially when it comes to visors.

Little Stuff

You should always wear earplugs when you ride a motorcycle but we know many folks who simply refuse to do it. At the track, you are exposed to extended time with your engine howling over 10,000 rpm and the beautiful exhaust note can leave your ears ringing as a result. So too can wind blast when you're tucked in at 150 mph down a straightaway.

Radians Custom Molded Earplugs
Radians Custom Molded Earplugs
Trust this nugget of wisdom: You will be glad you took steps to prevent hearing loss later on in life.Radians

We recently provided a "Trackday Essentials" article that details some of the things we always bring to the track in order to make sure we have a great day that goes smoothly. Make sure to check that out as well.

We understand that it is impossible to cover all angles and every topic of trackday bike and gear preparation, but we hope this gives you a guide or checklist, especially for new trackday riders. As always, we encourage veteran riders to contribute your two cents’ worth in the comments below. Until next time, ride safe and have fun.