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Last year and earlier this year, I wrote about two track days on the XCT:

1) Post http://www.victoryforums.com/35-victory-general-discussion/144362-non-sportbike-track-day.html , with sub-gallery Non-Sportbike Track Day, Aug. 2015

2) Post http://www.victoryforums.com/34-victory-cross-country-cross-roads/167634-may-non-sportbike-track-day-pics-vids.html , with sub-gallery Non-Sportbike Trackday, Loudon, NH, May 2016

Last Monday (and Sunday, getting there), however, I gave the XCT the day off. Instead, I borrowed a friend's 2008 Suzuki Burgman 650 Exec, for a track day at Palmer (MA) Motorsports Park.

I put up a sub-gallery today of that track day, descriptions, pics, and a couple videos:

Non-Sportbike Track Day, Palmer, MA, 08-22-2016

Okay, this doesn't have much to do with anything Victory. But, hey, PaiN texted me that day, asking if I could come out and play, and at least he was interested in what I was doing. And Gordon (from MA) was there, again -- he was at the Loudon track day -- on his blue XCT. And I saw a couple of other Vics, too.

I did post on a Burgman forum, too, so there's that. If you're not interested, move along, nothing to see here.

 

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one of the local colleges has a track behind it. Its only 1 mile and twice a month the sport bike guys rent it. They lets us Victory riders run it as a group for $65 bucks each. Not bad we ride all day. The smart sport bikes guys will come out and give pointers. A good day
 

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Discussion Starter #3
one of the local colleges has a track behind it. Its only 1 mile and twice a month the sport bike guys rent it. They lets us Victory riders run it as a group for $65 bucks each. Not bad we ride all day. The smart sport bikes guys will come out and give pointers. A good day
VJ: Sounds like a win-win situation. Tony's days are a little more formal (track and classroom time), more expensive, and possibly safer (two ambulances, no waiting). But for your play time, and probably self-improvement, sounds like you have a good deal going.
 

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How's that Burgman go on the track compared to your CCT?

I'm on & off the fence about doing a track day with my XC....If I go on the track I want to do it a sport bike of some kind.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
How's that Burgman go on the track compared to your CCT?

I'm on & off the fence about doing a track day with my XC....If I go on the track I want to do it a sport bike of some kind.
Well, keep in mind that this was a "Non-Sportbike" day that Tony's puts on, one of two per year lately. If you want to run with the sportbike crowd -- and that's STILL not a racing affair -- yeah, you need a sportbike. For those days, the bike prep may be more involved than just taping over glass. And unacceptable in my case would be the need for a chiropractor at the end of the day; recall that I rode a Yamaha R3 -- a pure sportbike, even if it only had 300cc -- as part of a demo fleet earlier this year, for maybe half an hour, and I was shot for days. And by the end of the day, on any bike, if you've been pushing it, you're really tired; my arms were sore for a couple of days.

In short, you may be looking at this the wrong way. If you want to do club racing, than it's racing you're after. This, OTOH, is for skills improvement. While, yeah, you can improve your skills using a lot of bikes, IMHO it's best done with your own bike, because that's what you'll be riding when a decreasing radius turn sneaks up on you. And that's why, in the two prior Non-Sportbike days I participated in, I did not take off the trunk, and I didn't even remove my tools, electric air pump, etc., etc.

(I hadn't ridden a Burger in four years, until two days before, but for a while I've wanted to see how it could really handle in a closed environment. And I may be buying it from Ken, so this wasn't a complete departure from riding on track what you're riding on the street.)

The Burgman was definitely more fun for me than the Vic on this, my third track day. But you have to keep in mind the tracks. All three of these -- first Thompson, then Loudon, and now Palmer, have pretty short straights. At Thompson, I was able to get the Vic up to right around 100mph before braking; at Loudon, it was around 90. At Palmer, it was also around 90 for the Big Burger, and I think the Vic would've done about the same.

But Palmer was the twistiest of the three. And the Burger can outhandle the Vic in that situation. The Burger has good ground clearance -- I think a tad more than the XCT. And it has a shorter wheelbase, and smaller tires (14" rear, 15" front). So it can almost turn on a dime, and that was very useful here.

Also, without having to worry about shifting -- it's a twist-and-go scooter, remember -- the last couple of sessions I could really concentrate on two aspects I wanted to work on: trail braking (braking while leaned over, before the apex), and throttle/brake overlap (for smooth chassis transitions, getting on the brakes and then getting off the brakes). If I had to worry about shifting, too, I wouldn't have been able to give my sole attention to those aspects of skill-improvement work.

Speaking of shifting, on a non-scooter, you pretty much just use 1 - 3, and only use 4th gear on a single straight, if at all. Much of these tracks you can just leave the bike in 2nd for a long time, so it's almost like riding a scooter.

Bottom line here: the Burger is more like a sportbike for handling than the Vic, especially at this tight track. And if you want to ride a real sportbike, that's a whole different thing, and you can do that almost every week with Tony's or other outfits. You might want to talk with Ken, who was in another group last week. He had his RT up to 120 on the short straight, had it set in Sport suspension mode, and was moving right along. That thing -- with about the same HP and torque as the Vic, but with half the weight -- is more like a sportbike than your Vic, my Vic, or the scooter.

But all in all, I was most pleased with the Burger at Palmer, and would probably use it again, instead of the XCT, if they do Palmer again next year. At the other tracks, not so sure; they weren't as gnarly, and Thompson is pretty flat, too, which makes that track not as difficult to do on the XCT (e.g., I could drag a floorboard at the start of a turn, leave the bike in that lean, and drag it all the way around a curve -- which wouldn't have been the case with hilly, twisty, Palmer).

[Edit: for those keeping score at home, and who may not be familiar with this Burgman (Suzuki also makes smaller models), this is a 638cc, water-cooled parallel twin, with DOHC, four valves per cylinder, and a steel lattice frame under a bunch of tupperware. Put another way, it's not your grandmother's Vespa. I had a 2007 version up to a straight-line GPS-indicated 101mph a couple of times, which is the same radar-gun speed that Motorcycle Consumer News reported when it first tested these (back in 2004, as I recall). It could go like stink, except that it weighs 610lb.]
 
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