Track Day Economics

Having decided that I wanted to do more track days in order to improve my riding skills, the question was how would I actually go about doing this.

I have a road bike that I use for daily commuting. While I could have used that on track I couldn’t really afford to have it off the road for any length of time following a track mishap.

That left three choices:

  1. Go to a race school where the bike is provided by the school
  2. Go on a track day and rent a 600 for the day
  3. Buy a bike specifically to use on track and do regular track days

Option 1
To spend a full day at Ron Haslam’s school involves buying two half day sessions costing £289 – that equates to £578 (US$ 920) for the day. The rental of leathers and the CBR600RR is included in the price and there is NO accident damage deposit required either. The day would total 6 hours of which 1.5 hours would be on track in 6 x 15 minute sessions.

The California Superbike School costs £399 for the day, plus £249 for the bike, plus £35 for the leathers if you need them which equates to £683 (US$ 1090). The school also requires a £1000 deposit for the bike hire – you get it all back if you don’t damage the bike.

On paper I think that Ron’s school looks better value for money compared to the California Superbike School.

If you wanted to do ten track days a year with Ron you’d be spending nearly £6,000 (US$ 9,600) and nearly £7,000 with California Superbike School plus any damage you caused to the rental bike!

Option 2
Many of the track day companies will rent you a 600cc bike for the day. Track days typically cost £99-149 and the bike rental is just under £300 with a £500 excess. You would need to have your own leathers as these are not normally available for rent.

Ten track days would cost less than £500 each plus any damage you caused to the rental bike. It’s probably best to assume that you’ll drop the bike once in ten track days although you may not cause any very serious damage to the bike. That’s realistically around £5,500 (US$ 8,800) for a summer season.

Option 3
Initially buying a track bike seems like a silly idea but if you buy the bike (well) in the winter and sell it before the summer ends (and you repair any damage it sustains), you could end up losing very little money on it for nearly 6 months use.

Ten track days would cost you £1,500 assuming £150 per day. You’d also have to factor in a new set of tyres and brakes – let call that another £300. That’s a total of £1,800. Also factor in depreciation on the bike itself; let’s say another £500 (assuming that you don’t totally destroy the bike on track).

With options 2 and 3, you also need to factor in the cost of instruction. Some track companies will give you one session with an instructor for free while others will hire you an instructor for £100-150 for the day, or typically £25 per session.

So taking advantage of the free instruction and one paid for session each track day adds another £25 per track day. That equates to another £250 for the ten track days.

The total cost for option three comes out at around £2,700 which appears to be the cheapest of the three options.

Summary
For a reasonable number of track days, it looks like buying a track bike and selling it at the end of the season is the most sensible way forward.

There’s another benefit to options 2 and 3 over option 1; you get to ride at different tracks rather than the same one all summer! (Since the schools are usually located at a single track).

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