October 23 2009 by Jason Fogelson
You've spent some time on that new motorcycle. You took the Rider's Edge New Rider Course. Then you spent some more time on your scoot. You took the Rider's Edge Experienced Rider Course. And then you rode some more.
Now, you're looking for a new challenge, a new way to build your skills.
Maybe it's time for Track School.
The best riders on the road have usually had some training and experience on the track. Time on a racetrack is the safest, quickest way to build riding skills, and it's actually much more accessible and affordable than you might imagine.
The first step is to find a good track school where you can get good classroom and practical instruction from qualified teachers. Most track schools are moveable affairs, setting up class at local tracks for a few days, then moving on to other locations. Depending on where you live, you could actually have access to several different track schools throughout the year at locations within hours of your home.
Some schools have dedicated track bikes available to rent as part of their instruction package. Other schools require that you bring a track-ready bike with you, and you ride your own in classes. A rental situation is great if you want an introduction to the track, but you aren't sure if you're going to love it or have time to pursue it. Bringing your own bike can save you some money, and can also give you the opportunity to directly transfer the skills that you pick up on the track to the street without relearning the interface - your bike. If you choose to bring or ride your own bike to use on the track, be sure to check with the track school in advance to find out how your bike needs to be prepared for use. Track use often requires additional safety wire, turn signal and mirror glass removal, and other safety measures that ensure that your bike doesn't create a hazard to you or other bikes in the event of a lay-down.
You're probably also going to need full leathers for the school. A good set of leathers or a textile riding suit will start at around $600 to buy, and can go up significantly from there depending on features. Most track schools have riding suits available for rental with their bikes, probably a better idea for your first track school.
A one-day track school can cost as little as $375 if you bring your own bike and wear your own gear. Most schools run two days, and cost around $2,000. All in all, track school can be a great investment in your riding skills.
No article on track schools would be complete without a list of a few schools, and links to their websites. So, here we go:
California Superbike School
CLASS Motorcycle Schools
Cornerspeed Motorcycle Roadcourse Instruction
Doug Polen's 1ON1 Riders School
Ed Bargy Racing School
Kevin Schwantz School
Penguin Racing School