Hire your track fun

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The idea of hammering round a track all day, pushing yourself, and the bike, to limits you wouldn’t dare reach on the road, can be very appealing. But the thought of totalling your road bike can put many people off.

What’s needed is a way to get out on track without that risk, but buying a track bike is quite a big investment for the occasional track day. But a look through the back of MCN reveals several companies that will hire out ready prepared track bikes for exactly these situations.

We contacted two companies to see exactly what you get when you book one of their bikes and whether it is worth the money.

We arranged to meet with Hawk track bike hire and Paul Russo’s Track Bike Hire at Cadwell Park where motorcyclenews.com’s used bikes editor Angus Farquhar and MCN road tester Adam Child would use the two bikes for one of MCN’s track days. Child knows Cadwell like the back of his hand and has been riding there for years but Farquhar is a novice track rider with only a few track days under his belt.

Both teams had already arrived and set up the bikes when we arrived for the 9am safety briefing with the bikes sat in the paddock on stands just waiting for us to ride.

Hawk offer a number of different bikes, from Aprilia RS250s to full blown TT prepared Honda VTR1000s. But for the Cadwell session owner Keith had put us on a 1998 Honda CBR600, which is one of his most popular bikes. The bike has had basic track preparation including race can, Dynojet kit and air filter as well as race bodywork and an ignition advancer to sort out the throttle response.

Paul Russo had brought along a fleet of Yamaha R6s of varying ages and already had several other riders booked to take out his bikes. Like the Hawk bikes these had also been fettled, with the yokes dropped down the forks to speed up the steering, a steering damper and rear-set footpegs fitted as well as an end can and PowerCommander.

The most immediate difference when you hire a track bike, rather than bringing your own, is the service you get. Keith from Hawk summed it up best: “A lot of our riders are track novices and we want to make it a special event for them. We try and let them know what it is like to have a pit crew look after the bike and them.”

Farquhar favoured the R6 with it’s easier ride and more solid, confidence inspiring handling while Child went for the CBR600, preferring the raw edge of the tunned engine and it’s ability to do exactly what he wanted it too. Child even commented that it was a bike that he wouldn’t mind racing.

Child and Farquhar both came away impressed with the service offered by the two companies and couldn’t find fault with either. Child said: “I went to Cadwell expecting to just be given a bike and left to do my own thing but the service these guys offer around the bikes is really impressive, I’d definitely do it again.”

Farquhar added: “Not only did they provide some really good bikes but they were really helpful throughout the day and it really did make you feel like you had a pit crew.”

Both companies offer hire packages from £180, including the bike and the cost of the fuel and super sticky tyres for the day, which, depending how hard you work the bike, could almost offset the cost of the day.

Other options include tyre warmers, slicks and wet tyres for when it rains, all changed for you.

A look through the back of MCN reveals plenty of track day’s still on offer so if your looking for a way to enjoy some track time without the worry of using your own bike then renting a track bike is the perfect option – excellent value for money and a very enjoyable experience.

Hawk Track bike hire – 01325-281591

Paul Russo track bike hire – 07712-815827

And they did. The bike was always ready for the start of each session and the optional tyre warmers had the tyres nice and hot for the track. At the end of each session they were waiting to take the bike off your hands and exchange it for a much needed cold drink and plenty of encouragement.

And both teams were always willing to make changes to the bike to suit the rider and make the track time more productive. Paul Russo always sets up his bikes depending on the experience of the rider; with novice riders getting an easier to ride bike and more experienced riders pushed more towards a racing setup. Suspension adjustments were also made throughout the day to tie up with what the rider reports back about the bike.

Hawk prefer to offer novice and advanced riders different bikes with Farquhar taking out the basic CBR while Child was let loose on another CBR that had a lot more engine work done on it and had also been geared specifically for the circuit giving it the perfect amount of power for the undulating track. He was very impressed.

Both riders enjoyed riding the bikes but their opinions differed on the favourite.

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff