Thinking Of Buying A Trackbike? Read On.....

Discussion in 'Trackdays' started by CastrolCraig, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. CastrolCraig

    CastrolCraig Active Member

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    Ive seen a lot of interest this last few weeks in Trackdays and Trackbikes as a whole, and although i dont know everything, ive been through the worst of what buying a Track bike can do, so i thought id pass on what ive been told by various Insurance, Legal & Police personell.

    Part 1.. Legality.

    Firstly, and mainly, is the legality of the bike your buying, now this is fine and dandy if your buying a road bike with v5 to turn into your track hack, but it gets murky, very very murky......

    Firstly is the issue of salvage bikes, and mainly the categorys in which they fall into.

    The Association Of British Insurers and Motor Insurance Bureau have a set of guidlines that all motor insurers and there subsiduarys have to abide by, the penalties for breaching these rules are financial rather than Criminal, but serious nonethesame.

    The following is taken directly from the guidlines.

    The Association of British Insurers' Salvage Category Guidelines


    When an insurance company disposes of a vehicle instead of returning it to the policy holder, it is assigned a salvage category. This may either be 'A', 'B', 'C' or 'D'. In some instances, a vehicle may not be given a category, designated as 'not recorded' or 'Category X'. The different categories are explained below.

    Category 'A'
    SCRAP only e.g. total burn outs. These vehicles must be crushed and no parts can be salvaged.



    Category 'B'
    BREAK only. Parts can be salvaged from these vehicles but the body shell, or frame in the case of motorbikes, must be destroyed
    NB. MIB Registered Insurance & Salvage Agents can only sell category 'B' vehicles to customers possessing the relevant ELV & Salvage license



    Category 'C'
    Repairable, but the insurance company-estimated repair costs exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value. This is likely because the insurer is obliged to use new manufacturer-supplied parts and high-cost labour.

    Before a log book (V5) will be issued for one of these vehicles, a vehicle identity check (VIC) must be carried out. Currently, approximately 1 in 3 Cat 'C' vehicles requires a VIC. The remaining 2/3 will have log books issued upon application.


    Contained within these rules is a problem some less than honest breakers & insurance agents are making huge issues for the TD & Race community.

    If a bike is cat B, going by the rules its frame should be destroyed, the engine and all ancilleries can be sold but the bikes frame & original identity destroyed and the headstock chopped from the frame, however as most salvage agents are not doing this the bikes are finding there way onto the market, now not only is this illegal, but dangerous, the bike has been deemed structually unsafe and therefore should no longer exist, instead some unscrupulous salvage agents are selling them to people who then pass them on as track bikes.

    However, starting this year, the police are massively cracking down on this, as it can be used as a cover for ringing stolen bikes, at Brand Hatch earlier in the year at the First BEMSEE meeting the police closed the gates and inspected every single bike, eventually taking away some 20 suspicious bikes, many of which were bought in good faith!

    If the police find you have a category B motorcycle they have the power to seize it as

    A. the bike should no longer exist

    B. the bike is the legal property of the Insurance company who's books it passed through.

    This isnt hearsay or information thats been passed to me by other people, its information from a top insurance executive, a CID police inspector and my solicitor when i was unfortunately caught up in this very situation.

    So my basic guidlines for you to go on when buying a Track / Racebike

    Always try to buy with V5, check the number match, if you can, visit your local dealer of the manufacturer of the bike your looking at, and ask them if its ok to take a picture of the OE Frame/Engine number stamping style of that particular firm, all firms have unique lettering & number styles that are easily recogniseable, this will enable you to check the frame & engine numbers are legitimate.

    Dont rely on HPI, it takes around 3 months for a vehicle to appear on the register, if scallywag salvage sell you a written off bike in track trim 2 weeks afte rbeing written off, you wont know it until you go to sell on or the police come knocking.

    Take a trusted mate with you, its always good to have a second pair of eyes to notice something dodgy or faulty.

    Frame numbers should be intact & untampered with, if you see an advert on ebay stating that numbers removed or v5 unavailable, its more than likely a dodgy cat b or stolen and its identity removed.

    There are rare occasions where a bike is found with NO frame numbers, this is more than likely an ex racebike, but is easy to spot if its a stolen or written off frame as you can tell when a number has been ground away, if your in doubt take some acetate and a cloth, and wipe around the headstock area, if its been tampered with the paint will come clean off revealing the dodgy dealings. All blank frame racebikes are also sold with a certificate of comformity for any future V5apllication, so if they havent got this, walk away!

    Lastly Engine Numbers.

    Engines are not sold without numbers by ANY motorcycle manufacturer, so if it hasnt got one its because its been removed, there is no legal reason to do this as even cat b engines retain there numbers. if it hasnt got engine numbers, run away, and ring the old bill to boot, thats probably someones old pride & joy sat there in scally centrals backstreet lock up.

    Part 2... Checking The Bike.

    Once you have established that the bike is legit, you are then faced with the task of checking it over.

    If its already a track or race bike, its more than likely been ridden as intended, and therefore should be looked after as intended. these are my major points to check..

    Tyres
    Brake Pads
    Service History
    Engine History, has it been refreshed most Race or trackbikes should have a refresh at least once every 2 years, more often for some makes and/or usage
    Chassis condition, check for damage, obvious signs of heavy impact etc, 9/10 bikes with frame covers on them have this to hide damage.
    Check all consumables, its been used hard, so headstock, wheel & pivot point bearings are prone to excessive wear.
    When checking it over, treat it like a road bike, you can remind yourself later on that its a track/race bike and some marks are to be expected.

    Part 3.. Modifications & Extras.

    With most track & racebikes, there is bound to be extras, quite often suspension, bodywork etc, sometimes they go a bit deeper, race wiring looms, wheel changes, subframes etc, maybe even engine work.

    Pretty much every supplier of parts & modifications done will/should provide a recepit for work done, ask for these, the last tjing you want is your supposed kit subframe to snap after turning out to be nothing more than a scallyspeed modified sub standard bodge job standard item.

    Be careful of engine work, especially for the regular Trackday bod, serious engine work will increase your running costs AND lead to more regular work, ie Engine Rereshes.

    A lot of used track or race bikes will often be advertised as having suspension from so and so fitted, take time to read up on this, have a look at the suspension manufacturers website, look at pictures on site, see if it tallys up to the bike your looking at, the last thing you need is it advertised with the latest all singing all dancing suspension on it yet all it be is a sticker on the fork leg or shock!

    Lastly, common sense, more often than not, if its too good to be true, it is so, never rush into buying something, the last thing you want is to end up like some (including me!) being hauled to the cop shop for handling stolen goods, lose all your hard erned pennys and feel like an idiot.

    I have attatched some links below for reference for you guys to use, i hope its of some help

    Insurance categorys

    GT Salvage UK - Insurance Salvage Vehicles

    Suspension Advice

    K-Tech Suspension, road race and offroad motorcyle suspension

    Engine advice

    Welcome to FW Developments

    Advice in general..

    racespares.co.uk

    There are many other people willing to help & advise, and if anyone needs recomendations, feel free to ask via PM or on this thread.

    Cheers for reading, and good luck if your buying a Track or Race Bike, its a slippery & addictive slope your on!

    Craig
     
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  2. Benn The Pig

    Benn The Pig Well-Known Member

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    Cracking read Craig very helpful indeed, one question I hear engine refresh bounded round a lot, what does a "refresh" entail and cost???
     
  3. CastrolCraig

    CastrolCraig Active Member

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    Varys on bike & state of tune, something like a superbike will require more work more often than a basic Track/race bike, ie a superstock bike should need little work unless its not been looked after, ive seen refreshes vary from 700 quid (basic check over, new rings, valve stem seals & cam chain) to 6k plus for a superbike motor.
     
  4. Remal

    Remal It's ME
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    Interesting on the HPi

    And one of the reasons why I would like to buy a road bike and put it into a track bike. I wold know it's history and the mods are added by me for me
     
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  5. Givover

    Givover God Like

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    Thank you for your time and effort on this subject.
     
  6. dan.1moore1

    dan.1moore1 Senior Member

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    Awesome thread !!
     
  7. CastrolCraig

    CastrolCraig Active Member

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    I just hope it helps some folk.

    Matt, your sig, iirc its shakey byrne in his journo days isnt it?
     
  8. dan.1moore1

    dan.1moore1 Senior Member

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    Bloody hell,,, he clipped the wing mirror lol
     
  9. kpone

    kpone Moderator
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    That's brilliant. Even with no ambition to build a track bike the information in here is fascinating.

    Cheers Craig.
     
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  10. Shameless

    Shameless Active Member

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    Good thread, my mate totalled his R1 at Snetterton just over a year ago, needs a new frame and couldnt get one with a V5, so bought one from an on line breakers with no V5, is there a register of frame numbers you can check against?
     
  11. Benn The Pig

    Benn The Pig Well-Known Member

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    See I think £700 is a lot of money do drop on a refresh on top of all the other expense, do all track bikes need them, is servicing not enough the same as my road bike???
     
  12. CastrolCraig

    CastrolCraig Active Member

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    Its all about the person you use and the parts you need, a basic refresh for a road based motor will be around 700 from anyone reputable, last one i had done on the zx10r was nigh on 1450 quid. that was for a new gearbox, and basically an entire top end rebuild.

    It all comes down to what parts you need, hours taken & the biggy is splitting cases, if it needs cases splitting your talking big bill.

    People like JT's, FW etc are 70-80 per hour so labour is the majority of it.

    As for how often, varys, ducatis need more attention, naturally, Hondas are generally ok, a superstock motor would be once a race season, so maybe every 2 TD seasons, depending on usage. all engines are different, thats where the folks at FW, JT's, BSD etc would come in.
     
  13. Benn The Pig

    Benn The Pig Well-Known Member

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    I suppose I wouldnt be running it hard enough to need it refreshing!!!
     
  14. yorkshiregooner

    yorkshiregooner Active Member

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    Putting a Cat B motorcycle on the track is not a crimnal offence, the police have no powers to seize the bike.
    Not all insurance companies want the bikes headstock but ALL require a COD(Certificate of destruction).
    *
     
  15. wedgiewolves#223

    wedgiewolves#223 God Like

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    It's not illegal to run a cat b bike buddy as Yorkshire gooner said all is required is a COD for the said registration so it does not find it's way back on the roads . I've just sold a cat b bike that will be running in the IOM this year
     
  16. Mad Matt

    Mad Matt Absolutely Bonkers Mad...

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    Great read.....
     
  17. m3gsxr

    m3gsxr New Member

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    A lot of time went it to that, really informative.
     
  18. graemewalker

    graemewalker Elite Member

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    Wedgie who wil that be for in iom
     

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