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      04-02-2015, 07:49 PM   #1
TheAxiom
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Good beginner helmet and checklist?

Looking for a closed face helmet and need a quick checklist of things I would/should look at

Brake fluid?
Pad life?
Gas?
Tires?

What should I expect?

Thanks
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      04-03-2015, 12:22 PM   #2
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Check and see if the organization you're going with has rental helmets. Because it is not out of the realm of possibility that you may go once, and never go back. If that is the case, a $500 investment in helmet is a waste of money. Having hung around these forums, attended tons of events, rode passenger seat for nearly a decade now, I can tell you about 1/2 of the first timers never come back. I've seen this enough times, where people who are enthusiastic, into cars and speed, goes to the track ONCE, says they love it, but soon figure out it's not something they'd want to take their expensive cars, cars that they spent $$$ and time taking care of to. Especially if you happen to go with an organization that runs "loose."

When I first started, I actually just went to a few DEs and gotten rides. After the first ride-along I knew I was hooked. But even then, I went and borrowed a helmet from a friend and did a couple of events before I bought my first helmet (a Bieffe).

Now, if you're 100% certain that you will be hooked for good, there are still a couple of things you should consider. 1: Whatever helmet you buy now will be Snell SA or M 2010 helmet. That means they will technically "expire" in 2020, 5 years from now. So I don't know if you want to plan that far ahead, but Snell 2015 standards won't come out until October (Snell 2015 will expire in 2025). Who knows where we'll all be in 10 years, but if I'm shopping for a helmet NOW? I'd hold off until end of the year and either pick up Snell 2010 standards dirt cheap, or buy a Snell 2015 helmet so they'll last a little longer. Although none of my helmet has lasted more than 5 years for various reasons.

And after all that, if you're still intent on getting a helmet...Well, they're all personal preferences, really. Certain helmets fit certain shaped head better. You will never know until you try. I suggest you go to a local race shop and try on various helmets and pick one that is the most comfortable that fits within the rules set-forth by your organization. Because I can tell you HJCs are comfortable for me (they are), or Bells pinch the top corners of my head, or Arai's are freakishly expensive but fit my head like a glove...None of these will matter to you because most likely your head shape is different than mine and what works for me will likely NOT work for you.

As for your other question...If you've never been to the track before, you will be overwhelmed. Absolutely overwhelmed. There's so much visual, audio, and physical stimulant and information to process. None of that stuff will matter one lick. Heck the best time I've seen a first timer had, was a 18 year old kid in a beat up E30 325e with $40 Pepboy specials at Laguna Seca. Kid just showed up with a rental helmet and had a freakin' BLAST. By the end of the day he couldn't stop smiling. I mean he was a bit of a "natural" to start with, but he also showed up with a car that he didn't care that much about, had zero expectations, and wasn't worried about what tire pressure to set or what tire he was running or what sort of brakes he had on. He just came to have fun, and all that other information was slowly and eventually fed to him throughout the day as necessary.
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      04-03-2015, 12:28 PM   #3
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Thanks for the insight Hack!
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      04-08-2015, 12:09 AM   #4
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I'm heading into my fourth weekend (I'm still very new) with a 100 dollar motorcycle helmet I got from amazon that is snell rated. 12.50 per day, my own helmet, no balaclava, no other people's sweat, etc. From one beginner to another, I think that is the best route; my logic was even if I never did another event, it would look good in my man cave.
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      04-08-2015, 01:01 PM   #5
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Hey op if youre interested I have an extra bell m4 SA2010 helmet with hans anchors. Its a size small you can have it for 350. I will also throw in a free sparco head sock. All items are basically new and clean, I used the helmet for one race.
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      04-09-2015, 11:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianRex View Post
I'm heading into my fourth weekend (I'm still very new) with a 100 dollar motorcycle helmet I got from amazon that is snell rated. 12.50 per day, my own helmet, no balaclava, no other people's sweat, etc. From one beginner to another, I think that is the best route; my logic was even if I never did another event, it would look good in my man cave.
most of the clubs and events won't allow motorcycle helmet from my experience. they specifically ask for SA rated helmets instead. so check the rules to be sure.
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      04-09-2015, 12:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAxiom View Post
Looking for a closed face helmet and need a quick checklist of things I would/should look at

Brake fluid?
Pad life?
Gas?
Tires?

What should I expect?

Thanks
You need to try helmets. I have Bell and paid ~ 300. Nothing fancy, very comfortable and affordable.

There are two checklists: tech inspection and items to bring to the event.

Go visit any P or BMW CCA site and download their tech form. It will give you a pretty good idea what needs to be checked.

******

Items to bring:

Engine oil, brake fluid, spare pads (always!), spare tire if not replacing wheels on track, tire pump and air gauge, tools, fault code reader, blue painters tape, small canopy (not a must but nice), chair, nylon to cover parts if it rains or compactor bags, food and drinks, first aid kit. Having all items in 1 or 2 plastic bins helps to load/unload everything.

Summer type tire is almost a must for HPDE although you should be fine with a/s the first 1-3 events but your braking and handling will suffer due to squishy rubber.

******

Other:

1. You should have a plan to tow/transport your car if needed, i.e. AAA etc.

2. Knowing somebody at the event helps to get comfortable faster.

3. Wear a long sleeve cotton shirt, cover your body as much as you can, fire hazard is real. Last year my friend's front brakes on his pre-lci e90 m3 caught on fire in intermediate group. Fortunately somebody put it out quickly and no major damage occurred.

4. Ask instructor to drive your car first. I did this and my jaw dropped when I first experienced what the car is capable of. However, you may feel like you have no clue what driving is all about after this experience and that car is destroyed. :-)

5. Always inspect your car and tires thoroughly after each session to make sure nothing is falling apart and tires are defect free.

6. Leave ego locked in the house and have fun!


GL!!
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      04-09-2015, 01:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud9blue View Post
most of the clubs and events won't allow motorcycle helmet from my experience. they specifically ask for SA rated helmets instead. so check the rules to be sure.
That is true. I suppose this a good point in general: each club will have its own rules: I've only been with NJ and NY/Patroon Chapters of BMWCCA so my equipment rules are going to be specific to my experience with them and the states they run in: i.e., NJ requiring full face coverage.
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      04-09-2015, 03:42 PM   #9
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FWIW all I brought to my first track day was my helmet. Later a torque wrench became important. Later still spare tires (both directions), a quality jack (Brunnhoelzl), impact wrench and too many tools, etc. became necessary.

A small cooler with water and protein/trail-mix bars and Blue Ice is handy but not a necessity as the sponsoring club should be providing bottled water. Never have needed a canopy or chair, toolbox or tires is fine as you'll be in class or on the track or at lunch with little time to sit around.

HACK's dead right - first time is totally overwhelming in every respect. Bringing anything is just a distraction imo and anything you end up needing someone is sure to have and would be willing to share, just the way it is in the paddock.

Go slow and listen carefully to your instructor, it's infinitely more difficult to go fast than anyone ever believes. As an acquaintance said, "the corners are humbling". And he was driving a new M5.
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      04-11-2015, 01:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justpete View Post
FWIW all I brought to my first track day was my helmet. Later a torque wrench became important. Later still spare tires (both directions), a quality jack (Brunnhoelzl), impact wrench and too many tools, etc. became necessary.

A small cooler with water and protein/trail-mix bars and Blue Ice is handy but not a necessity as the sponsoring club should be providing bottled water. Never have needed a canopy or chair, toolbox or tires is fine as you'll be in class or on the track or at lunch with little time to sit around.

HACK's dead right - first time is totally overwhelming in every respect. Bringing anything is just a distraction imo and anything you end up needing someone is sure to have and would be willing to share, just the way it is in the paddock.

Go slow and listen carefully to your instructor, it's infinitely more difficult to go fast than anyone ever believes. As an acquaintance said, "the corners are humbling". And he was driving a new M5.
Canopy can be useful if you experience downpours at Watkins Glenn or if it is scorching outside and the track is closed due to an accident, spill or something else. I always have camping chair and tarp, and try to crash a party under somebody's canopy. So far it worked very well especially with the P club as people are so friendly and invite you immediately and just want to chill out and bs.
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      04-11-2015, 02:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth 330i View Post
Canopy can be useful if you experience downpours at Watkins Glenn or if it is scorching outside and the track is closed due to an accident, spill or something else. I always have camping chair and tarp, and try to crash a party under somebody's canopy. So far it worked very well especially with the P club as people are so friendly and invite you immediately and just want to chill out and bs.
Makes sense, thanks for clarifying. There are no buildings there you can go to for a/c or just to get out of the rain? Just asking cuz my experience with tracks is limited to only two and both are driving country clubs although you wouldn't know it to look at ECR but it and MSR have a clubhouse at least. If they didn't, yeah, that would drastically increase suckage in the heat and rain, no doubt.

So how to do you get a canopy to the track? With two wheels, jack, toolbox, cooler, nitrogen tank, brake bleeder kit, etc. there's no room for even a fold-up chair much less a canopy. Would need a trailer for that. I guess once the interior is gutted and the four point welded in it might be possible even with four R-Comps across the back but that fire system tank, lines, and pull cable really get in the way.
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      04-11-2015, 04:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justpete View Post
Makes sense, thanks for clarifying. There are no buildings there you can go to for a/c or just to get out of the rain? Just asking cuz my experience with tracks is limited to only two and both are driving country clubs although you wouldn't know it to look at ECR but it and MSR have a clubhouse at least. If they didn't, yeah, that would drastically increase suckage in the heat and rain, no doubt.

So how to do you get a canopy to the track? With two wheels, jack, toolbox, cooler, nitrogen tank, brake bleeder kit, etc. there's no room for even a fold-up chair much less a canopy. Would need a trailer for that. I guess once the interior is gutted and the four point welded in it might be possible even with four R-Comps across the back but that fire system tank, lines, and pull cable really get in the way.
Yes there are buildings but if you have all your stuff out including luggage on the last day you want to protect it. Some folks bring out a small grill also and some folks camp if there is a site. It is also nice to keep your cooler and gas in a shade which is not available everywhere. With seats folded you can fit a lot but in your case if you have close to race set-up (cage included) and fire protection etc. or track only car you need a trailer. Those are two different set-ups.
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      04-11-2015, 04:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth 330i View Post
Yes there are buildings but if you have all your stuff out including luggage on the last day you want to protect it. Some folks bring out a small grill also and some folks camp if there is a site. It is also nice to keep your cooler and gas in a shade which is not available everywhere. With seats folded you can fit a lot but in your case if you have close to race set-up (cage included) and fire protection etc. or track only car you need a trailer. Those are two different set-ups.
Luggage? For camping? Hadn't thought about camping, it's just not allowed at either available track here, unfortunately. Although I have seen RVs in place for one of the driving schools so maybe it depends on the org, dunno for sure. And there's no shade on the paddock here either although if you're early or lucky enough there's a covered paddock at ECR but I've not used it.

Everybody here leaves everything at their spot on the paddock when on the track and many show up the night before and set up only to leave it there and head for a hotel with minimum stuff to bring back in the morning. I've showed up early enough to have to unload with the car facing toward the grass to have enough light and then put a flashlight on top of the toolbox so I can have a target to back up to and more than half the paddock is full of others' equipment, cars, trailers, canopies, etc. but no toolboxes or none I recognized as such.

The back seats flip down and maybe a canopy could go on top of the wheels that sit on the back of the seats but I don't know if the car is wide enough inside to fit one, never thought about it. And yeah it's the fire system tank that's the biggest problem loading the trunk/back but it's doable. The toolbox is tall enough to barely fit in the trunk at all.

No cage yet but it would actually open up some volume in the rear seat area. A panel will be required to close off the opening to the trunk so that's going to be a pita in some respects. Would hate to resort to a small trailer to carry everything as that'd require a hitch. And it all started out _so_ easy...
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      04-30-2016, 07:44 PM   #14
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