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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
not grom specific, but groms do get to race in this! some setup required, but it's basically minutes to take a street grom to a track grom (pull the headlight, unplug the tail, remove the undertail). To make a grom good, bars, rearsets, tires and suspension, and you're hauling!

Getting Started With MiniGP
Since I keep answering the same questions over and over on all the forums, I wanted to give a shot at writing a nice big wall-o-text that should cover everything. Comments welcome.

What is it?
A race/trackday hobby where you ride small motorcycles, on small tracks. Anything from a crf50 to a fire-breathing 60+hp supermoto, running around gocart tracks.

Why would I bother?
It’s cheap (infinitely cheaper than big track). It’s the best two-wheeled training you can find. It’s likely THE safest thing you can do on two wheels (other than sitting on it making vroom vroom noises). It’s racing. It’s an awesome community filled with people who are always ready to help.

Costs: The costs are minimal compared to big track (though, as with everything, you can go wild if you so choose). A track day or race day is less than $100. A ready-to-go bike can be had for <$1500. A set of tires lasts you over a season. Most crashes don’t hurt the bikes (most of the time, occasionally you may need a lever or something). If you want to though, you can build a $15k minigp bike. Not sure why you would, but you could… But a maxed-out crf150r or kx65 is still going to be cheaper to build and run than a race-spec r6.

Education: Carting tracks are very technical, with lots of tight corners. Almost everyone understands the benefits of riding on a track (you get to do the same corners over and over in a controlled environment). What many people don’t realize, is that big tracks have massive amount of wasted time. That ¼ mile long straight? Yep, you’re not doing anything on it other than twisting the throttle. Gocart tracks have a corner pretty much 4 seconds away at any given point. So you’re constantly working. The corners are also (usually) tighter than you get on big tracks, so you’re working harder. The lack of horsepower to hide errors, means that any time you don’t do a corner well, you notice right away. There’s a reason Formula 1 drivers started their careers driving gocarts, and most MotoGP riders started racing minis or pocketbikes (yes, there are some flattrack/mx guys, but guess what, they do this stuff too!). You learn to be smooth and look through the turns, and how to pass, in a very condensed time. You also learn corner speed. Because there is nothing you can do on these bikes that will make you faster than corner speed. (note: supermotos not included, they live by their own set of physics…)
Because you are operating on a tighter track, you also end up learning to save more slides, brake deeper, and turn harder, and recognize and correct errors all on a very condensed timeframe.

Safety: Most riders generally understand that track is safer than street. There are no cars, texting drivers, left turning vehicles, curbs, mailboxes, deer, gravel, etc. You’re wearing full gear, and help is a minute away if you need it. With mini, there is an added benefit of light weight, low speeds, and low height. The bikes are smaller and lighter, you’re lower to the ground, and not going so fast. An NSR50 isn’t likely to send you to the moon in a highside, a lowside ends in picking the bike up and continuing, and collisions (even though rare) are between two 150-200lb vehicles. Not a 5000lb suv and 500lb motorcycle. The same safety gear you would wear on the big track, works significantly better on small. It’s rare for a rider to slide a whole lot further than 10 yards. Combining all these results in the least number of injuries (serious or otherwise) in all of motorsports* (*as observed by me, no official figures that I can find)

Racing: Most people will agree that racing improves the breed. It’s a way to condense the learning curve even further, by making learning competitive and measured. You also have the opportunity to learn what works and doesn’t. If someone passes you, they know something you don’t. Try to figure out what it is. If you catch up to someone, try to pass them in a safe manner. The nice thing about minigp, is that even on your very first day, you can go racing. Sure you won’t be winning, but that’s not too far away either. Some people are less competitive than others, and for those there are practice days.

Spec classes also make racing fantastic. The bikes are all the same, so if someone is faster, it’s not because they have magic tires or a trick shock. It’s because they know something you don’t. (or maybe they’re a 90lb kid who has been racing for almost as long as he’s been walking).

What kind of bike do I need?
Depending on the organization, bikes permitted may vary. NJMiniGP for example allows pretty much everything that isn’t a pocketbike and isn’t a big track bike. So xr50 or pw50 will have a class to ride in. An NSR50/YSR50/NSF100 will have a class to ride in. Xr80/xr100/ttr90/ttr125/kx110/dr125/etc. Supermini/supermoto bikes (but you should avoid these until you’ve gotten your feet wet. They’re HARD to ride on gocart tracks compared to an xr100). A couple new interesting entries are the Kayo125 and the Grom. A bit more money, but quite legit bikes that seem like they are class-crushing. Basically, anything you can buy that is either a) a small gp bike or b) a small dirtbike for which you can get road tires. The most popular bikes for adults are by far the crf100, nsr50, and ttr125 (F1/stock100 spec/nsr spec), kx65, crf150f (F2), crf150r (Supermini).

What kind of gear do I need?
You *can* ride in motocross gear, or a full suit of street gear, etc. Full face helmets, gloves, motorcycle-specific boots, and a back protector are needed. But since we’d like to keep the sport safe, the most meaningful thing you can wear is the same as for the big track.
So:
1 or 2 piece leather with knee armor and pucks (if two-piece, it should zip together all around)
Race boots (or supermoto boots…)
Gloves
Back protector
Full face helmet. (hey, our friends at TheServicePavilion.com have an awesome selection of Arais ;) )

I ride big track, how could this possibly help me?
Do you just go and cruise around, or are you actually trying to get faster/safer/better? If the latter, then this provides a safer condensed learning environment. Lap times will come down. And everything big track will improve. Basically, big track is easy compared to minigp. Even body position on a big bike is easier (since you fit better).

How do I set up a crf 100 for spec class?
you *need* the following:
bbr rear spring - $80 new wherever
xr80 front wheel - $50 ebay
bridgestone tires - $2-300 (all other tires are crap, we've tried them all)
catchcan/safety wiring - free (rig something up and drill some holes)
preload spacers for forks and fork oil - $10 for 80w gear oil. rig something up for spacer. one of our guys uses stacks of pennies, I used a slice of lightning rod, most common is pvc tubing.

good ideas:
moose racing guards - $50 ebay (so you don't buy levers every time it crashes)
ims shifter - $30 ebay (folding and solid steel)
shorty levers - $20 ebay
lower bars - $15 bikemaster on amazon if you don't buy fancy brands, $60 for fancy protapers .
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
other countries do this. at least some of them. Spain, Italy definitely.
 
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