Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Carolina, USA
Do you already have a 500? If so, don’t waste your money on another bike just because it might be better suited for the track (which the R3 and 400 would be, in some ways). Take the money saved from not buying another bike and spend it on track time. I tracked my 500 for years in mostly stock condition. As mentioned above, you’ll want rearsets and maybe a slip-on . It will work fine until it doesn’t, and then you can take the 600 out again.
The 500 seems to have a significant power-to-weight ratio disadvantage to the 400 and even the R3. However, I suspect I would prefer the 500 as a street bike over those others, so once you’re ready for the 600 back on track, you can make the 600 dedicated to track only duty and ride the 500 on the street (that’s what I’ve done). And if you crack up the 600 a little, the 500 can serve as backup until you get the 600 fixed.
I wouldn’t waste money on race fairings on the 500. Parts are cheap for this bike, and it survives crashes fairly well. I crashed my 500 and only had to replace the turn signal and a peg to get it street worthy again. I bought a new middle fairing, but I’ve never replaced the scuffed one, since it still had some track day duty to come. Was gonna sell the 500 but never did. If I had a bigger trailer and tow vehicle, I’d take the 500 every trip as a backup and rain bike.
If you go with the 500, the stock tires will be ok for a weekend or two depending on their wear, if you must. Otherwise, put some Q3+ on it right away. If it rains, ride anyway; it’s great practice and slows you down more and really makes you focus on body position while you do everything you can to lean less. The Q3+ is pretty decent in the rain; pretty sure I wouldn’t feel as good in the rain with the Q4. Q3+ is still great in the dry, too, at the speeds you’ll be going for now.
As far as track prep goes, I wouldn’t waste money on suspension upgrades. By the time you’re really ready for a better suspension, you already have the 600.
If you have a later 500 with fork preload adjustment, you’re probably good to go. Set your sag and then make sure you’re not bottoming out (cable tie around 1 fork tube will tell ya).
Make sure your brake fluid is fresh. You might start getting some brake fade, but I never did until I had to use the 500 after having ridden the 750 for a while and was faster (also, I had to switch to the 500 quick and didn’t put fresh brake fluid in). I was always impressed with the stock 500 brakes.
The track updates you’ll really need will be rearsets first. I put Woodcraft on mine. Well made and bomb proof, but maybe a little too bomb proof. Instead of bending the rearset when I crashed, the frame got a little tweaked where the mounts bolt on. Minor, but less than ideal. You might give Vortex rearsets a try (at least look for info on them here). They’re less beefy (so they will bend before the frame), and their pegs are designed to give before the rearset does.
With more lean angle capability, you’ll almost certainly be scraping the can right away, so a slip-on will be in order. The Leo Vince GP Corsa will give you the best clearance (well, among what was available 4-5 years ago, anyway). I’m pretty sure it was the GP Corsa that I bought; I know I posted that in another thread here, but I’m writing this on my phone during a bout of insomnia, and searching would be a pain.
Depending on how long you track the 500, those two minor upgrades might be all you need. By the time you’re really wanting more, you’ll probably be ready to go back to the 600. I had no options, so I also dropped the stock clip-ons below the top triple. I think some of us have posted info elsewhere here, but I wouldn’t do it right away.
2013 CBR500R - probably up for sale soon - OK, NOT!
2006 GSX-R 750 - track only
1984 CB700SC - hopefully running again soon, then maybe up for sale
2012 CBR250R - Sold!