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What are the best track tires? I have 2008 ZX-6R that is my track only bike

 

Everybody has an opinion on this. CSS uses the Dunlop Qualifiers on their bikes. Most guys I ride with swear by the Pirelli Corsa III's. I'm almost due for tires and have been thinking about the Corsa III. Students of CSS get pretty good deals on Dunlops shipped free directly to your house. There's also Bridgestone bt-003 and Michelin power's. Sometimes it just comes down to easy access to tires. Find out who your track organization is sponsored by. In my case, I get the best deals on Pirelli's.

Air pressure is really important. Anything you decide to run will give you problems if they're not set to the right pressure for the track conditions.

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What are the best track tires? I have 2008 ZX-6R that is my track only bike

 

Everybody has an opinion on this. CSS uses the Dunlop Qualifiers on their bikes. Most guys I ride with swear by the Pirelli Corsa III's. I'm almost due for tires and have been thinking about the Corsa III. Students of CSS get pretty good deals on Dunlops shipped free directly to your house. There's also Bridgestone bt-003 and Michelin power's. Sometimes it just comes down to easy access to tires. Find out who your track organization is sponsored by. In my case, I get the best deals on Pirelli's.

Air pressure is really important. Anything you decide to run will give you problems if they're not set to the right pressure for the track conditions.

 

I have used Bridgestone, Pirelli, Michelin and Dunlop.....Of all these brands, I have felt more confident on the Dunlop slicks and had the best times. The thing about the tires is that for the level of riding we do, any one of these brands of tires will work. I do nothing but track riding therefore I don't have to worry about street/track tire combination's. I go with the tire that makes me confident that I am not going to crash....that stick like friggin glue. I have a buddy that uses Michelin slicks because he thinks the same thing I do just a different brand.

I am taking my buddy's 600 to Barber November 9th so I can run my 1000 and his 600. Do you know what the first thing I'm going to do? Take the Michelins off and put the Dunlops on. I feel that confident in these tires and the last thing I want to do is wreck his bike.

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What are the best track tires? I have 2008 ZX-6R that is my track only bike

 

There are a lot of good tires available these days for sure. The Qualifiers that are used on the student bikes are excellent. Since you do track only riding, the track based tires will work a little better and likely last a little longer too. We have some GP-A's and Sportmax GP, and also some slicks. We do have a terrific deal for students, they can get one set before, and one set after, but that's the limit (per school day they are signed up).

 

Best,

Cobie

 

ps--the office can help with any ordering if you need: 800-530-3350

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There's a lot of info out about tire pressure. Here's a cut and paste to get you started to understand. You should follow the manufacture's instructions as a starting point.

 

 

More flex / with lower pressure = more heat developed.

 

Too much pressure = less heat developed. (yes, if you spin the tire more, you will create some heat, too)

 

Tires are manufactured with a rubber compound that delivers maximum traction at a small temperature band. Some rubber compounds have wider ranges than others. We need to be there, in that temp. range during the race.

 

The starting temperature is measured after the bike has been used and the tire has been sitting in the shade for 15 to 20 minutes. Hot temperature is as the bike was exiting the track.

 

Different tracks required different starting temps. A track with a lot of tire "spinning" and flex requires a higher cold temp and a track with good, constant traction allows the use of lower pressures, which let the tire reach the desired operating temp during the race. Lower tire pressures also allow the tire to flex and conform to track surface irregularities for better traction.

 

If cold rear tire pressure is too high and the tire doesn't reach best temp during your race or perhaps even never during your race - you lost the advantage of traction. If you run too low a cold pressure, the tire will flex too much and reach too high of a temperature during the race and get "greasy" - requiring that you back off for a lap to let the tire cool down a bit.

 

At Sears Point Raceway, on a rear tire, with 8 lap races, if you were too low of a pressure by 1 psi, you would get a +7 psi rise and the tire would get greasy" on the 6th lap. If your tire pressure was too high by 1 psi, you'd get a +4 psi rise and the tire wouldn't "come in" to best traction for 2 laps (instead of 1.3 laps) and never reach best traction during the race unless you "spun" the heck out of the rear tire when exiting corners and still the traction would have been better with lower pressure.

 

Different riders with different riding styles used different cold tire temps, but we all settled on the same pressure rise as optimum - even on different tires. So, pressure rise from cold to hot was a good constant setup concept.

There is NO blanket, perfect cold tire pressure.

 

Tire guys, by giving you one, are trying to make it easy for non technical people to deal with tire pressure.

 

There IS a best temperature. There is no doubt.

 

You still need to, for best traction, need to practice "Pressure Rise" to get to best tire temperature during a race weekend.

 

The lower limit, for us, is when there was not enough rigidity in the tire carcass to allow stability.

We ran (and I don't suggest anybody try these low pressures!!!!) from 25psi on some extremely short, 1/16th mile roadrace tracks (Bakersfield) to 32 psi (high speed tracks) on a front tire and 26psi to 33psi on the rear tire.

 

If we had to lower the pressure to the extremes, we tried to get a softer tire - but, we ran what we had available and did the best we could at that time.

Privateers (aka: test dummies) used to be able to get 2-3 different compounds and several different tire cross sectional profiles - but there wasn't any trackside support during the Ice Age.

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Hello everyone,

 

Re: the "cut and paste" article...

 

First: I don't know what source that is from, but, please, consider that the bikes and tires being discussed are "vintage" and bias ply rubber, not modern machines with racing radials.

 

When it comes to modern radials, there is no blanket specific pressure rise "rule of thumb". Even with older style bias ply rubber, you need to use a percentage based pressure rise, ie. back in the day, 15% was the rule of thumb which works out to 4.5 psi for 30 psi starting cold pressure. Unfortunately, with modern radials, that rule of thumb is not really reliable.

 

With a lack of any other info, a minimum 10% rise is probably a good place to start to develop your own data. However, at the end of the day, the only truly accurate way to measure tire temperature is with a temperature probe... (thermometer). Contact the tire company you are using for the precise temperature range you are looking for. In general, I think something around 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit was a good range for the tires I used ten years ago. But things have surely changed since the last time I raced.

 

Generally speaking, a good trackside tire vendor should have relatively reliable data for the tire brand/model and weather conditions for the tracks they work... assuming they are working at the track and not some on-line vendor or whatever. Bottom line, contact your tire company rep and get a good temp probe. In the meantime, I would ask Will "Balistic" here at CSS as he raced a ZX6. Don't know what tire he used, I would guess Dunlop.

 

r

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That looks like the unit my friends at the firehouse use to look inside walls of burning buildings.

 

I believe there is standard tire tester with a needle like probe to stick in the tread. I've never owned one. My tire warmers had a thermostat. I set that, checked pressures and went by the look and feel of the compound.

 

Worked for me... :)

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I have an '05 ZX6R, and run Pilot Powers. I've learned that there are tires that a majority of people prefer, but at my level I chose to go with the Pilot Powers again a couple months ago because of familiarity. I might check into the other one's when I become more experienced.

With tire pressure I just run 28/28. Nice generic pressure.

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To whom it may concern:

 

The only really relevant difference from one motorcycle (machine) to another when talking about tire pressures is going to be the weight of the bike. Then, after the tire itself, how fast you are riding or how hard you are pushing the tires. Hence, one 600cc machine is going to be pretty much like another when thinking about tire pressures.

 

I didn't offer any specific pressures before since there are new tire technologies and each rider is going have their own personal preferences, however, in the interest of some basic useful data:

 

Depending on the tire brand and model of tire, typical average starting pressures are going to be around 30 psi. And, typically, a little more pressure in the rear than the front, say 2-3 psi. Cooler or cloudy days you may want to go a little lower, ie. 28 front, 30 rear. Hot or sunny days a little higher, like 32 psi front and 34 psi rear. These are VERY general guidelines for DOT race compound tires. There are newer tires that use less pressure, and, ultimately, your tire brand, model and compound combined with riding style and ambient temperature and track surface temperature will dictate what pressure and pressure rise will be needed to attain the proper tire temperature for you. The best course of action is to contact your tire company's racing representative at the track you are riding if possible. I realize that this is not going to be possible at most track days for the public. So, maybe check out a club race event, or, better yet, a pro level event and talk to the tire rep/vendors there. Remember, how hard you ride will affect how much the tire flexes and how much heat will be generated.

 

r

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OK, last fall/winter I was told about lower pressures in tires in the cold, but thought that person had it backwards. I would have guessed that one would want lower pressures in the heat because of the increased tire pressure with the heat. Why is it you want more pressure in the heat? It makes me think that in cooler weather you want more contact on the ground?

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OK, last fall/winter I was told about lower pressures in tires in the cold, but thought that person had it backwards. I would have guessed that one would want lower pressures in the heat because of the increased tire pressure with the heat. Why is it you want more pressure in the heat? It makes me think that in cooler weather you want more contact on the ground?

 

As I understand it, lower the psi in cooler temps to allow the tire to flex more thus creating more heat in the tire. As Racer said ~170 is the sweet spot in tire temps.

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OK, last fall/winter I was told about lower pressures in tires in the cold, but thought that person had it backwards. I would have guessed that one would want lower pressures in the heat because of the increased tire pressure with the heat. Why is it you want more pressure in the heat? It makes me think that in cooler weather you want more contact on the ground?

 

As I understand it, lower the psi in cooler temps to allow the tire to flex more thus creating more heat in the tire. As Racer said ~170 is the sweet spot in tire temps.

Makes sense.

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What are the best track tires? I have 2008 ZX-6R that is my track only bike

 

There are a lot of good tires available these days for sure. The Qualifiers that are used on the student bikes are excellent. Since you do track only riding, the track based tires will work a little better and likely last a little longer too. We have some GP-A's and Sportmax GP, and also some slicks. We do have a terrific deal for students, they can get one set before, and one set after, but that's the limit (per school day they are signed up).

 

Best,

Cobie

 

ps--the office can help with any ordering if you need: 800-530-3350

 

Cobie- do you know what pressures does the school use on their ZX-6R's? I have Dunlop Qualifiers on my CBR600, but I set them at the recommended pressure, 36 front, 42 rear. I didn't have any problems with them sticking on any of my track days this year. They did get hot enough the outer edge of the rear tires started to get a little bit blue.

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Cobie- do you know what pressures does the school use on their ZX-6R's? I have Dunlop Qualifiers on my CBR600, but I set them at the recommended pressure, 36 front, 42 rear. I didn't have any problems with them sticking on any of my track days this year. They did get hot enough the outer edge of the rear tires started to get a little bit blue.

 

In lieu of Cobie's reply, while you are waiting...

 

I think Cobie said that Will told him they ran 29 psi in the front and 31 psi in the rear for that school. And, they probably vary pressures a bit for variations in weather and different tracks. I could be mistaken on that quote, but, IMO, that would be a good average number for the track. In any case, you can probably find Cobie's original post with the search function here at the top of the page.

 

On the street, probably something more like 32 front and 34 rear would be good starting point for typcial "normal" riding. If you want to build some heat to take advantage of the potential grip of the compound, you'll probably need to go a bit lower still. I'll check my Dunlop info packs at work tomorrow to see what they suggest.

 

However, IMO, 36 psi front and 42 psi rear is definitely WAY too high for a single rider. At those pressures, I believe you are going to be losing a good deal of performance due to a lack of flex/heat and a significantly reduced contact patch. Those numbers sound like MAXIMUM pressures for riding on the highway under MAXIMUM load, like two-up with luggage. Again, I'll grab a tire off the rack and check it out tomorrow, but, I'm betting that if you read carefully, those are max load pressure figures.

 

I'd suggest dropping down to at least 32 front and 34 rear as a maximum starting point for proper carcass flex and contact patch size/shape for riding alone on the street. I think at 32/34 you will still be trading off some grip for increased tread life, which is OK in my book. But, those numbers should at least give you a proper contact patch.

 

r

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Another note:

 

The stick type tire pressure gauges sold at your local auto parts store can be somewhat inaccurate and inconsistent from one to another. If you are really serious about tire pressures, you'll need to get a professional dial type gauge with a bleeder button. These models are much more accurate, and are adjustable so they can be tested and "zeroed out" like a high quality scale.

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However, IMO, 36 psi front and 42 psi rear is definitely WAY too high for a single rider.

 

I just went out to the garage and checked. It gives the 36/42 for up to a 200 lbs. load. Me+ gear is 170 lbs, so I figured I wasn't too far off the mark. The tires were sticky enough to pick up all sorts of little pieces of rubber which are hard to pull off. I will have to try the lower pressures though. A friend of mine said he took 6psi off for track, so 30/36. Then someone else said don't change your pressure for track days because then your bike starts handling differently and then that's something else you have to get used to. So many opinions! But this board has more serious riders. I will go get a better gage than the tires store one I have.

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Ok, here's the official dope.

 

Tire pressures for public highway use vary from machine to machine and are chosen by the manufacturer. Regardless of what the tire says, you go with the machine spec tire pressures found in your owner's manual or perhaps on a tag under the seat.

 

That said... the 180/55 ZR17 D209 Qualifier rear tire I pulled off the rack this morning said "805 kg max load at 42 psi".

Perhaps there is a difference between US and UK spec Dunlop ratings, but, check what your bike calls for. And, IMO, I still say tht 42 psi is too high for one up street riding.

 

r

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Ok, here's the official dope.

 

Tire pressures for public highway use vary from machine to machine and are chosen by the manufacturer. Regardless of what the tire says, you go with the machine spec tire pressures found in your owner's manual or perhaps on a tag under the seat.

 

That said... the 180/55 ZR17 D209 Qualifier rear tire I pulled off the rack this morning said "805 kg max load at 42 psi".

Perhaps there is a difference between US and UK spec Dunlop ratings, but, check what your bike calls for. And, IMO, I still say tht 42 psi is too high for one up street riding.

 

r

Then we'll be wrong if we go by the Owners manual. Mine says 36/42. Too much for street riding. Squares the center of my Michelin Pilot Pro tires. The Dunlop D208's (or was that D209s') I had would do better (longevity) at those pressures. I get really long life out of my tires and I want it to stay that way. Right now I've got about 10k, 1-1/2yr and 3 Trackdays and am nowhere near the wear bars, nor dry rotted tires.

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Ok, here's the official dope.

 

Tire pressures for public highway use vary from machine to machine and are chosen by the manufacturer. Regardless of what the tire says, you go with the machine spec tire pressures found in your owner's manual or perhaps on a tag under the seat.

 

That said... the 180/55 ZR17 D209 Qualifier rear tire I pulled off the rack this morning said "805 kg max load at 42 psi".

Perhaps there is a difference between US and UK spec Dunlop ratings, but, check what your bike calls for. And, IMO, I still say tht 42 psi is too high for one up street riding.

 

r

Then we'll be wrong if we go by the Owners manual. Mine says 36/42. Too much for street riding. Squares the center of my Michelin Pilot Pro tires. The Dunlop D208's (or was that D209s') I had would do better (longevity) at those pressures. I get really long life out of my tires and I want it to stay that way. Right now I've got about 10k, 1-1/2yr and 3 Trackdays and am nowhere near the wear bars, nor dry rotted tires.

 

Hi Jaybird,

 

What bike are you riding?

 

In any case, I'd guess the manufacturer probably isn't thinking about race compound or semi-race dual-compound tires being used on the street.

 

Regardless, this is a good example of why I suggest using a single compound street tire like the Dunlop Roadsmart for normal street riding. And, why I suggest talking to your tire rep.

 

racer

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Ok, here's the official dope.

 

Tire pressures for public highway use vary from machine to machine and are chosen by the manufacturer. Regardless of what the tire says, you go with the machine spec tire pressures found in your owner's manual or perhaps on a tag under the seat.

 

That said... the 180/55 ZR17 D209 Qualifier rear tire I pulled off the rack this morning said "805 kg max load at 42 psi".

Perhaps there is a difference between US and UK spec Dunlop ratings, but, check what your bike calls for. And, IMO, I still say tht 42 psi is too high for one up street riding.

 

r

Then we'll be wrong if we go by the Owners manual. Mine says 36/42. Too much for street riding. Squares the center of my Michelin Pilot Pro tires. The Dunlop D208's (or was that D209s') I had would do better (longevity) at those pressures. I get really long life out of my tires and I want it to stay that way. Right now I've got about 10k, 1-1/2yr and 3 Trackdays and am nowhere near the wear bars, nor dry rotted tires.

 

Hi Jaybird,

 

What bike are you riding?

 

In any case, I'd guess the manufacturer probably isn't thinking about race compound or semi-race dual-compound tires being used on the street.

 

Regardless, this is a good example of why I suggest using a single compound street tire like the Dunlop Roadsmart for normal street riding. And, why I suggest talking to your tire rep.

 

racer

I'm riding a 2002 Honda CBR600F4i on single compound Michelin Pilot Pro tires. I typically run about 32/36 street and 31/30 track. Dave Moss (suspension guru) suggests that tire wear can be controlled with proper suspension. I think mine is setup well due to the control that I have and the good tire wear. FWIW, my last 2 trackdays were in wet/semi-dry conditions so the tires didn't get a full workout.

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lol

 

I first listed 32/36 as the place to start for street tires then edited it to 32/34 as we're coming into winter here.

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36 on the rear for street riding: maybe fine, but why have a real different pressure for the street? Is the bike being ridden 2 up, or is the rider very heavy, carrying gear?

 

Some say, "Well, I get better mileage." OK, valid. But, me, personally, I'd rather have better traction. After tossing my first bike down the road in 1978, because I let the tires get too worn down, I just don't compromise with tires. I run what will get the best possible traction, and I don't let them get worn down. Maybe if I were a motorcycle courier I'd think differently!

C

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36 on the rear for street riding: maybe fine, but why have a real different pressure for the street? Is the bike being ridden 2 up, or is the rider very heavy, carrying gear?

 

Some say, "Well, I get better mileage." OK, valid. But, me, personally, I'd rather have better traction. After tossing my first bike down the road in 1978, because I let the tires get too worn down, I just don't compromise with tires. I run what will get the best possible traction, and I don't let them get worn down. Maybe if I were a motorcycle courier I'd think differently!

C

Valid point, but I would change if I felt that the pressure sacrificed traction, which I don't. I run 2-up rarely but when I do I bump the rear preload. I also run the higher pressure because I don't run the pace of the track hence I need the higher pressure to help generate internal heat (gas law).

 

I don't have any emperical data, I've just arrived at my street pressures by feel and egg-headedness. Track pressure: I got advice one day and just stuck with it until I felt I knew enough to change.

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