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Trackdays- How Cold Is Too Cold


Jaybird180
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Thinking about end of the season trackdays and I have an opportunity to go to NJMP next month. Not sure about the weather that time of year, but I'm sure I will need my undergarments under my suit.

 

How cold is too cold for a trackday?

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Get some heated riding gear and theres no such thing as to cold :lol: . I've never been on the track in the cold (or ever yet :( ) but there would probably be a few things you would need to adjust to. I guess any tires would reach operating temp sooner or later but maybe a softer compound tire would be a good idea. You might have the cover part of the radiator to get the engine temps up depending on how cold it is. The thick gloves might be kind of weird too.

 

I ride my sportbike all year as long as there is no snow on the roads. If you have the right gear its no problem at all even in 10 or 20 degrees fahrenheit. It does sound terrible when starting from that cold of a temp though and I'm not sure if its all that good for the engine.

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It doesn't really get that cold here. Mid-40's usually at the coldest. I did an open sessions trackday last December, and started out only riding until my fingers went numb, and when I learned to shift with that, I'd ride until my whole hand was numb. Our season goes through the spring. Besides just cold, humidity under the visor is wicked bad.

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Are the speeds lower and/ or crashes increased in the cold?

 

Warming the tires is the issue. There have been some days at tracks (cold/wet for example) that the tires never in fact did warm up.

 

CF

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Thinking about end of the season trackdays and I have an opportunity to go to NJMP next month. Not sure about the weather that time of year, but I'm sure I will need my undergarments under my suit.

 

How cold is too cold for a trackday?

 

Hi Jay,

 

I've been at the track in about 60 degree Fahrenheit weather and it was really fun! Tires can still get up to a decent temperature even though it takes longer, and I didn't use tire warmers. It was a brisk sunny day in March at Reno Fernley and I had the whole track to myself because most people thought it would be too cold. I even rode there and back because at the time, I didn't even have a car :) . I think I had a scarf around my neck to stop the wind chill, but it was actually quite pleasant to not be sweating profusely like normal at the Streets on a 100+ degree afternoon! I've also ridden in heavy rain at Phillip Island on regular Michelin pilot powers also without warmers and that was a blast. It must have been about the same temperature that day and I wasn't about to waste the opportunity to get some wet weather track riding experience. In my opinion, there is always so much to learn especially with reduced traction. I hope you have fun at NJMP if you go.

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I don't think I've ever pushed traction limits. I've felt the side of my rear step out a few times, but that was on rare occasion. Funny that it was always the left (hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm)...................

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I don't think I've ever pushed traction limits. I've felt the side of my rear step out a few times, but that was on rare occasion. Funny that it was always the left (hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm)...................

 

If you have had the rear step out, isn't that pushing traction limits?

 

CF

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Okay, I clearly communicated that wrong. I should have said that I've had the rear slide on ###### on the street (LOL).

 

As far as pushing traction limits, does pushing the front count? I've done that accidentally. I didn't realize what happened until after I exited the corner. I just knew that I didn't like the way it felt.

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Got it JB,

 

Yeah, on the street, try and keep that to a minimum :).

 

Not really sure of anyone that truly likes/enjoys pushing the front.

 

CF

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I think it was Stuman who talked about having the ability to push the front in a duplicatable, repeatable manner. I interpreted that as a goal. Did I get it wrong?

 

Hay Jay,

This is a quote from what stuman actually said

"on unknown tires I tend to push the limits of traction on corner exits first as I am more comfortable sliding the rear then the front. After I start to get a feel for the tires I will begin to search for the limits of front traction mid corner. Corner entry is not typically a place where I press my limits because I'm a wuss."

 

Earlier in the thread you said

"I don't think I've ever pushed traction limits. I've felt the side of my rear step out a few times, but that was on rare occasion. Funny that it was always the left (hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm)....."

 

Dont you think that it may be worth setting your goals on finding the traction limits on exits by consistently sliding the rear before you jump ahead setting your goal as "finding your front traction limits"

 

As for how cold is to cold to do trackdays, thats an open ended question that everyone has a personal opinion on, how cold is to cold for you to go out a street ride, If you dont ride on the street through winter its unlikely you would go to the track! I personally would welcome the opportunity to do a cold dry track day!

 

Bobby

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Good response Ace,

 

Basically, will the tires come up to tempurature? So, it gets into a number of variables at this point, to list a few:

 

1. Tires themselves, construction, how quickly they warm up (or not). Our Dunlop Q's come up to temp easier than the slicks or DOT full race tires, so on cold days can work sooner, maybe better overall?

2. Ambient Temp.

3. Sunny/cloudy.

4. Wet/dry.

5. Bike, and rider. If the rider has poor throttle control, or doesn't understand how to warm the tires, problems can arise then. Example: some riders think they warm the tires by hard braking. Might warm the center of the tires a bit, but the sides need to be warmed, both sides.

 

I mentioned this in another post, but we had students on our bikes that the coaches were having trouble riding with, due to the tires--students on Qualifiers, coaches on slicks/cut slicks. The slicks just never warmed up. This was a cold and wet day. When it dried up, it was both warmer, and the sun came out so the track was warmer too.

 

CF

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  • 2 weeks later...
5. Bike, and rider. If the rider has poor throttle control, or doesn't understand how to warm the tires, problems can arise then. Example: some riders think they warm the tires by hard braking. Might warm the center of the tires a bit, but the sides need to be warmed, both sides.

 

CF

 

Hi Cobie,

 

I wish I can remember where I read it, but an apparent authoritative source said that braking will warm up the whole front tire. The reasoning, or theory, is that with radial ply tires the most stress is put on the carcass through braking and acceleration (deforming the radial plies), and that the tire is warmed from the inside outwards--not from the contact patch inwards.

 

Personally, I'm still warming my tires through zig-zags, but only because hard braking will probably get me a new job as a hood ornament.

 

Does real track experience disprove the theory?

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More Europeans tend to ride year round than Americans, so coming up to temperature quickly is a feature that is closely watched by Europeans. Especially on the street, where stoplights and traffic can give tires multiple opportunities to cool off and warm up.

 

Conti links to this tire report: http://www.conti-moto.sk/PS%20TESTSIEGER%2...K%20ENGLISH.pdf and based on this I bought SportAttacks for the street. However, the American Sport Bike magazines seem pretty unanimous that for track days the Dunlop Qualifier and now the Qualifier 2's are better choices. I suspect that the SportAttack's might get greasy after 20 minutes all out in warm weather.

 

Just take it easy the first couple of laps gradually increasing the pace and demands on the tires.

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Hi Cobie,

 

I wish I can remember where I read it, but an apparent authoritative source said that braking will warm up the whole front tire. The reasoning, or theory, is that with radial ply tires the most stress is put on the carcass through braking and acceleration (deforming the radial plies), and that the tire is warmed from the inside outwards--not from the contact patch inwards.

 

Personally, I'm still warming my tires through zig-zags, but only because hard braking will probably get me a new job as a hood ornament.

 

Does real track experience disprove the theory?

 

A while back--this was a few years--I think this was RW magazine did a whole test on zig zagging (weaving back and forth in the pit lane, or on the track). The tire manufacturer measured the tire temps, and what they found was zig-zagging did zip, zero, no significant change in tire temps.

 

If you do find that data on braking please let me know. It might help the front tire, but not sure how it would help the rear. Our experience has shown that both sides of the tires have to be warmed up, and this is done by cornering/flexing the tire, that's what puts heat into it.

 

On cold days, the contact with the asphalt actually cools the tire off--so friction is not the factor some might think it is.

 

CF

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A while back--this was a few years--I think this was RW magazine did a whole test on zig zagging (weaving back and forth in the pit lane, or on the track). The tire manufacturer measured the tire temps, and what they found was zig-zagging did zip, zero, no significant change in tire temps.

 

If you do find that data on braking please let me know. It might help the front tire, but not sure how it would help the rear. Our experience has shown that both sides of the tires have to be warmed up, and this is done by cornering/flexing the tire, that's what puts heat into it.

 

On cold days, the contact with the asphalt actually cools the tire off--so friction is not the factor some might think it is.

 

CF

 

Thank you, Cobie. That makes sense, flexing from weight and cornering forces would warm the bottom and sides of the tires. Acceleration forces would warm the rear tires more than braking. Burnouts, anyone?

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Thank you, Cobie. That makes sense, flexing from weight and cornering forces would warm the bottom and sides of the tires. Acceleration forces would warm the rear tires more than braking. Burnouts, anyone?

 

Right, we need some scientific testing!

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Thank you, Cobie. That makes sense, flexing from weight and cornering forces would warm the bottom and sides of the tires. Acceleration forces would warm the rear tires more than braking. Burnouts, anyone?

 

Right, we need some scientific testing!

 

When Garry McCoy was sliding around in MotoGP & smokin' tires, they found out that it created little heat in the carcass of the tire; it only heated the surface.

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When Garry McCoy was sliding around in MotoGP & smokin' tires, they found out that it created little heat in the carcass of the tire; it only heated the surface.

 

But he would be on MotoGP racing slicks, which have notoriously hard carcasses and can be hard for slower riders to get up to temperature. My guess is that the Qualifiers are not in that class, and certainly not the SportAttacks--which are more street oriented.

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Are the speeds lower and/ or crashes increased in the cold?

 

Sorry. I missed this a LONG time ago. The "surprise" wrecks happen more frequently, and the pace is a bit slower. I think it happens when the riders get comfortable and try to pick it up a little more.

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Suddenly this thread has relevance to me. Next trip to the track will be during Thanks Giving and the temperatures will be in the high 50s and low 60s....

 

My big concern is the tires getting up to temp. Where I ride once my session starts I can go straight out on the track so it would be possible to remove the warmers and head straight out on to the track minimizing cool down. However, I don't warmers. yet.

 

What affect would running warmers on Corsa IIIIs have (besides the obvious)? I jsut read the SR article: http://www.sportrider.com/tips/146_0810_ho...ires/index.html. The Pirelli dude says the tires should be 165F!

 

The other concern is my own comfort. However, once you are out there and working I doubt the temperature will make that big a difference. Mornings have been cool anyway so I've been wearing winter silk stuff under my under suit. No problem moving around but by lunch it has to come off because I'm swetting like it is summer. That leaves the hands, mouth & nose. Being warm and sucking down cold air hurts. And frozen fingers are no fun. Run electrics for the gloves?

 

Seems like I should have a fun winter expirementing with this. I'll be !@$#ed if I'm going to pay for track access and not go out there.

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If you have electric warmers, that would be your best option. I learned how to shift and brake pretty good with my hands after my fingers went numb, but still had to come in when my hands went numb. Also, if you can, do something to prevent the fogging of your visor. That was a big thing I had to deal with.

 

If you back off just a little on the bike, you'll be just fine. It's when people start getting comfortable and getting back on the gas when the accidents occur.

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