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Tire Warmers


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Susan,

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

As a track day only rider I have not invested in tire warmers. I've found that using the first few laps of a session to warm my tires also helps me get warmed up. That said if I was going to be racing I would invest in tire warmers. I cant speak to the specifics in the 250 class but its hard to see any disadvantage other than the added cost of the warmers and the hassle of taking them on and off. But if you are going to race you might as well hit the grid as prepared as possible.

 

And I believe in buying used gear if it is in good condition so keep your eyes out for a good used set. I have used the WERA and NESBA forums to buy used gear and had good luck.

 

Just my thoughts.

 

Best,

Carey

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Susan,

 

What kind of tires are you running? That's an important factor to consider. Some of the higher end tires require warmers. Without them you risk shortened lifespan and even worse a loss of traction. Neither of those is much fun. :)

 

Tire warmers allow you to have warm tires and be able to go "full attack" right out of the gate. If you are racing they give you a competitive advantage of not having to take it easy waiting for the tires to warm up.

 

I have a set of warmers that came with one of my track bikes but I don't use them on either one because I am running DOT legal tires on both bikes. I don't mind the "take it easy" few laps to mentally prepare myself and allow the bike to slowly acclimate to the extra stress that's about to come it's way once I start climbing to the far end of the tach. But then again I'm doing track days rather than competitive events so warm up laps don't matter either way. A few of the colder days in October that I did trackdays I wished that I had brought the warmers. One morning it started out in the high 30's and warmed up to about 60 for the day. The first few sessions I did not have a lot of confidence in my tires because of the cold.

 

You also have to consider your time and available power at the track. You have to put the warmers on the bike each time you return which requires you to put it up on stands (so you will need to invest in stands for front and rear if you don't have them). It takes a few extra minutes to install and remove them for each session so if your by yourself that's something to consider. When you are getting tired it's not a lot of fun to put the bike on stands and install and remove warmers between sessions. You also have to have a generator or power in the paddock to power them. The Last Barber trackday I did it took me about 20 minutes to hunt down a suitable parking space with power. I was not running my warmers but needed power since I was camping in my trailer.

 

If your looking for a used set take a look here. http://weraclassifieds.com/

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You CAN race a 250 without warmers, but if you want to be competitive you will need them. I am not familiar with MRA, but with many organizations a typical race day would consist of something like 2 short practices (10 min or so) first thing in the morning in cool temps, and then races later in the day. You only get one warm up lap before each race. With such short practices and warm ups, you can't really afford to spend time warming up your tires on the track.

 

Also, in the races, most likely everyone elase will have warmers. If you are tentative in the first few turns and the first lap or two, you can lose a lot of ground to other riders. On a 250 the racing is clsoe and very competitive so it is quite difficult to make up lost time. Also you can lose a lot of positions and have to work your way thorugh the field to get them back, which takes a lot more effort than keeping up from the start.

 

Personally, I never run warmers for open track days (just becuase it's a hassle) but I always run them in races. You don't really have to take them on and off many times on a race day compared to a track day.

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You CAN race a 250 without warmers, but if you want to be competitive you will need them. I am not familiar with MRA, but with many organizations a typical race day would consist of something like 2 short practices (10 min or so) first thing in the morning in cool temps, and then races later in the day. You only get one warm up lap before each race. With such short practices and warm ups, you can't really afford to spend time warming up your tires on the track.

 

Also, in the races, most likely everyone elase will have warmers. If you are tentative in the first few turns and the first lap or two, you can lose a lot of ground to other riders. On a 250 the racing is clsoe and very competitive so it is quite difficult to make up lost time. Also you can lose a lot of positions and have to work your way thorugh the field to get them back, which takes a lot more effort than keeping up from the start.

 

Personally, I never run warmers for open track days (just becuase it's a hassle) but I always run them in races. You don't really have to take them on and off many times on a race day compared to a track day.

 

See what I mean SusanH :)

 

BTW what kind of tires are available for the 250's? I run some really strange tires on my FZR400 and finding "the latest and greatest" compounds that are available for the bigger bikes is a bit of a challenge. Do they make Dunlop Q3's to fit 250's? Just curious. If I'm able to track down a 250rr one day I might need to have that filed away. It might be "slow" but nothing is more exciting than a 4cyl bike with a 20K redline.

 

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Regarding size of the warmers - I ride a Honda MD250H which is a smaller size bike, and has really skinny tires, so I tun two front warmers (120/70 size.) On my 450 Super Single, the tire size is 120/70 front and 160/55 back, which may be the same as your Ninja - on that one I run standard warmers (which are made to fit 120/70 front and 180-190/55 rear tire), the back is a little too big but it works fine. Using a warmer that is too small is a major hassle, using one that is too big is just an issue of making sure you have even contact everywhere on the tire (ie, no big loose gaps) and NOT overlapping the warmer on itself which can cook the cover of the warmer. MotoD makes warmers that they claim will not overheat even if you make a mistake like that - those happen to be the ones I use, they work well and are easy to put on but they are not cheap.

 

There are a few companies that make warmers sized for the Ninja 250, I think Chicken Hawk is one of them. For real expert advice on this, contact Feel Like A Pro (feellikeapro.com), they rent Ninjas for racing and they can tell you which warmers to use and they may have them for sale.

 

You also may want to look on the WERA forum, there is a huge thread on racing 250s called "everything you need to know" which has tons of info of all kinds, or check the classifieds on WERA where you may be able to find used warmers for sale or a racer discount on new ones.

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wow! Thank you everybody for your advice! I've got some shopping around to do! I didn't use them either for track days because you can warm up a few laps.. MRA only does 7-10 laps in a race so it seems you don't have the luxury of doing a few laps to warm up..I don't know why some people here seem to think 300's don't need them..

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Hi Susan and welcome!

 

I also race 250's and second what Hotfoot said, very tire dependant & Chicken Hawk is hard to beat. I bought a set that fit a 120/180 so I could swap between the 250 and r6. I think most riders say you don't need warmers because our choices of tires was somewhat limited in the past. Thank goodness that is changing. For your sprint races, you just don't have the luxury of holding back a lap to put heat in the tires. Although... I raced my last sprint 3 rounds without warmers on Diablo Rosso II's and was only 4 seconds off the lap record on two different tracks with a couple of podiums. So I can understand how some riders might say you don't need them. You won't see me on a set of slicks without a set of warmers but mount up some DOT's on a hot day, on a tacky track and I just might leave the warmers in the bag for a track day.

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It can be a big help, if you are new to racing and new to messing around with stands and warmers, to recruit or pay a helper for your first race day, preferably someone who has raced; or at least pit with someone who has raced before, so you can get some assistance with stands and warmers and have someone around to answer questions. If you are small in stature and the bike is a handful for you, just getting used to not having a kickstand is an adjustment, and learning to handle the stands and warmers for the first time on race day makes everything rushed and stressful. You will also be contending with putting on numbers, getting through tech, etc.

 

It is also a good idea (if you get a chance before your own race days start) to volunteer to help a racer in their pit for a day, so you can observe the routine on race day, and get some practice wih stands, warmers, etc.

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Thank you for the info! And at least I spent all last season with my boyfriend at his races- he started racing again after a long break- so I got to see a little of what goes on. If I didn't have help- that would be stressful trying to do stands and warmers. I got the hang of the warmers and helping someone else with the stands, just not sure if I could do stands by myself. I watched him go through all the stress and learning of what goes on and how things work so hopefully it won't be so bad for me. You guys have me convinced- I will be buying tire warmers for sure..I'm out to have fun ( already have a stressful job) but I don't want to totally suck out there..haha. Ive done lots of track days but it is a different pace on race days with the schedules. I'm just trying to make it as less stressful as I can. I will be going back to the superbike school in march for level 3 and 4..hopefully that will give me a good boost for the season starting in april..:)

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I'm sure you can do the stands by yourself, you'll just need a hand the first few times to get the hang of it. Here are some tips:

1) Get good stands that fit the bike well and give you a lot of leverage. Pit Bulls are GREAT, they are a bit more expensive and are big and somewhat heavy to carry, BUT they are very adjustable (can fit nearly all bikes), they last absolutely forever and are easy to resell if needed, and they have a long lever arm that makes it easier to "lift" the bike up onto the stand. I think they offer race contingency, too. You can get stand that are lighter weight and smaller, which makes them easier to transport, but every time I've tried that the stands have been less stable or provided less leverage.

 

2) Get slider spools put on the bike, on the rear, so your stands grab the spools. That type of stand is easier, quicker, and more stable than rear swingarm stands.

 

3) Make sure you leave the stand where you can REACH it when you come back from a ride.

 

3) Since I am small and the bike is heavy for me (we're talking the S1000rr here), I like to prop my hip against the bike to support it (keeping it upright, not leaning it much) while I reach for the rear stand and position it under the spools. Once you get the stand to grab the spools and put a little tension on it, you now have control of the bike with the stand and can let go of thebike itself and step around behind to push down on the stand and lift the bike.

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