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Tire Construction And Race Vs Street Tires


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I'm building another set of wheels for my Speed Triple to use on track days. They'll have BT002's on Marvic rims. The issue of heat cycles and race tires vs street tires is confusing to me. I plan to use warmers with the BT002's just because that's what I've been told. What exactly is the deal? Race tires are more susceptible to degradation from heat cycling because a) the rubber compound has more plastisizer so they get softer but the additive gets consumed during heat cycles causing the tires to get hard? B) the carcass is stressed during heat cycles and is prone to failure? c) warm tires are sticky right off the bat? Just curious and I can't find a good explanation.

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You seem to have more knowledge of tire construction than I do. My knowledge of polymer science is limited. I am not a chemical engineer. The degradation vs heat cycle issue was explained to me in terms of oil being "cooked" out of the rubber compound during a heat cycle. Cold, hot, cold. Of course, that guy was just a tire co rep. And that was 15+ yrs ago. Exactly why race tires are "more susceptible to degradation"...softer rubber wears out faster? Your explanation works for me. For me, it's a case of "How does that work? It works just fine." :P

 

As for the carcass being prone to failure due to heat cycling, again, I don't know. The last "carcass failure" I recall was Dave Shlosser on a front straight somewhere and that was a very long time ago. (I think that one made the 'agony of defeat' reel at wide world of sports.) And it could have been a flat tire due to debris for all I know. In twenty years of attending racetracks, I don't believe I have ever witnessed a motorcycle tire carcass failure.

 

Yes. Warm tires just off tire warmers are stickier than cold tires. Or even tires with one lap on them. They definitely increase my confidence when jamming into turn one on lap one. Are there more important things to spend money on? As the saying goes, you gotta be in it to win it. The long haul vs the short hop. If that money might be needed for race entries later in the season or you are unprepared for the expense of crash damage...well...only you can say...trophy vs championship. Are the guys you are running with using them? Are your lap times good enuf to put you with the next group if you didn't lose out to their superior first lap times? Tire warmers were one of the very last things I spent money on and it was only because EVERYONE else was using them in my class.

 

Some things I would acquire before tire warmers:

 

1.The very best helmet that money could buy. Ditto for leathers and gloves and tools.

2.The best and most well tuned suspension.

3.Books and people that would tell me how to own and tune the very best suspension.

4.The most well tuned motor. (Note I did not say the fastest or most expensive...hint.)

5.Again with the books..etc.

6.A really good canopy for my pit.

7.A really reliable race transporter.

8.A pit mate.

9.An entire season of race entry fees. A good spares kit, etc.

 

You get the idea.

 

That being said, when tire warmers first started hitting the market in the early mid-nineties, there were some brands that got very hot. Hotter than others, perhaps too hot if you left them on indefinitely, and would definitely "cook" a tire. But they did work faster. There were also brands that had thermostatic control. I knew of some guys that came off track and put their hot race tires back on the warmers to prevent heat cycling. Just how hot to make a tire was a subject of debate. The figure of 180 F comes to mind...but...can't really say what's what today. Your call mate. ;) Some due diligence on that account would seem appropriate.

 

So, I hope my experience helps on the practical side. Any materials science majors out there? If it's really important, I might try googling a tire compay, say Bridgestone, since that is the brand you intend to use, and attempt to make some contacts there. And when you get the answer...let us know!! :D

 

Shiny side up, sticky side down. B)

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The bike and I are pretty well set up. Wanted to try the alternate wheels/tires to allow running a higher performance tire, save unsprung weight and reduce inertia (the Marvin/BT002 is 4.5 lbs. lighter than the stock wheel/Pilot Power), and so I wouldn't have to been as concerned about keeping the street rubber good as new for track use. Good idea about contacting Bridgestone. I'll let you know what they say.

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um...am i understanding correctly that you are a street rider riding track days? "keep the street rubber good as new..."? speed triple for track days?

 

if that's the case, tire warmers are a waste of money in my opinion. if you are wealthy and want a new toy to look cool, sure. but seriously...spend the money on a superbike school. you will get

WAY more for your money. and much faster with knowledge and skill...priceless, lasts forever. real.

 

if i've misunderstood, sorry. i'm writing with all the other guys out there in mind who might be reading this, too.

 

the ONLY thing tire warmers are good for is being able to go 100% from the starting line on the first lap and a half of a race. as opposed to holding back a bit till the race rubber gets warm. do not waste your money for track day riding. utterly pointless. honestly, i raced for like 7-8 years on stock rims with no warmers and have BOXES of trophies from those years. on stock wheels. i was expert for three years before first set of marchesinis because i needed to be able to mount rains as i was running a gp bike with slicks on national pro circuit. i understand if your stock rims won't fit race tires. gotta do what you gotta do. believe me you will have PLENTY of new fun with sticky rubber. don't waste time, effort and attention for something you won't really utilize.

 

to give you an idea of lap times and how hard is hard, if you never rode race rubber before, it will most likely be a while before you ride beyond the limits of the tire. at any temperature. to give an idea....

 

the first school i rode with css on a 600 at mid-ohio i was ecstatic to break 2:00 a lap. three years later i was going like 15 seconds a lap faster. on stock rims. no tire warmers. on a 125.

 

and that was slow compared to the really fast guys. going another ten seconds faster than me.

 

just my opinion. personally, i found tire warmers to be a major pain in the butt that increased the amount of work i had to do prior to a race. instead of thinking about my riding. or relaxing.

 

oh, not to mention the generator i then had to buy to power them or simply have to think about a source of power. and half the time, if we sat on the grid, the tires got cold anyway. pffft. waste.

 

spend the money on learning riding skills. that's my advice.

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If I don't have to use warmers that would be fantastic. Unfortunately all I know is what I've been told, not from experience. That's why I'm confused on the different treatment of race and street tires. Some supposedly knowledgeable folks have told me the race tires are good for a limited number of heat cycles and then start to get hard. The guy at swmototires said 1 cycle. Think he likes to sell tires? I contacted Bridgestone as you suggested and hopefully they will straighten me out. If all I would gain from using warmers is a couple laps to heat up the tires I'll leave the bike off the stands and take it easy. Thanks for the advise. I'm looking forward to the superbike school at Barber in June.

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cool beans, dude. i wish to clarify a poorly worded sentence in my last post:

 

what i meant was that, in my opinion, using tire warmers to ride your bike on a track day is wasting time. i did not mean that riding track days is a waste of time. i think most people would sort that out but in hindsight it was a little unclear. :P

 

also, being that i seem to recall the speed triple having an entire racing class built around it some years back, it seems a little illogical that the rims wouldnt fit race rubber. at least DOT race rubber. i don't really know. but switching wheels might be easier than switching tires to go back to the street monday thru friday. marvic makes a quality product. comparable to marchesini and a bit more affordable.....however, tho i love the italians, you might consider checking out a company here in the states by the name of performance machine products. california. might be even more affordable. and a fine product. usa.

 

i have never heard of swmototires. looks like a website address. not sure where you are located, but, i've had very good experiences, been treated very well, and always been given accurate and reliable information from the folks at race tire sevices based in nashville, TN. i believe they have an affiliate on the west coast as well. on the east coast there was man by the name of smith....near philadelphia. um...sport cycle products. super dude.

 

anyway, make certain they are well balanced when mounted. and spend a couple laps scrubbing in and warming the virgin rubber. some people use a chemical to wipe the silicone coating off ahead of time. some people say thats a bad idea as the chemical will react with the rubber. whatever. it'll be gone in a couple laps anyway.

 

have fun.

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  • 5 months later...

Using tire warmers is not a waste of time at all....

How many people crash at track days due to cold tires?

Answer... at the ones I go to LOTS...

Also how much do I spend on pilot power race tires... 300-360 depending on the deal of the day....

TIres like the power racde last longer if they dont have to go thorugh as many heat cycles....

How many sets of 300 doller tires to you use on the track.... depends opn the track and riuding but anywhere from 1 to 4 days is what i get.

Using tire warmers helps your tires last longer due to less heat cycles and this will save you lots of money in the long run.

Also how much do you think its going to cost to fix your bike when you crash due to cold tires?

My advice... buy and use tire warmers if you are using track day tires such as power race

If your using standard pilot powers they may not make as much sense.

I like to pull out of the pits and know that cold tires are not limiting me in anyway... unexpected things happen on the track especially with many other riders around on the first wrm up lap

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I have met a few racers who believe that keeping the tire constantly on the warmers will prevent degradation from heat cycling.

 

The best source for that information is probably your tire manufacturer.

 

In any case, it only takes about one and one half laps to warm a tire. Crashing due to cold tires is a matter of self-control, not inevitability.

 

And generally speaking, based on about ten years of corner-working experience, I can say that the vast majority of crashes are not due to cold tires.

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  • 1 month later...

I don't think race tires and warmers would help you out very much, personally. I run Pilot Powers and haven't had any trouble what so ever out of them. The set that are on my bike now were taken to the track when they were new, and I drug my peg a little and still had no problems from them. I've since had them on quite a few hundred of miles on back roads on the set too, with no complaints. I would suggest trying some high-end street tires, like Powers or the Battle Axes or Qualifiers, and if you get to the point in your riding that you're reaching the limit of the tire, step it up then. No use spending money where you don't have to.

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  • 1 month later...

I must say I have not used warmers yet either. I have over 30 track days under my belt and I'm reasonably quick but I just take it easy on lap one and then go for it. Also the rear tire I am using - Michelin Power Race (medium-soft rear 190/55) tends to be completely destroyed after two days on the track anyway.....so I am not sure how much life I could save myself on a rear but the front might last 4 days instead of 3. Who knows.....I will tell you this....at a cost of about $200/day just for track time with seven - twenty minute sessions on each day....If I can get up to speed immediatley instead of 'warming-up' my tires by taking it easy on lap 1; tire warmers could more than pay for themselves over a season. In a twenty minute session I might average 12 laps. Over one day I could do 84 laps but if I were to get up to speed sooner maybe I could get 13 laps in each session and this would represent a 8% increase in track time. 8% of $200 (fee for each day at the track) for 15 track days = $240 over a season....so maybe the tire warmers would pay for themselves in a season and a half...

 

If I don't have to use warmers that would be fantastic. Unfortunately all I know is what I've been told, not from experience. That's why I'm confused on the different treatment of race and street tires. Some supposedly knowledgeable folks have told me the race tires are good for a limited number of heat cycles and then start to get hard. The guy at swmototires said 1 cycle. Think he likes to sell tires? I contacted Bridgestone as you suggested and hopefully they will straighten me out. If all I would gain from using warmers is a couple laps to heat up the tires I'll leave the bike off the stands and take it easy. Thanks for the advise. I'm looking forward to the superbike school at Barber in June.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm building another set of wheels for my Speed Triple to use on track days. They'll have BT002's on Marvic rims. The issue of heat cycles and race tires vs street tires is confusing to me. I plan to use warmers with the BT002's just because that's what I've been told. What exactly is the deal? Race tires are more susceptible to degradation from heat cycling because a) the rubber compound has more plastisizer so they get softer but the additive gets consumed during heat cycles causing the tires to get hard? B) the carcass is stressed during heat cycles and is prone to failure? c) warm tires are sticky right off the bat? Just curious and I can't find a good explanation.

 

I will try to explain. 1 heat cycle can be your 20 minute session, or it can be 1 trackday.

 

 

20 minute session= You do your session and come back to your pit area, park the bike. Next session for your group is in 40 minutes.

1 trackday= You keep one set of tires either on the track or in warmers AND being monitored. NEVER keep a set of warmers turned on for more than 30-40 minutes w/o either going back on track or shutting the generator off. I say "shutting the generator off" as you would leave the warmers attached to the wheels to sustain warmth.

 

So, you can have 1 trackday and a set of tires with 3-7 heatcycles through them. OR, you can have 1 trackday with your tires having 1 cycle through them. The BT002 are a fairly good tire that should be able to maintain grip through 6-8 cycles with ME running them-that's the kicker. There is such a huge variable between riders and their bikes/suspensions/chassis set-ups that you will have to monitor things for yourself. Take notes and decide to pay more attention to your instincts and less on what you hear at trackdays.

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