July 11, 2018
If you have seen your competitors using tire warmers and thought it was just a gimmick, think again. Tire warmers do have a beneficial effect, and while the idea might seem quite simple, the reality is that with the complexity of modern racing tires, there is a little more than meets the eye. In fact, to understand why you really should be using motorcycle tire warmers, you need to really understand your racing tires of choice.
Whether you are a trackday rider, competitive motorcycle racer, or in any other two-wheeled motorsport, the basics are simple. Tire warmers heat your motorcycle tires to between 170 and 210 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the tire brand, track temperature, and the compound of the tire. This heat makes the surface of the rubber stickier, increasing the friction between it and the track surface, which makes it grip harder, leading to faster speeds, and better traction when leaning into corners.
However, there is much more to the tire warmer, and longer term, you will begin to notice other improvements too.
Let’s look at each in turn:
Heating the tire
When you use motorcycle tire warmers, it’s not just the surface that heats up. In fact, the entire structure of the tire is warmed, and it is known as heat soaking the carcass. This is important, as it provides a constant temperature within the tire carcass, which has shown to improve stability. In addition, the tire carcass becomes more flexible at racing temperature, which is most noticed in cornering and hard acceleration and deceleration, when the tire deforms it aids traction. By ensuring it is up to temperature before the race starts, you get consistent corning, braking and acceleration from the start line to the finishing flag.
Cold tire incidents can cost you – not only time, but the race itself. They happen when the tire or some part of it, has not reached racing temperature, causing it to react differently under a heavy load. Without using tire warmers, different tire compounds will heat unevenly, which could be enough to end your race when you are riding hard. Going on-track just once with cold tires can cost you more than a set of warmers. Add in the peace of mind and you can see why they are an essential piece of equipment in the paddock.
Tire tuningDifferent tire brands have diverse compositions and makeups, meaning they all react differently depending on the conditions. Understanding your chosen tire ensures the difference between success and failure in any race; from temperatures to tire pressures. Getting everything perfect for your chosen tire is essential.
Setting precise pressures can be a challenge as the tire heats up; unless you get your tires to racing temperatures in the pits first. No matter what tire brand you choose, (Pirelli, Dunlop, Michelin, Hoosier, Continental) tire warmers can assist in setting up perfectly before a race, and it’s almost impossible to have that kind of consistency any other way. Tire warmers are vital in getting the absolute maximum out of those tires, and are the key to finishing ahead of the competition.
Tire warmers are not just used for that extra sticky grip at the start of the race – they provide the ability to manage your tire wear leading to consistency and safety throughout the trackday, race, or competition, as well as prolonging the life of the tire. For safety, performance, and most of all, success on the racetrack, tire warmers are an essential tool you need to stay ahead of the pack.
Article property of Maxem Motorsports
Alan Richards; July 11, 2018