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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm looking for info on DOT race tires. What are some good DOT races tires. how many track days do you get out of them? How many heat cycles can a DOT race tire have? I've been looking at the Bridgestone bt003, those seem to have good reviews. Hope you guys can help me out here.
 

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BT003(RS) is Bridgestone's high end street tire w/trackday capabilities. If you are looking at track-focused DOT rubber, this is the current lineup:
-Bridgestone R10
-Continental Conti Race Attack
-Dunlop GPA-Pro
-Michelin Power Cup
-Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa

How many days/laps completely depends on carcass, riding style (hard on throttle/smooth/etc), compounds (soft/med/hard), tire temps, track temps, surface abrasiveness, etc. Way too many variables.

Everyone has their favorites. Best advice (as per Dave Moss): once you pick a tire, stick with the same type for at least a season. Otherwise, you have to re-set up the bike after every tire manufacturer change, and more importantly reevaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each tire dependent on your riding style/pace/bike power delivery.

Vague answer, I know. Anyone at the forum posting level generally isn't going to outride DOTs, regardless of brand.

But before you click "BUY", just be aware that the track-focused street tires (BT003RS, Q3, etc) are VERY good, especially for someone just starting doing trackdays. Very possible to make it into Advanced group of most orgs on street rubber. If this is a track-only bike, then yes, DOTs all the way.
 

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Christian pretty much hit all the points. I would just add that generally the Dunlop's are your best bang for your buck, and the GP-A's were the AMA spec tires for years. R10's are probably the grippiest of the bunch. Whichever you go with, use tire warmers.
 

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...use tire warmers.
I've always wondered how necessary this was. I heard that heating the tires up to 180 degrees is supposed to help with tears and for the obvious not having to warm the tires up with a lap or two for traction.

Does it really make a difference?

I've read about tire warmers lengthening the life of tires and how some down need to be warmed up too.

Thoughts??
 

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Just to mirror what anorexic said, I am an advanced rider in my local track day org. I am using the Pirelli Diablo rosso corsa which is not pirellis top grade street/track day tire. Street tires are very good these days! Having said that, I will be using DOT's for racing in 2015.
 

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I've always wondered how necessary this was. I heard that heating the tires up to 180 degrees is supposed to help with tears and for the obvious not having to warm the tires up with a lap or two for traction.

Does it really make a difference?

I've read about tire warmers lengthening the life of tires and how some down need to be warmed up too.

Thoughts??
A few things to note on this topic. First off, hot tires means more grip. Having them hot when you go out on track means you don't have to take it easy the first couple of laps, because they're already nice and hot. The other important thing is longevity. Tires wear and tear from heat cycles (hot, cold, hot, cold, etc.). If you don't have warmers, on a typical track day where there are 7-8 sessions, that means you'll be putting about 7-8 cycles on them throughout that day. If you have warmers, ideally you'll keep them hot the entire day because you're either riding, or they're sitting in the pits on the warmers, so that's only 1 cycle for the whole day. Race tires can't take nearly as many cycles as street tires, so using them without warmers will wear them out much quicker, and you won't get as much performance out of them.
 
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Adding to what Christian said above.

Every brand has their own philosophy for tire profile, carcass construction and carcass material. This means, each brand generally has an entirely different feeling. Motorcycles are also developed using a particular tire and most importantly profile. This is why Ducati's tend to work better with Pirelli's then the other brands. Pirelli's softer sidewall and profile, benefits the Ducati's high mid-corner speed by generating an almost unbeatable contact patch. Plus, due to the softer sidewall, Pirelli's heat up much quicker and retain heat for a greater amount of time as well. However, the downside of a softer tire is more wear, even if it's not physically noticeable on the indicators.

A lot of people don't understand the differences between race tires and street tires, but there is a very distinct difference. Using Pirelli as an example, the rubber has a chemical reaction when hot, which makes the rubber very sticky. This chemical reaction doesn't exist on street tires, put street tires on a tire warmer and they'll simply get hot, not very sticky. This reaction goes away over time, that's what heat cycles are all about. If you heat a tire and cool it down over and over again, the tire simply looses it's ability to make this reaction and it drops down to the level of a street tire in terms of grip levels. Funny thing is, it doesn't take much heat for the reaction to take place… about 120 - 150F. Remember, tire pressures effect tire temp's and there is a reverse effect when tires get too hot and greasy.

Finally, as a beginner to the whole DOT track tire situation, I highly suggest starting with a softer tire like the Pirelli's and moving up to a harder tire like the Dunlop's once your faster. I personally prefer the Dunlop's because of their front-end feel, I have yet to find a tire which feels anything like it. But it will take you a long time to get quick enough in order to notice. Far better to be safe with a quick-warming tire, then to worry about speed.

- Front/rear stands
- Warmers
- Pirelli SC's
- Decent/accurate pressure gauge
 

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A few things to note on this topic. First off, hot tires means more grip. Having them hot when you go out on track means you don't have to take it easy the first couple of laps, because they're already nice and hot. The other important thing is longevity. Tires wear and tear from heat cycles (hot, cold, hot, cold, etc.). If you don't have warmers, on a typical track day where there are 7-8 sessions, that means you'll be putting about 7-8 cycles on them throughout that day. If you have warmers, ideally you'll keep them hot the entire day because you're either riding, or they're sitting in the pits on the warmers, so that's only 1 cycle for the whole day. Race tires can't take nearly as many cycles as street tires, so using them without warmers will wear them out much quicker, and you won't get as much performance out of them.
Great explanation of heat cycling, and why it would be advantageous to keep them warm. The "cycling" aspect was what I didn't unerstand but it's logical that cooling and heating of the tires consecutively would be detrimental for the rubbers integrity. Makes total sense.

I even have a weird complex about being on slicks because I've always ridden on tires with tread on them so the idea of no tread even feels odd. But I understand the friction aspect, it's just weird.
 

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Great explanation of heat cycling, and why it would be advantageous to keep them warm. The "cycling" aspect was what I didn't unerstand but it's logical that cooling and heating of the tires consecutively would be detrimental for the rubbers integrity. Makes total sense.

I even have a weird complex about being on slicks because I've always ridden on tires with tread on them so the idea of no tread even feels odd. But I understand the friction aspect, it's just weird.
Yeah, keep the slicks for track only...but not when you're a beginning.
 

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To quote (Dan Kyle) for a set-up thread....

"If you are going to ride your bike at a race track, track day, or race day, it does not matter,
PUT ON RACE TIRES." end quote.

I personally don't think it doesn't matter which race tire you use or get comfortable with, But use a "race tire". I personally use Michelin, because I have raced on them for decades. I can identify the contact patch, and pretty much know what the tire is telling me. This is not a "blind alley" where, "Gee, I hope the tire is gonna stick" or "I hope the tire is not gonna break loose" or any of that unknown area.... I know how the tire is going to respond to lean angle, application of power, braking force, etc..etc. Of course that is all good and well,... until something unexpected happens, like a bone head move by the guy in front of you, or.... oh shit, I am on the wrong line, or.. I am in waay to deep.... then you need a bit of a "safety margin"..... which is where race tires come in, especially Race Slicks. I, personally, only use slicks when the rules allow their use.
Why run DOTs when you can use slicks that maximize the contact patch. The contact patch is the only thing that is of utmost importance, regardless of what tire you are using. The difference between success and failure is the contact patch. All the mumbo-jumbo, suspension/geometry, tire compounds, tire construction, etc. etc. is all about maintaining a proper contact patch suitable for the speed, lean angle, acceleration, braking, whatever.... contact patch, about the size of your fist... My advice to my kids when they started trackdays and racing... get to know your tires contact patch and properly set up race slicks have the best contact patch....
 

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I'll have to disagree about use of slicks for a beginner though. Slicks need to be kept at higher temperatures to be grippy. Ever tried to use a cold slick on track?? If you're too slow and get the the tire temp up (or can't maintain it if you have warmers), than that contact patch won't matter much when the tire's sliding around and you end up on your head. When you come back into the pits after a session, and you put your hand on the tires, if they're not hot (hot enough that you don't want your hand on there for more than several seconds), you shouldn't be on slicks.
 

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^^^ sure, I might agree with you, which is why I mentioned "properly set up slicks", a lot in that statement.
 

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I might add, which includes a long conversation with your tire supplier/representative/distributor
Professional. Such info may include air pressure, compound, heat cycling, etc.etc.
 

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Treaded tires allows rubber squirm which leads to generating more heat through friction at slower paces. It allows us slow guys to heat up a tire. Slicks rely on heat generated by faster, harder side loads to get the rubber to move to keep heat in them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thanks for all the advice. i was also looking at the supercorsa sc2s. a local racer at one of my track days suggested the SC2s. but im guessing i will need tire warmers for these? right now im running the dunlop sportmax Q2s. so would i be better suited sticking with a dunlop dot tire?
 

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Dunlop Q2's are a real garbage tire, the replacement Q3 is much better.

So yea SC2's are a good start. You will need warmers for any DOT race tire like the SC2's. The Q2 is not a track tire, it's a "performance" street tire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thanks again for all the info. I've never had any issues with my Q2s but i've also never ridden a DOT race tire either. so maybe when i switch I'll feel the same way. how is the dunlop gp-a pro or the d211's? does anyone have any experience with them?
 

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thanks again for all the info. I've never had any issues with my Q2s but i've also never ridden a DOT race tire either. so maybe when i switch I'll feel the same way. how is the dunlop gp-a pro or the d211's? does anyone have any experience with them?
That's what I ran most of this season, and also ran a set of GP-A211's on a CBR600 last year. I like them. They last longer than other tires I've used, but still have plenty of grip. If they're good for the AMA guys, they're good for me too ;)
 

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thanks again for all the info. I've never had any issues with my Q2s but i've also never ridden a DOT race tire either. so maybe when i switch I'll feel the same way. how is the dunlop gp-a pro or the d211's? does anyone have any experience with them?
The 211 is a discontinued tire. The replacement is called the 212 and it's the same thing as the slick, only it has grooves in it. I haven't ridden a 212 in anger, but the 211GP UK was a fantastic tire and I've been told the 212 is actually better on wear, without compromising for grip levels.

They are however a serious race tire, maybe not the first thing you should try.
 

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The Q2s were far from garbage, IMO. Those things basically got me to A-group in two different orgs. This shot is from a couple years ago during my first season of track riding the Duc. BP sucked then, so I was leaning the bike more than it needed to be cranked over in that corner for my relative speed. For sure I could've gotten MUCH more out of those tires than I was pushing them to.


(Man, that seems like so long ago, lol. Stormtrooper white with taped OEM street fairings, grey frame, and street tires....)

I honestly think Q3s are phenomenal, as that's what I run for street tires when the bike doesn't have the GP-As on for track use. I did, however, use the Q3s on the bike for 2 days of California Superbike School down at Streets of Willow Springs this past April. Pace wasn't high at all compared to the locals, as it was my first time back on the bike since the previous Sept, not to mention CSS drives home that you don't really want to be riding over 70% of your capabilities in order to throughly take in and process information. But, the temps out there were in the mid-90s, my pace was fairly decent, and those tires only squirmed when getting greedy coming out of the tight "Code-section" leading onto the front straight. Anywhere else on that track with aggressive throttle and they stuck like glue.

I say learn the mechanics of track riding before going "all in" with DOTs/slicks, stands, & warmers.

Yes, DOTs when hot off the warmers will give you more productive laps (as you won't be wasting time having to bring them up to temp). But on the other hand, do you REALLY need tires capable of putting your knee on the deck right out of pit lane when you are just getting into tracking the bike?

Just my input. Nothing more, nothing less. EVERYONE is different. :)

-Christian
 
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