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Thread: Prep for COTA track day

  1. #1
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    Prep for COTA track day

    I'm attending the track day at COTA in level 2B on a 2014 Daytona R, the bike came with Pirelli supercorsa SP tires. The question is if I had to choose between new tires (Pirelli blues) or tire warmers which would provide the most benefit assuming the tires are good? As of now I've run the first lap or two to heat the tires up and they seem to holding the track and wearing well. Any advise would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    So you're saying you're currently on the 2-ish year old stock tires that came on your bike? How worn are they? Half tread, down to the wear bars, etc.? My concern would be that worn tires, ridden at a slowish (2B being the slower of the intermediate groups, right?) pace may never actually reach optimal temperature, especially if it's cool or cloudy weather. The tire builds heat as a result of the thick rubber of the tread flexing as you work the tire. If that rubber is thin, you generate less heat. Older tires also tend to be stiffer, which also causes them to generate less heat.

    So if it's strictly either get new tires or get warmers, I'd say get new tires if your current tread is pretty low. Warmers will help get your tire get hot to begin with, but they do nothing once you're on the track. Again, if it's a cool/cloudy/windy day, your tires are going to be losing heat quickly. If you've got a healthy amount of tread, then maybe go for the warmers. With a COTA day being as expensive as it is, spending a few hundred bucks on warmers in exchange for not having to use 20% of your track time to get your tires up to temperature isn't that awful of an investment.

  3. #3
    Like my buddy Dean Sims always says, new tires are a lot cheaper than a hospital bill and a broken bike!

  4. #4
    This is gospel truth! Tires seem cheap when you "yard sale" your bike because of crappy tires.

  5. #5
    IMHO it's always best to have new tires. Saying that the supercorsa SP Street tyres are pretty good Street tyres. It's not made so you have to put warmers on them as they're made for Street although warmers always is a bonus! I think you should be OK as long as the tires are in good shape and you're riding intermediate. Worse case scenario a tire vendor will be there and if you go to tech and it looks too worn you can get them swapped right then and there. I hope this helps. See you there! :D

  6. #6
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    Unless I'm just missing the point and Pirelli SC street tires aren't normal "street tires", my response would be that street tires don't need warmers. They are designed for the street where you ride when it's hot or cold so they can provide decent grip at 40 degrees on a chilly morning commute. They actually will start to melt when you really get them up to temp and push them as they're just not made to run that hot and hard.

    At the other end of the spectrum, race tires (DOT or Slicks) don't really provide much grip at all until they get warm and then they stick like crazy. This is why you put warmers on them. So..... putting warmers on street tires isn't going to really help you that much IMO.

    As for your situation, I've seen L2 guys that can run a pretty quick pace that would really need race rubber to be safe and I've seen L2 guys that are running quite a bit slower that would be fine on street tires. Having said that, MOST guys in L2 could run COTA on street tires and be ok. Personally, I didn't move to race rubber and warmers until I was moving to L3.

    Having said all of that...confidence in your tires is probably the single most important thing you can have as you try and progress. It's near impossible to progress on your skills if you're worried that your tires can't hold the next corner so I'd spend whatever you need to spend to be confident in them.

  7. #7
    Street tires that have been run for two years on the street are NOT track day tires. I would even question using those tires if they had been sitting on the showroom floor for 2 years. I bought a new bike that had sat on the floor for three years. Part of the deal included new Pilot Powers.

  8. #8
    I think the age of street tires isn't *that* important. It's not worthless, but a good street tire should be able to last for 4-5 years no problem unless the bike is regularly exposed to some very extreme conditions. I did my first three track days on 3-year-old Pilot Road 3s. I wasn't setting lap records, but I wasn't the slowest guy in L2 either. I think remaining tread and proper tire temp (yes, even street tires need to heat up) and pressures are all more important than absolute tire age. But I've only been at this for a few years, so I don't claim to be an expert. Just what I've seen and experienced myself.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Carter Rossner View Post
    I think the age of street tires isn't *that* important. It's not worthless, but a good street tire should be able to last for 4-5 years no problem unless the bike is regularly exposed to some very extreme conditions. I did my first three track days on 3-year-old Pilot Road 3s. I wasn't setting lap records, but I wasn't the slowest guy in L2 either. I think remaining tread and proper tire temp (yes, even street tires need to heat up) and pressures are all more important than absolute tire age. But I've only been at this for a few years, so I don't claim to be an expert. Just what I've seen and experienced myself.
    From Tire Safety Group, "For most tires, this expiration date should be six years from the date of manufacture. Tires age dangerously because of a chemical process commonly referred to as oxidation, which simply means that as the tire components are exposed to oxygen, the oxygen particles cause the flexible components of a tire to harden and become brittle. Over time, the tire will simply fall apart under normal stress, just like an old rubber band. Because this process occurs naturally, it does not matter if a tire is being used, stored as a spare, or simply waiting on a store shelf for an unsuspecting consumer."

    If the tire is considered too dangerous for highway use after 6 years then it will be too dangerous for track use after 3 years. When I was selling industrial products, Gates Belts had a shelf life of 3 years. There is too much riding on this to take a chance on tires that are probably 3 years old on a 2 year old bike. There is a manufacturing date next to the DOT imprint on the side of the tire. It tells you the week and the year of manufacturing. Example: 2312 is the 23rd week of 2012. A lot of factors go into the life of a tire such as oxidation and ozone deterioration. If the bike is parked near an electric motor (air conditioner, compressor, fan, etc) then 2 years would be too much to risk.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennie Spears View Post
    From Tire Safety Group, "For most tires, this expiration date should be six years from the date of manufacture. Tires age dangerously because of a chemical process commonly referred to as oxidation, which simply means that as the tire components are exposed to oxygen, the oxygen particles cause the flexible components of a tire to harden and become brittle. Over time, the tire will simply fall apart under normal stress, just like an old rubber band. Because this process occurs naturally, it does not matter if a tire is being used, stored as a spare, or simply waiting on a store shelf for an unsuspecting consumer."

    If the tire is considered too dangerous for highway use after 6 years then it will be too dangerous for track use after 3 years. When I was selling industrial products, Gates Belts had a shelf life of 3 years. There is too much riding on this to take a chance on tires that are probably 3 years old on a 2 year old bike. There is a manufacturing date next to the DOT imprint on the side of the tire. It tells you the week and the year of manufacturing. Example: 2312 is the 23rd week of 2012. A lot of factors go into the life of a tire such as oxidation and ozone deterioration. If the bike is parked near an electric motor (air conditioner, compressor, fan, etc) then 2 years would be too much to risk.
    Huh? You started your argument with facts and then converted to a subjective "track life must be 1/2 of street life" argument to cut the 6 year life down to 3 for track. I'm not sure why you did that...

    I personally would have no problem running a 3-5 year old street tire on the track as long as it hasn't been stored in the sun and had decent tread remaining. Yes, rubber breaks down, but the dry rot condition that causes the 6 year replacement guideline isn't accelerated because you are on a track.

    Having said that...I'd probably wouldn't run a street tire on the track at all anymore unless I planned to just go for a casual cruise in mid-pack L2 which would be wasting a perfectly good track day at COTA. Personally...I've gotten too used to the superior grip and confidence of race tires to go back to street tires on the track.

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