Inexpensive- You don’t need a $10,000 machine to have a great time at a track day. As a matter of fact, if you spend all your money on your bike, then you will not have as much money available for track day registration fees and top-notch riding gear. Another criteria that makes track riding a whole lot less expensive is if you have a bike that is easy on tires. Also, forgo unnecessary bling and wait until you have at least a few track days under your belt before you make any performance modifications. Suspension and brake mods are acceptable at any time, though.
The Roadtec 01 is what Metzeler describe as their Sports Touring Tyre and we wouldn’t disagree. The name of the game here is fast and dependable performance. A Ducati Multistrada 1200 has 160 bhp on tap and we know how they’re ridden – their owners want a tire that can keep up when the throttle is pulled back and maximum power is applied as well as when the rain comes. This tyre excels at both.
Dunlop’s Elite 3 has improved wear resistance, assuring increased mileage coupled with impressive traction. With this tire, you can hit up to 15,000 miles, regardless of whether you are an aggressive accelerator or not. This tire has an impressive tread pattern, which delivers reliable traction even in standing water puddles. For a confident and solid feel when cornering, this tire comes with an in sport-derived profile, so you'll enjoy each mile of your riding. If you’re looking for the best combination of stability, cornering, dry traction, wet traction and tread life, Elite 3 rear tire is a great deal.
For track day riders who want the highest performance in DOT-approved rubber, Pirelli is introducing a new compound for the Diablo Supercorsa tire. The Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa TD tire will be available from authorized trackside vendors at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway (March 29-31), MSR Houston (April 12-14) and Aprilia Racer Days at Circuit of the Americas (April 16).
The performance of a tire depends on several things. First, there are different types of motorcycle tires made for different riders and bikes. This means that a tire will deliver what it’s meant for. For example, sport tires deliver an unmatched grip on diverse surfaces, but at the expense of the tread. If you’re looking for tires with the highest mileage, the best choice would be touring tires. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a compromise, the best option will be sport touring. First, identify where you will be riding; if it’s a commuting bike, go for tires with improved mileage and that performs well on diverse surfaces.
Sporting tires, on the other hand, provide the best grip and are great for high speeds and have an impressive durability. They’re the most versatile as they’re made from softer rubber, with lesser treads. For a racing/track tire, they’re almost similar, but the latter provides better grip. This makes them good for rugged terrains and when taking corners.
CBR600RR, ZX6R, R6, GSXR600, 675 Daytona, 675 Street Triple, and other 600-class bikes– The 600 class of bikes are the most prevalent bikes at a track day. They offer a good balance of power with very good suspension and brakes out of the box. These bikes aren’t the cheapest thing to run. They can eat up tires and crashing them can get expensive. Older CBRs, R6s, GSXRs and ZX6s can be had cheaply. Note, that if you want a track-only bike with race bodywork, premium suspension and bike protection, it’s often cheaper to find a bike that is already prepared and outfitted for track use than to take a street bike and converting it to a track-only machine. Just be aware of their condition.
R is a designation of the tires construction, in this case meaning radial ply. Apart from radial, the other carcass design is the bias, which is represented by ‘B.’ The ‘16’ value refers to the wheel size, which is the diameter. This tire is made for a wheel with 16 inches diameter. If there’s a specification that you must get right, it’s the wheel size rating. In the same example, ‘67’ denotes the load index. If you pick this tire, you can carry a load of up to 661 pounds. Another vital feature is the last letter, ‘H,’ which denotes the maximum speed that the wheel can support; in our example above the maximum speed is 130 MPH. Apart from the H rating, there are 14 other speed ratings.
Which motorcycle racing tires do you want to outfit your track bike with? We carry motorcycle race tires from all the industry leaders, including Pirelli, Bridgestone, Shinko, Dunlop and many more. Racing tires are a critical component in giving you that extra edge on the track, and if you have any questions picking out the right motorcycle tires for your bike, please don't hesitate to call us or shoot us an email.
Ken is author of "Motorcycling the Right Way” and "Riding in the Zone" (book and blog). He is also the "Street Savvy" columnist for Motorcyclist Magazine, and former longtime author of the Proficient Motorcycling and Street Strategies columns for Motorcycle Consumer News. Ken is Lead Instructor for Tony's Track Days, a 20 year Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor, and owner of Riding in the Zone Motorcyclist Training.
Take it from the experts, who’ve had the chance to try out all the latest rubber on a variety of bikes—there is no single best set of tires for any one motorcycle, only the best riding tires for YOUR motorcycle and how YOU use it. Have a sportbike that you use more for sport touring rather than the track? You’re going to want to look into the top-rated dual compound tires for the longest lasting reliability and best cornering performance. Ride a cruiser you use for commuting AND for long trips? You’ll need an all weather tire that performs in any conditions, and touts high mileage durability for consistent handling, mile after mile.