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Old 05-13-2009, 10:10 PM   #1
LSTD Mob Cappo
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Tires this past weekend- big props to Big John at SCRC!

First, John at South Central Race Center is by far THE BEST tire vendor I have ever had the pleasure of working with!

There are a few things that you have to do when you work with racers/ track day riders as a vendor, the one thing that separates John from the pack of "average" vendors is EXCELLENCE IN SUPPORT AND BEING AN EXPERT WITH HIS PRODUCTS He also puts up with my phone calls and bouncing back and forth between, "do you think I should run slicks or DOT's", "Should I try the Pirelli's again or stick with the Bridgestones", "should I run the medium/ hard compounds or hard/ hard, or just go with soft/ mediums"... etc

Yesterday I made the switch back to the 003. Actually, I used a 003 front with my slick rear all day and then got a set of 003's to mount up after our day was done.

As the day started, I was a bit leery about using a DOT front with a slick rear- often the DOT won't have the edge grip of a slick tire nor will it have the same kind of profile or size of the slick. Last year when I used the 003 for the first time, I compared it to the GP250 slicks we run on our endurance SV; my comparison found that the 003 had as much edge grip "feel" as the GP250 slick, which to me was really saying something! The first time I used the GP250 slicks on the track on our endurance bike I was able to actually shave some time off my fastest lap times I achieved on DOTs and we never ran DOT's again after that. Not to mention that the same year we switched to the GP250 slicks we won the 8 hour endurance race and only used one set of tires (no tire changes with 7+ hours of green flag racing).

Back to the DOTs now, the 003's rear didn't last as long as the 002PRO tires I used the year previous, but the improvement between the 002PRO and the 003 was phenomenal. The front could hardly be improved I think, the 002PRO front and the 003 front were almost identical to me, the 003 felt a bit more compliant and a bit softer with the carcass, but the wear characteristics were about par and the traction again was "like a slick". The 002PRO front and the 003 front are definitely the "star of the show", but now the 003 rear had significant improvement to match up to that "star"! The 003 was now more compliant, had even better grip, and matched up extremely well to the slick tires, just like the 002PRO/ 003 front does. The only sacrifice was a bit of tire wear, the 003 wears faster (to me) than the 002PRO. That's a give and take though, if you want a softer carcass with more feel and more grip, you gotta give up a little tire wear to do it.

I did go out for about 4 "A" group sessions yesterday and when I pushed the tires I didn't have any issues 'cept one session. I think it was because I was running a slow pace with a student and then went out and pushed a faster pace right after. With the harder compound tires you have to keep a good pace for the tires to "act right" according to John, and I believe it. I had a nice 2 tire slide through 2 and then another in 3... once I gathered myself a bit from the slides I decided I would go back to the pits and check my tires to make sure they weren't "done" John came by and I told him what just happened and he said that air pressure was likely the culprit. Sure enough, I was about 2 lbs high in the rear and 3 high in the front. Heat from the track was higher as the day went on and it built up heat in the tires more than the warmers were heating them which increased the pressures as the day went on.

Check your pressures as the day goes on folks! I know better than that, but I didn't follow through. Thank I didn't yardsale my bike because of it

So I ran the DOT/ slick combo all day and know what? The DOT (which was a soft) looked like it hadn't worn all day. Weird. The slick (hard compound) wore as it had been wearing on the previous track days, but the front didn't show much, or any really wear at all

I decided then that running the slicks wasn't really necessary. Tire wear was the only reason I was running slicks anyway- since I thought I could get some more mileage by using them, that's what I ran. It was a financial decision. Then I started thinking that I may run some races this year and if I did that, I would be limiting myself on the classes I could run if I ran slicks, so I figger'd I'd try the DOTs and see if there was a significant difference in them vs the slicks. Well, I'll say this, the slicks do have more edge grip and the feel is like cornering on Velcro, but it's only a slight difference. Probably enough to affect my laps times a bit, but not much.

So, does this mean that the slicks suck and the DOT's are average?

no, the slicks are really good and the DOT's at THAT GOOD

I've got the new 003 hard/ hard tires on there now, I anticipate that like with my bike last year I'll probably get 2:1 wear on the tires (2 rear, 1 front). I got 2:1 on the slicks. The 2:1 is a guess, but based on how that tire did yesterday I think it'll be perty accurate. I've been getting about 2.5 track days out of the rear and 3.5-4 track days out of the front. Honestly the front could probably still go but it had started developing a "lip" on the left side from all that time at TWS (Texas World Speedway)' turn 1/2 and 7 at high speed.

The Bridgestones continue to impress me. I've always thought that the Pirelli was a really great sprint tire, but me being an endurance racer I had no real interest in that. I needed a tire that gave great traction for a long race, and I didn't feel like (at that time) the Pirelli offered that. When Bridgestone developed the 002PRO, the grip and feel almost matched the Pirelli feel, grip was about the same as the Pirelli to me- the difference was that the Bridgestone lasted forever without sacrificing traction! When Bridgestone came out with the 003, I felt confident in saying that the grip was the same if not slightly better than the Pirelli and the feel was right there with the Pirelli. Bridgestone had done it! I guess all that time with MotoGP paid off!

Wade and Jeff liked the Pirelli slicks, maybe I'll try them next for track days or on a second set of wheels for racing SB classes... I think I may run Cresson and the next TWS (Texas World Speedway) round for the CMRA in sprints depending on how things shake out at work.

Anyway, that's what I did Saturday.
I am Tyler Durdin's bad attitude.
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:09 AM   #2
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Long informative read, thanks for posting.
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