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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to be doing a track day on my ST4s on June 19th. I'm scheduled for my 12K mile service the week prior and also to have new tires fitted (probably will try the ContiRoad Attacks). I've got Avon's on now and have really enjoyed them, but the Conti seems to be the new rage. Anyway, my question is; is there any reason to hold off mounting the new rubber until after the track day? The Avons are worn mostly in the center because I do a lot of highway riding.
 

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First of all, if you're at all suspect of the capabilities of your tires, get them off of your bike before you take to the track. It would be a real shame to pitch a costly motorcycle over a set of sub $400 tires. With respect to the tires you have mentioned (Conti's and Avon'), I have no personal experience with either of them but I think I'm safe in saying that they are designed to be sport touring tires and not track tires. Personally, I'd be inclined to go with a set of pilot powers or Diablo Corsa's. Very good stick plus you'll be able to get some additional street life out of them once you leave the track. No where near as long as the Conti's or Avons currently on your bike but you'll get some decent additional use out of them.
 

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I agree with mcd: If you have any doubts about your tires, swap them BEFORE your track day. As for the type of tire, that really depends on how hard you're going to ride on the track. If this is your first track day, the sport touring tires are probably fine. If you've done this stuff before, you may want to opt for a more appropriate sporting choice of rubber.
 

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kentamcolin said:
I've got Avon's on now and have really enjoyed them, but the Conti seems to be the new rage. Anyway, my question is; is there any reason to hold off mounting the new rubber until after the track day? The Avons are worn mostly in the center because I do a lot of highway riding.
It depends on why you are having a track day. If it's because you want to learn the limits of your bike and tires (and you normally run ST tires) then, by all means, use up what you have. It sounds like you have lot's of rubber left on the sides anyway. The old tires will not have as nice of a feel during tip-in as a new set, but once you are over on the edge it won't matter much at all. Plus, if you do a lot of freeway miles normally, the flat spot is something you normally have to content with. Not that it's a big deal but it does make the bike handle a bit differently. I also think modern ST rubber teaches more lessons about managing traction that many riders who go right to the sticky stuff never learn. I never thought I'd be saying this as in my younger years I was a firm advocate of the stickiest rubber one could find, anything less was a waste of time. But things change and some of the ST rubber is better than the race rubber of not that many years ago.

If you are doing the track day to compete then, by all means, put on some sportier rubber and eat it up. But one of my favorite things to watch is a group of squids with all the trick race gear get smoked by a stock bike with ST rubber on it.

One other thought. On the track, most riders will use up far more rubber on the sides than the center. If you want the new ST tires, go ahead and put them on, use up the sides on your trackday and then wear out the centers on the highway. Just make sure you run an appropriate pressure so you don't end up cooking the rubber with aggressive riding which could render them worthless for the street.

Above all, have a good time!
 

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As I've certainly come to expect... some sound advice, Mike. In the end, it all depends on what you're there for in the 1st place and switching tires adds one more variable in the equation which leads towards obtaining a true feel of what your bike is all about and achieving a comfort zone. If you want to become more acquainted with and become a better rider on your bike in its usual set-up, stick with the ST tires. Regardless of what your tire choice is and to coin a phrase from "What about Bob"... track time is all about taking "baby steps" and being consistently smooth. Enjoy and be prepared to become hooked.
 

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Yep! I too would say to mount the new tires. They will not be adversely effected as far as road life and the safety and piece of mind will be well worth the effort. I am also one of those guys who have had the Avons "go off" in the later stages of there life. I would have no worry about going out on the track with fresh ST rubber.
 

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Mike said:
It depends on why you are having a track day. If it's because you want to learn the limits of your bike and tires (and you normally run ST tires) then, by all means, use up what you have. It sounds like you have lot's of rubber left on the sides anyway. The old tires will not have as nice of a feel during tip-in as a new set, but once you are over on the edge it won't matter much at all. Plus, if you do a lot of freeway miles normally, the flat spot is something you normally have to content with. Not that it's a big deal but it does make the bike handle a bit differently. I also think modern ST rubber teaches more lessons about managing traction that many riders who go right to the sticky stuff never learn. I never thought I'd be saying this as in my younger years I was a firm advocate of the stickiest rubber one could find, anything less was a waste of time. But things change and some of the ST rubber is better than the race rubber of not that many years ago.

If you are doing the track day to compete then, by all means, put on some sportier rubber and eat it up. But one of my favorite things to watch is a group of squids with all the trick race gear get smoked by a stock bike with ST rubber on it.

One other thought. On the track, most riders will use up far more rubber on the sides than the center. If you want the new ST tires, go ahead and put them on, use up the sides on your trackday and then wear out the centers on the highway. Just make sure you run an appropriate pressure so you don't end up cooking the rubber with aggressive riding which could render them worthless for the street.

Above all, have a good time!
Mike, good points, but for a first track day, I'd think twice about "using up what you have". Your points about modern ST rubber are true. However, though he may not be, his heart is going to be racing and without doubt he'll push the bike harder than he has ever before. Everyone goes in one direction. The track is clear and (usually) consists of good surface. Most people accelerate harder and brake harder at the track. They lean it over further. Etc.

For a first track day, I would recommend sticky to keep grip a relative non-issue. You'll have enough other stuff to worry about. Logistics, fatigue, going on track, off track, listening to instructors, meeting new people, etc, etc. Then, after some track experience, play with tires and traction if you want. Pilot Powers are far from the "stickiest" and wear quite well for a sport tire on the street.
 

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I will have to agree to mount new tires.... as for the tires to get... power races take a bit to get ur bike set up for them... I ran them & spent some time w/suspension.. I would go w/dunlop 208 or diablo corsa... u can get them mounted & balanced at the track for about $285.... if its ur 1st trackday.. u won't b pushin too hard so usually any tire w/decent tread will do... just make sure to check ur preasures... 30 front/29 rear is a good starting spot.... have fun.
 

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+1 on mounting the new rubber.

Tip-in feeling is one of the first things you will feel on the track. A new set of tires will let you roll in nicely, while old "flat spot" tires sort of "tip" you in either to fast or with a woobly feeling.

That will dampen your pace and leave you fighting the bike and being overly scared, since in some corners roll-on throttle will be just where your on the edge between flatspot and the rest of the rubber is.

Since your normally riding the freeway, a "track wear" (heavy banking) on the tire will not adversly affect the normal life of the new rubber (IE: straight or mild banking). Just be sure to keep a close eye on the rubber and avoid cold-tearing it. Warm up the rubber for atleast 2 minutes on the track before pushing the bike.

Besides.. Your going to be rinding the new tires after the trackday so you might aswell get a feel for what they are worth.

I do about 10-14 trackdays a year and normally use Pirelli Supercorsa PRO´s or Metzeler Racetech tires, which are about as sticky as legal tires get. But I´ve done knee-dragging trackdays with Dunlop 207´s aswell. The biggest diffrence is that the Dunlop´s don´t communicate aswell as the "stickies", but grip on "ST" tires can be VERY good if you just let them warm up enough.

//amullo
 

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fyi.... I race supercorsa PRO's.... but they r $355 a set.... I highly recommend diablos or the dunlops...most of the guys I race w/use the dunlop 208 gp's cuz they r a great track tire for the price & they are very predictable.. along w/the diablo corsals... nothing builds more confidence than a good set of tires..... just my $.02....
 

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Heck X1r... those white plates depicted in your Avatar certainly must afford you the benefit of an inflation adjusted $.02? Certainly more so than the $.02 kicking around in my pocket.
 

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My opinion: Pilot powers.

I did my first track day last month on my ST3 and switched from the pilot roads to the powers. I felt more confident with the new tires on and the powers are not only stickier, but they turn in much quicker.

Even if you take it easy, you will ride faster and lean further than you ever did on the street. My advise, get some new good sticky rubber.
 

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Ha.. as my avatar may say otherwise.. I am only a yellow plate.. CCS #451..... The whites were only for trackdays.. but don't let that persuade you otherwise.. I have ridden several different brands of tires and if you take any advice at all.. get some good rubber for the track cuz it does help. I will be putting a new avatar up now..
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'll go ahead and get the Conti's mounted. I have a car racing background but no bikes. This is my first track day on two wheels and for one thing it's not gonna fly with the wife to buy some super sticky tires just for this day. Plus, I'm on an ST remember, I'm not gonna be leaned over on the rims unless I remove the exhaust altogether. I'm completely confident that my Avons are not dangerous at all, but I'm having a major service done and it is time to start thinking about rubber anyway. Plus, I won't be hurting road life at the track as I'll be on the sides mostly anyway. I believe Conti lists the recommended pressures as teh same as Avon; 42R & 36F.

Next year I get to go all out with a dedicated track bike and race rubber, unless I spend the money on a shifter kart instead.
 

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Ahhh shifter karts are FUN!
Especially if you get one of THESE!
 

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kentamcolin said:
I believe Conti lists the recommended pressures as teh same as Avon; 42R & 36F.
You probably want to see if you can get a hold of a Conti tire rep or seek the advice of someone who has used those tires on the track. The tire pressures you've outlined appear to be tire pressures designed for regular road use. On the track, pressures are typically quite a bit lower.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'll check with a Conti rep, good advice.

Nice kart, must be a blast to ride!!! Somehow I don't think it would pass tech inspection at a sanctioned event though.
 

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Please let us know what the coni rep says about pressure for the track.
Bruce
 
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