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post #1 of 9 Old 06-03-2005, 1:43 PM Thread Starter
 
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Great article about tires (RoadRacing World)

long but surpisingly interesting..


RRW tire test.
Tires are round and black and made out of rubber—and they are the single most important factor determining whether a rider visits winner's circle or the hospital, between carving a graceful, knee-dragging arc through a corner or becoming a ragdoll launched into orbit, between having a fun track day or figuring out how to explain the pile of twisted aluminum and broken plastic in the back of the truck to a significant other. And with the goal of saving riders a lot of wasted time, money and possibly pain, we now present the latest, greatest blind tire comparison test. This time we tested tires in two groups: DOT-labeled racing tires, and DOT-labeled tires sold for street and recreational track day use.

In November of 1999 Roadrac-ing World conducted the first scientific, blind tire comparison test in the history of motorcycle journalism. What set that test apart from the evaluations done by other magazines wasn't the fact that we kept the test rider from knowing what tire he was riding on, (which we did). It was the fact that we measured each tire involved in the test and made adjustments to our test bike (a well-developed, Championship-winning machine) to compensate for the difference in actual installed size between the baseline tires and the test tires.
The point of all that extra work was to ensure that our test bike's geometry remained constant, allowing the rider to test the only thing different about the bike—the tires. It is sad that there are various motorcycle magazines around the world still comparing tires (and motorcycles) without measuring or compensating for differences in installed tire sizes.

For our previous test, we used the G.M.D. Computrack machine at Jim Rashid's 4&6 Racing to measure each set of tires mounted on wheels and installed on our test bike. Then Kent Soignier put those numbers into the G.M.D. Computrack system's "What If..." program to tell us how to adjust the bike back to its original geometry.
Since that time we have adopted a simpler way of measuring the difference in the size of any two tires. For this test, we mounted each tire on a wheel, positioned the wheel perfectly vertical on a test bench (using drafting straight edges for reference) and measured the height from a designated point near the wheel's axle to the table's surface. This essentially gave us the difference in radius of each tire. The difference in that measurement for two tires told us what changes we needed to make.

The largest difference we found was, as usual, between the Dunlop and Michelin race tires—we found that the Dunlops have a 12mm larger rear radius and a 3mm larger front radius. The geometry change caused by switching from Michelin tires to Dunlop tires would be, in this case, the equivalent of raising the rear ride height of the motorcycle by 9mm. That type of change can have a dramatic effect on the handling of a motorcycle—often inducing a tendency to tuck the front end—while also affecting final drive gearing and swingarm-to-rear-tire clearance.
The high-performance street/track day tires covered a range of 2.5mm among all the fronts and 8.5mm among all the rears.
We highly recommend that anyone changing tire brand and/or size measure the old and new tires and make any needed adjustments, to avoid screwing up the set-up geometry. Another thing to consider is that each tire has unique damping characteristics, and may require different suspension spring rates and valving for optimum performance. For simple logistical reasons, we couldn't completely sort out the suspension to suit each tire, instead staying with a proven baseline suspension set-up on our test bike.

We weighed each dismounted test tire and found a large difference between the weights. For the weights, see the chart on page 55, but in short, two individual tires (Michelin Power Race and Dun-lop Sportmax GP) varied in weight by as much as three pounds. And remember, that's unsprung, rotating mass.

We conducted this test at the same track we used five years ago, Oak Hill Raceway, near Henderson, Texas. Oak Hill Raceway is a privately-owned road course located in the middle of pasture land in eastern Texas. Not many people have heard of the track because it only hosts CMRA motorcycle club road races and shifter kart races, but don't let that fool you. Freddie Spencer, Kevin Schwantz, Colin Edwards, all three of the Hayden brothers and Ben Spies— among others— spent their developing years racing on this twisty, undulating 1.8-mile, officially eight-turn (but in reality more like 14-turn) road course.
Texans like to say, "If you can go fast at Oak Hill, you can go fast anywhere," because Oak Hill throws a little bit of everything at a rider except a place to rest. Corners vary from wide, smooth, 95-mph turn one, to the patched, bumpy, 40-mph "School House" hairpin. Hardly any part of the course is flat, and many of the corner entrances are blind. And Oak Hill has some of the highest-grip, most tire-torturing asphalt seen in modern club racing. All of which makes Oak Hill a very good tire test track.

Since our last visit, Oak Hill has undergone extensive improvements. It has been re-paved from the entrance of turn eight through the exit of turn one, and several other areas of the track have been patched with a grippy concoction known as Rhyno Hyde. However, there are still many bumps—and even ruts—in several areas of the track.
Among the advantages of using Oak Hill are mild weather (between 65-75° F during our test), the ability to see almost the entire track from the main grandstands and the fact that we have many friends in the area who were willing to come out and lend us a hand, Including AMA Pro racer John Haner, current Oak Hill track record holder Michael Sanchez and his brother Gabe Sanchez, and Marcus McBain of Racing Performance Services (RPS, 713-304-5509) with crewmen John Ross and Leonard Gremillion.

For our testers, we used Racing Editor Chris Ulrich and Assistant Editor Steve Atlas. Ulrich has won two AMA National road races, an overall WERA National Endurance Championship, a Suzuki Cup Championship and more importantly, he has raced on Pirelli, Dunlop, Michelin and Bridge-stone tires mounted on everything from YSRSOs to lOOOcc Superbikes since he started racing at age 13.Atlas has won CCS National Championships as well as several class Championships with CRA (his home club), has also raced on several different brands of tires and has sampled many other brands of tires during his time on staff here at Roadrac-ing World,
For the test, Ulrich rode his well-developed, race-winning 2003 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Super-stock bike, which was originally set up on Pirelli Super Corsa slicks and carried exactly two gallons of fuel during each test run. Atlas rode a lightly-modified 636cc 2005 Kawasaki ZX-6R streetbike, which he set up using its original Bridgestone BT014 tires as a baseline. Atlas rode with a full fuel load for each test stint.
We chose the 636cc Kawasaki for this test in hopes of providing relevant information for riders of both 600cc and 750cc machines. In addition to stripping a few street parts off the Ninja to ease rear wheel changes, we fit it with Linde-mann Enterprises-modified forks and an Elka shock, both sprung for Atlas' relatively light, 140-pound weight. A modified/after-market suspension set-up is far from unusual for a track day rider and it ensured that our set-up would stay consistent throughout the marathon test day, eliminating any chance that the stock shock would overheat and lose damping capabilities.

McBain and his RPS crew, working in conjunction with Road-racing World project Crew Chief Ed Sorbo, helped Atlas set-up his Kawasaki while he learned Oak Hill on the first day of the test. Sorbo also oversaw all of the bike preparation, wheel and geometry changeovers and countless other tasks that made the test run more smoothly than It did during our previous effort.
Both bikes were fitted with data acquisition systems supplied by AiM Sports (800-718-9090).
A MXL Pista plug-n-play system plugged right into Ulrich's Suzuki and supplied lap times, engine speed, road speed, throttle position and gear position, but its track mapping feature failed to produce anything remotely resembling Oak Hill. The MychronS Gold system on Atlas' Kawasaki was a prototype system for the 2004 ZX-6RR. Because neither a 2005 system nor a 2004 bike were available, we hoped the 2004 system would work with the 2005 bike. It did mount onto and plug into the 2005 ZX-6R and collected lap times, engine speed and mapped the track, but it failed to produce road speed, which prevented us from comparing mid-corner and straightaway speeds between tires.

To collect our test samples, we contacted several different tire manufacturers and asked for their "best DOT-labeled, production road race tire in sizes 120/70-17 and 190/50-17, in a compound in the middle of their available range" and their "best high-performance street/ track day tires in 120/70-17 and 180/55-17." Ulrich would test the race tires on his race-bike. Atlas would test the street tires on the modified streetbike. Bridgestone, Dunlop, Michelin and Pirelli accepted the DOT-labeled race tire challenge. Although Metzeler has a RaceTec DOT-labeled race tire in Europe (where it has done very well in some magazine tire shootouts), the German company does not plan to market the tire in the United States in 2005 and declined to send us test samples. Avon's U.S. importer also chose not to supply us with Avon AV49/50SP Pro Series Xtreme race tires.

We had several more takers for our high-performance street/track day tire test. Avon, Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Maxxis, Metzeler, Michelin and Pirelli quickly sent samples, but Dresser Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., re-manufacturers of the Tomahawk race and street tires, did not return several telephone calls and e-mail inquiries from Roadmcing World.

Each test tire was stored in the same, cool, dry environment until being transported to the test track. Air pressures were set at each tire manufacturer's recommended setting for track use with one exception: Continental's spokesman recommended that we set the Continental tires at 36 psi front and 42 psi rear for the racetrack, which set off warning buzzers in all of our heads. Leaning on the vast amount of track experience among the Roadracing World staff and in the interest of Atlas' health and welfare, we chose to set the Continentals at a much lower, more conventional air pressure for the test.
During the test we used thermostat-controlled Chickenhawk-brand tire warmers to bring the race tires up to the manufac-
turer-recommended temperatures for the manufacturer-recommended duration before going on track. Most of the tire manufacturers had no recommendations for the usage of tire warmers in conjunction with their high-performance street/track day tires. With that in mind and in the interest of safety, we chose to bring all of the high-performance street/ track day tires up to 125° F, front and rear, before sending Atlas out on track. Knowing that the street tires are designed to work in a lower temperature range and that 125°F is hardly hotter than tires can get if left in direct sunlight on a hot summer day, we felt confident that this was a safe middle ground.
The riders were kept away from the work area where wheels were changed on the bikes, and tire warmers were kept on the tires until the rider was on the bike and ready to roll out onto the track When the rider returned to the paddock, tire warmers were re-installed before he was allowed to get off the bike. The riders did not know what brand tires they were on, although in one case, the rider made a pretty accurate guess based on tire feel.
As with our original tire test, we offer this disclaimer: Ideal air pressure settings, tire warmer temperature and duration, and tire rubber compounds may vary from track to track. When setting air pressures or using tire warmers or selecting which compound of rubber to use, riders should follow the recommendations of their local tire distributor or the tire manufacturer.
We have provided a chart showing the differences in actual tire size and the changes required to return our test bikes to their original set-ups, but this does not guarantee these numbers will work for you and your bike set-up. Whenever you change brands of tire or even switch to a different model of tire from the same manufacturer, you should measure the difference between your known tire and the new tire and make the appropriate adjustments, if needed.

Race Tire Test
Race Tire Brand One (Bridgestone)
After waiting a couple of hours for the track to fully dry following overnight rains, we sent Ulrich out on Race Tire Brand One, which had been heated to 80°C front and rear, on a track that measured 91.4°F with an ambient temperature of 70°F. Ulrich immediately started turning quick lap times and ended up with a best of 1 :26.997 on his fifth of six flying laps. This turned out to be the quickest lap time of the test.
"The rear had really good grip from the get-go, straight out of the box," said Ulrich. "It was like, 'Wow! I'm driving out of the corner and I'm not sideways.' Through turn six, I was totally sideways out of there before. Now it's way bitchin'!
"Over the bumps, it wasn't very good. It seems like I could feel more of the bumps on the track, but it still had really good grip around the entire thing.
"The biggest problem I had was chatter — from both ends, but mainly the front — through turn one and some of the faster stuff. It chattered for the first four or five laps. Once it rubbed off, the last couple of laps were better.
"The front felt good and stuck. Through turn two, the grip was there. I was pushing harder and harder each lap going In on the brakes, on the front, on the trail braking. It's amazing. It's so much better than the control tire, and the control tire was a slick. I could just throw the thing in the corner, real precise, and it totally hits the line and doesn't run wide."
The Aim MXL Pista data acquisition system saw the same things that Ulrich mentioned, except for the chatter. Ulrich's throttle position consistently went to maximum quicker and more often than with any other tire. His drives/acceleration out of corners were consistently better, resulting in more speed between most corners. Ulrich was also able to carry that extra speed into the corners, resulting in most of the highest apex speeds of the test.
The key to getting a good lap time at Oak Hill is putting
the section from turn eight to turn two together well. On his fast lap with Race Tire Brand One, Ulrich was able to carry decent apex speed at turn eight, build the most speed before entering turn one (125.6 mph), carry the most speed through turn one (minimum apex speed 96.9 mph) and build the most speed down the next straight away (128.5 mph) before carrying the most speed into turn two (44.1 mph).
Ulrich said Race Tire Brand One reached its high level of performance immediately and did not show any signs of fading during his six, hard laps. He also added that it took much less effort to go fast on Race Tire Brand One than it did on his control tires.
Ranking 0 to 10, with 10 being the best, Ulrich gave Race Tire Brand One many eights, with a nine for trail braking. However, he rated Race Tire Brand One's Bump Absorption at a five, the lowest score it received.


Race Tire Brand Two (Pirelli)
After a short break for the wheels to be changed and the geometry to be adjusted, Ulrich headed back out onto the 96.0°F track (ambient temperature 72°F) with Race Tire Brand Two, which had been heated to 80°C for the recommended amount of time. Again, Ulrich looked comfortable and immediately started turning quick lap times, but his lap times dropped off after the second flying lap, about the same time the rear tire could be seen squirming under acceleration out of turn five.
"The first two laps were pretty good," said Ulrich, after turning a 1:27.027, the second-fastest lap of the test, on lap two of six. "Then every other lap after that, I couldn't get on the gas as early, and I couldn't trail brake as hard. I lost the front two or three laps in a row in that back corner, turn six. Coming down the hill (to turn five), it was sideways coming down the hill where that other tire was driving. Did you see me get kicked out of the seat there, coming out of five? That was pretty much the deal. So I decided to back off."
Ulrich said the tires were good to go right out of the gate but got progressively worse after the second lap. 'They were OK on the brakes," said Ulrich. "I could throw the thing on its side, but they didn't have the side grip that those other tires did. It turns in pretty well, but once you get to full lean it just doesn't handle that good. On the first tire, when I would come through one and hit that bump (at the exit), it was actually pretty good. This one, I hit the bump and it upset the bike a little bit. I don't know how fast I went, but it didn't feel as good."
The data acquisition system backed up Ulrich's feedback that he did in fact have to back out of the throttle occasionally while hitting the bump at the exit of turn one, but he still reached 128 mph before turn two after starting at a lower (90.1 mph) turn one apex speed than Race Tire Brand One. The speed traces of Ulrich's fastest lap on Race Tire Brand Two also show wheel spin coming out of turn three on his fastest lap, resulting in 6.0 mph less speed into turn four than with Race Tire Brand One, but a better drive and mph (125.1) down the hill to turn five than with Race Tire Brand One. Overall, the data acquisition system showed Race Tire Brand Two to have lower mid-corner speeds but some better drives in the early laps when compared to Race Tire Brand One.
Ulrich gave Race Tire Brand Two all sixes and sevens on his score sheet. The tire earned the lower marks in Trail Braking, Mid-corner Grip (front and rear) and Predictability/Consistency.


Race Tire Brand Three (Michelin)
With clouds building overhead, the track cooled to 87.8°F and the ambient temperature dropped to 70°F for the run on the Race Tire Brand Three samples, which were heated to 70°C, front, and 90°C, rear, for the recommended amount of time.
"That was a good tire!" exclaimed Ulrich, after turning a third-fastest 1:28.008 on his fifth of six hard laps. "It felt like a Michelin, flat out. That thing slid like a Michelin. Michelins don't do a nice, long slide. They do a Whoo! Whoo! Whoo! But it's not like you're sitting there spinning the thing out of control. You're driving forward the entire time, and it's pretty predictable when it's doing it.
"It had a lot of grip on the left side when it was hot, but the right side never really came in. I could see the left side of that particular tire going away in three more laps because it was really starting to buck, but it wasn't really uncontrollable bucking. It was going forward. It wasn't like the control tire, which would buck and kick me out of the seat.
"I could trail the brakes in on that tire the best. It had a lot of side grip. The first two laps,
however, it was hard to turn the bike in, which is another Michelin trait. Once they get warmed up, it's a good tire.
'The biggest tiling that's going to shoot that particular tire down Is the right side. I couldn't get down the hill, or over bumps. It didn't absorb bumps for sh-t, front or rear. It would hit a bump and slide, but it wouldn't buck me out of the seat. Typical again of a Michelin."
The Aim MXL Pista system showed that Tire Brand Three had equal—if not better—apex speeds than Race Tire Brand One. And in spite of Ulrich's feedback, on his fastest lap on Race Tire Brand Three, he got better drives (indicated by higher speeds when arriving at the next corners) out of right-hand turns four and five than on Race Tire Brand One. However, on that fastest lap, the data showed that Ulrich was unable to get the throttle wide open exiting turns seven (left) and eight (right), while he could with other tires.
Ulrich rated Race Tire Brand Three's Turn-in Grip at nine, while giving every other categoiy a seven or an eight. However, Ulrich gave Tire Brand Three a five for Bump Absorption.


Race Tire Brand Four (Dunlop)
The air measured 72°F and the track surface was 86.3°F for Race Tire Brand Four, the samples of which were heated to 170°F for 45 minutes, as recommended. Ulrich turned his fastest lap on Race Tire Brand Four, a 1:28.415, on lap two of six, but his lap times bounced around quite a bit from that point on, turninga 1:28.6 one lap, a 1:29.3 the next and a 1:28.5 the lap after.
"Right out of the gate, I went into the first turn and the thing was like Whoa! I went into a slide right out off the gate, both ends. Tip the thing in and whoosh!" said Ulrich. "It doesn't absorb bumps for sh-t. It had a super stiff carcass, it
seemed like. You hit the bump and it's like bam! A big hit, then the thing slides. I tried to get the gas on and I had no grip, no drive grip, no nothing."
Ulrich elaborated on the lack of drive grip, saying, "You had to wait so long, until you had the thing fully stood up. And it didn't give me good feedback. Like, 'OK, I'm going to slide now...maybe...no.' No feeling at all.
"You could get on the brakes and get it in there. It would turn in, no problem. But you best not be on the brakes at the apex. You better have your braking done and then be turning, or be very low on your trail braking. With Race Tire Brand Three, I could whooom! Right to the apex, keep big brake on, turn it and fire it out. With this thing, it was like Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whew! I made it! It seemed like the rear wanted to back itself around going into corners. Once you did the initial turn, it stuck until you opened the throttle."
The data acquisition system showed that Ulrich was unable to give Race Tire Brand Four as much throttle coming out of left-hand turn three and right-hand turn four as other tires. Race Tire Brand Four's speed at the apex of the slower corners was nearly up to par, but never built the same mph on the short straights or carried the same speeds through most corners as its competitors.
Ulrich said Race Tire Brand Four was slow to come up to temperature on the track and stayed at a low level of performance through his six laps, resulting in him giving Race Tire Brand Four the lowest marks of the four competitors.

Race Tire Test Results
When the subjective scores were tabulated, Race Tire Brand One had a small lead over Race Tire Brand Three, but when the objective scores from Fastest Lap Time, Fastest Average Lap Time and Smallest Spread of Fastest-to-slowest Lap Time (Race Tire Brand Three had the smallest spread, 1.168 seconds, showing consistency) were factored in, Race Tire Brand One and Race Tire Brand Three were tied. Ulrich's preference served as a tie-breaker, giving the DOT-labeled race tire shootout crown to Race Tire Brand Three - the Michelin Power Race.
"The (Michelin) front tire was the best," said Ulrich, before knowing the true identity of the tires. "The front tire was so good. I could go in, throw it in on the brakes. The rear wasn't that great. It was good, but it wasn't like Race Tire Brand One's rear. The only problem I had with (the Michelins) was the right side wasn't getting hot enough. Maybe they need a hotter day or whatever. But flat out, I'm a front tire guy, and that front tire was really good. That's what won it."

Second place went to Race Tire Brand One—the Bridge-stone Battlax BT002, which not only led the subjective scoring but also recorded the fastest overall lap time, the lowest average lap time (showing consistently high grip) and the second-best spread of lap times. "The rear was really good. It had really good side grip, and it drove the thing out of the corner really well. It had good feeling, too. It didn't pump or squirm like (the Michelins), which would still drive forward. (The Bridge-stones) would just drive forward. The front (Bridgestone) just wasn't as good. It had too much chatter at the beginning. It was a really good front tire, but (the Michelin's) front tire was golden."

Third place went to Race Tire Brand Two—Pirelli's Super Corsa Pro. "They were pretty squishy. I don't really mind that. They were really good over the bumps. It just didn't seem that they had the outright grip that (the Bridge-stones) and (the Michelins) had. Not the outright side grip. The drive grip was OK. The front tire could have been better, too," said Ulrich, in spite of turning a faster lap time on the Pirellis than on the winning Michelins.
Race Tire Brand Four—the Dunlop Sportmax GP finished fourth—last. "Those things were scary, flat out. Those guys need to go back and figure something out," said Ulrich, bluntly.
...

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Re: Great article about tires (RoadRacing World)

High-performance
Street/Track Day
Tire Test
The high-performance street/track day test was held the next day, which was overcast and cooler but provided even more consistent conditions. The ambient temperature varied only two degrees, from 64°F to 66°F, and the track temperature only varied from 69.9°F to 76.8°F over the entire 2.5-hour test period.

Track Day Tire Brand One (Pirelli)
Atlas quickly built speed with the first test tire, but everything was not apparent to the naked eye. "Under real extreme braking, it had a bad chatter," said Atlas. "Especially if you got in deep and you had to pull it in that little bit more to pull the thing in, it was like guh, guh, guh! It was really unnerving. The tire wouldn't let you trail brake at all. So you had to make sure you had your braking done straight up and down.
"Once you got the thing tipped over and leaned into the corner it wasn't that bad. The thing had good roll speed. It went through the corner OK. It changed directions pretty well. It steered well. It didn't feel slow steering. It felt good steering. It held its line. If I needed to adjust mid-corner, it was fine.
"The rear tire was real good, had good grip going in, good grip mid-corner, good grip coming out. The thing it did best was at was full-lean, initial throttle grip. The side grip with the rear tire was good, real good. The front tire lacked a little bit of outright grip at big lean angles, but it wasn't anything that was unpredictable.
"Both tires felt like they had a stiff carcass, because the bike felt more harsh. I could feel every little bump a lot more so than the control tire. That downhill into five, there's a big bump there that would jolt my wrists every lap. They give good feedback what they are doing, but they were real stiff feeling.
'They came in pretty quick. It took two laps to get them up to temperature—the warm-up lap and the first flying lap then they felt good—and they never faded at all. They were consistent the whole way through."
After a cautious first flier (1:34), Atlas turned his the second-quickest time of the test, a 1:30.760, followed by four, consistent, low-1:31 laps. He then gave the tire high scores for Mid-corner Grip (front and rear), Corner Exit Drive Grip and Predictability/Consistency, and a low score of two for Trail Braking.

Track Day Tire Brand Two (Dunlop)
Atlas almost went quicker on his first flying lap on Street Tire Brand Two than his quickest lap on Street Tire Brand One. He then steadily lowered his times until he bottomed out at 1:29.539, the fastest lap time of his test, which he backed up with another 1:29 on the next lap. "It was good on the brakes, good trail braking, but it lacked a little feel trail braking," said Atlas. "I could trail brake, but I wasn't totally confident in it. It lacked a little bit of feedback, sort of. I didn't have that great connection with the front tire when I was hard on the brakes. "The thing that the front tire lacked the most on was its tendency to run wide and
the effort to steer the bike into the corner. I was using a lot of effort. I had to compensate with body English, hang off more and pull it down in some of the tighter corners, like turn three. There, you have to hug a tight line all the way around. It was
all the effort I had in me to get it to hold that line.
"Once you got the thing stood up and driving on the rear tire, you could pretty much get it to do whatever you wanted. The back tire was real good. It had good grip, good mid-corner, good entrance, good exit. I never had any moments with the back tire at all.
"I did notice that, whatever was different, I don't know if it was the weight, profile or what with the rear tire, the engine was lower in the rpm exiting the corners. (This brand had the third-heaviest rear tire.) It didn't get as good a drive. Like coming off of turn two, I was at 1500 rpm less. Normally, I come out of turn three and I just tap the rev-limiter (in third gear) before going into turn four, and this wasn't getting to the limiter. It didn't feel like it came off the corner as strong. I was opening the throttle sooner and harder trying to compensate for being lower in the Rs and it still didn't feel like it was getting the same drive off the corners.
'They were real compliant over the bumps. It felt like the carcass was real nice and soaked up the bumps. I don't know if part of that was the other tire before this one was so harsh, but
I was like, This is sweet!' The track has a hundred less bumps than on the other one. The other one you could feel every single (bump), and it was real fatiguing. This one I didn't feel the bump down the hill (to turn five) at all. The bumps weren't a big deal. It soaked them all up.
"The rear went away at the end of the run. It got greasy on both sides. The whole tire got greasy, and it was sketchy on the very last lap. I felt it squirming, and I was getting the thing to spin, and I definitely noticed a distinct fading of that tire."
Track Day Tire Brand Two got Atlas' highest marks, scoring eights in every category except Bump Absorption, which received a nine, and Steering/ Handling, which garnered a five for the tendency to run wide.

Track Day Tire Brand Three (Metzeler)
"Both tires lacked outright grip, big time," said Atlas. "I got
out there and got going, and I'm like, They've got to come up to temperature. They've got to come up to temperature.' Then I'm like, 'I don't think they're going to get any better. This is as good as they've got.' I'm sure they came up to temperature, because everything else has, but it felt like they didn't. I was pushing the front. The rear was spinning, and I had to use body English.
"Coming up the hill out of three, there's a fast kink. Every lap it was just Whooop! (spinning sound) And it wasn't real predictable, either. Both sides (of the rear tire), it was spinning. I would come off the corner. I would go to get on the throttle, then I would be, 'OK, that's all it's got.' Then I would back off to half-throttle, let the thing build, get it stood up and go to turn it on, and it would still spin a little bit straight up and down. It was definitely not confidence-inspiring at all.
"Braking was decent, but front end trail braking was not
very good. I had the front push in the last corner. I had the front push in turn three. One time it was like, 'Oh my gosh! I'm going to crash.' Another time it was like, 'OK, that's the limit right there. Alright.'
"They're kind of unpredictable. Some of the slides at the rear would be nice slides, like going up the hill, like the faster stuff, but in some of the slower stuff, the rear would kick out real quick.
"It changed directions well. That was its best characteristic. It's real flickable. Side-to-side was real good. Turn-in was good and fast, but I didn't have confidence in that front tire to flick it in hard. You could go in hard, but because you knew that front tire didn't have the grip you were looking for you didn't do it. It almost felt as if they never came up to temperature."
Atlas turned his fastest lap on Track Day Tire Brand Three, a 1:31.345 (the sixth-fastest time of the test), on his second flying lap, and backed it up with a 1:31.6 on the following lap. After that, however, he couldn't get into the 1:3Is again and finished the session with l:32s and l:33s. Atlas gave Track Day Tire Brand Three mediocre scores in most categories with the exception of Corner Exit Drive Grip (two) and Predictability/Consistency (two).

Track Day Tire Brand Four (Continental)
"Not a good tire," said Atlas after turning a best of 1:33.045 (the slowest lap time of the test, by far) on his third of six flying laps on Track Day Tire Brand Four. "It took a long time to heat up. Three-plus laps to get temperature in them.
"Once the front came up to temperature, it was good straight up and down on the brakes. It was fairly good tipping in trail braking. Mid-corner, I didn't rate it as well just because of how long it took to come in. That kind of messed my confidence up a little bit. It wasn't until the fifth lap that I really trusted that tire because I had the thing move so many times the first three and a half, four laps. You go out there on a tire and it grips right away, you can really get into it and get going. But when that thing is telling you, 'No, no, no!' for that long, it's hard for you, once it does come in, to say, 'Let's go.'
"The worst part was the rear tire. It was garbage, complete garbage. I had it back itself in going into turn one. I was like, 'OK, that's as fast as I can go there.' It had no grip going in, mid-corner or exit. It started out horrible with no heat in it, and it stayed that way the whole time. It wasn't good. That was the biggest limiting factor. The rear tire just lacked grip, big-time.
"They didn't affect the handling of the bike that much. They were a bit slower steering, going in and transition-ing back and forth.
'The biggest thing was the heat issue and the rear tire. It wasn't like a squirmy, Pirelli-type feel. It just didn't have grip. It felt like there was a coating on it that never came off."
Atlas gave Track Day Tire Brand Four average scores for the front tire and very low scores for the rear tire.

Track Day Tire Brand Five (Michelin)
Atlas had his knee down within three corners on Track Day Tire Brand Five and steadily lowered his lap times until he turned a 1:31.114 on lap five of six, good for the fourth-fastest time of the test. "That front tire was the best so far," said Atlas. "Good under braking, real good trail braking. I was trail braking deeper on that tire than any other. It turned well. It was stable. It didn't seem to adversely affect the handling of the bike at all. If anything, it helped it by quickening the steering, but it wasn't quick to the point where it fell in too fast. Directional changes and getting the thing to tip in on your knee, it was a lot less effort.
"The biggest fault of these was the rear tire corner exit grip wasn't the best. It wasn't bad, and it slid predictably, which is good. But it still spun on corner exit. You stand it up coming out of five, and even when the thing's stood up there pretty good you can still get it to light up. It didn't lack mid-
corner grip. It had good entrance and mid-corner grip. It was just drive grip at corner exit it was lacking.
"You could kind of compensate by riding around it, by going in deeper and using the front more, which was nice. I mean, you could put a lot of confidence in that front tire. It was pretty bitchin'."
Atlas gave Track Day Tire Brand Five scores ranging from eights for Trail Braking and Front Tire Mid-corner Grip to sixes for Steering/Handling, Bump Absorption and Corner Exit Drive Grip.

Track Day Tire Brand Six (Bridgestone)
Atlas instantly felt at home on Track Day Tire Brand Six and turned several quick laps, finishing the stint with the third-fastest lap time of the test, a 1:30.927. But observers could easily see he was feeling all of the bumps in the track.
"Overall, it was a good tire," said Atlas. "The front was real good. Not quite as good as the last front. It didn't give quite the same feedback, but it was still good. The rear was definitely on par. It wasn't spectacular.
"The biggest thing I noticed about the tires was they were really, really, really rigid. More so than any other tire so far. I could feel every single bump straight through my spine. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! And that took back on the level of confidence
because of how bumpy this track is, and some of the stuff is mid-corner. When I'm leaned over in turn four and I get that jolt through my arms, it's hard to go blazing through there. I think the front tire had the grip to go through there well, but it was so rigid it felt as if I were to push any harder it would start to skip. It felt like rocks were on the wheels.
"The grip wasn't an issue mid-corner. In the fast sweeping stuff without bumps, they felt really good. They gave good feedback, too, when I was leaned over. But when I hit those bumps, it was really jolting.
"The bike steered well. It changed direction fine. It wasn't hard to keep it on line. The thing stayed online well. They are good tires in that respect, and good in the grip department, as well. They came up to temperature right away, scrubbing in, no complaints there. They didn't fade at all."
Atlas gave Track Day Tire
Brand Six scores of seven in most categories, except for Front Tire Mid-Corner Grip, which got an eight, Rear Tire Corner Exit Drive Grip, which got a six, and Bump Absorption, which got a two.


Track Day Tire Brand Seven (Maxxis)
After a somewhat cautious out lap, Atlas quickly got down to business and turned a 1:31.345 (fifth-quickest of the test) on his third flying lap with Track Day Tire Brand Seven. However, he backed off just as quickly, ended up with only the one quick lap and the rest in the l:32s or higher.
'The tire came up to temperature fast and felt good. So I went for it on the third lap, had a couple of moments on the third lap. Then I toned it back because I knew that the pace I ran on the third lap I couldn't maintain on those tires. It was too sketchy," said Atlas. "It was harsh. The
front end skipped over the bumps. It would skip and re-grip, like jumping.
"Coming out of turn one, there's a bump there that I didn't even know existed until I rode that tire. It skipped and tried to tuck the front over that bump, and it scared me pretty good. That had a really stiff sidewall feeling.
"It would also chatter under trail braking. I could hardly trail brake at all. I'd come into the 'School House' turn, and every lap it was sketchy. It didn't do it straight up and down. It felt like something to do with the construction of the side of the front tire. When it's leaned over and it hits bumps, it's no good. When it's leaned over and you get on the brakes, it's horrible."
Atlas said the front tire displayed average grip in smooth corners and didn't negatively affect the steering of the motorcycle, but rear tire grip was not good. "The rear tire was spinning, and the worst part about it was it was very unpredictable," said Atlas. "When it would step out, sometimes it was good, sometimes it was bad. And it definitely faded. Both front and rear faded."
Atlas scored Track Day Tire Brand Seven on the low side in every category. The highest marks it received were fives in Steering/Handling, Front Tire Turn-in Grip and Front Tire Mid-Corner Grip.

Track Day Tire Brand Eight (Avon)
After another cautious out lap, Atlas dropped down to a 1:32 followed by a string of l:31s on Track Day Tire Brand Eight. His fastest lap came on his fifth of six fliers, at 1:31.396, the seventh-quickest time of the test.
"They were average," said Atlas. "The front took forever
to come up to temperature. It wasn't until the fourth lap that I had any confidence in the front tire, which kind of affected me the whole way through because I slowly built my speed up. It was bad the first two or three laps. I had it fold two or three times in a couple of corners, had it push really good. Even when it got to temperature, it was only average. It wasn't great. Even on the last lap, I had it push one time a little bit.
"The rear was a little bit better grip-wise, but it wasn't very predictable when it slid. At the corner exit, it didn't really slide that much, but I rated it low because when it did slide it would just step out.
"I got a little bit of an oscillation through the forks under braking. It wasn't a chatter, but it was more like the tire was squishing and moving around under braking. That was something you had to get used to.
'They weren't bad over the bumps. They felt fairly compliant, not real stiff. I definitely didn't have any real complaints with them over the bumps.
Steering and handling was good. They changed directions just fine. They weren't spectacular. They were in the middle of the road compared to everything else. Neither of them faded, sort of speak, but the front took forever to come up to temperature."
As he described their performance, Atlas gave Track Day Tire Brand Eight average marks, mainly fives, with sixes for Rear Tire Mid-corner Grip, Corner Exit Drive Grip and Bump Absorption and a four for Predictability/Consistency.

High-performance
Street/Track Day Tire
Test Results
'The biggest thing that surprised me after getting off the bike was none of them were complete garbage," said Atlas at the end of his long test day. "I figured there were going to be two tires I wasn't going to be able to get my knee down on, where I was just going to be scared, and that wasn't the case, not at all.
"No tire stood out as like,
'Holy sh-t! This is amazing!' There was one tire I know was the best front, and one tire I know was the best rear. But the thing that surprised me the most, there wasn't one single tire that was complete garbage."

When all the times were compared and the scores added up, Track Day Tire Brand Two—the Dunlop D208 GP-A — was declared the clear winner with 97.2 out of a possible 120 points. "(The Dunlops) as a whole set was the best set of tires. Its rear was really good, and its front had the best grip, but it was the one I struggled to get it to steer. For me and the way I ride, with a lot of corner speed, outright grip is big. (The Dunlops) were really compliant over the bumps, and it was the least fatiguing of all the tires."
The Dunlop D208GP-As, which were last year's frontline AMA Supersport race tire of choice, clearly proved to be the best tires on the racetrack. But they're not really street tires in the sense the others are. Think of them as the ringers in this test.

Second place behind the Dunlops by 7.3 points, with 89.9 points, went to Track Day Tire Brand Five—Michelin Pilot Power, which might be the best choice if you plan to ride on the tires beyond the racetrack's front gate. "The front was tied for best with (the Dunlops)," said Atlas, "but the rear lacked a little bit of grip. Not horrible, but it wasn't great. It slid a little bit, but it slid pretty predictably."

Third place, with 87.7 points, went to Track Day Tire Brand Six—the Bridgestone BT014. "(The Bridgestone) was a pretty good all-around tire," said Atlas. "It didn't do anything spectacular. Its best feature was mid-corner grip, but I gave it a two in Bump Absorption because it was really, really stiff. This was the one that tracked over the bumps well, didn't skip, but felt really harsh."

Fourth place, with 75.0 points, was Track Day Tire Brand One—the Pirelli Dia-blo Corsa, which may be the best value among the contestants. "(The Pirelli) rear was really close to (the Dunlop). It was definitely close."

Fifth place, with 69.7 points, went to Track Day Tire Brand Eight—the Avon Azaro AV49/50SP Pro Series. "(The Avon) seemed to me to be a middle of the road tire," said Atlas. "After riding them all, knowing what was good and what was bad, it kind of did everything average. The outright grip wasn't great but wasn't horribly unpredictable. I gave the front a little bit lower score because it took forever to heat up, that was its biggest downfall."

Sixth place, with 68.5 points, was Track Day Tire Brand Three—the Metzeler SporTec Ml. The (Metzeler SporTec) rear was really bad," said Atlas. "There was no corner exit drive. Mid-corner it was OK, not great, not horrible. Entrance, same thing."

Seventh place, with 59.0 points, was Track Day Tire Brand Seven—the Maxxis SuperMaxx. "I didn't like (the Maxxis Super-Maxx) at all. It absorbed the bumps better than some tires, but at lean angle it skipped over bumps, and I hated that," said Atlas. "That other tire (the Bridge-stone) was super rigid, but it was able to come back across the bump and keep tracking and keep having grip. And the rear on this one was bad everywhere. Bad is all relative, because it's not garbage but it wasn't good at all."

Eighth and last place, with 58.3 points, went to Track Day Tire Brand Four—the Continental ContiForce Max. "The (Continental) rear tire, it was worse than (the Metzeler). It was horrible everywhere. This is the one that backed itself into turn one that scared me pretty good." RW





Manufacturer, model of tire, compound, size, manufacture date code, country of manufacture:

Race Tires:

Bridgestone, Battlax BT002F Racing, Type 3,120/70-ZR17,0904, Japan
Bridgestone, Battlax BT002R Racing, Type 3,190/50-ZR17, 0704, Japan

Dunlop, Sportmax GP, 758,120/70-ZR17,4904, England
Dunlop, Sportmax GP, 313,190/60-ZR17, 0705, England

Michelin, Power Race, Medium, 120/70-ZR17, 3904, France
Michelin, Power Race, Medium, 190/50-ZR17, 3604, France

Pirelli, Super Corsa Pro, SC2,120/70-ZR17,4704, Germany
Pirelli, Super Corsa Pro, SC2,190/55-ZR17, 4004, Germany

High-performance Street/Track Day Tires:

Avon, Azaro AV49-SP Pro Series, 120/70-ZR17, 2904, England
Avon, Azaro AV50-SP Pro Series, 180/55-ZR17, 4202, England

Bridgestone, Battlax BT014F, 120/70-ZR17, 2704, Japan
Bridgestone, Battlax BT014R, 180/55-ZR17,2004, Japan

Continental, ContiForce Max, 120/70-ZR17,1304, Korea
Continental, ContiForce Max, 180/55-ZR17,1903, Germany

Dunlop, Sportmax D208F GP, 120/70-ZR17,4104, USA
Dunlop, Sportmax D208 GP-A JLB, 180/55-ZR17, 3904, USA

Maxxis, Supermaxx, 120/70-ZR17,1004, Taiwan
Maxxis, Supermaxx, 180/55-ZR17, 3204, Taiwan

Metzeler, SporTec M1,120/70-ZR17, 4003, Germany
Metzeler, SporTec M1,180/55-ZR17,4903, Germany

Michelin, Pilot Power, 120/70-ZR17,1804, Spain
Michelin, Pilot Power, 180/55-ZR17, 2504, France

Pirelli, Diablo Corsa, 120/70-ZR17, 3903, Germany
PirellLDiablo Corsa, 180/55-ZR17, 2204, Germany

Lightest-to-heaviest:
Race Tires:

1. Michelin Power Race 20 Ibs. 14 oz.
2. Pirelli Super Corsa Pro 22 Ibs. 1 oz.
3. Bridgestone Battlax BT002 23 Ibs. 10 oz.
4. Dunlop Sportmax GP 24 Ibs. 14 oz.

High-performance street/Track day Tires:

1. TIE, Avon Azaro/Metzeler Sportec M1 20 Ibs. 14 oz.
2. Pirelli Diablo Corsa 21 Ibs. 4 oz.
3. TIE, Bridgestone Battlax BT014/ Michelin Pilot Power 21 Ibs. 5 oz.
4. Dunlop D208 GP 22 Ibs. 11 oz
5. Continental Conti Force Max 23 Ibs. 1 oz.
6. Maxxis Supermaxx 24 Ibs. 1 oz.

Tire Test Air Pressures (Cold):
Race Tires:
Bridgestone BT002F/R, 31 psi front, 30 psi rear
Dunlop Sportmax GP, 30 psi front, 27 psi rear
Pirelli Super Corsa Pro, 30 psi front, 28 psi rear
Michelin Power Race, 31 psi front, 22 psi rear

High-performance Street/Track Day Tires:
Avon Avaro AV49/50SP Pro, 30 psi front, 30 psi rear
Bridgestone BT014F/R, 31 psi front, 30 psi rear
Continental Conti Force Max, 31 psi front, 31 psi rear
Dunlop D208-GP, 31 psi front, 31 psi rear
Maxxis Supermaxx, 30 psi front, 30 psi rear
Metzeler SporTec M1, 32 psi front, 32 psi rear
Michelin Pilot Power, 31 psi front, 28 psi rear
Pirelli Diablo Corsa, 32 psi front, 32 psi rear

* All cold tire air pressures used were recommended by representatives from each respective manufacturer, except for the Continentals. Continental Tire North America Sales Manager Motorcycle Tires Greg Reich recommended we use 36 psi front and 42 psi rear, writing in an e-mail that the Conti Force Max rear was designed to run at a higher psi but gave us the option of using a lower air pressure. Leaning on thepast and vast experience of our staff and in the interests of safety, we decided to go with more conventional air pressure settings.

Geometry Changes:
Changes Necessary To Restore Baseline Geometry Due To Differences Between The Sizes Of The Baseline Tires And The Sizes Of The Test Tires:

Race Tires (baseline tires Pirelli Super Corsa slicks):

Bridgestone Battlax BT002F/R, lower front 1 mm, no change to the rear

Dunlop Sportmax GP, lower front 6 mm, lower rear 2 mm

Michelin Power Race, raise front 1 mm, raise rear 6 mm

Pirelli Super Corsa Pro, no change to front, lower rear 1 mm

High-performance Street/Track Day Tires (baseline tires Bridgestone Battlax BT014):

Avon Azaro AV49/50SP, no change to front, lower rear 2.5 mm

Bridgestone Battlax BT014F/R, no change to front, no change to rear
Continental Conti Force Max, raise front 1 mm, raise rear 2.5 mm

Dunlop D208-GP, no change to front, lower rear 6 mm

Maxxis Supermaxx, raise front 2 mm, no change to rear

Metzeler SporTec M1, raise front 1.5 mm, lower rear 6 mm

Michelin Pilot Power, no change to front, raise rear 2 mm

Pirelli Diablo Corsa, no change to front, drop rear 5 mm



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post #3 of 9 Old 06-03-2005, 10:25 PM
 
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Re: Great article about tires (RoadRacing World)

Nobody read that, thats alot to read.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-03-2005, 11:38 PM
 
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Re: Great article about tires (RoadRacing World)

Glad to see the confirmation of my opinion of the Pilot Powers. Remarkable though, how low they recommend the pressure to be compared to what has previously been bandied about on this board.
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Re: Great article about tires (RoadRacing World)

Thanks for the write up. I subscribed right after this issue and was unable to get a copy at the local book store
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Re: Great article about tires (RoadRacing World)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwhip
Glad to see the confirmation of my opinion of the Pilot Powers. Remarkable though, how low they recommend the pressure to be compared to what has previously been bandied about on this board.
Are you running the race or plain old powers? the powers recommended pressure was 31/28. The race compound was 31/22.
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-07-2005, 3:58 PM
 
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Re: Great article about tires (RoadRacing World)

Quote:
Originally Posted by slowpoke
Are you running the race or plain old powers? the powers recommended pressure was 31/28. The race compound was 31/22.
Not the Race - the Street/Trackday model. I ran them about 32/33 and had seen many others recommend even higher pressures on the track.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-07-2005, 4:34 PM
 
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Re: Great article about tires (RoadRacing World)

Was there a chart with the tire circumference of each of the tires? I'd be interested in seeing that info too if it's available
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Re: Great article about tires (RoadRacing World)

I was really interested reading this article, I never really thought about the different brands having different circumferences...no wonder I had to do some geometry changes to my 929 after I changed from Metzlers to Michelins !!

I can relate to what they're saying in the article about the 'flickability' of the Metzlers and the grip of the Powers - my experience exactly. The Michelins give me so much confidence on the road, they stick like glue.

Have you guys seen the tyre test article that Superbike magazine (UK) did ? - it's up on their web site at the moment "www.Superbike.co.uk", its worth a read too...

Thanks for digging out the RRW article.
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