Ever wondered how to warm up your tires according to best practices? It’s a question often asked in connection with motorcycle racing tires. In the same way that you might find out how best to install and use your OEM ATV parts and products, it’s a great idea to find out how to properly warm up your tires whether you’re testing a new set or getting ready to race.
Before you even get on your bike, it’s a good idea to grasp basic concepts. Here are a few pointers to get you on track with tire warming:
- First, understand that warming up your tires contributes to your ability to get up to speed efficiently on the track or course. It also helps you to get to know how they feel and perform once they’re up to temperature.
- Bear in mind that treaded or road tires will not take as long as racing slicks to heat up. Many manufacturers make racing tires of a hard compound that can take more effort to warm up.
- Heat the rear tires first. Regardless of tire type, experts recommend heating the rear tires first. This keeps you in understeer mode, which is preferable to oversteering when the tires haven’t yet provided their greatest grip.
Acceleration and Braking
While weaving on a track or course used to be a favored method to warm up tires, today’s best practice is for the rider or racer to apply strong acceleration and braking force while sitting upright in the saddle. These actions better warm up the tire’s carcass, which then transfers heat to the tread compound.
It can take a few laps before a cold tire gets up to peak performance temperature. While that’s a time investment, it usually pays to make the time. The alternative is suffering a cold tear in which the rubber cracks and you risk sliding out. Happily, if you don’t have the time or inclination to take a warm-up ride, you can always invest in tire warmers, the electric blankets of the powersports world.
Typically favored by professional and amateur track riders and racers, tire warmers are accessories that allow you to prepare your tires without even firing up your bike. Experts recommend you apply them for an hour, heating not only the tire tread but also the carcass and sidewalls.
Warm rubber is happy rubber. Sticky and flexible, warm rubber means your tires can better adjust to the road surface and provide improved contact. Today’s composite compounds often take longer to get to temperature. A good rule of thumb – literally! – is not only for your tire surface but also your wheel to feel a little more than hand warm.
Looking for more resources and products to add to your tire-warming toolkit? Browse Powersports retailers’ websites. Search for “motorcycle tires near me,” and you’re bound to generate a list of results that includes tire warehouses, specialists and shops. Many of these retail outlets will carry not only tires and tire-warming products but also everything from OEM ATV parts to riding gear, tools and accessories.