Information gathered over 2019, new tyres are likely to come in for 2020 when this guide will be updated.
- EU Trackdays:
1000cc Intermediates to Experienced:
EU Trackdays are becoming increasingly popular, what with the more consistent dry weather than in the UK. But are you taking the right tyres for your event, to help you get the longevity and optimum grip that you need.
The most popular and most recommended tyre for your experienced riders on 1000cc bikes is the Dunlop KR Slicks. This is because they don’t just have fantastic grip. But they also offer plenty of longevity, offering your fastest lap times towards the end of their life.
The compounds we would recommend for these would be the MS2 on the front and the MS4 on the rear (as used by TT rider and Former Thundersport Champion Phil Crowe). This has been a proven formula for many EU Trackday riders, especially for the track events between November and March. Due to the cooler mornings the MS2 is able to be soft enough to generate good heat to help prevent cold tear, whilst not getting too hot that it will deform in the warmer periods. And the MS4 is strong enough to fight any cold tear, whilst still offering top levels of performance in the heat.
From March to November, we would start recommending maybe an MS3 on the front or possibly an MS4, this is because of the tracks get warmer, the tyres can start to move around too much if they are too soft. So the MS3 and MS4 have been designed to offer a stronger compound to prevent this from happening.
If you feel that you are not quite ready for a KR slick on the front, the D212GP Racer slick front offers a more relaxed carcass which will generate heat a lot easier than the KR Slick front.
1000cc Novice to Intermediate
In the novice-intermediate groups the temptation to go on the same tyres as the experienced riders is quite high. But without the speed of the experienced riders, you may not get the full quality of the tyres and feel as though they are not working.
Fortunately many tyre companies recognise this and introduce tyres that are offer superb levels of grip for a wider range of riders. A good example of this is the Dunlop D212GP Racer. These tyres are available in treads and slicks. They have a much more relaxed carcass, so whilst still offering the great Dunlop grip we expect, they have a softer carcass that can generate heat without having to push them as hard as the KR Slicks and D213GP Pros. The recommended compounds for these are Medium on the front and Endurance on the rear.
For other options or questions for Novice-intermediate riders going to EU Trackdays, please don't hesitate to give us a call.
- UK Trackdays
UK trackdays are a completely different kettle of fish compared to most EU days. Typically the British weather isn't too kind to us and we have to endure our favourite tracks in cold and wet especially in the first 3rd of the year. So what would we recommend for the wet and cold? If it is both wet and cold, the top 3 options will be the Bridgestone W01, Dunlop KR Wets and the Avon Rainracers. These tyres are loaded with a product called silica, which is a heating agent, designed to heat tyres up quicker, more effectively in colder conditions and hold heat at colder temperatures. So these are absolutely ideal for cold wet conditions. But what if it is a dry day... but absolutely baltic? If you're brave enough to be out in the freezing cold on a trackday a good option could be the Pirelli "Wet" tyres or the Metzeler Intermediates. These tyres offer a rain tyre compound, but with less tread, to reduce the chance of overheating. This way they can give you the heat you will need to ride through a really cold track event without getting so hot that they tear up.
Moving on into the warmer months, what dry tyres would we recommend, for this we have split it into the 3 trackday groups, to help get the right people on the right tyres
Novice group/Newcomers to trackdays
80% road riding/20% track.
If you're mainly a road rider and you are just looking to have a bit of fun on the track every now and then, you are going to need a road tyre to best suit your needs. The following options will be best suited to you. For these tyres you do not need tyre warmers!
Michelin Road 5, Dunlop Sportsmart MK3, Bridgestone S22, Metzeler O1.
These tyres are designed to be good all rounders whilst offering plenty of mileage. They will work as well as you would expect them to work in the rain on track as they would on the road. All you will need to do is adjust your pressures from road to track and vice versa.
50/50 track and road up to 100% track riding
So these tyres are more your dry tyre options for fast road riding and track riding. These tyres are designed to offer similar feel that you would expect from race tyres, but in a road compound (usually packed with silica) so the need for tyre warmers isn't there. Although can be used if you wish.
Dunlop Sportsmart TT, Metzeler M7RR, Michelin Power RS, Pirelli Diablo Rosso 3.
These tyres will give you plenty of dry weather grip, as well as being able to hold their heat at varying speeds, they are designed to work for the person on the bike, no matter what their ability.
In the intermediate group, if you are looking for treaded tyres, some of the best options to go for are the ones listed above. These tyres have been designed to work with such a wide range of abilities, but there are a few others that would suit the more Intermediate riders.
Pirelli Supercorsa SP, Metzeler K3, Continental Raceattack Endurance, Dunlop D212GP Racer Treaded* These don't require tyre warmers but can be used if you wish. *The D212GP Racer would be better suited with Tyre warmers, but are not necessary.
What if you're starting to get a bit quicker and you feel like you want to use slicks? Then really there is two options, Metzeler Comp K and Dunlop D212GP Racer Slick, again we would recommend these with Tyre warmers. These slicks are a more relaxed compared to some of the ones you will see at racing level. Therefore this makes them a lot more forgiving, whilst still offering plenty of grip. This is ideal for the slick virgin, as it will help you get a good feel about what to expect from slicks.
Experienced/"Fast" Group (100% Tyre warmers recommended)
Now that you are in the fast group, selecting tyres is a bit more of a preference, you know what you like and you know what to expect. If you've been on treaded for a while and you would like to move up to slicks, then it would be a good idea to try the slicks mentioned above, before moving onto something further up the scale. But once you have got the hang of slicks you might want something a little bit more. The most premium and highest quality slicks that we would recommend for trackday use are the Dunlop KR Slicks and the Bridgestone V02. These tyres not only offer the highest level of grip, they also have a fantastic life. Where you are likely to set your fastest laps towards the end of their life. Other tyres such as Pirelli have fantastic levels of grip, but only for a short amount of time so for trackday use they warrant themselves null.
What if you're more of a treaded fan, well we have plenty of recommendations for that.
Continental Race Attack, Dunlop D212GP Racer, Dunlop D213GP Pro, Avon 3D Ultra Extreme, Metzeler Racetec RR Treaded, Michelin Power Cup.
All these tyres are more than capable to offer you superb lap times and life throughout your trackdays.
ALWAYS REMEMBER, WHAT WORKS FOR YOU, MAY NOT WORK FOR YOUR FRIENDS, ALWAYS ENSURE YOU ARE ON THE CORRECT TYRE FOR YOUR NEEDS.