The importance of heating your tires

If you care about speed, it is important to heat your tires. Before the tires reach a high enough temperature they are inflexible, have a reduced amount of contact, reduced grip and can easily slide. Most types of pocket bike tires become “sticky” when they reach operating temperature at about 85 to 100 degrees. At this point the tires adhere to the road, giving you better control and tighter turns.

Many people try to reach this optimal temperature by weaving. It is like an old wives tale among the racing crowd, and it just won’t die. People insist that weaving around on your bike will warm the bike’s tires up faster. A group of professional riders set out to see if there was anything to this bit of commonly stated advice. Using a 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R with Michelin tires, they tested the temperature of the wheels before beginning the test and then after the rider weaved aggressively for half a mile. They let the bike cool down and then repeated the test, only this time the rider drove in a straight line. When the temperature of the wheels, both at the core and on the surface, was measured, they found that the weaving run and the non-weaving run were almost the same.

The group then tried different ways to heat up tires, including tire warmers, placing the bike in full sunlight and riding the bike for extended periods of time. The results to this informal experiment? They found that most efficient way to heat your wheels is to use tire warmers, while at the same time placing the bike in the sun came in a second.

Another benefit of tire warmers is that they increase the life of your tires. When you begin a ride with cold tires the surface rubber is removed at a faster rate than when the tire is heated up to the operating temperature. This is called “cold tearing” or “cold shredding” and you can avoid it by using a tire warmer to pre-heat the tire to the correct temperature before you ride.

David S., Craft Resumes professional editor, writer and fast riding lover says: “If you can’t afford to buy a pair of tire warmers, the next best way to prepare your tires is to keep your bike in the sun and then do eight to ten laps before heading to the starting line.”

You should shop around for tire warmers before you buy. Many sites online offer high quality tire warmers. Some higher quality heaters heat up the rim and side walls of the wheel, as well as the tire’s working surface so the wheel has a reservoir of heat to draw upon and remains warmer longer. Certain tire warmers have LED heating indicators and warranties. Tire warmers are not cheap and can run from $400 to $600 for a set of front and back wheel warmers.

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