Here’s a look at the top 5 motorcycle track day tyres that can be bought off the shelves today.
When looking at buying track tyres you no doubt want to buy the very best tyres for your money, but with each manufacturer spouting endless lines of marketing gumf it’s tough to know which is best. Keep in mind that each of the below tyres have been designed, tested and manufactured to an extremely high standard, so for 99% of track day riders any of the below tyres will more than perform to the level you would expect (and want) from this type of motorcycle tyre.
So try not to get too hung up on which is the very best as each will give you fantastic performance on track provided your bike is in good working order and you’re using the appropriate tyre pressures.
With that then, here’s the current top 5 motorcycle track tyres that can be bought with your very own hard earned dosh.
Arguably the most popular track day tyres and the ones I actually use myself, the Metzeler Racetec Interacts offer superb performance at a decent price point. My opinion has always been that if they’re good enough for the guys up in British Superstock then they’re good enough for me. The Interacts come in the following three compounds:
K0 Supersoft – You won’t often see these on track days as their very short life span means they don’t give track day riders good value for money. Racers generally use them for qualifying in hot temperatures.
K1 Soft – These are a lot more popular on track days and are often found being used as front tyres combined with a K2 rear. Some people do use them for rears but they’re not quite as popular as they don’t offer the same life span for track days.
K2 Medium – The more popular for rear tyres, the K2 has a great life span but still grips good and proper.
Just a note – there is a K3 but that is a road biased tyre and isn’t in the same class as the above compounds.
Very much the same as the above tyre, in fact the Supercorsas actually come out of the same factory as the Racetecs just with different branding. They too are a hugely popular tyre as they offer great performance at a decent price. They are offered in three very similar compounds as the above:
SC0 – The softest of the compounds and in much the same vein as the K0 Racetec Interact. The SC0 is very soft and will not give you great life at track day level, again like the K0.
SC1 – Like the K1, the SC1 is a harder compound tyre than the SC0 but is mainly used for front tyres in combination with a SC2 rear.
SC2 – The favourite compound choice for rear tyres as it offers very high levels of dry condition grip, but also gives the rider a very respectable level of durability, meaning they can get a few days out of them (or more depending on your speed and technique) before they lose considerable performance.
The Cup tyre comes in to replace the old Michelin Power Ones that used to come in the three compounds. You now have the same three compounds in the Cup tyres which are A, B and C. You can still buy Power Ones but they only come in the ‘street’ version, unless you’re buying old stock.
The Power Ones were a very popular tyre in its old form with many track riders and racers swearing by them. The tyre was also used as a control tyre in some club races which further cemented it’s ability. Michelin have brought in the Cup tyres to replace the One, so I have no doubt they will be just as good and highly likely much better. Here’s a look at the three compounds:
Compound A – You’ll probably notice a pattern forming with the track day tyres we can get today. The A compound – like the K0 and SC0 – will give outstanding levels of grip but for a short period of time. Used for racers for qualifying in temperatures on the hot side.
Compound B – The B compound is the ‘soft/medium’ version which again like the middle compounds above will often be used for front tyres, with the C compound bringing up the rear.
Compound C – The hardest compound which you will most likely see used as a rear tyre for its high levels of grip and longevity.
They were new for 2011 and so have now had a few full seasons for people to try them out. Looking at the reviews from the people in the know, as well as listening to a lot of what is being said in the forums it seems these tyres are rated highly by the vast majority who have tested them, some well known sites saying they give a feel for grip like nothing they’ve tried before. They come in just the two compounds:
Type 3 – The most popular of the compounds, the Type 3 is classed as a medium tyre and is what you would find on the front and rear of almost any track motorcycle running the R10s.
Type 2 – This compound is available only for the rear tyre and is classed as ‘hard’. Bridgestone have labelled it ‘endurance’ and the general advice is to use it in colder temperatures to counteract cold tear.
Lastly we have a fairly new contender that has come into the road legal track tyre arena for 2012, the Continental Race Attack Comp. They have been designed and priced to go head to head with the likes of the ever popular Racetecs and Supercorsas.
It’s early days yet and it really needs a couple of seasons with the racers to truly gauge how well they’re doing, but early reports are that they are getting great feedback from early adopters. If you fancy a go, now would be a great time while the prices are lower as Continental attempt to shoe horn themselves in this end of the market.
The RaceAttack Comp can be had in three compounds which are soft, medium and endurance. Being new I can’t say exactly how each compound will be used, but right now on the track day and race scene people seem to be opting for a medium front and endurance rear for the best balance of grip and tyre life.