As you get more into track days and your pace starts to increase you will no doubt think about investing in various items to make your experiences on track easier and/or more enjoyable. One of the most popular first investments for track riders is motorcycle tyre warmers.
Tyre warmers do exactly what they say on the tin – they warm tyres. They’re used to get some initial heat in both the tyre and the rim before heading out on track. This is beneficial for a number of reasons.
While they won’t bring the tyres up to full operating temperature, having some heat built up deep in the carcass of the tyre will save time early on in a session because you won’t have to take as long building up your speed. This initial heat will also give you a sort of safety net and reduce the risk of having a cold tyre crash.
Another benefit is the extra life they give your tyres. They do this by both reducing the extent and amount of heat cycles the tyres go through (assuming you put them on as soon as you come back in from a session), and by reducing the chance of unsavoury wear due to the surface of the tyre heating up quicker than the carcass of the tyre (cold tearing). This ultimately means your tyres will perform that much better, for longer.
Lastly, they can give you comfort mentally because you know you’ve got a good deal of heat built up in the tyres before you head out. This is the main reason why I personally invested in them, and in my early track life it did wonders for my confidence early on in a session and saved me tip toeing around for too long wondering if I was building up enough heat.
It is worth mentioning however that you should still take it easy early on in a session and build up your speed. As said, tyre warmers won’t bring your tyres up to the sort of temperatures they’ll reach on the track, so you still need to build up that bit of extra heat, and in turn performance potential during the start of a session.
If the question is do you need them to enjoy track days? No, of course not. But for the benefits they’ll give you in terms of personal confidence, saved time and tyre life, then I personally would say they are a worthwhile investment for anyone who is getting more into their track days.
The Race-Tech tyre warmers are by far the cheapest option here, but you’d be wrong to think that as a result they are an inferior option.
Holroyd are specialists in manufacturing heating elements for various applications, and with over 40 years in the business you’d like to think they know a thing or two about producing good quality, reliable heating elements.
I actually own a set of Holroyd’s Race-Tech warmers. I have been using them for two seasons now and in that time they have served their purpose flawlessly and aren’t showing any signs of wear from use, which shows they are in fact well made.
They don’t get as hot as some of the other options here and there is no variable temperature feature, but tyres come out of the warmers hot to the touch which will be sufficient for riders at track day level.
It’s also worth mentioning that they are British made and the customer service is second to none.
Coming out of Italy we have CAP-IT tyre warmers. They are considered as being one of the best set of warmers on the market in terms of quality and performance, and given the fact they are used by teams in MotoGP would more than likely justify that statement.
This top level use though comes at a cost to the consumer, and the high quality of the product coupled with them being used at the highest level means there is a premium to pay, coming in at nearly three times the price of the Race-Techs.
However, I’ve heard quite a few people comment that they’re happy they paid the extra and are easily the best warmers they’ve ever used.
Another pair coming out of Britain, made by Diamond Race Products. The company produce a whole manner of different motorcycle race products, one of which is tyre heaters.
Diamond’s warmers are used by top teams in both the British and World Superbike Championships, which again demonstrates that they perform to the highest standard. As with the CAP-IT warmers though, this high performance standard and the high status use means they too are a great deal more expensive.
I have used a set of Diamond tyre heaters on a number of occasions (usually when I’ve forgot my own) and they are in fact very good quality and they do feel like they get the tyres a little hotter.
As I commented above, I currently own a set of Holroyd Race-Tech tyre warmers, but if I had to buy another set, I could honestly see myself opting for the same pair again.
At no point in the two seasons I have used them have I ever felt they weren’t doing the job as well as they could. They heat up the tyre sufficiently (as I said the tyres come out hot to the touch, not warm), they haven’t gone wrong, and they don’t look like there’s any wear through use.
If I was being picky I would argue that the drawstring system that’s used to close the tyre up around the tyre can be a little finicky at times and get caught in the wheel, but it’s not really something that concerns me too much.
I’ve no doubt that the extra dosh paid on the Diamond or CAP-IT warmers will mean you see some extra quality and better performance, but I don’t think I could warrant spending double (if not triple) the price of the Holroyds, which currently provide a perfectly adequate means of heating tyres for track days.
So if it was my money, I’d buy the Race-Techs…….again.