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  • New HO Tires

    Recently I have been testing some new slip-on silicone HO tires. The goal with these tires is to match or exceed the performance that you get with silicone coated sponge tires. Silicone coated sponge tires have been the best performing HO tires for a long time, but they are expensive, they can have a short life, you must pull off the wheels and press on new ones to change tire diameters and a number of makers have dropped out of the picture so that type of tire has become more difficult to find. I believe that a number of clubs have switched over to running slip-on silicone tires for those reasons.
    So what if someone could make a slip on tire with the same characteristics as a silicone on sponge tire, but was not as time consuming to make and thus would probably be less expensive. Having a more durable tire that could be changed without also having to change the wheels would be an added bonus.
    Thus far the results of testing on my MaxTrax have been encouraging. The tires are 0.340 inches in diameter when they are on a 0.170 inch diameter wheel, for me that has been about the optimum size to use on a T-Jet SS or Fray type car.

  • #2
    0.340 is too tall. Everyone I race with is at .330 or below for SS/Fray. Regarding slip-ons, RT-HO offers a .170 rim and Super Tires that range in size from .328 - .344 that work very well. At the Summer Series race this past Saturday at LenJet, we ran eFray in prep for the Halloween Havoc race in November. People were running the RT-HO combination or a .170 or .165 rim with tires from Balls Out that are in .330 range.

    As far as magnet cars Viper Scale Racing, BSRT, and Quicker Engineering make a variety of rim sizes and Viper and Super Tires have tires to fit those rims. I'm not sure if BSRT is still making slip on tires except for the G-Jet.

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    • #3
      If I run 0.330s on my track the crown gear will hit the rails if the car slides. The tires could just as easily be made in any size, including sizes for 1/32nd and 1/24th scale cars, but you have to start someplace. I use Wizzard white 0.336" tires on my T-Jet SS cars, those are actually 0.339" at 75F. Thus far I have compared the Wizzard tires to regular Pro Series solid silicone slip-on tires and two different compositions of the new tires.
      If you are doing testing of this sort you need to hold all of the variables constant, which is not always easy. You have to be sure that the performance of your test car is not changing and that the track itself will have the same grip for every test session.
      In any case things seem to be progressing well and another set of test tires is on the way. Soon we may be looking for other people to test these tires as well. Finding reliable people to test tires has often been difficult in the past.

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      • #4
        Using a RT-HO or Quicker crown gear will allow you to use smaller diameter tires. Testing will get you baseline. A season of racing will really tell how the tire will perform.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by RichD View Post
          Soon we may be looking for other people to test these tires as well. Finding reliable people to test tires has often been difficult in the past.
          Who are 'we' please?

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          • #6
            My new track should be ready by fall. Well at least one lane should be operational. Testing is one thing. Having your feedback incorporated is another. My last round of testing for a tire manufacturer was not encouraging. Even though gains were found by changing the formula in the end the formula remained unchanged. Why? I will never know.

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            • #7
              The tire size that I mentioned was chosen based on a great deal of careful testing that I had done about seven years ago. I did post a summary of those results on several of the slot BBs at that time with the disclaimer that they applied to my track, my car and my driving and that other testers might have somewhat different results. The car did have an RT-HO crown gear.
              I was deliberately vague about who was making the tires and what they were actually made of. Right now all anyone that is interested in testing these tires needs to know is what size they are and that they are slip on tires. Testers would receive some conventional silicone slip-on tires, some of the new tires that are the same size and also some 0.170" diameter double flange wheels. Potential testers would need to have a track with a timing system.
              Another set of test tires is on the way, once I have finished running on those I expect to publish some lap times.

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              • #8
                Richard, if possible, would you please put me forward as a test site. I have the two tracks and I'm very exact in my testing and data acquisition.

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                • #9
                  A long time ago and far away (at least as far as Hershey PA is from York PA) I encountered Tomy cars with a hollow rubber tire. Those were magnet cars and the tires were on the stiff side, with sharp edges and a bit of sag across the width. I was not impressed and replaced the wheels and tires for silicones.

                  Just the same, over the years I have noodled with the idea of a hollow silicone tire with a thin rolling surface and radiused edges. Once, with the help of Gerry Cullan, I tried molding such a tire. Gerry machined the mold for me on his lathe. I used silicone O-rings for the inner and outer beads, overmolded with a thin skin of silicone caulk. The outer bead O-ring was a small diameter, but the inner bead O-ring was as large as the overall tire diameter. The idea was to use the large O-ring to prevent the car's weight from collapsing the tire, but have the silicone OD slightly expandable (due to rotational G-forces) to provide compliance and cushioning. And hopefully keep the rubber in contact with the road and get superior traction.

                  True, it was not at all clear this setup would be as good as, let alone better than sponge-silicones, but I thought I'd give it a try.

                  While I was actually able to mold such a tire, I wasn't really happy with its shape. Also, I did not yet have the wheel necessary to mount it. Discouraged, I shoved that concept to the back and I worked on something else.

                  Every so often that idea claws its way back to the surface, and I wonder if there is any real merit in it. These days there are online molding shops that will produce silicone moldings in small quantities for bucks that do not require a second mortgage. Wunna these days I may raid my 401k and try again.

                  Ed Bianchi
                  Last edited by HO RacePro; 07-31-2019, 06:44 AM.

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                  • #10
                    I never had any use for Tomy rear wheels and tires because the tires are always cupped. The wheels have a raised center ridge like most 1/32nd wheels and the only aftermarket tires that fit them are Gel Claws. If you want to change tires you would usually have to change the wheels as well. After AFX took over the Tomy line they switched to conventional single flange wheels.
                    The Tomy tires are not effectively hollow because the wheel has a center ridge. In 1/32 scale NSR cars use "air" wheels and tires. For me those have not been an improvement over conventional wheels and tires. Since HO cars a lighter there could be less of an advantage to using a hollow tire.
                    Ed has an idea for an improved tire that he has not yet been able to reduce to practice, until he does that he will not be able to test the tires to see if they would be better than conventional tires.
                    Maybe some day I will get some of Ed's tires to test.
                    Last edited by RichD; 08-01-2019, 06:50 AM.

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                    • #11
                      I just completed some testing on the third batch of tires last night, it was 79F. I am not 100% certain what effect the higher temperatures might have on lap times, I know for sure that the tire diameters increase as the temperatures go up. The target tire diameter for the testing was intended to be 0.338", but now all of the tires are 0.340", possibly a little more. That only means that I am outside of the sweet spot for the lowest lap times on my track, but I believe that the comparison between tires of the same diameter is valid. In the future I will probably also be testing slightly smaller and larger diameter tires.







                      The test car is a Johnny Lightning Camaro in SS trim, the car would turn in better lap times if it had a Fray style body, I may do some testing with one of those in the future. It would cost about $63 to build another example of that car.
                      The best lap time with Wizzard white 0.336 tires was 5.487 seconds, for regular silicone slip-on Pro Series tires it was 5.652, for the Batch 1 tires it was 5.529, for Batch 2 it was 5.478 and for Batch 3 it was 5.570 seconds.
                      The differences in lap times would not seem significant to people that do not race their cars, but after a 12 minute race on my 50 foot MaxTrax compared to regular Pro Series tires the Batch 1 tires would get you another 2.8 laps and the Batch 2 tires would be good for another 4 laps. Most racers would sell their soul to the devil for another 4 laps.
                      It looks like the goal of matching the performance of silicone on sponge tires has been met, but further testing by myself and other people needs to be done to confirm that.
                      The maker has refined his procedure since he did the first two batches, he will be sending me three sets of tires all made by the latest procedure since he believes that using the earlier procedure would result in batch to batch variations in the production tires.

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                      • #12
                        Have you tested against other silicone sponge tires? Wizzard red, Identity, Shepard, etc? I have found that different brands and compounds will vary in performance on different tracks. Are there going to be magnet car tires as well? There is a pretty large difference between the median lap time and fastest lap. In the past I have seem slip-on tires be able to match or better the fastest lap, but over a race the sponge silicone tires are more consistent. Have you compared median lap times across multiple lanes?
                        Last edited by SouthShoreRacing; 08-01-2019, 08:12 AM. Reason: misspelled median

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                        • #13
                          My club only runs one class besides the open Gravity class that allows silicone on sponge tires and we don't race that class at every event. I have been meaning to try some other silicone on sponge tires but I got distracted by the current project. To do a thorough job I would need to try perhaps five sizes of each tire on several different cars and possibly on several different tracks, that would be a major undertaking.
                          Tires for other types of cars have been considered, I just got some larger diameter tires that would fit Life-Like, Tomy, Tyco or Gravity cars. Three sets of Quicker double flange wheels without nibs were included, those are 0.237", 0.250" and 0.262" inches in diameter and 0.3025" inches wide overall for mounted tire diameters of 0.450", 0.454" and 0.461" at 79F. I no longer race Life-Like, Tomy or Tyco cars, but I would like to evaluate the tires on my gravity cars. I would need to get a special wheel puller to do that and my cars are all set up to run on braided tracks, so I would prefer to do my testing on one of those.
                          I am getting too old to do testing of this sort, my reflexes are not what they once were. If I am looking for median lap times I can't be pushing the car to its absolute limit or a crash or two will lower the median time considerably. Driving on the new tires feels more like driving on silicone on sponge tires than on solid silicone tires of the same size. Last night I was able to do many laps in the 5.5 second range with very few deslots.
                          Last edited by RichD; 08-01-2019, 08:18 AM.

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                          • #14
                            I think a couple of different sets of sponge silicone in the same size you are testing would be informational.

                            What feature of this new tires makes them better than existing slip-on tires? Level of grip? Resistance to getting dirty? Firmness?

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                            • #15
                              I think that at least for the present time I will leave testing other makes of silicone on sponge tires to others. I have sworn not to divulge any more details about the construction of these tires than I already have. As a practical matter they could be made of marshmallows and you would probably run them if they were better. The three batches and the regular slip-on tires all feel different when you squeeze them. I have asked the maker to pour small slabs of each type so I can determine the Shore values.
                              In the past I have tested tires to see how they hold up as the laps pile on and to see how they react to a dusty track. Median lap times are a good indication of how easy a car will be to drive, a tire that can only give you a very fast lap once in a while may not be as desirable as one that gives consistent better than average times. I like to start with parameters that are easily quantified first, then move on to the touchy feely aspect later. In the case of the new tires I have noticed that they are more forgiving than regular slip-ons.
                              Last edited by RichD; 08-01-2019, 10:23 AM.

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