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  • The Awful Tire Thread

    I've been spoiled...

    Years ago, in my life as an HO slotcar person, I discovered Wizzard's sponge-silicone tires, landed and stuck. Those tires were just so good I really had no incentive to research any alternatives. Bliss.

    But now, as a newbie 1/32nd slotcar guy, I have entered a world where such bliss does not exist. In the IHSR club silicone tires, let alone sponge-silicone tires, are not allowed. We are restricted to rubber tires, sponge tires, or urethane tires.

    In one class we are restricted to a particular brand of sponge tires. In another, a spec brand of urethane tires. I happen to like racing spec tires. Tire choice is not an issue. Makes life simpler.

    In the other two classes we can run any solid rubber or urethane tires, and trying to find competitive tires is giving me major heartburn. Not only are there a number of different brands, many brands have a number of different compounds. And then there we need to deal with the different tracks we run on. All of them are routed MDF, but there is variation in their paints. Which may mean on the different tracks different tires would perform best.

    I suppose you can add in that different chassis might favor different tires. And different track layouts -- tight and technical or open and fast -- may also favor different tires.

    And then there are the issues of gluing and truing. Some tires are just horribly resistant to truing.

    The whole business is so complex and confusing one might be inspired to throw up one's hands and give up. Or, I suppose, I could try to set up a scienterrific study to quantify and classify all possible permutations and combinations. And devote the rest of my life chasing a moving target. (It does move. New tire compounds are constantly being developed.)

    But the most common response is probably the only one that will get traction. Which is to post about it. Provoking people to ask questions and express opinions based on their deep personal experience or shallow, uniformed and dogmatic bias. Ah humanity...

    I am a motorcyclist, and subscribe to a couple of online forums devoted to my particular addiction -- vintage BMW motorcycles. Those forums do not allow treads on motorcycle tires. Any such threads quickly become endless blathering about different brands and models, which one poster reveres and another poster hates.

    That is why I called this thread "The Awful Tire Thread". I've deliberately chosen to open this can of worms. Maybe to learn something. Or maybe just to provoke incendiary debate.

    Things have gotten quiet on SCI. It needs kick-starting. (My oldest BMW can be kick-started, but they all have electric start.)

    Ed Bianchi

  • #2
    With respect to rubber tires things get even more complicated because there are often batch to batch variations with those. In my opinion if you are going to use a spec tire the performance of every batch should be the same. For that reason Shoreline Model Raceways runs on silicone tires. We could have used urethane tires, but the silicone tires are more durable. Silicone tires are difficult to true, but if you use the correct adhesive to glue them you can run on the same set of tires for years.
    With respect to getting the best performance out of rubber tires you are not the only one that has had problems. Our best builder enters many proxy races and he spent a lot of time trying different rubber formulations and how to true the tires. I believe that after two years with limited success he now has a handle on things.
    If you look at the results of the various proxy series it will be obvious who has the best handle on doing their tires, however they may not be eager to share their methods.
    I have found that the handling of a typical plastic chassis car can be greatly affected by something as seemingly insignificant as a partial turn of a screw. You would want to be sure that the tires are not causing a handling problem when you are trying to tune a car. If you have a car that handles very well it would be safe to assume that the tires are good. You can use that set of tires as a reference when you are doing another car. If the new car has poor grip swap in your reference set of tires to see if the handling improves.

    Comment


    • #3
      A way to address the issue of batch-to-batch variation would be for a club to place a bulk order for tires, all from the same batch. If they order enough they could probably negotiate a discount. Then they could sell the tires to the club members at cost.

      Eventually that batch of tires would run low. The remainders could be sold off on eBay, and a new bulk batch ordered.

      Ed Bianchi
      Last edited by HO RacePro; 03-18-2020, 08:47 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think HoRacePro and RichD are massively overthinking and over complicating this, and creating an issue where there isn't one
        - The clubs they race at, will have determined what works best in a class, why it is used, and the experienced guys will be able to recommend a suitable tyre.
        If treatment is used, they can already recommend what works and is legal.
        After all, racing is already successfully taking place. Tyre use developed over time, it wasn't random.

        If surfaces vary from track to track, so be it. The same applies for all racers, all part of the good driving skills of a driver to adapt.
        Track/air temperature differences week to week already affect grip levels for all tracks and racers. We notice a marked difference between say 12c to 25 C winter to summer.

        I have been racing RTR 1/32 on mainly wood tracks for 14 years now, I use 5 brands of rubber tyre.
        I sell maybe 500 to 1,000 packs a year to others, I haven't seen any of these batch to batch variations you talk about.
        Perhaps you could help us by naming a brand/tyre code that has these batch to batch variations. I would be very interested to hear.

        Comment


        • #5
          That is difficult to do when different cars use different sized tires. Often rubber tires get hard or turn to slush after a year or two. If you put fairly new tires on a car and run it a lot the tires would wear out before that happened, but if a club bought a lot of tires they might end up throwing out some of them. If a club did order a lot of tires there would be no guarantee that they all came from the same batch.

          Comment


          • #6
            SlotzNZ,

            If RichD is overthinking the subject of tires, he has a right to. He has a long and intimate relationship with a major producer of slotcar tires, testing and evaluating their products in a very disciplined and scientific fashion. The profession he retired from demanded just that kind of care and dedication. I don't use the term "expert" lightly, but Rich qualifies without question.

            He also has a basement full of slot race trophies. I found it intimidating whenever I came to one of the races he hosted.

            HOCOC holds races on a 4 x 10 foot banked oval. Recently a long-standing barrier of 400 laps per race was finally broken. A competitive lap on that track is around 1.8 seconds. A miracle lap is 1.5 seconds. Let me put that in perspective. An advantage of one-hundreth of a second per lap could add up to 4 seconds by the end of a race. That could be as much as 2.67 laps.

            Cut that advantage to one-thousandth of a second per lap, and you'd still finish a quarter-lap ahead of the field!

            My point? If you don't have the best possible tires you have a scant chance of winning -- or even being on the same lap as the leaders. Tires are THE super-critical component of a slotcar. You can't make up for a set of sub-par tires with a superior anything-else.

            The habitual winners must have their tire choices and treatments dialed in. The rest of us are desperate to get a piece of that.

            Ed Bianchi

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post
              SlotzNZ,

              If RichD is overthinking the subject of tires, he has a right to. He has a long and intimate relationship with a major producer of slotcar tires, testing and evaluating their products in a very disciplined and scientific fashion. The profession he retired from demanded just that kind of care and dedication. I don't use the term "expert" lightly, but Rich qualifies without question.

              He also has a basement full of slot race trophies. I found it intimidating whenever I came to one of the races he hosted.

              HOCOC holds races on a 4 x 10 foot banked oval. Recently a long-standing barrier of 400 laps per race was finally broken. A competitive lap on that track is around 1.8 seconds. A miracle lap is 1.5 seconds. Let me put that in perspective. An advantage of one-hundreth of a second per lap could add up to 4 seconds by the end of a race. That could be as much as 2.67 laps.

              Cut that advantage to one-thousandth of a second per lap, and you'd still finish a quarter-lap ahead of the field!

              My point? If you don't have the best possible tires you have a scant chance of winning -- or even being on the same lap as the leaders. Tires are THE super-critical component of a slotcar. You can't make up for a set of sub-par tires with a superior anything-else.

              The habitual winners must have their tire choices and treatments dialed in. The rest of us are desperate to get a piece of that.

              Ed Bianchi
              Oh Ed,

              1) It was mainly you I was thinking of when I said 'massively over-thinking', Rich simply got tarred with the brush as he didn't just correct you.
              BTW, massively over-thinking is not something to which you actually "earn a right". It is a simple statement.

              2) I actually do know quite well what you are saying about the importance of tyres. I test them, compare them, write articles about them, I show guys what to do, and I talk with some of the makers in Europe. A few years back when there was a lot of controversy about various treatments of urethanes, soft rubbers and synthetic rubbers, I set up a desktop lab and dissolved about 50 tyres to demonstrate what I knew full well, but many were denying about their benign "tyre cleaners" - especially on urethanes.

              3) You really don't need to educate me using maths or statistics, - quite a strong area for me over my career - and many other factors do have to come together on the day, along with that very critical factor of tyres whenever some things get stretched to tip over a record.
              A half a degree difference in track temperature could be 0.05 of a second alone. The sleep the driver got, and how sharp his eye is that day, one de-slot difference is maybe a lap on that small oval; the bloke with red mist on the inside that took out three of you and burned 5 seconds just to get everyone back on track; let alone back in the zone. Add in atmospheric conditions on each day the race has been run. The latest batch of motors might be 1% better. How about deposits of lubricants on the track, rubbering up, dust level, shall I go on.
              Shall we create an algorithm to compensate for all factors, and make all lap records subject to adjustment for each?


              Rich - In the case of the European makers, they probably could be guaranteed to come from the same batch if you so desired. Certainly for 3 of the 5 makers I am thinking of.
              Only NSR I don't know whether their in-house runs are shorter and more often, and not sure about one other maker's cycling.
              But frankly, if it got to that stage of nit picking and control, who would want to be racing regularly in that environment. That is what many RTR slotters escaped from in the steel chassis or RC worlds.
              - Or the 1:1 world for that matter. We've had or have national title holders or international racers in 3 motor cycle racing disciplines, Karting, Drift, and a WRC navigator in our club, but we wouldn't want that intensity brought across.

              - could you possibly answer my question earlier about these batch variations you refer to in #2 as that would be something useful for people to know if you could quantify by maker, tyre code, - time-frame of changes if possible. It is certainly nothing I have ever experienced. There was the splitting issue with some NSR a couple of years back, but that was actually a lot more limited than they got blame for - a lot of people complaining had no idea about glues. But the actual formulation always seemed consistent.







              Comment


              • #8
                And were off! Another thrilling, controversial thread started by your faithful servant...

                SlotsNZ, let's not make it personal. I have not questioned your motivations or competence. That's the sort of thing that attracts the baleful glare of our moderator overseers. They have and do issue time-outs.

                Yes there are a staggering number of factors that affect a race. So many, in fact, that I have said on occasion, "First you have to be lucky, then you get to be good."

                True? Probably not. Otherwise there wouldn't be consistent winners. Those folks face the same disruptive factors as everyone else. They manage to cope with them through diligent preparation, and talent.

                Just the same the influence of tires is probably the most important in a race. There is a lot of wisdom in our community about tires, gleaned through both experiment and experience. I'm hoping to attract some of that wisdom to this thread.

                Ed Bianchi

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hand out tires for each race. Level the field!
                  Now a thousandth of a second may turn into a quarter of a lap.... but really the main difference between results come from the guy behind the trigger no?

                  steve

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Routed wood, solid rubber tyres... NSR Ultra grips on air rims with foam inserts. NSR Super grips are also good of you're prepared to oil them for a week beforehand.
                    The Red NSR tyres are really good, don't wear and seem impervious to the usual tyre additives...but are buggers to true!
                    NSR Extremes...forget them, 2 lap wonders.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I believe that I stated at the outset that my club stopped racing on rubber tires a long time ago, we solved the problem, if indeed there is actually a problem, by using only silicone tires. We do run proxy races from time to time where the cars have rubber tires and those usually perform very well. It should be noted that we condition the track for rubber tires and do not run any silicone tires on it until the proxy racing is done. In our case silicone tires are easy to come by, they do not have to be shipped half way around the planet and one of our club members is a dealer in any case. It would not make any sense to change the tires on all of our cars, especially considering that the other clubs in our region also use silicone tires. Whatever type of tires a particular club might use is OK by me, if a new club needs to choose what type of tires they might run then they should consider all of the factors involved, including cost, grip, wear, availability, uniformity, compatibility with other types and ease of truing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ok Rich, so basically your points on rubber tires (variation from batch to batch, tires turning hard or to slush) is not based on current tires offered? Is that what you are saying?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I use urethane tires on my cars at home. No racing but hard laps.
                          Recently ran with a group that only runs silicones. Those tires were only good for 13 or 14 laps before traction dropped off dramatically.
                          When I asked about the insistence on silicones, I was told urethanes create marbles. I’d rather have marbles than racing on ice after a number of laps.
                          BTW this was on Carrera plastic track.

                          As for HO, when I got some tuneup kits for AutoWorld Super III cars, I bought urethane tires for them. I’ve since bought two batches of urethane tires from SlotCarsTyres to play with on the low and no downforce cars I run.
                          Last edited by Wicker Bill; 03-19-2020, 07:52 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Revtor View Post
                            Hand out tires for each race. Level the field!
                            Now a thousandth of a second may turn into a quarter of a lap.... but really the main difference between results come from the guy behind the trigger no?

                            steve
                            No. The kit matters. A lot.

                            But the really quick guys do tend to be the ones who bother to have the best kit.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post
                              A way to address the issue of batch-to-batch variation would be for a club to place a bulk order for tires, all from the same batch. If they order enough they could probably negotiate a discount. Then they could sell the tires to the club members at cost.

                              Eventually that batch of tires would run low. The remainders could be sold off on eBay, and a new bulk batch ordered.

                              Ed Bianchi
                              How would you police the correct batches are being used?
                              Last edited by NicoRosberg.; 03-19-2020, 11:34 AM.

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