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Picking Tires for Your Mini-Z Pt. 2

Posted 01-18-2009 at 07:29 AM by color0
Updated 03-08-2011 at 10:37 AM by color0
As promised, this week we'll be covering choosing the best front tires for your on-road Mini-Z.

Picking front tires, as I've learned in the last year, is not just about getting the stickiest rubber your car can stand and working the setup around it. Excessively grippy front tires 1) make your car prone to spinning out and 2) produce extra scrub, which slows down your car mid-corner even if you're not spinning out. Of course, not having enough front grip means you'll understeer, which isn't good either.

So once again, I've sorted my tires into tiers.

First, the overachiever. Kyosho 20 slicks and radials are absolutely the stickiest front tires I've ever used, and in most cases useless. They cause seriously excessive scrub on RCP, and on top of that, they wear very quickly, which means if your track layout loads one side of the car more than another, you'll find yourself with different left/right tire diameters within minutes.

Next, the good ones for low-grip tracks. Kyosho 30 slicks and radials, PN 8, 10, and 15 degree front tires, and Atomic 30 and 40 degree front tires. These tires all provide excellent grip without excess scrubbing, and thus will make your RWD or AWD car fast. The Kyosho 30 degree tires stand out as having a relatively hard compound but the same amount of front bite, which means less scrub, less wear, and longer life. I've gone through 5 sets of rear tires before wearing out a pair of Kyosho 30 radials -- imagine how long the slicks last. The newer batches of PN tires also last a good time, but if left unused they will dry out a bit.

For high-grip tracks it's important to reduce scrub, and thus PN 15, 20, and 25 front slicks and Atomic 40 degree tires seem to be the best ones so far. Again, PN tires will dry out somewhat if left unused.

Kyosho 40 slicks and radials can be used in certain circumstances to make the car easier to drive, but unless you traction roll every lap, it's better to use something grippier (mentioned above). The 50 degree tires (the same as Readyset and Autoscale tires, as far as I know) are utterly useless, except for drifting. And just like drift tires, they'll probably last longer than your car.

That should be a reasonably comprehensive overview of the current front tires available to race with; after picking out a pair of rear tires, I suggest getting a few different pairs of front tires to swap around and see which you like best. For example, I prefer more aggressive, sensitive handling, and thus use grippier front tires: Kyosho 30 radials, PN 10 slicks, etc. Other people I race with may prefer Kyosho 30 slicks and PN 15, 20, or even 25 degree slicks.

Car setup is another consideration. Mini-Z MR01/015's and MA010's tend to traction roll if there's too much cornering grip, and you may have to switch to a harder front tire to avoid that problem.

So that's it! Go try out some tires, pick out some tires, and go racing! Next time I'll compile some tips regarding tire mounting, rotation, and general care to get the most out of your precious rubber bands.
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