Tyres provide the majority of your grip. Without the right tyres for the conditions changing other setup options looking for grip can be a frustrating exercise. Start with the right tyres and then fine tune with our Setup Tips.
This page is for tyres that fit the standard F104 size wheels (i.e., nearly all modern chassis). Our page for F103 and FGX Tyres is here.
Last updated: 16 January 2022
2022 – Rubber Shortages and Low Profile Tyres
In January 2022, retailers are reporting a lack of stock for most rubber tyres. We assume this is due to COVID-19 supply chain issues. However, the European Touring Series has taken the step of preparing to change to foam tyres for the 2022 season (you can read about this here). However, as of 15 January, the Matrix foam tyres were not ready for testing.
Although it has been normal to run rubber tyres only, COVID may force this to be re-considered by clubs. Both rubber and foam are legal under the Australian National Rules.
The full-scale F1 rules have changed to low profile tyres in 2022 and we expect a lot of racers, and scale modellers, will want to use low profile tyres on their cars.
Asphalt (bitumen) – Rubber Tyres
Recommendation: Ride or Volante for warm to hot tracks and Schumacher Shimizu for cooler tracks. These are not the only good tyres for these conditions but these are our recommendations.
* Ride has advised their dealers that they will be discontinuing the Ride GR in due course. No word yet on a replacement. Also available is the Ride #26041 GRX front, which is a harder compound. Ride GR is the current Ride tyre (it replaced the Ride XR which replaced the Ride R1).
** Volante makes a Yellow Soft compound front which is softer than the Green compound, provides more steering, but is harder to drive.
*** The XG-575D is the latest pre-mounted rear tyre at the time of writing. Schumacher increments the last letter when they bring out a new version. I.e, XG-575C was their version 2 and XG-575D is version 3. 571 fronts are a soft compound and produce a lot of front grip and therefore turn-in. The downside is that the car is harder to drive and the extra front grip makes it easier for the rear end to break away at times. For an easier to drive car use Ride GR or Volante Green fronts.
A tyre combination popular in the USA is Schumacher Shimizu 571 front with 572 rear. This works well in many situations but is not our preferred combination.
Top Tip - tyres are sold in pairs so you can buy one type of tyre for the rear and another type for the front. Your rear tyres will wear out much quicker than the fronts. The rear tyre is normally softer than the front.
7 December 2018 - Volante Tyre Review (and comparison to Ride GR)
Carpet – Rubber Tyres
Rubber tyres are unlikely to work well on carpet without some sort of traction compound. In our experience, you should put the traction compound on just before putting the car on the track with the tyres still wet. Sounds crazy but it works really well on many carpet surfaces.
Foam tyres are more practical for some surfaces including; carpet tracks that do not use traction compound, astro turf and some other surfaces.
While rubber tyres are the standard around the world many Asian countries continue to prefer foam tyres.
Foam tyres wear quickly and ride height should be checked after each race. They can provide excellent grip.
Foam tyres use double sided tape rather than glue and so are quick to get ready. However, they can don't always attach evenly. It's possible to use a tyre truer to grind the tyres to be perfectly even.
Some clubs and many events may not allow foam tyres.
Tamiya A Foams are the kit tyres that come with the Tamiya F104 Pro. They work well on carpet.
How to mount foam tyres - it's very easy
Most modern tyres come pre-mounted and pre-glued at the factory. If you wish to use a different foam insert than the factory provides you will need to buy the tyres and wheels separately and glue them yourself.
ShimizusSchumacher Shimizus are available premounted on CRC wheels. Or you can buy the tyres and wheels separately and mount them yourself. CRC wheels are recommended. However, they can also be mounted on any foam wheels eg: Tamiya 51378 (black) or 54400 (silver) wheels. For instructions on mounting Shimizu tyres on foam rims see our How to Glue Tyres article.
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F103 wheels can not be used on a car that requires F104 wheels. Although the wheels will physically fit, it is not possible to have sufficient rear ride height due to the smaller tyre diameter (using Pit Shimitzu rubber) unless you use hop up parts.
Note: Ride rims for rubber tyres are all 39mm internal diameter and so can be used to mount any Ride tyre and any Pit Shimizu Grooved tyre. They can not be used to mount Pit Shimizu slick tyres as they have an internal diameter of 44mm. Use foam rims to mount Pit Shimizu slick tyres (see instructions above).
Additive (Traction Compound)
Additive is normally applied some time before the race and allowed to soak into the tyres, softening the rubber or foam and providing additional grip. How long before depends on the tyre compound, the additive, the track surface and temperature, air temperature and whether tyre warmers are used. However, leaving the additive on for at least 15 minutes is a good starting point. Manufacturers produce different additive products for rubber and foam tyres.
For F1 cars it is normal to always apply additive across the entire surface of the rear tyres and to some or all of the front tyres, depending on how much steering is needed. If applying additive only to a portion of the front tyre, then always start at the inside of the tyre (the part closest to the chassis) as this part of the tyre should be touching the track before the car starts to turn and should continue to touch the track throughout the turn. Whereas the outside of the tyre might only touch the track close to the corner apex.
Tyre warmers have two primary uses:
1. Warm rubber tyres to their operating temperature so that they provide good grip as soon as the car is placed on the track. If you do not use tyre warmers, then you will need to do some warm-up laps to heat the tyres before the race. Foam tyres do not normally require warming.
2. To improve the absorption of additive. By heating the tyre while the additive is absorbed, the additive should soften the tyre to a greater degree than without tyre warmers.
A wheel with 0mm offset does not change the width of the car. A wheel with positive offset, for example, 0.5mm, will increase the width of the car by 0.5mm on each side (1mm total).
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