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Old 2015.07.07, 12:46 PM   #1
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Different types of Tire Materials

So I kind of talked about this in my build thread as it pertained to the fact that you run pan cars on foams not on rubber but anyways I thought that it would be more appropriate to start a new thread. Anyways I made a little write up here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...oJ3aarccU/edit

And I was wondering why those of you who despise foam hate foam? Do you have any valid reasons? Have you tried foam on carpet and RCP and rubber on carpet and RCP? I would seriously like to hear your feedback as I think the outlawing of foam is the most ignorant and absurd thing in the Mini-z racing Community.
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Old 2015.07.07, 01:23 PM   #2
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more often than not, i'm sure it has more to do with people saucing up foam tires which may be detrimental to the track material. same reason why many ban silicone tires as well. it's not absurd for the one paying for the track i personally don't care myself; rubber, foam, so long as tire treatments are not used that would alter track materials. foam tires for mini-z have been around for ages and widely used in other areas. just happens we are not one of them unless a facility decides to go only one way with tires, it's a financial gamble to risk jeopardizing that investment.

i've never spent more than $20 on tires for any event in the last decade but that's just my experience. you can always use the argument that some spend ludicrous amounts of money for any scale, any purpose because there are no shortage of people that can throw money at any problem. it's far from teh most common occurrence however. i've only had issues truing rubber ties maybe 3 times as well and really limited to a single manufacturer. your intro is based on some wide margin generalizations in my opinion. i do not entirely disagree but the intro sets up the later and it's really based on just as much 'foam' bias as 'rubber' bias against foam.

i'm confident that foam will continue to increase in usage. for the u.s. market though, until PN switches, rubber will remain as PN has the dominant position in racing rules. they offer foam because i'm sure it's a selling product in other markets that are dominantly foam. smart for them to cater to a global market vs. domestic only.

yes the mini-z market is smaller now than just a couple years ago however i would argue it is overall, full of development and innovation, maybe even at the peak. the recession hit the market hard and it has never been easy economically to keep a commercial track facility open, even in the good times. at it's peak in the early HFAY seasons, it was the club level that saw the huge explosion in membership vs. retail. retail for mini-z will always remain small niche, for reasons amply covered and addressed ad nauseam in other threads. mini-z will likely never be the same as larger scales and not really bothered by that either. were talking about a lifestyle product that was imported from japan to begin with...

a much better exposition on tires.... no offense intended but it's clearly more instructional and informative

Last edited by arch2b; 2015.07.07 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 2015.07.07, 07:57 PM   #3
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I have seen that article and this is not to try and talk about tire setups this about foam v.s. rubber and thats all. While I agree foam will not be widespread unless pn switches to it but I have heard rumors that they may be testing some carpet foam out in Cali However for the RCP arguement there really is no need for traction compound on rcp, the compound is for the first 3 or 4 laps and then there is no noticable difference. And while using compound and then trying to go back and run rubber would be difficult, the compound itself is only slighty different from wd-40 and that is used by many for rcp racing so it is not like it would tear apart the rcp or degrade it.

Basically what I am trying to get at is that I cannot see an advantage of rubber over foam but there are many advantages of foam over rubber so I want to know why people still prefer rubber when it is more economical and beneficial to racing to run foam

If you want I could go for days about tire preperation, different compounds, saucing times, effect of sidewalls and etc, but what I am really trying to get at is that the foam is avialable from PN (although much poorer quality then X-power since two out of three times I bought pn the tires came with two different offsets within the same package, all PN foam has pretty bad airbubles, and the mounting is very subpar with great variance between two of the same tires) and I don't really hear about anyone testing or using it here in the states.

If anyone has any questions about the ins and outs of foam tire racing aks them here as I will be happy to answer your questions since I believe the thing that prevents racers from trying foam is their lack of knowledge about it. While my statements may seem very one sided I have tried and have a lot of experience with both types of tires and can defend any pro or con on that list

There are also a couple of things that I disagree with in that primer article, not that they are neccesarily wrong all the time (but for example he mentions that a softer front tire will scrub speed but in actuality if you have too hard a tire in the front you will have more wheel spin and not enough forward grip so the front tires will end up creating useless friction, over heating, and scrubbing which will lead to lower tire life and much more time lost due to slow corner speed. Often times going to a harder front tire is a setup band aid used in stock classes because the softer the front tire the less steering travel you need (more corner speed) and the longer life you can get out of the tires. This is not to say run 6's up front (although this can be effective) but just be mindful that a 15 really is the hardest you should be going (of course track conditions also play a role in this). This is just one example but my point really is that everyone has their own tests and results and it is hard to judge foam tires without trying them so if after testing foam tires you don't feel differently about their benfits all the power to you but at least you tried them...that's my point try them and see for yourself if they are really as bad as everyone is telling you they are.

Last edited by DMALMAD; 2015.07.07 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 2015.07.09, 05:00 AM   #4
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In my decade of racing I've yet to se someone run foams on rcp. Not because of prejudice but more because rubber is more accessible and just plain easier as no compounds and such are required.

Our club rules for open class do not exclude foam but do exclude the use of silicone and traction compounds in order to preserve the track.

Please enlighten me on the best foam for rcp that is plug and play.

Kris
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Old 2015.07.09, 05:07 AM   #5
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X-power sells mounted tires/wheels. There is another company that sells them and used to be a regular event sponsor grandini? I had a couple sets that were door prizes and never used them. I gave them to one of the remnant guys. Some of the remnant guys have foams. Not sure how often they get used but I've seen them on cars, I'll ask around this weekend.
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Old 2015.07.09, 08:51 AM   #6
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Foams have their place but in my view car racing is done on rubber tires so mini-zs should be on rubber compound wheels. I've been through the foam phase and I didn't like the abrupt turn and couldn't drive my chassis on a "round line".

A lot of guys (me included) at our track think that racing foams against rubber is the equivalent of cheating....we have one or two holdouts that because of the difference in grip get away with the bump/block pass and haveahigher chanceof driving away from contact more than the rubber tire driver.
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Old 2015.07.09, 10:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by cowboysir View Post
Foams have their place but in my view car racing is done on rubber tires so mini-zs should be on rubber compound wheels. I've been through the foam phase and I didn't like the abrupt turn and couldn't drive my chassis on a "round line".

A lot of guys (me included) at our track think that racing foams against rubber is the equivalent of cheating....we have one or two holdouts that because of the difference in grip get away with the bump/block pass and haveahigher chanceof driving away from contact more than the rubber tire driver.
If you cannot drive with foams then you probably do not have the right setup as the car is more twitchy with rubber than with foams. You have to glue the sidewalls on foams no matter what. Also rubber and foam should not be run together as foams are clearly faster. While rubber tires may seem easier to drive if you take the time and get used to foam you will appreciate how you can spend 10 min working on your tires before your race day begins and the car will behave exactly the same as the previous time you raced. With the X-power tires you do not have to worry about rounding edges or mounting tires and they are the most consistent tires avialable at this scale. If you have played with gluing the sidewall (and no using dollar store crazy glue does not count, you have to buy foam safe light CA and should also probably use CA Accelerator) by applying multiple coats and making sure that the glue does not go onto the contact patch of the tire then you will not have problems with twitcheness. Maybe you experienced the diffculty with foams because you used thin tires in the front, we almost exculsively run soft compound wide tires in the front and supersoft in the rear. This does two things, it increases the contact patch giving more overall steering and at the same time eliminates twitcheness by widening the front. You will also notice that using a slightly taller and wider rear tire like the x-power F1 tires will also increase stability and traction.

One thing that I try and stress to newcomers to mini-z is that practicing and racing a car that handles poorly and is ill-prepared will only hurt your driving ability. To improve as a driver you must have a well setup car along with a lot of practice time. This is why many racers spend a long time in the sport but never excell. And if you apply this theory to tires (since they make up the most important aspect of the cars handling and setup) racing on rubber tires does not mean that you are improving your driving skill, just that you are improving your driving skill on rubber tires. That is why it make take some time to adjust to foam tires as you have been accustomed to an ill handling car and cannot handle a car that is handling at a superior level. It does not matter what level driver you are, practice with the correctly prepared car is the only way to progress. So with this in mind it is no wonder you may have not liked the foam as you did not give it ample time and also did not have ample competition on foam. Like anything if you and the other people you race with are not pushing each other to go faster, none of you will improve driving skill.

Also you do not provide the compounds you were running and the preparation you made on your tires. If you are lazy and ill prepare your rubber tires, then it will be much more noticable when you run foams. This however is a good thing as it makes everyone prepare their tires to a higher degree and as such the racing becomes better.

If You mandate that foam is the only tire to be used than no one will have the advantage except those with a better setup car and more driving skill.

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Old 2015.07.09, 11:00 AM   #8
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In my decade of racing I've yet to se someone run foams on rcp. Not because of prejudice but more because rubber is more accessible and just plain easier as no compounds and such are required.

Our club rules for open class do not exclude foam but do exclude the use of silicone and traction compounds in order to preserve the track.

Please enlighten me on the best foam for rcp that is plug and play.

Kris
The answer is X-Power rc foam tires. They have the whole range of foam from awd to F1 and have all compounds in between. The compounds that everyone should start with is very soft rear tires in the rear and soft 0 offset rear tires in the front. You can also use F1 very soft tires in the rear as well. The X-power tires come pre-prepared, all you have to do is glue the front sidewall and true down the fronts to 23.75 to 23mm (more usable sidewall than rubber if you did not notice) and the rears just so that they are flat. The front sidewall should be stiff and not flex at all. To do this multiple coats of thin CA should be applied (3 or more). The first coat of glue should be left for about a couple minutes and then the following coat should be heavier and CA accelerator should be used once. Then apply one or two more coats. Once the accelerator has been used it will make the ca of the following layers cure very fast. The front tires should be glued as close to the same time as possible and the entire gluing and truing process should take 10-15 min. Once you have become accustomed to the process it should be even faster.

You can also use PN foams but the rear tires are not really soft or sticky enough so if PN tires are used all the way around you should only use them in classes where a 50t or slower is used until PN revise their foam. The PN tires also have a large amount of air pockets and do not come with pre rounded edges and also the foam is often times slightly wider or place farther to one side of the tire than the other with great variance between two tires within the same package. This is not to say that the foam does not work, just more prep time is needed. I also prefer the X-power rims as they are black, look better, and are much more sturdy / fit the bearings better.

GQ Also makes foam tires and are probably more affordable but you would have to order them from overseas and I have no experience with their pre-mounts or foam donuts. From the pictures it looks like they have rounded sidewalls and fill out the entire rim unlike the PN, but until I see them I person I cannot speak for them. However the GQ look like they have more compound options avialable but probably you would want to stick with very soft rears in the rear and soft rear 0 in the front.

I just wanted to clarify that the X-Power and PN tires are available in the US while only the F1 GQ tires are avialable in the US, you have to purchase the racer series tires from their overseas site.

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Old 2015.07.18, 03:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DMALMAD View Post
and the entire gluing and truing process should take 10-15 min. Once you have become accustomed to the process it should be even faster.
But this whole process that you've described is 10x the amount of work as mounting rubber tires. Here's what I do with rubber tires.....(1)open package of tires (2)put on rims. Done. Sometimes I'll put tape on the fronts, that's a whole extra 20-30 seconds of prep time.
I guess if you're racing for money or pink slips that kind of time investment is worthwhile but when you're just racing for fun it seems a bit overkill.
That's just my opinion on why maybe so few racers choose foam.
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Old 2015.07.19, 04:21 PM   #10
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And you will never be competitive with that kind of tire prep.... that is the one of the most disapointing factors of rubber tires, people think that just slapping tires on their rims is ok It is less work if you take 4 tires out of the package and put glue on two of them then gluing all four sets of rubber tires to the rim. And if you consider the fact that it is much easier to drive and overall cheaper than I guess the extra time learning how to efficently prep and maintain your tires is worth it...

Sure if you are kicking around in your basement by yourself and only buy new tires once a month then there is no reason to choose either foam v.s. rubber, just get whichever is easier and cheaper to get. But if you race with a competitive group of racers then moving to foam tires is a logical decision because it makes it easier for new racers to get up to speed faster and learn how to drive the car more easily. From personal experience learning to drive on rubber tires I stayed at the bottom of the b-main for over a year and was making little to no progress, but when we switched over to foams I started improving and making it to the amain in a matter of a couple months.

Technically speaking foam tires have a much greater slip angle when compared to rubber tires so the transition from having traction to not having traction is much more gradual, hence even when the car is not locked in there is a controlable slide while with the rubber tires the loss of traction is much more sudden and less contolable. This is why traction roll and erradict handling is common with the rubber tires. With the foam tires the car will have more grip and will almost always feel glued if your setup is close and even when you encounter a loss of traction the car will remain predictable. This is why it is easier to drive foam tires and the learning curve is much less steep.


Basically if you think running your rubber tires without glue or even tape is a good practice, you need to re-evauate the way your car handles, how competitive you are, and what level of commitment you have to racing. If you do this and determine that you are happy to just have fun wheeling around with the stock kyosho motor and do not really care how your car handles and the laptimes you can do then you should deffinatly stick with rubber tires... no doubt about it. But if you think that getting optimal performance and drivablility out of your car is important than maybe give foam tires a try.

I think Rubber tires have their place, for basher oriented mini-z racers, but clearly foam tires should be considered for competitive racing.
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Old 2015.07.19, 04:38 PM   #11
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Some of the guys with slot car experience will argue otherwise . It's you will find just as passionate and competitive drivers with slot car experience and run rubber only say similar thing of rubber. It's really a matter of what the venue prefers and what your looking to get out of it. I'll continue to argue you can have a enjoyable and competitive series with a very limited stock class. Kyosho has been racing these for over a decade on rubber and doing well. Foam is not a requirement to take it to the next level, it's simply another tool in the arsenal. Some of have no large scale experience and could really care less about turning mini-z into a miniature 10th scale experience. Other will disagree and that's OK . If your not having fun with what you get out of it, what's the point?

FYI, if you ever want to run a foam race with our group, just let us know. Happy to give it a run. Some of the PA guys make it down from time to time, could be fun and a learning experience.
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Old 2015.07.19, 06:52 PM   #12
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I think that both foam and rubber have their place and definnatly rubber tire racing has been more practical for quite some time and I still think that every club shoud run what they want and what works best for them. I guess what I am getting at is that I would like to see a large event or even multi club series which would include foam tire racing. Honestly running foams with box stock cars there really is no point, I think the rubber tire and box stock combo is an extremely good class. The one time I ran the spec gear class in PA I probably had more fun than anything else and I was running a subaru body

Basically, I would like to see more people try foam so that maybe in the near future we could see a PN race in the US again. It is clear that there are not enough dedicated Z racers to get that going but if we had a foam class maybe enough 1/12th drivers would consider and then there could be enough backing for some larger races.

I guess it is just some wishful thinking since I got into the Mini-Z Scene too late to get that big race experience, and would like to see that happen.

I think the biggest problem with foam tires is that we have to glue the fronts, I think if there is a compound avialable that would eliminate this then foam tires would deffinatly be more feasible, but until then I think the average racer will continue to choose rubber.

Also a side note, I know at my club everyone has a tire truer but I know this is not the case everywhere else... about what percent of club racers own a tire truer?
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Old 2015.07.20, 10:49 AM   #13
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Nothing like a brand new set of foams on your car... until someone rear ends you and chunks your brand new trued rears and forces you to spend more money for the next heat. At least that's my 10th scale experience.

Foams on carpet are fine, on RCP though... the entire racing surface is already foam (what more could a racer ask for?!)

I've sat through all kinds of discussions like this from day one with the Mini-Z, and it always seems to go back to rubber.

See, you have to understand... not everybody who races these cars are quite so gung-ho to get every little tenth of a second out of each lap so it really doesn't freekin matter to them. And I'll say one thing here, if foams are so awesome, why does everyone have to instantly sauce them to the point of leaving tracks when they pull away?

Don't really care either way unless someone again decides that Simple Green is a good traction compound and puts the car on my RCP!

Have fun... cheaply. That is and always will be the best route.
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Old 2015.07.20, 10:58 AM   #14
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Gerry curled foams on any surface can make you "superman" til the snot wears off. Then you are just another driver with a tire dependent set up longing to hear the horn.

If you could get a big PN event near enough for you to attend you can likely bet the farm that the race would be run on PN foams only so where would that put you in the grand scheme of things.

If you want to try some GRP foams I have a wide variety of fronts and rears in varying offsets and compounds that I purchased for an experiment that was never completed. They are all still sealed(4 to a package) in their pretty pink and black boxes. Compounds for carpet as well as RCP.

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Old 2015.07.20, 01:39 PM   #15
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I have never seen a foam chunk due to impact at this scale..... Only time the tires cunk is when you run them for 3 race weeks straight and even then they usually don't.

As for the traction compound you don't need it but it makes it even better so why not? On RCP the surface is already more abbrasive so it is not neccesary.

As far as cost it is more effective to race foams rather than rubber tires, you get less drop off in performance and longer life so I don't understand the comment about it being cheaper to run rubber tires.

PN Ruber tires:
front: 4$
Rear:4$
Rear Rim: 4.5$
Front Rim: 4.5$

That is 18$ before taxes and hobby store markup, which is more expensive than foams since you only get 3 runs before your tires start to feel like crap. Plus you can actually true your rear tires without gumming them up. Realisticly rubber tires on rc cars degrade much more in a shorter period of time... just look at 10th scale and how they are spending 40$ for 1 run tires...Just for apples to apples:
PN Foam:
Rear: 9$
Front: 9$
(That is 18$ btw)........

I would not mind running PN tires if other people wanted to run them, but there is no spec tire for PN races so why would that change if we started to run foam? Sure the usual PN fanboys would run their foam but what is to stop anybody from running x-power or GQ?

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Gerry curled foams on any surface can make you "superman" til the snot wears off. Then you are just another driver with a tire dependent set up longing to hear the horn.

If you could get a big PN event near enough for you to attend you can likely bet the farm that the race would be run on PN foams only so where would that put you in the grand scheme of things.

If you want to try some GRP foams I have a wide variety of fronts and rears in varying offsets and compounds that I purchased for an experiment that was never completed. They are all still sealed(4 to a package) in their pretty pink and black boxes. Compounds for carpet as well as RCP.
I don't understand what you mean by the snot? If you are refering to traction compound, it is really just used for the first handful of laps....Cars usually do their hotlaps in the middle or end of the race when it has worn off. It is with rubber tires in the larger scales that you run into trouble with traction compound and tire heating wars.

As for the big race running PN foams I think that with the same tires anyone who has enough skill wil be able to get the hang of foams rather quickly. I also mentioned in my previous reply that I do not think it would be spec tire... Look at all the big 1/12th races, they have never really ran a spec tire there.

I do not think that the GRP tires would be competitive. They were tried and were not that great, also they are no longer available (I think) so testing them would do you no good since you could not get more.

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