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The tire grips the road by twitching it’s rubber into the little imperfections of the road surface. A tire with softer rubber is going to be more grippy, but will get eaten away faster. Aside from how soft the rubber is, there is a question of how soft the tire is. This is measured by the layers of the tire and by it’s size.

A tire with a low-profile (short sidewall) is going to be stiffer and BETTER for a smooth road, like a racetrack. Likewise, more air makes the tire stiffer while less air makes it softer. Inflation also changes the way in which the tire contacts the road surface. We can divide the tire into three parts: the shoulders on each corner, and the center of the tread. An under-inflated tire will be crushed against the road surface, fold, and form a convex shape that makes it grip more with it’s shoulders. An overinflated tire becomes thinner and more concave, gripping the road with the center of the tread.

Tire width is the next factor. Logic states that a wider tire will have more rubber on the road. True, but there is a drawback on straights, that being the engine has more rubber to roll around. This somewhat reduces acceleration and deceleration, and it’s advantage comes to play in the corners. A more grippy tire (wider, with a lower profile and more air) will supply better grip on a track/good road, but more wear and a sharper transition from grip to sliding, and with less feedback.

More coming soon on tire reviews and tire sizing suggestions!

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