Kawasaki Ninja 300 Forums banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks! Hope yall are getting in some quality riding this spring/summer.

Anyhow, I've spent my whole track career in the desert of Arizona. Weather was always predictable and... dry. I'm back home on the west coast, and lo and behold, first track day my buddy and I sign for is predicted the only rainy day in the previous and post week. What the heck, lol.

Anyway, I had a balded set of Q3+ tires on the bike, which went through my last track day down in the heat, and they worked great. I love everything about that tire, except the wet weather performance. Obviously it wasn't built for rain, so I decided to get 2 new sets of tires. Another set of Q3+ tires, and this time, a set of Michelin Road 5 tires. Just got the R5s on the bike today, they look fresh, and I got about a hundred miles on them today through my local roads, to scrub them in and feel them out. BTW, all my tires, are 110 and 150 size, for a fair comparison, and as my preferred rear tire.

Anyway, I am quite sure it is going to rain at The Ridge in Shelton, WA this Sunday on track day. So I have the R5 tires on the bike. If it doesn't really rain, it'll be cold, I think they'll do very well on a very cold track, but also obviously, they should work great when it does rain. Figured I'd rather play it safe and have the R5s on the bike. First time on this track too, so my pace won't be anything crazy.

Question to you fellow track riders with the smaller bikes, is what pressures are good for rain tires/rain riding?
On my Q3+, for street spirited riding I use 32/28 cold, and track I use 32/28 hot. Feels superb, didn't melt any tires last track day, all was good. I could probably go softer on the rear, but my pace and tire wear looked good enough.
I just got the R5 tires on today, and I put my standard street pressures in to get an even comparison. They feel similar to the Dunlops, but I can definitely see what I've gained and lost, at least on the dry hot roads.

Do I want the tires to be lower than normal track for rain track riding, or do I want to maintain normal track pressure overall? Any of you guys have recommendations for pressures, or maybe recs on changing my front vs rear pressure differential? Or maybe advice pertaining to 300s for tire pressures here?

I've got really no idea what goes into the tire setup for rain riding on the track, but I've got a good feel for how to ride smoother in the rain, just haven't ever had the experience setting up the bike for hard rain riding.

Any advice is appreciated fellas!

-Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
I have a set of Road 5 on my N300. I do 25/25 cold when it's dry and hot and 28/28 when it's cold or wet. I'm a mid group B rider.

I think it's a nice tire if you're going to have just one set rain or shine and do track days and not racing. Or like in your case, not having two sets of rims and having to decide the tires up on the forecast. They will give you a nice compromise between dry and wet.

I kind of feel then don't stick too much on fast corners and they like to go wide. That's in dry conditions. I don't push them in the wet corners, so I can't tell
They sure hold very well in the hard braking zone. I have my brakes upgraded to Nissin caliper/ steel line and EBC semi floating rotor. I can brake pretty hard on the wet on these tires and they hold well.

One thing to consider about the R5's is that Michelin claims that a sport street rider won't go full lean on the street with wet conditions, so they left the shoulders with no treads and a soft component, so the tire should have a really good performance at full lean in the dry, but it's probably not a good option to go full lean on the wet.
Compared to a DOT race tire, in the wet, it should work better in the brake zone, but not necessarily in the corner.

I got these tires when I was using my N300 50/50 street and track. Now I'm using it track only, so I'm thinking in getting something more sporty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is exactly what I was looking for, thanks man!
Yeah I just wanted a tire that was insurance for crappy weather. I was riding it around yesterday, and I definitely see what you mean when you say this tire tends to go wide. I can feel the contact patch coming and going as I'm riding over the biggest sipes. But, it is pretty consistent, even over patches of debris and stuff.

Yeah every day the rain forecast is getting more and more likely for rain that day. I think the design will be good for me for the rain, I don't think I'll be leaning fully in the rain anyhow, so the slick edges I think will be good for the dry. I haven't gotten a chance to lean them that far yet, I just hope the "running wide" sensation goes away when I get to that slick edge. If it works like that, then I think it'll be the perfect compromise tire. How does it feel when you fully lean in the dry with em?

I have heard really good things about the braking performance on these too, I have a Brembo 15RCS master cyl, steel lines, and a Galfer floating Wave Rotor, and as of today, EBC track/street pads. She stops very nicely. How much did the Nissin caliper help on yours? I was considering that, but I'll have to burn a few laps to see how I like my current setup, it hasn't been to the track yet since adding the Brembo and Galfer stuff.

Thanks for the input man!
-Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
Actually, by 'fast corner' I mean any corner that it's not too slow and I can get a full lean or almost full lean and push it in the entry. It's in those corners that I feel the bike going a bit wide and not 'glued' to the track.
Maybe the slick shoulder is not wide enough, or maybe the soft component is not as soft as a more sporty tire. In the end, it's touring tire with durability in mind.

If the corner is slow, as in a tight U-turn, I only negotiate it as good as I can and the R5 is more than good enough for that for me. It feels fine and smooth when you lean in.
All this coming from someone that never rode slick tires.

The Nissin caliper feels very nice. My first mod to the brake was to put the EBC semi floating rotor paired with a set of Vesrah RJL pads. That gave me a better feeling, but not much improvement in the stopping power. I still had to really squeeze the lever to brake hard.
Recently I put the Nissin Caliper (from a 2001 CBR600F), for which a bought a set of EBC semi sintered pads and also put the steel line. That was a nice change. I stop in shorter now, and have a nice feeling in the lever to let go a bit when I lean in.

My MC is still the stock. I didn't change it yet because I don't know what to get without going to something expensive as the Brembo. I was going to get the MC from a ZX6 or ZX10, but it looks like those won't work well with only one caliper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting. Yeah the 15 RCS MC is still a little on the larger size compared to stock, and so the ratio is a little bit harder on the lever pull. This actually came up in tech inspec today at the track day! Here's the rundown.

So we went to The Ridge today, and as predicted, it was indeed raining. Moderate rain the entire time we were there, and maybe 60 degrees. My buddy came with his R3 as well. We actually rode to the track, big mistake. It was very cold and wet the whole way. We survived, actually wore black trash bags with arm and head holes cut in them the whole day to keep dry! Actually worked stupidly well, on and off track. I will legit keep black trash bags in my bike from now on, it was so useful and effective.

Anyhow, I talked to the tech guys there, and they recommended a little higher pressures than you had, so I tried 36/36 on the R5s. Also was trying my new EBC EPFA pads out for real the first time. Didn't touch my suspension, or anything else. The EBC EPFA pads are literally at least twice as good as any brand HH sintered pad I've ever used, period. They have a warm up period from dead cold that is one small brake pull, like literally the first light you come to on a street, and then they bite super well, without being snatchy at all. Literally never running anything else on this bike.

Holy freaking hell. The R5 tires are black magic to me. I took the bike out on the standing yellow first 2 laps, they felt good. Soon as they waved the green, I took off, and first thing I noticed was how superb the straight braking power was. Excellent straight grip. Started getting comfy with the turns, and learning the track, and got pretty good lean angles in. But I started getting harder and harder on trailing the brakes in, and getting on the gas sooner out of the corners, and these tires just did not slip. The ONLY time I got to do a power slide out of a corner, I literally whacked the throttle open basically right after the apex, similar to how I would get on it in the dry, just to see what would happen. It totally behaved, and I only felt it skidding a hair off center while hanging off the bike completely, and it held the line just as I expected it to. Smooth was the name of the game for sure, but man, I shocked myself multiple times how hard and late I could come into those corners, and how hard I could drive it out.

I signed up for novice group, since I didn't know the track at all, and it was raining. Smoked every one in novice, moved to intermediate, and smoked everyone there too. There was maybe one other guy I only passed once, he was going a similar pace, just on the other side of the track most of the time.

I'm not even joking, some other riders came looking for my buddy and I in the pits, asking who the trash-bag lookin dudes were that were going fast as hell. Lol. Once I worked up to it, getting knees down on the flowing corners was every lap. I would usually lean the bike a tad more after my puck touches, but I knew there was slick tire past that point, so that was my cue to keep it from leaning too much, and it worked out perfect. I literally got the contact patch right on the edge of the big sipes, not a hair into the slick spot, and they hooked up super good.

These tires really saved the (rainy) day! I was literally giddy laughing in the pits after every session because of how unbelievable the grip was. I consider myself a mid-upper level B group rider, and these tires 110% satisfied my expectations for track use. Some guys had rain slicks out there, and they were doing pretty good too, and they should for the $500 they cost. Legit some of them were cornering slower than I was by a long shot, and the others were master level A group riders. So for the price and practicality, these were a huge win. Even got them nice and warm after every session.

I know what tire I'm keeping a spare set of in the track day supplies storage for sure. Now I really wanna get out there on a sunny day with some sticky dunlop tires and see what I've learned...

Sorry for the ramble, had an epic day.

-Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
Awesome! Let us know what feeling you get on a hot dry day.

You rode to the track on 60 deg rain!? LOL Good job!

36/36!? Did the tech guys consider your pace to recommend that? I must have a slower pace than you. Anyways, I'll try higher pressure next time.
Did they say anything about a proper pressure on hot/dry conditions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah man we were literally freezing. Turns out it was a record coldest day in June in WA state in the last decade too! 60 was the high for the day, yikes. But getting worked up in the sessions I wasn't cold in the slightest. As soon as we rolled out to go home though, frozen hands lol.

The tech guys told me that when I rolled up, they didn't know how I rode at all. Maybe that was what that guy runs with similar tires, but that recommendation was perfect for that day and my riding. I actually had another rider say he saw peoples' tires slinging up water as we rode, but he said the water rooster tail on my back tire was significantly bigger than most other peoples' tires, so maybe I had the right pressure and tire for the conditions, more so than others. Or maybe that was just because I was passing him, lol.

They didn't say anything about dry pressures for this tire. I talked up the tech guy, and told him my usual dry pressures, and he said yeah I definitely gotta pump up from those a lot to handle the wet, and boy was he right. The tire's didn't feel squirrely/mushy at all, nor were they too hard/chattery either. In fact, the turn in was actually about as good as the matching size Q3+ tires, with the elevated pressures in the R5s. Maybe that was why I was feeling less agile turn in with the R5s in the dry. They felt more "ready to go" coming into every turn in the wet with the higher pressures. Hard to explain...

I wonder how well the R5 tires would do in the dry for me. I am guessing it might be a little less grip than I am used to, and the pressures I would have to run to get close to the grip I like might make them suffer in handling and heat. I don't think I could overheat the tires, at least here in the cooler north, but I've definitely seen people absolutely rail these same tires down in the Arizona heat at my old track, and they just crush them there.

I have a set of new Q3+ tires on the way, and I think next track day I will show up with the R5s on the bike, but if its dry, I will have them swapped out for the Dunlops. I love me some fresh Dunlops on the clean dry track for sure lol.

Here's a 3 min clip of a lap or two from one of my first sessions in intermediate group. Chin cam on my helmet.


Literally, I think I was the only N300 out at that track day yesterday. Literally everyone else there had more power than I did lol. I don't think I was going crazy fast, but definitely most people looked/acted like they were afraid or nervous of the rain, more than they had to be. Many of them weren't getting off their bikes as much as I suspect they would in the dry, which only hurts your ability to turn. I also found out that putting your knee down in the rain is very strange. It feels like dragging your puck across.... fabric? It's super smooth, but if you apply any pressure, it grips the road and tries to pull your puck back. In the dry, these pucks do no such thing, I have the Astars GP pro pucks, and they glide perfectly in the dry. But in the wet, it felt snatchy a bit. Strange. Wonder if rain racing knee pucks are harder. Getting my knee down was actually very helpful in those turns, allowing me to finely gauge my lean angle and get every bit out of the tire that I safely could. If you can't touch, I almost feel like its harder to figure out exactly how much you're leaning, and how much brakes/throttle you can use. Great learning experience!

-Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I absolutely cannot wait to get out there in the dry. It's becoming a more popular track to get to lately, if you're ever in the PNW!

-Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
My set of Road 5 just said enough.

The front showed the threads on the shoulders after 4500 miles street and track. The center still has some beef. It looks like the shoulders are really soft. It held the grip up to the last minute though. I had a track day yesterday, dry track, about 90 degrees. I was trail braking nice for my humble pace and the front was holding just fine and giving me confident. But at the end of the last session (lucky me) I was surprised to see the metal threads. I felt the front end vibrating above 90mph, like when the wheel is out of balanced but harder.

The rear was mounted 1000 miles earlier, so it lasted 5500 miles. The center shows the wear, but it still has some rubber. The shoulders don't show the threads, but the wear marks just disappeared and it was moving more than usual at full lean.

I wanted to mount a set of Diablo Rosso III now, but I can't find anyone who has the front in 110/70, so I may get a set of Michelin Power Cup Evo. I'll have to go (even) slower in the wet though. The Diablo Rosso III has good reviews on the wet, it costs less, and hopefully would last more.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,643 Posts
I wanted to mount a set of Diablo Rosso III now, but I can't find anyone who has the front in 110/70, so I may get a set of Michelin Power Cup Evo. I'll have to go (even) slower in the wet though. The Diablo Rosso III has good reviews on the wet, it costs less, and hopefully would last more.
Revzilla says they have both the front and rear in stock in the DRIII.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
Revzilla says they have both the front and rear in stock in the DRIII.

Thanks! Yes, it looks like they either updated the system or just received them. They didn't have them in 110/70 and 140/70 yesterday.

Anyways, I found the DRIII on Moto-D racing and ordered them this morning. The power cup surely looked good, but i wasn't sure about using them in the rain and they were 250 the set against 245 the set for the DRIII, so I went Pirelli this time.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top