When you ride on track, whether on a trackday or actually racing, you want the highest performance, grippiest tyres available.
For pure racing classes, that means slicks, and sometimes trackdays allow slick-shod bikes as well. But for most production-racing classes, and nearly all trackdays, that means road-legal, treaded tyres.
But even within that definition, there are plenty of track-orientated, high-performance tyres available, sometimes even in different compounds, and many trade-off little in terms of performance compared to a pure slick – especially for non-professional riders.
Related: Best motorcycle trackday essentials
Plus the added bonus is that, being road legal, trackday buffs don’t have to van their machines to the circuit, as long as the rest of the bike is legal, there’s the option of riding it there, too.
But which trackday tyres are currently available? How much do they cost? And what do you get for your money? Here’s our current pick of some of the best...
Metzeler Racetec RR
The Racetec RR is German brand Metzeleru2019s (although itu2019s now owned by Italian giant Pirelli) top-of-the-range track-focussed tyre and is a favourite among TT and track racers, plus trackday riders.
The successor to the RaceTec Interact it comes in three different compounds – K1 (soft, most grip but shortest lifespan, so some use on the front only), K2 (medium, the most popular choice for trackday riders for its balance of grip and durability) and K3 (being the hardest, so best for riders who do most of their riding on the road but the odd trackday as well).
Metzeler Racetec TD Slick
Metzeler Racetec TD Slick Motorcycle Tyre
MCN Rated: Best trackday tyre
Tested by Michael Neeves, for one test day - Quality 5/5, Value 4/5
"Racing slicks have immense grip, but no point using them for trackdays. They’ll tear if compounds don’t match track temperature, degrade through heat cycles and need to be baking before they work properly, so you need tyre warmers, paddock stands and power. Pressures need to be set hot, so you’ll need to constantly check them after each session, too. It’s only worth the massive faff looking after them if you’re actually racing.
"These trackday slicks come very close to the grip and feel of a race tyre without the hassle. They can be used from cold, so no need for warmers - just set pressures at the start of the day and off you go. They can ‘flipped’ to even out wear, too. I tried them on my race S1000RR and although the electronics, suspension and geometry were set for taller profile race rubber they were only a second off my Brands Indy practice time."
Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3
As with Metzeleru2019s RaceTec, the Supercorsa is Italian brand Pirelliu2019s top-of-the-range trackday and production-racing tyre, which is perhaps not surprising as theyu2019re basically made by the same firm, and is one of the most popular of its type in the UK.
The V3 is the very latest version with a new tread design, new compound on the shoulder as developed in World Superbikes, new profiles to heighten response, handling and grip and a bi-compound rear to combine grip, stability and mileage.
Michelin Power Cup Evo
The Power Cup Evo is a lightweight track-ready tyre designed for circuit use but also road legal on up to 300cc machines. It delivers excellent grip with its Dual Compound Technology (2CT) and is a u2018plug & playu2019 tyre that can be used immediately without any specific adjustment. Tyre warmers are recommended but not mandatory.
Bridgestone Battlax RS10
Bridgestoneu2019s latest premium high-grip radials that achieve excellent dry handling, grip and stability. The tread pattern adopts 3D groove shape to improve tread rigidity. Chosen by the major motorcycle brands as standard fitment on their high-end models.
The RS10 has been recognized for its high performance and its combination of stability and controllability, designed to extract every bit of performance from supersports bikes.
Bridgestone Battlax RS11
The Battlax Racing Street RS11 is Bridgestoneu2019s latest tyre to take its track developed technology and put it on a street tyre. Itu2019s the Japanese companyu2019s first road-oriented tyre to adopt its new V-MS-Belt construction which is currently used in Bridgestoneu2019s highest performing race tyres. The pattern design also finds many similarities with the dry racing grooved tyre R11. The grooves are in line with the needs and requirements of track use and include the necessary adaptations for a safe usage on the road.
The compound configuration is a 3LC on the front as well as on the rear. On the rear it has an additional cap and base compound to match the required tread stiffness and stability.
Dunlop D212 GP Racer
Derived from the legendary D212 GP Pro - Dunlopu2019s Isle of Man TT race-specification bloodline - the road legal GP Racer D212 delivers the kind of performance, handling and endurance that until just a few years ago was only available to factory-backed teams.
Its race-derived mould profile gives faster turn-in and reduced steering effort; the NTEC system allows pressure adjustment for track conditions; there are revised centre and shoulder compounds for maximum dry grip while a new construction combined with compound development provide improved endurance for sustained racing performance.
German firm Continentalu2019s most high-performance road tyre so far is also more than capable on track and features a new profile to five a larger footprint at extreme lean angles, u2018Multigripu2019 technology for extra durability; a refined u2018zero degreeu2019 steel belt construction to improve high-speed stability front and rear and a slick shoulder area to offer maximum grip when cornering.