Wednesday 15 April 2015

Track Day Wheels and Tyres - Finished!

I'm very glad to finally be writing this post.  I thought the day would never come, but the track day wheels and tyres are finally finished and fitted!

The whole process from deciding what wheel colour / design to go with to the finished and fitted wheels took around three months!  The stages involved to get to where I was a couple of days ago were:-
  1. Deciding on what colour choice to go with for the wheels
  2. Ordering the wheels and tyres
  3. Specifying the colour of the wheels and having them re-powder coated
  4. Getting the rims painted in the correct orange and attempting to get the tyres fitted

With the tyre walls being so stiff on the ZZR's the tyre fitters were finding the tyres were peeling the painted rim off, so I waited until the weather warmed somewhat and took them back down to my local tyre fitters a couple of days ago.  They left the tyres in the sun for the day to warm up, and managed to fit them with only some light scuffing of the painted rim.  So there's a good and bad there,  good is that the ZZR's are fitted, bad is that the scuffing on the painted rim looks a little like kerb damage which is pretty irritating, but, and in hindsight, I should've had the wheel powder coated in the RAL 2004 orange, then had the spokes and wheel barrel painted black to avoid this (there's a tip there!).  Anyway, the tyres are fitted now so time to move on.
Caterham 8 spoke alloy wheels with orange rim fitted with AVON ZZR tyres
Caterham 8 spoke alloy wheels with orange rim fitted with AVON ZZR tyres
On a trip to Halfrauds a while ago I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of tyre wall paint pens. So with the tyres fitted to the wheels now was the time to start the tyre wall letter painting.
Tyre Wall Paint Pen
Tyre Wall Paint Pen
The instructions on the pack said to throughly clean the tyres with hot soapy water, along with the usual shaking of the pen for ages and pressing the nib in to activate.
AVON ZZR's washed prior to painting tyre lettering
The tyres had to be fully dry before painting began - I used a microfibre towel to dry the tyres off.  The next stage was to be brave and start painting!
No turning back now!
No turning back now!
I started off with a light first coat, and just done the AVON wording on one side.  It didn't look right, so done the AVON on the opposite side of the tyre, that didn't look quite right either, so went the whole hog and also painted the ZZR lettering too.

Each coat took around 15 minutes per wheel, and each wheel required between three and four coats.  The painting was quite fiddly as care had to be taken not to paint over the edges of the lettering, but after the first couple of tyres were painted it became a little easier.  The instructions of the paint pen suggested to leave 10 minutes between coats, but the duration of painting each tyre was far longer, so I ended up leaving at least an hour between each coat.
AVON ZZR's with painted tyre wall lettering
AVON ZZR's with painted tyre wall lettering
The final touch was to fit the Caterham badge to the centre caps - a two minute job.  Peel the sticky badge off the backing paper, and stick to the centre caps - job done.
Caterham wheel centre caps with centre cap stickers ready for application
Caterham wheel centre caps with centre cap stickers ready for application
With the wheels and tyres ready to be fitted, I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick time lapse video of the fitting process.  So here it is below.

And then the long awaited track day wheels and tyres were fitted, and I think they look great!  Very sporty and kinda 'F1' - so perfect for track days!
New track day wheels and AVON ZZR tyres fitted to my Caterham R500 Duratec
Below is a video so you can see the detail that's gone into these wheels and what the car looks like from various angles with the wheels and tyres fitted.

It was then onto a blat to try out the ZZR tyres to see what effect they had on the ride, handling a general grip.  I thought it'd be cool to see what the tyres look like when they're motion, but it was pretty hard creating a solid mount for the GoPro.  I used the motorsport suction cup mounted to the front cycle wing, with a GoPole extension arm.  It gives a good view of what the tyres look like in motion, if somewhat shaky!

Overall my first impressions of the ZZR tyre are:-
  • Better cornering grip
  • Better accelerative grip (less wheelspin in 1st and 2nd gear)
  • Less tyre wall flex meaning bumpier driving on B roads
As these will be predominantly track day wheels and tyres I'll have no problems in trading off the bumpier driving on B roads (on the way to track days) against the improved grip characteristics.  The AVON CR500's are more fun on the road but I thought that'd be the case anyway.

If I were to the coloured rims on a set of wheels again, the main thing I'd do differently would be to have the wheel powder coated in the colour I wanted the rim, then have the spokes and the inside barrel painted. This way when the tyres are fitted they will rub against baked on powder coat, not a painted rim which should stop the rim from becoming scuffed.

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