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Even though many people see the benefits of them, slick tyres are illegal to use on roads. Basically, any tyre that has a smooth tread and is used in auto racing.
Starting from the 50s, these slick tyres became extremely famous, mainly due to drag racing. The ideas was that the manufactures eliminate any grooves from the tread, so that these slick tyres would roll easier and smoother on the road, having a great impact with it by maximising traction. Today, slick tyres are not permitted for use on any vehicles, and they are used only on road or oval track racing.
The benefits of slick tyres
They are used only on track because the lack of grip can easily be the cause of an accident if you’re not driving on a dry, perfectly clean surface – a condition you can hardly encounter on an open road. For instance, in case it’s a rainy day, your chances of hydroplaning will be incredibly increased because slick tyres don’t have that tread to channel the water whereas on a race track, these tyres can be changed and replaced depending on weather conditions. It is impossible for you to do that outside the track.
They are illegal because of safety issues. Of course, if you want to get closer to how a slick tyre will make your vehicle behave, then you can find something similar on the market, although it is a very dangerous area to play in because a wet road will have you re-think your buying decision.
As you can notice, with slick tyres you are depending entirely on the weather. So it is only natural that they are illegal, otherwise even more accidents involving motorbike crashes would take place in the UK. 2012 was the second wettest year on record, and since then we could witness a 9% drop in motorbike drives killed in the UK (and a 4% decrease with regards to those seriously injured). Keeping them safe requires banning things like slick tyres, which as interesting and thrilling they may seem for a bike owner, they are illegal.
Slick tyres – illegal?
For cars, slick tyres are permitted in car racing such as F1, where they started using slick tyres not that long ago. At first, the company was very safety-focused when it came down to safer speeds, but all the changes that these grooved tyres implied made engineering a nightmare, so they had to go back to slick tyres in 2009.
No matter how much you’d like to use slick tyres, don’t. It is better to invest in a good-quality car that can even the perks of having slick tyres. You have to remember that road will never be a race track and you will always be obliged to use tyres that have some sort of tread on them.
However, if racing is in your blood and you want to give it a go, then try some of these extreme bad-boy tyres, which can help you on a dry surfaces are Michelin Pilot, Toyo R888, Pirelli – the Corsa System, Nitto NT-01 (prices can go up from £180 to £700 if not more).
The most reliable brands recommended to choose for slick tyres are: GoodYear, Hoosier, Mickey Thompson, Moroso, Nitto and Phoenix. Also a great brand is Marvin & Harry Tyres (commonly known as M&H), which was the first company to develop the first slick tyre types – a huge range of them. Now, slick tyres are illegal when it comes to cars, but you can take pretty good advantage of them if you are a biker.
These tyres are very slick so that aquaplaning is not an issue. Even their grooved tyres have only small holes in them so you can hardly notice (this doesn’t apply to off-road bikes that have to have substantial tread depth anyway for obvious reasons). Low speed, high pressure and narrow width permit bikes to have slick tyres. With bikes, you only have to know if yours needs improved traction on road or not. If not, then your bike can easily go into water without putting you in danger as any car with slick tyres would.
Don’t forget that slick tyres are illegal, but you can use them if you’re on race track training for your next Formula 1 competition. Until then, read here about the best car tyre brands for your vehicle.