Tyres provide the majority of your grip. Without the right tyres for the conditions changing other setup options looking for grip can be a frustrating exercise. Start with the right tyres and then fine tune with our Setup Tips.
Last updated 24 April 2016
We have split our tyre selections into:
The majority of cars use the F104 wheels. For your reference a table showing which cars run which wheel sizes is provided in our Chassis Comparison - Width & Tyres article.
Asphalt (bitumen) - Rubber Tyres
A lot of racing, particularly in Australia, occurs on outdoor asphalt low-medium grip tracks. The following work well:
* PS 573 fronts are medium compound tyres and produce a slight understeer which is easy to drive. For more turn in try PS 571 tyres which are a soft compound and produce a lot more front grip and therefore more turn in. The downside is that the car is harder to drive and the extra front grip takes away rear grip.
The above are not the only good tyres for these conditions but these are our recommendation (and have remained our recommendation from late 2012 until now despite the release of many alternatives).
A tyre combination popular in the USA is Pit Shimizu PS571 front with PS572 rear. This works well in many situations but is not our preferred combination.
Ride tyres give very good rear grip in warm to hot conditions but the fronts exhibit greater understeer than the Pit Shimizu 573. Very good hot weather rubber tyre. They come pre-mounted and pre-glued.
Pit Shimizu’s are very good cool to medium track temp tyres. More steering than the Ride R1.
Some tracks and events only allow rubber tyres.
Top Tip - tyres are sold in pairs so you can buy one type of tyre for the rear and another type for the front. Ride R1 rears work well with Pit Shimizu 573 fronts (on warm to hot tracks). Your rear tyres will wear out much quicker than the fronts.
Carpet - Rubber Tyres
Rubber tyres are unlikely to work well on carpet without some sort of traction compound. In our experience you should put the traction compound on just before putting the car on the track with the tyres still wet. Sounds crazy but it works really well on many carpet surfaces. We use the same tyres as recommended for asphalt (above). Ride R1's work well on carpet even if the track temperature is under 25C.
Foam tyres are more practical for some surfaces including; carpet tracks that do not use traction compound, astro turf and some other surfaces.
Many drivers comment that there is a definite advantage in running Foam tyres on carpet. We have not tested this.
While rubber tyres are the standard around the world many Asian countries continue to prefer foam tyres.
Foam tyres wear quickly and ride height should be checked after each race.
Foam tyres use double sided tape rather than glue and so are quick to get ready. However, they can don't always attach evenly. It's possible to use a tyre truer to grind the tyres to be perfectly even.
Some clubs and many events may not allow foam tyres.
Tamiya A Foams are the kit tyres that come with the Tamiya F104 Pro.
How to mount foam tyres - it's very easy
Buying, Gluing and Using the Tyres Recommended Above
Ride XR / R1's
The XR replaced the R1 in late 2015 for the F104 but are not available for the FGX. The XR are even better than the R1 (which were very good). These come pre-mounted and pre-glued (part numbers in table above).
F104 - mount on Tamiya 51378 (black) or 54400 (silver) rims. Any foam rims for the F104 can be used. TRG also make good ones.
FGX - mount on 3Racing FGX-117 foam rims (Rear) and 3Racing FGX-116 foam rims (front)
For instructions on mounting Pit Shimizu tyres on foam rims see our How to Glue Tyres article.
Pit Shimizu's also fit Exotek rims (but these are not recommended - refer to links below under "Wheels" heading).
Where to Buy
Check out our Links page and scroll down to Online Stores.
Other Tyres Available
Reviews and articles on other tyres and manufacturers websites:
Chassis Wheels Compared
While physically the F103 wheels will fit on the F104, if you tried to run F103 wheels on a F104 it is not possible to have sufficient rear ride height due to the smaller tyre diameter (using Pit Shimitzu rubber) unless you use hop up parts.
Note: Ride rims for rubber tyres are all 39mm internal diameter and so can be used to mount any Ride tyre and any Pit Shimizu Grooved tyre. They can not be used to mount Pit Shimizu slick tyres as they have an internal diameter of 44mm. Use foam rims to mount Pit Shimizu slick tyres (see instructions above).
Recommended Control Tyres
The Ride XR is our recommendation for control tyre events. If FGX's are entered then use the R1 instead which is available for both F104 and FGX wheels (Ride is the only manufacturer to do this). XR's and R1's work well on asphalt (above 25C track temp) and on carpet (with an appropriate traction compound).Ride R1's have successfully been used as the control tyre for TITC since 2013 and the XR took over in 2016.
Due to the low popularity of the 3Racing FGX at competitive events any F104 tyre may be used but the Ride XR is recommended.
Pardus, Pit Shimizu and Tamiya tyres have also been used at major events around the world.
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