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.
This page is for tyres that fit the standard F104 size wheels (i.e., nearly all modern chassis). Our page for F103 and FGX Tyres is here.
Last updated: 23 September 2023
Both rubber and foam are covered on this page and are legal under the Australian National Rules. Clubs and events in Australia normally run rubber tyres unless otherwise specified by the club. Foam tyres typically generate more grip and are usually easier to drive which may suit beginners.
The ETS competition in Europe uses foam tyres as do many Asian countries.
Asphalt (bitumen) – Rubber Tyres
Recommendation: Ride or Volante for warm to hot tracks and Schumacher Shimizu for cooler tracks. These are not the only good tyres for these conditions but these are our recommendations.
* Read our September 2023 interview with Ride about their tyre range and future plans. The Ride VR is the current tyre (which replaced the GR, which replaced the XR which replaced the R1).
** Volante makes a Yellow Soft compound front which is softer than the Green compound, provides more steering, but is harder to drive.
*** Schumacher Shimizu rear tyres are available as pre-mounts (XG-575D soft and XG-572C medium), but are not recommended as the wheel hexes are too narrow and can cause difficulty getting the wheels on and off the car. You can read about this here. XG-571C fronts are a soft compound and produce a lot of front grip and therefore turn-in. The downside is that the car is harder to drive and the extra front grip makes it easier for the rear end to break away at times. For an easier to drive car use Ride GR or Volante Green fronts.
A tyre combination popular in the USA is Schumacher Shimizu 571 front with 572 rear. This works well in many situations but is not our preferred warm weather combination.
Top Tip - tyres are sold in pairs so you can buy one type of tyre for the rear and another type for the front. Your rear tyres will wear out much quicker than the fronts. The rear tyre is normally softer than the front.
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.
* Contact also make a slightly softer front (JF1-42FA) and rear (JF1-28RA) compound which also work very well. Read our interview with F1 world champion Andreas Stiebler, who talks about how he gets the most out of the Contact foam tyres at ETS, here.
Foam tyres wear quickly and ride height should be checked after each race. They can provide more grip than rubber tyres.
Foam tyres are more practical for some surfaces including; carpet tracks that do not use traction compound, astro turf and some other surfaces.
While rubber tyres are the standard around the world many Asian countries continue to prefer foam tyres. ETS in Europe has also adopted foam tyres.
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. The recommended Contact tyres (above) come pre-mounted and pre-trued.
Some clubs and many events may not allow foam tyres.
Tamiya A Foams are the kit tyres that come with the Tamiya F104 Pro. They work well on carpet.
How to mount foam tyres - it's very easy
Most modern tyres come pre-mounted and pre-glued at the factory. If you wish to use a different foam insert than the factory provides you will need to buy the tyres and wheels separately and glue them yourself. See our How to Glue Tyres article.
Other Rubber Tyres Available
Full-scale F1 has run low profile tyres since 2021.
Low Profile RC Tyres
Full Profile RC Tyres (higher sidewall)
F103 wheels can not be used on a car that requires F104 wheels. Although the wheels will physically fit, 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).
Additive (Traction Compound)
Additive is normally applied some time before the race and allowed to soak into the tyres, softening the rubber or foam and providing additional grip. How long before depends on the tyre compound, the additive, the track surface and temperature, air temperature and whether tyre warmers are used. However, leaving the additive on for at least 15 minutes is a good starting point. Manufacturers produce different additive products for rubber and foam tyres.
For F1 cars it is normal to always apply additive across the entire surface of the rear tyres and to some or all of the front tyres, depending on how much steering is needed. If applying additive only to a portion of the front tyre, then always start at the inside of the tyre (the part closest to the chassis) as this part of the tyre should be touching the track before the car starts to turn and should continue to touch the track throughout the turn. Whereas the outside of the tyre might only touch the track close to the corner apex.
Tyre warmers have two primary uses:
1. Warm rubber tyres to their operating temperature so that they provide good grip as soon as the car is placed on the track. If you do not use tyre warmers, then you will need to do some warm-up laps to heat the tyres before the race. Foam tyres do not normally require warming.
2. To improve the absorption of additive. By heating the tyre while the additive is absorbed, the additive should soften the tyre to a greater degree than without tyre warmers.
A wheel with 0mm offset does not change the width of the car. A wheel with positive offset, for example, 0.5mm, will increase the width of the car by 0.5mm on each side (1mm total).
Other Good Tyre Related Articles
Where to Buy
Metro Hobbies (Schumacher and Contact)
RC Maker (Volante)