How do I warm up the tires?

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For most people, in most situations, this will happen gradually as you ride. For those situations where you have to get some heat into your tires faster, we quote Pirelli North America Racing Manager Cristoph Knoche, in an interview for Sport Rider magazine:

  • We see one myth perpetuated nearly every time we watch the warm-up lap to a race. Riders begin weaving back and forth in an apparent attempt to scuff the tread surface (which we've already discounted) and generate heat. The reality is that, according to every tire engineer that I've asked, there are far more effective ways of generating heat in a tire that are also much safer. Rather than weaving back and forth - which does little in the way of generating heat but does put you at risk asking for cornering grip from tires before they're up to temperature - you're far better off using strong acceleration and braking forces, and using them while upright, not leaned over! Acceleration and braking forces impart far more flex to the tire carcass, which is what generates the heat that then transfers to the tread compound as well (you often see Formula 1 cars weaving violently back and forth because automobile tires operate on a horizontal plane, so they have and use significant sidewall flex to generate heat).