That was quick. One of the new sets of tyres just arrived. They are the PN racing 8 degree slicks. I ordered them 3 days ago from Kenon Hobby in the US. These tyres certainly are soft and sticky so I put a pair straight on the test rig and compared them to the tyres I have now. They seem to have about 20% more grip than the current ones. This was encouraging so I mounted them on the micromouse. That is when the first little issue came up…
They are so soft that getting them neatly arranged on the wheels is a bit tricky. They stretch unevenly and need a fair bit of massaging before they look like they are even all the way around the wheel. Once that is done they seem just fine and in a simple pull test, they certainly perform better than the existing tyres so I sent the mouse around for a few circuits. Distance calibration is out but that is not too surprising.
After a couple of trips around the maze however, the stickiness of the tyres reveals another issue. They pick up more dust that I knew was there. in the short time the mouse was in the maze (about 100 squares of travelling) there was so much dust on the tyres that they now had significantly less grip than the existing set.
Now I start to understand why the top competitors are so keen on cleaning the track and tyres. Using tyres this sticky will mean a lot of extra care in the cleaning routine. The UK rules don’t really allow for the mouse to be taken out and cleaned. For now I have put on the old tyres.
That raises the third issue. All these tyres look identical and have no markings so it is really important to keep them in clearly labelled bags.