Monday, October 02, 2006

JelClaws tires

From the JEL CLAWS website...I hope they don't get mad for me lifting the entirety of their ad copy here...

"JEL CLAWS are simply the most high tech scale tires available. Made in our own factory by engineers and craftsman, who care about quality. Unlike other manufacturers, JEL CLAW is a real company and not a basement industry casting silicone tires out of resin molds. JEL CLAWS utilizes precision and modern molding equipment with the latest technology to bring you the roundest, flattest, and accurate tires available. JEL CLAWS are better than Silicone on plastic or wood tracks that can turn even the best silicone tires to slippery banana peels.

Along with never before seen accuracy our special tire compounds are formulated to be the best gripping tires ever. There performance will not fade during a race and will run their best until the checkered flag. JEL CLAW tires are tested and raced by us for each application and alwaysare much better than stock tires. Because our molds are CNC machined out of metal and designed on a CAD system you can be assured of consistent quality in each and every scale tire. JEL CLAWS makes and will make tires for all slot cars with a ever growing line. If there is a tire you need that is not available drop us a line.

From slicks to treaded designs JEL CLAWS can and will make it!"

Rob's had several sets of these tires for some time now. At first I was as skeptical as I usually am about a new compound of tires. He's used one set of the Jel Claws on his Sauber Mercedes Slot.It car and he's gotten that car to go pretty fast, especially since the Ortmann's that we normally favor hadn't worked any better than the Jel Claws. Ortmann's are the only tire that we consider serious tires on his track. So tonight, slot car in hand, I tried a set of these Jel Claw tires on my car and settled in for some serious testing.

I'm not sure of the model of the tires but they're a perfect fit for the medium size of Slot It wheel (the 15x10's I think they are). At first, nothing to write home about..."you have to give them about 50 laps to wear in" Rob says as I try and push the slot car faster than the tires will allow. And around 75 laps later, almost at once, the tires started to really, really grip. The times went from a first lap time of 5.9 seconds to around 5.79 seconds. Then more and more laps piled up and the tires really started to hook up even more. 5.79 was an easy lap time to get to, now I was having to overdrive the car less and the tires were doing the rest... now 5.69....then low 5.6' upper 5.5's...HOLY a fastest lap of 5.513!!! What was most impressive about these times were the consistancy that I could get. These weren't times that I hit once in a while and then I couldn't hit them again. I turned lap after lap around 5.20's without deslotting at all. The tires would slide nicely but still grip and not a hint of hop from over-grip.

Something else about these tires. Not only did it take many laps for them to start to hook up but we noticed that after a brief break between the 200+ laps I did the first test and the second stretch of 300+ laps I did that the tires didn't work as well after the break. They evidently cooled down. The wood track and the Jel Claws have so much friction that the tires actually get so tacky that they get very gummy and that's why they stick so well. Once they heat're golden! all we need are little 1/32 tire warmers link in F1!

Something else we noticed is the tires get an odd kind of pilling effect on the surface. They also tend to clump up those little marbles into larger's the picture of that and notice the way the surface of the tire is pilled up, you can see the direction I was travelling from the way the tires have warm.

Something else was odd that one tire appeared to be doing most of the "work", I think that there may be more corners in that direction so one tire was doing the heavy cornering while the other tire didn't seem to have the heavy wear. Seen below.

The tires are concentric and fit on the tires well with little tugging to get them to seat properly. They also feel quite strong so you don't have to worry about thinking you're going to rip them trying to put them on the tires.

A word about Ortmann's tires for the record here. Ortmann's were faster on the car tested, a fastest lap of 5.35. But they were very difficult to drive at that speed and in fact Rob found them entirely undriveable on this particular test car. So while you could do a fast lap once in a while, the overall speed of the car wasn't that much faster, and in fact the car was nearly impossible to drive consistantly with the Ortmann's as opposed to the Jel Claws, when comparing them head-to-head on this car. BTW, I know I'm not saying the car because it will be reviewed tune in to find out the mystery test mule from tonight.

Based on our testing tonight of at least 500 laps of a brand new set of these tires I have to say they work very well. I think these tires would be best suited to endurance racing or on high grip tracks like Ninco or on wood tracks. And would do very well during a long race over several hours I think these tires would have excellent grip and would really shine after prolonged use during a single race.

I have no official rating system here at SCNews but if I did they'd be at the top...a recomended buy.

Publisher, Slot Car News


PeteN95 said...

Interesting, Dave, the wear looks like a real race slick at operating temperature. It does look like you need a little more camber, though.

Robert Livingston said...

Here is the E-bay store from which Jel Claws are sold. They come in a variety of sizes, and fit some interesting vintage cars as well as the current crop of RTR types.

bluetoes591 said...

I got a set of JelClaws in the mail today. It'll be at least a week before I get to use them though. I briefly tried a set last week, and I too found them to be incredibly consistant. I didn't find them to be the fastest tires, but they were so easy to drive that it didn't matter.

DaveKennedy said...

We found them very easy tires to drive too. Did you do lots of laps with them or just a few? We've found that you need to do tons of laps then they really start's a funny thing, like Pete mentioned they need to come up to temp, like real tires, before they start to work well. I say give yourself at least an hour of track time to give them a true test.

bluetoes591 said...

I only drove the car for about 5 minutes, but its owner had been running it for awhile before that. Don't worry, I'll give my tires a good exercising before I pass any judgement.

George said...

I just received three sets of Jel Claws for my Slot-It Nissan R390 GT1. I found that the dimensions were not optimal for the stock hub of the car, but the tires seem to slip on well.

However, while I was running in the motor (no body, back end of the chassis lifted off the track the tires came off the hubs!!!

Perhaps the tire compound is so soft that the centrifugal forces generated by the Slot-It V12/3 25,000 (yello endbell) motor with a 13:34 gear ratio proved to be too much. I don't know what to do here. Perhaps glue them on the hub?

This morning I was running my new Slot-It Alfa Romeo 33/3 (all stock) and decided to try a set of Jel Claws on that car. With the stock magnet in the very back the tires make a difference like night and day! Hardly and breakout of the back in fast tight turns.

So, the tires are great, but the sizing is something I wish the manufacturer would review a bit.