An excellent choice for trackday riders
Make no mistake; Chicken Hawk Racing wants you to spend your tire warmer budget on one of their products. With five available models, three under the Chicken Hawk name and two under the Suzuka banner, plus a legendary customer service reputation, this company has a set of warmers for any rider, from the casual trackday enthusiast to the professional roadracer. Their offerings range in price from $649 for the top-line Chicken Hawk Digital Pro Line model to $300 for the least expensive single-temp Suzuka model.
Currently, we're testing the company's Pole Position 3-Temp warmers. This is the mid-price model in the Chicken Hawk lineup, selling for $540. Their exterior construction is of super-durable Cordura. There are Neoprene side flaps to block wind, which on a raw day can cool your tires as fast as the warmers heat them. Generous Velcro straps and attachment points make the warmers easy to put on and insure that they will stay put until you're ready to take them off. We especially like the quick-disconnect power cords which attach right next to the Velcro closures. When you kneel to remove these Chicken Hawks, your first action is to unplug them at the disconnect point. If you've ever burned a set of warmers because you forgot to unplug them, you'll appreciate these cords as much as we do.
Other features of the Pole Position 3-Temp tire warmers include Dupont Nomex/Kevlar Insulation, a two-color operating light that shows amber when heating and green when the selected temp has been achieved, a hard storage case that would be worthy of your favorite firearm and of course, the three position switch on each warmer. Marked Low/Medium/High, this control allows you to choose from 130, 155 and 170 degree settings. With this kind of flexibility, a rider can pre-heat rain tires, maintain a heat cycle during a several hour break in the action or get his rubber red hot and ready to go, all with the click of a toggle switch. For most racetrack riders, this is as complicated as a set of tire warmers should be. You could opt to step up to Chicken Hawk's top-spec Pro Line model at $640. This set possesses a serious bling factor but if you don't have a member of your crew who's sole dedicated function is to manage the inventory, selection, mounting, balancing and heating of your tires, you should be fine with the Three Position set.
The Chicken Hawk warranty is an industry-wide legend. Talk to anyone at the track who has been using them over a period of years and they'll give you an earful of positive comments. The long version can be read at this link but we'll cover a few high points here:
1) Chicken Hawk warranties their products for one year against pretty much anything but YOU. Treat the product with reasonable care and if there's a problem, you will be taken care of.
2) This company repairs what they sell. Once the warranty expires and even if the damage was totally your fault, Chicken Hawk will repair your warmers at a reasonable price.
3) If your Chicken Hawk or Suzuka warmers are beyond saving, they're still worth $100 or more in trade on a new set.
That last fact might be the thing that impresses us most about Chicken Hawk as a company. Yes, they're so serious about retaining you as a customer that they'll buy back what's left of your old warmers in the form of a discount for a new set, no matter how badly you've abused them. This is nearly unprecedented in the world of commerce and otherwise unheard of in our sport. Can you imagine getting a discount for returning your used tires, flattened muffler or ground-to-dust leathers? We couldn't either, yet when we sent back the world's most abused set of Suzuka Dual-Temps, which had been burned, stepped on, run over, torn and finally crushed in a trailer mishap, we got a nice little discount on these new Chicken Hawk Pole Position 3-Temp warmers. The rumors are true!
If you've progressed to the point where you're using race tires, you'll need warmers. If you value dealing with an American company that will go the extra mile for you, your choice narrows down to Chicken Hawk or Suzuka, which is really five levels of product from the same source. Of their offerings, we feel that the Pole Position 3-Temp warmers offer the best ratio of useful features to price. Add in the customer service which comes with being a Chicken Hawk customer and we have to give this product our highest endorsement. You're probably chewing on that $540 asking price of the Pole Position 3-Temp warmers and thinking, "Wow, that's pretty expensive." Absolutely it is, even when compared to some of the company's lower-priced offerings but consider this: TrackdayMag.com staffers have used nearly every brand of tire warmers that has come down the pike, going all the way back to when the devices first became publicly available. In our opinion, the current line of Chicken Hawks is the nicest collection of tire warmers we've seen yet, with the Pole Position 3-Temp model offering the most logical selection of features to suit the needs of the serious trackday enthusiast. Some things are simply worth the money.