Tires and suspension is most important part of car because all your engine upgrades are useless if you crash in first corner! Tire reviews is part of BHG series. I have tried many tires and most of them are crap no matter what manufacturer you think is best. Reality is that most tires are from one factory – they just change inserts in mold to represent “manufacturer”.
Myths and old wife stories
As usually there is many myths and confusion about tires. Normals fight over what tire manufacturer is better. Poor fools still don’t understand that cheap tires are all same…manufactured in one factory. Perhaps premium tires have own molds, construction and compounds.
Myth #1 – Tire width
Official tire width doesn’t mean anything because it is measured from sidewall to sidewall and it doesn’t measure real width of contact surface (contact patch)!!!
(Click on image to enlarge) Abbreviations in above by image – OW = Official Width, RW = Real Width measured at contact surface. You can easily spot a border between used side of tire (usually worn and dusty) and clean side of tire.
Myth #2 – Tire height
As you can see on racing tires, especially F1, they do not deform as normal tires for puny mortals. F1 tire costs about 500€ and premium 17″ tire costs up to 200€ (my favorite Yoko Advan costs 130€). You pay for weight and strong construction.
When I started to search for perfect tire – I have been told “buy low profile sport tires” because they don’t deform or do they? Sadly, almost every tire no matter whether sport or normal deform under load and easily rub your coilovers. I have seen on my car 10mm lateral movements of tire !!!
Myth #3 – Best tire brand
Next myth is “the best brand” prestige bullshit. My good friend at tire service was once in tire factory and I quote “All brands, same factory, same compound crap…they only change inserts with logos in injection molds.”
IN OTHER WORDS, NO MATTER WHAT BRAND YOU BUY, IT IS ALL SAME SHIT FROM ONE FACTORY JUST WITH DIFFERENT NAMES.
YOU HAVE BEEN HAD BY MARKETING HYPE. ONLY PREMIUM TIRES HAVE OWN MOLDS/CASTING AND REAL RUBBER COMPOUNDS! YOU ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU HAVE PAID FOR…PERIOD!!!
I am not pro racing driver and we at HR simply distinguish whether tire has got grip or not and whether it deforms under load or not. There is also race feeling of slip angle. I am so called spirited driver and I always practice for my racing career – my 30,000km year usually consist of 90% German Autobahns and rest is spirited driving where all is tested to limit.
I have never tried pure racing tires for amateurs since they are not road legal and I get enough grief about my not original chassis despite it is safer than under-damped factory suspension.
Forget about universal tires – it is domain of poor suckers. If something like that exists, motorsport teams wouldn’t use various compounds and thread construction…they would simply use one tire type.
Simply put, you either have great grip in wet or dry or compromise of both. Next time you watch your favorite motorsport event…check out how wet or intermediate tires looks like. Not to mention soft compound like Semtex explosives.
Same goes for so called winter tires – in reality there is no real winter tire and most of them are optimized for wet winters. They are best wet road legal tires.
Durability and costs
I always wondered how normal car users manage 30,000km on one tire set. I can do barely 13,000km and at 7,000km I must swap front tires with rear. If you have sport car and your tires last longer than 10,000 km – YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG.
Lets do some math about costs of cheap tires vs best on market tires. I drive 30,000km annually – about 20,000 km over summer and 10,000km over winter.
50€ tires last 1,500km. It means 20x tire swap per year. Set costs 200€ + 30€ labor. Annual costs 4600€ and lost of wasted time, not to mention danger of tire failure.
80€ tires last 8,000km. It means almost 4x tire swap per year. Set costs 320€ + 30€ labor. Annual costs 1400€.
Best tire Yoko Advan Neova AD08R (120€) tires last up to 13,000km with best handling and grip you can get from road-legal tires. It means almost 3x tire swap per year. Set costs 480€ + 30€ labor. Annual costs 1530€.
Quality is cheap !!!
- Sava Eskimo S3+ (195/65 R15)
- Yokohama Bluearth Winter v905 (225/45 R17)
- Continental ContiWinterContact™ TS 850 (195/65 R15) – “universal” tire
- Nokian WR D4 (225/45 R17) – Made in Finland