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Old 12-13-2005, 04:52 AM   #1
tigger
2nd Gear Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Toronto
Posts: 63
Winter Tire Help !!

Consider that 80% of winter driving is done in the DRY !!! Now thatís when your highest percentage of accidents will occur. Too soft is just stupid. The side walls roll and your car handles like your dads Cadillac. The cheaper the tires the softer the side wall. Lower speed rating = soft side wall. Higher speed = better dry driving. Like anything else in life the more you pay the better the product. Here are my choices through experience.

NOTE: Winter tires that meet the industry's severe snow service requirements are branded with the snowflake-on-the-mountain symbol.

NOTE. Many winter tires are Dual Compound. This means they are made of two different compounds. The first one. Very Soft with plenty of snow and ice traction but once you burn through the first 50% of the tire, you are left with a very hard all season compound. This means that most Dual Compound tires are Amazing in the first year but for the remaining 3 seasons of tread....you are stuck with a crappy all season radial tire that you once swore was the best tire ever. Tire companies do this for two main reasons. The first is to make it seem like the tires last for a good length of time. Second is that it helps keep the stability of the tires. If the tire is made totally of soft compound then it will not handle well stopping or turning. Also it will melt down in no time. Lets face it. Who the hell wants to pay for a tire that only last one season? So your research guys. It will pay off in the end.

Also keep in mind that Winter tires have a shelf life. They will lose their softness and become hockey puck hard by the 4th year of use. By the 6th year ( if they last that long ) you will see hairline cracking between the treads and they will make crazy road noise !!

1) Dunlop M3s Expensive, Best performance winter tire I'd ever driven. Sold out almost everywhere for a good reason.

Dry - 10/10 The BEST!! Hands down
Wet- 9/10 Very Good
Light Snow- 9/10 Very good
Deep snow- 9/10
Ice- 8/10
Noise- 9/10

2) Michelin Alpine Sport The King of Expensive. Great overall softer ride then the M3s

Dry- 9/10
Wet-9/10
Light Snow- 8/10
Deep snow- 8/10
Ice- 8/10
Noise- 9/10

3) Pirelli Winter 210s A fair price but still expensive.

Dry- 9/10
Wet-9/10
Light Snow- 8/10
Deep snow- 7/10
Ice- 7/10
Noise- 9/10

These dont like to be taken on and off rims! Do it more then twice and I will promise you a sidewall bubble !!

4) Toyo Observe G0-2 Plus Maybe a dual compound. Cant remember.....I'm getting old !

Dry- 7/10
Wet-8/10
Light Snow- 8/10
Deep snow- 8/10
Ice- 7/10
Noise- 7/10

5) Toyo Observe G0-2 Maybe a dual compound. Cant remember.....I'm getting old ! This has a soft side wall. Not a great handling tire.

Dry- 6/10
Wet-7/10
Light Snow- 8/10
Deep snow- 7/10
Ice- 7/10
Noise- 6/10

6) Nokian Hakkapilitas 2 Perfect for Extreme weather but weak in the dry.

Dry- 6/10
Wet-8/10
Light Snow- 9/10
Deep snow- 9/10
Ice- 8/10
Noise- 5/10

7) Michelin X-Ice Great in Extreme weather but weaker in the dry. Not as loud as the Nokian in the Dry. A great all around non-high performance tire. These like to Hydro Plane in slush.

Dry- 7/10
Wet-8/10
Light Snow- 9/10
Deep snow- 9/10
Ice- 9/10
Noise- 7/10

8) Blizzak WS-50 Dual compound I think... Great for the first season but soft on the handling. Better suited to lighter cars.

Dry- 6/10
Wet-8/10
Light Snow- 9/10
Deep snow- 8/10
Ice- 9/10
Noise- 7/10

9) Nokia Gislaved NORDFROST 3 A great tire for the price. Volvo OEM recommended winter tire. A soft ride. Great for family cars. Last pretty long. Best Bang for the buck ! Make sure the lips on your rims are cleaned well before these tires are mounted. They will leak otherwise !!!!

Dry- 7/10
Wet-8/10
Light Snow- 9/10
Deep snow- 8/10
Ice- 7/10
Noise- 8/10

10) Viking Snow Tech From the price point this is just as good as the Nokia tires. A great economical winter tire. I know alot of people that are happy with this tire. Consumers Report gave this tire 2nd place. It wouldn't be my second place tire but who the hell am I anyways? Besides...I'm not on a budget.

Dry- 7/10
Wet-7/10
Light Snow- 7/10
Deep snow- 7/10
Ice- 7/10
Noise- 7/10

11) ContiWinterContact TS790 dual compound I think.... A pretty average winter tire.

Dry- 8/10
Wet-7/10
Light Snow- 7/10
Deep snow- 6/10
Ice- 6/10
Noise- 8/10


12) Kuhmo KW19 A very average winter tire. Sure why not buy it. Its economical and a hell of alot better then no winter tires at all. Once again...very average.

Dry- 7/10
Wet-6/10
Light Snow- 7/10
Deep snow- 6/10
Ice- 6/10
Noise- 8/10

13) Hankook W300 Ice Bear A very Average nothing special. Good pricing.

Dry- 7/10
Wet-6/10
Light Snow- 7/10
Deep snow- 6/10
Ice- 6/10
Noise- 7/10

14) Goodyear Utra Grip Ice, its a dual compound tire which means its usable ice traction is only about 50% of the actual tread. I dont know about you....but I like to get a winter tire when I pay for one and not 50% of a winter tire. So my answer is no Goodyear

Dry- 8/10
Wet-8/10
Light Snow- 8/10
Deep snow- 8/10
Ice- 9/10
Noise- 7/10

15)Nokian RSI is a great non-studable tire. A very quiet tire that rides like an all-season tire.

Dry- 9/10
Wet-8/10
Light Snow- 8/10
Deep snow- 7/10
Ice- 8/10
Noise- 9/10

16) Pirelli Winter Carving This is my Favorite overall tire choice. So far I only have about 3000 klm on them but so far I've been super impressed. These ride like an OEM all-season tire. Not as sporty as the Dunlop M3s but better in all other conditions.

Dry- 9/10
Wet-9/10
Light Snow- 9/10
Deep snow- 8.5/10
Ice- 9/10
Noise- 9/10



Hope this helps guys.

FINAL THOUGHTS !!!

Keep in mind snow tires will not work for IDIOT DRIVERS! Snow tires can provide up to 40% more traction then All Season tires but are not perfect.

Think about this......at 100 klm/hour if you could stop 40% faster thatís about 2 car lengths. How many times will you just stop in time on your all season tires this winter? Lets just say winters make sense and are way cheaper then an insurance claim that you will pay for in the many years to come. Also think about how you can help to save lives. The question isÖ.can you afford not to have winter tires this season?

Drive Safe all !!!



PLEASE NOTE THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION THROUGH EXPERIENCED OWNERSHIP. Please forgive any mis-spellings. For goodness sake its almost 4 am !!
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Old 12-20-2005, 07:36 PM   #2
rico328i
5th Gear Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Canada - Toronto area
Posts: 982
Excellent

Nice write up!

I've used a few models of winter tires myself. I am a BIG FAN and constantly try to preach the 'need' for them. Safety and control - bottom line.

I currently run the Dunlop WinterSport M3's. Like you mentioned - 80% or more of our (toronto) driving is done on dry but cold streets. Which is why I chose these H-rated tires. They are VERY, VERY good in the dry stuff. Not excellent in the actual snow, but better than another 328i running on ANY all-seasons.

I've had Michelin Arctic XS330's which were fantastic in the snow, but not so good at higher speeds. Soft too.

For those on a budget. Check out the Arctic Alpin's from Ctc (made by Michelin). I've owned a set of these as well on a Honda. INCREDIBLE winter tires for that car. They go on sale too unlike going to a regular 'tire' shop where we always hear "well they list for .......but I can give it to you for....."

I'll never drive a BMW without winter tires as long as I live in Canada.
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Old 12-21-2005, 08:24 PM   #3
kidneykill
3rd Gear Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Toronto
Posts: 353
wow, great job tigger! I also bought those #1 dunlops and was very surprised with the low noise!
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Old 12-28-2005, 10:20 AM   #4
Jim@tirerack
performance specialist
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: South Bend, In.
Posts: 9
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I am not sure where you got the numbers from but in our testing some of those numbers do not add up. The Blizzak in the worst conditions is the best that I have driven. We have put them on the skating rink and they have actually outperformed a studded snow tire. They are a very soft rubber compound and that is why the speed rating is lower. It is not the sidewall that is softer. If you are looking for a no nonsense snow and ice tire it is what I would recommend. By the way I use my Blizzak snow tires for 4 winter seasons on a 3 Series.

If you wanted a better handling tire the Dunlop would be my choice. The Conti and the Pirelli would also be good choices. They are more european in design and they combine more performance and handling at the sake of the ice and snow traction. They are still very good options but not up to the ice and snow traction of the Blizzak for instance.

The reason tires have dual layered rubber compound is to optimize the traction of the tire in the snow. You can not run a snow tire down to 2/32" and expect it to work in the snow. Snow tires are pretty much worthless at around 5 to 6/32". You need the tread depth for snow tires to work. In Japan and Europe you will not pass inspection with snow tires below 5/32".

I hope this also helps some. If anyone has any questions you can call or email me.
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