Getting a grip on reality

By Adrian Teo, 5/15/99
Slightly more than a year has gone by since I replaced my tires and they were in pretty bad shape. The old tires, Pirelli P7000 Summers, performed well throughout their life, but now, I could hardly get them to hold properly. What made it worse was that they were starting to cord at some parts.

It was definitely time for new tires and this time, I knoew what I wanted. After a few quick phones calls, I had ordered a set of Advan (Yokohama) A032R tires. These tires are the closest thing to roadrace tires that are street legal as well. The rubber used on these tires are very soft and should give gobs of grip. Big blocks also help retain heat, a very big issue for our light cars which fail to generate enough temperature in most tires.

Sizing was pretty limited on the tires so this meant I had to drop back down to 15" wheels, not a big problem for me. Dropping back to 15" should shed quite a few pounds of unsprung weight and give the car a little more responsiveness. The search began for the right wheel. Choices were limited due to the idiotic stocking policies of a lot of the wheel importers and supplies. I finally gave up and ordered a set of Enkei's, which were good for 12 lbs a piece.

I finally picked up the tires and wheels and simply could not wait. After 15 minutes of quick work, the new wheels were on and it was time for a test  drive.

The test drive

Taking off in the new tires, I noticed an immediate difference. These tires are quite noisy, thanks to the open and blocky tread pattern. Well this was a good noise as it sounded like music to my ears.

Bearing in mind that these were new tires, I was prepared not to push them too hard as they were not  broken in yet. I was due in for a surprise. Taking a corner as I normally did, the tires went to work and my car snappily came around the turn without any indication of the understeer that even my previous tires could not handle when new!!! The tires also did not track as much as the old ones did but they did not eliminate road feel, this was very important to me.

Final Thoughts

I'm really happy with these tires and wheels. This just goes to show what some research and thought do when making a choice of tires. So what if these tires wear out quicker than the old ones. If they keep making them like this, I'll just have to keep buying them.

Also, for those concerned with clearance problems with the big brake conversions, these wheels should clear the calipers very easily and I guess that's the next thing I'll do.

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(C) 1998 Adrian Teo, Joe Rogers
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