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Tire Whisperers--your thoughts, please!

5956 Views 17 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Makemfast
I need new tires. I popped one of my ZIIs (right rear). My rears were previously the more worn fronts, and I'd need to replace both (fronts just got rotated in and have a decent amount of depth). But ZIIs are out of production, and I can no longer buy the size I'd need. So rather than mixing tread patterns or compounds on a daily and possibly screwing up the handling balance, I'm faced with buying a new set and passing on or selling my fronts to someone who has better use for them.

Current top options (for a 15x6.5 Sparco), mixed performance driving duties.
  • Toyo Proxes R1R 225/45/15 - $141 ea
  • Dunlop Direzza Sport ZII Star Spec 205/50/15 - $114 ea
  • Bridgestone RE71-R 205/50/15 - $120 ea
  • Yokohama Advan NEOVA AD08-R 205/50/15 $116 ea
  • Hankook VENTUS RS-3 Version 2 - 225/45/15 $121 ea
  • BFG G-Force Rival S 205/50/15 - $129 ea
  • BFG G Force Rival S 225/45/15 - $144 ea
From a purely cost standpoint, I don't like the R1Rs. They also seem to wear too fast according to most and would make a poor daily tire. The G-Force Rival Ses are also a bit too much money, personally. I'm mostly between the RE71-Rs and the RS3 V2s. I know people have done 225 on a 6.5 wide before, it's not ideal, but it's not the worst thing either. I have a long-ish school commute (60 miles per day), but that would mostly be on my winters anyways.

Guide me, O Gurus of Grip! School me, sultans of street tires, ye theoreticians of the traction circle. For I am weak, my right rear has a slow leak, and I need these by the end of the week.
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Yeah, my first instinct is to replace all four, and if I can't do that, simply get 2 of the most similar tire. So it's basically 2 Star Specs, or a set of four of something else. There are pros and cons to both approaches. I should note that in some ways this was "good" to happen as my rears (former fronts when they were on another car) got some pretty heavy camber wear (that I could have fixed by mounting them on opposite sides and a little toe, but that's neither here nor there). I was sitting around the garage kicking around tire ideas with my wrenchmates (two technicians and a driver with a SCCA competition license--good environment to keep my wits sharp) and the feel was to just do the whole set and see what this year's top end 200TW tires have to offer. (Okay, the AD08-R is a 180, so nevermind that). Around the shop we have a mix of AD08Rs, Neogens (bleh), Rivals, and a couple other older tires to compare experiences to (on mostly RWD cars--S2000s, M3, RX7s, turbo MX5--but someone else in our group drives an Abarth and tracks it, so similar enough comparison).

The ZII lets go the rear at... really high speeds. I'm not going to say how I know this, but it does, and it does an astoundingly progressive way. I thought their overall stickiness might tip the balance into understeer but amazingly at the limit, you start getting slip angle and the correction isn't ridiculous.
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