185/60-14 tyres (again)
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  1. #1
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    Default 185/60-14 tyres (again)

    As some might know, I judge 14" wheels to be ideal for rear-engined Renaults. I also advise a size difference front/rear in wheels & tyres.

    As some might also know, my favoured sizes are 165/65 or 165/70 fronts & 185/60 rears.

    185/60-14 is a size which has had some very good tyres indeed available in oz in the past & still has in Europe. Recently, Continental caused me heart palpitations by posting an erroneous listing here for the excellent PremiumContact 5 in that size. That won't happen. (The current, & awful, ComfortContact 5 is the offering in this size & plans are to replace this soon with the ComfortContact 6 - I'm not interested).

    I was excited because the size has become a bit of a sad one in Australia with a dearth of appealing tyres. The problem is exacerbated by me using Continental's PremiumContact 2 as front tyres (for wet braking) as these tyres are reasonably crisply structured with a stable tread pattern. Unless I am to have an overly "loose" tail, the rear tyres have to be close enough to the properties of the fronts to be able to be tuned into sanitary balance by tyre pressure adjustments.

    That was able to be done with (sloppier than PC2) EcoContact3 rears (no longer available).

    My short list of currently available tyres in Australia was 2: Bridgestone's Turanza T001 & Pirelli's P1. Neither looked to be great choices for tautness or lateral wet grip (my priorities) but the other options looked worse.

    First purchase was the T001.

    It had nice enough grip in the wet & was nicely controllable around the limit of adhesion but no amount of tyre pressure tuning could balance the handling. I ended up fitting softer rear springs to the R8 to compensate. That worked well &, over time, the T001 became less of a problem as much of its sloppiness was due to unstable tread elements &, once these were ground down by wear, the tyre was much tauter & able to be balanced with PC2 fronts even when switched recently to the 4CVG, which has stiffer than normal rear springs, not softer than normal, as the R8 now has.

    Still, the T001s were basically a failed experiment & the next two rear tyres (again replacing some much liked EC3s) were Pirelli's P1. My expectations from conversations with one of Pirelli's tech. people & from the available tyre tests was that this would be about as structurally sloppy as the T001, grip less well in the wet but have a stabler tread structure under distorting lateral forces than is true of the T001 (which was worse than I'd predicted). As the intended target car, the R8, is taking longer to be painted than planned, I put its P1s on the 4CVG when a T001 had an unrepairable puncture.

    They've been on long enough now for me to have considered views on them.

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    First, they do grip less well in the wet than the T001 (or the EC3) but are ok & are very benign in their limit behaviour.

    Second, the structure is fairly sloppy but, unlike the T001 when new, I have been able to pressure tune to get my desired neutral-to-oversteer handling balance.

    Third, the tread elements are indeed noticeably stabler than the T001's when new (see above).

    Conclusion so far is that I prefer the P1. I'm not overjoyed (I'd like a tauter structure & more wet grip) but, unless something new looks more promising, I'll, somewhat grudgingly, buy again.

    There is, however, some possible joy on the horizon. Dunlop has just released a new (Asian-area, not Europe-sourced) tyre called the FM800. They trumpet it as their new flagship passenger (as opposed to sports) tyre & laud its wet grip (not a usual merit of Asian market tyres). The 185/60-14 size won't be available until 2017 but the tyre sounds promising (even allowing for manufacturer hype) - we'll see. Hopefully Choice will test it in their 2017 test or. given that most web traffic on it seems to be Russian, a test in a rather good Russian magazine.

    cheers! Peter
    Last edited by 4cvg; 13th August 2016 at 01:32 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Still trawling around for alternatives, there's another new tyre released. This time it's a return by B.F. Goodrich to passenger car tyre sales with another :-( Asian-market tyre (from Maylasia), the Advantage T/A Drive. At this stage of information (or lack thereof) I'm inclined to the FM800 (BFG's propaganda doesn't even mention compounding; always a bad sign in my experience for wet grip hopes).

    Advantage T/A Drive tyre | Passenger Tyres | Products | BFGoodrich Tires Australia & New Zealand

    cheers! Peter

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