Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Monday, July 21, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.25
 
 

2006 BMW M3 Coupe Competition Package
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Miles driven on tires: 3,000
Location:  
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 3,000 Miles on Tires
July 02, 2014

I bought these off a recommendation from fellow BMWCCA members as well as the other Tire Rack reviews. Let me start off by saying that these made it a completely different car! I'd had the Bridgestone RE050A Pole Positions on my stock 19" wheels, and combining those with my Hawk Blue brake pads at the track, I was constantly outbraking my tires. Now that I've changed to square sizes, as well as switched to the Michelin, I'm getting faster lap times, and finding a lot more grip into the corners. I've got one track weekend and about 2500 miles on these so far, and I'm super impressed!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.71
 
 

2013 Subaru Impreza WRX 5-Door
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 3,000
Location: Decatur, GA
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 3,000 Miles on Tires
May 29, 2014

I came from the factory Dunlop Super Sports, which were plenty grippy for the street but just weren't cutting it at Autocross. So I upgraded to the RE-11A, which has been a big improvement. I feel like wet traction is actually not quite as good as the Dunlops were, but other than that, these tires are a big improvement. My times have improved, the cabin is quieter at all speeds, even my gas mileage has improved. I would recommend these to anyone looking for a good compromise between daily driving comfort and competitive performance, when you want to drive to an event on the same tires you're competing on, or you're in a stock class and have to maintain 200+ treadwear rating. The sidewalls are nice and stiff, letting me cut tire pressures by a good 5 PSI, and they don't seem to take as much of a beating from events as the Dunlops did. All around very happy with these tires.

Marketer Becomes Tire Tester

Monday, July 14, 2014 by Tire Rack Team

After three-and-a-half years on the job, I finally got the call I was waiting for: a chance to be a Tire Rack tire tester! Along with other members of the Tire Rack marketing team, this was OUR opportunity to get behind the wheel of our test BMWs and develop our own opinions on tire performance and truly understand what it takes to get our findings out to our customers.

Having already experienced the Real World Road Ride portion of our tests, I was prepared to look for a tires’ ride, noise and light handling qualities across a variety of conditions. The second part of testing, the Performance Test Track Drives, occurs on our track, and was what I had been waiting all these years to do.

We can see the track from our offices in marketing, we thought we knew what to expect, we were both nervous and excited. As one of our designers said, “I see our testers driving faster than I would want to go. The unfamiliarity of driving another’s car with someone else riding alongside me makes me uncomfortable.”

No worries. We weren't going to be competitive. (The photo at right proves we did take it pretty seriously though)

We got into the cars, we were told to drive at a level that made us comfortable. What made ALL of us comfortable was driving on the set of Michelin Pilot Super Sports. The tire allowed us to feel like we were in control of the car and have some fun behind the wheel as we slalomed a few cones, took some turns at speed and navigated the skid pad (And did I mention this was all done while our track's sprinkler system kept the course covered in water?). When it came to the Sumitomo Touring LS T tires we also tested, it was a completely different story. We were able to feel the vast difference in performance and gain a deeper respect for the testers out there all season doing what they do while listening to the car and the tires so they can accurately report on performances wins and losses.

Here's my rookie review of the two tires.

When driving on the Pilot Super Sports, I felt as if I could driver faster and take turns at speeds I typically don’t, as the tire gave me that much confidence. Now on the Sumitomo, I was braking much sooner to prepare for a turn. If I didn’t I would end up in the grass (even though I didn’t end up in the grass, I can’t say the same for some of my co-workers).

We didn't do a full test on the wet and dry course. And we're by no means expert testers like our sales specialists (who are our test drivers). But rest assured, you're in good hands when you're relying on the test results you read on the tires we offer. Our testers do this all season long and they've got my respect. And trust.

Here are our expert test results and more about our testing program.

The Continental ContiForceContact Now Available in United States

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

This year, we've added another Streetable Track & Competition tire to our line-up and are pleased to introduce the Continental ContiForceContact. Designed to compete with popular tires such as the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and Toyo Proxes R888, the ContiForceContact (80 treadwear) has a compound that's soft enough to be competitive in a track environment, yet suitable for light street use.

Unlike extremely soft race-only applications, such as the Hoosier R6, the ContiForceContact is less likely to pick up road debris and comes up to temperature slightly slower, allowing it to be driven to and from the track. The tire's tread void areas also allow it to be used in the wet. However, while designed to resist hydroplaning, ContiForceContact tires are not recommended for high-speed driving on extremely wet roads with standing water where there is the risk of hydroplaning. This is especially true of shaved or worn tires. Drivers should drive cautiously at reduced speeds in these conditions.

We had an opportunity to test the tire back in March and determined the tire delivers an impressive blend of dry track performance and wet traction. It can also thrill drivers during hot laps with its precise handling and confidence-inspiring demeanor. For a complete recap of our test, read "Continental ContiForceContact: Track Day Magic."

Which Hankook R-S3 Should You Get for Your Porsche 911 Turbo (997)?

Friday, June 20, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

When it comes to forgetting your worries, some meditate, some play racquetball and some drive all out on a closed race course. 

Part of the reason that Kenny (from the video above) is having so much fun is that he's not worried about his tires. He knows Tire Rack has him covered! When it comes to choosing the right tire for your Porsche 911 Turbo (997), which one is right for the track?

If you're a hardcore uber-competitive track fanatic running a heavily modified 911 Turbo, you'll want to choose a track tire like the Toyo Proxes R888. If you're more of casual track driver who just wants to have fun, the Extreme Performance Summer Hankook R-S3 offers an amazing combination of performance and value to go along with great dry grip and predictability. You could choose the model that's on closeout (2009 production) or the newer R-S3 "Version 2" (2014 production).

Closeout Extreme Performance Hankook RS3 $856**
Hankook R-S3
Extreme Performance Hankook RS3 (Version 2)$1174*
Hankook R-S3 "Version 2"


What's the difference between the two? Hankook's internal testing shows the R-S3 "Version 2's" new compound has better dry grip and much better wet grip. If your 911 Turbo (997) occasionally sees rain, then the Hankook R-S3 "Version 2" is the way to go. If you're in a dryer climate, the older model will offer a better combination of value and performance.

How can you tell the difference between the R-S3 and R-S3 "Version 2"? The tread design and sidewall are exactly the same, but look at the last two digits of the DOT Tire Identification Number, if it says "14", it's the R-S3 "Version 2".

Shop by vehicle to view all options available for your Porsche 911 Turbo.

Love is...Autocrossing. And Tire Rack.

Monday, June 16, 2014 by Tire Rack Team

A happy couple, fun with cars and Tire Rack. A perfect marriage in our book.

Angie and Woody Rogers, both Tire Rack employees, placed their first Tire Rack orders back in 1990 before even knowing each other.

Later they met and the rest is (autocross) history.

Woody, who began autocrossing in 1989, convinced Angie to come to an event for their first date. It wasn't long before Angie got behind the wheel and gave it a try herself. The motoring couple continued to compete in local, regional and national level autocross competitions around the country. And many sets of tires later, Angie eventually went on to win two SCCA National Autocross Championships!


Both joined the Tire Rack team on the same day in the summer of 1999. Woody has turned his love of tires and ample time behind the wheel into his role as one of Tire Rack's product information specialists and tire test program coordinator, while Angie has blended her graphic design training and management skills into her current role as print media buyer.

This time of year, you'll find them prepping their 2002 S2000 for yet another season of competition in the SCCA's STR class.


What's Installed? Woody Comments.

Dunlop245/40R17 Dunlop Direzza ZII Tires

"Chosen because it's an all-around performance leader. This tire is well suited to the task, and inspires confidence to push hard and place the car very exactly, both of which are critical to going fast."

TRMotorsports17x9.0 TRMotorsports C3 Light Grey Wheels

"These wheels have the correct fit plus light weight and economical pricing. It costs nearly twice as much to save just two pounds per wheel."

KW KW Clubsport Coil-Over Kit

"We've used KW Coil-Overs before, and they proved to deliver excellent damping control and a wide range of adjustability."

Eibach SpringsFront Anti-Roll Bar

"The Eibach Front Anti-Roll Bar is hollow for reduced weight and the two-way adjustability on the S2000 fitment helps tune handling as needed."

Intercomp 4" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge

"Big enough to see from the moon, and always spot on accurate."

AquapelGlass Treatment

PIAA Super Silicone Wiper Blades

"The combination of Aquapel and PIAA Super Silicone wipers makes a great pair to assure visibility during even the heaviest downpour."

Braille Auto Lightweight Racing Battery (Carbon Wrap w/Mount) 6 lbs.

"Saving weight is an important part of this project, and this should shave nearly 40 lbs. from the car while still having plenty of cranking power."

SPCSPC Adjustable Ball Joint

"Installed in the front upper control arms, the SPC ball joints add additional adjustment range to the OEM suspension so we can get sufficient negative camber to optimize tire performance."

Top-Rated Highway All-Season Truck and SUV Tires

Friday, June 13, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

In the United States, the truck and SUV market is extremely popular with drivers. It should come as no surprise that the tire market for this growing market share has become increasingly competitive. In total, 33 tires in the Highway All-Season performance category are examined by our customers, and two of the most popular are the Michelin LTX M/S2 and Firestone Destination LE 2.

The Michelin LTX M/S2's symmetric tread design of stable independent tread blocks featuring high-density 3-D Active Sipes delivers all-season traction on dry roads and in inclement weather. Four wide circumferential channels, multiple lateral grooves and open shoulder slots promote lateral water evacuation to enhance wet traction and stopping performance.

Firestone's Destination LE 2 is designed to combine long wear, a comfortable ride and all-season traction, even in light snow. It features twin steel belts reinforced with spirally wrapped nylon to provide strength, uniformity and durability on top of a polyester cord body that helps cushion the ride for truck and sport utility vehicle drivers.


Firestone Destination LE 2

Michelin LTX M/S2


Michelin LTX M/S2:

  • Highest-rated tire in the category
  • Available in a large number of sizes
  • 70,000-mile treadlife warranty
  • Large number of D/E load range options

Firestone Destination LE 2:

  • Outstanding value
  • 60,000-mile treadlife warranty
  • Highest score in category for light snow traction
  • Outstanding ride quality

To view all options available for your truck or SUV, shop by vehicle.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Monday, June 9, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Reviewer's Overall Rating: 10
 
 

2008 BMW 535i Sedan
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 30,000
Location: Boulder, CO
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 30,000 Miles on Tires
May 30, 2014

Yes, yes, yes! Thats all that needs to be said, but I'll explain my love for these tires. I've driven ~30,000 miles on the PSS in my 535i and I absolutely love them! I purchased a 2007 335i a few weeks ago and its sitting on Hankook Ventus V12 Evo's, which don't even compare.
Due to the sport package on each car the tires can't be rotated. My first set of PSS's lasted ~15k miles in the rear. I have 15k on my 2nd set of rears and they still have at least 35% tread left. I'm at 30k on the fronts and they're down to ~20% tread but the grip is still unbelievable.
Even with the worn down fronts the Michelin PSS tires have better turn-in, stability, and both wet/dry traction than the Hankook Ventus V12s. They're also quieter and more comfortable. My 535i out-handles the 335i despite its heavier weight all because of the Super Sports.
I can't wait for these trashy Hankook's to wear down - which should be quickly due to poor tread wear - so I can put Michelin PSS tires on my 335i too! Michelin really blew the competition to pieces on this one as no other Max Performance tires have this much grip & composure.

How to Choose the Correct Track Tires

Thursday, June 5, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Are you heading to your first driving school or lapping day? Or are you already a track veteran who's looking to go even faster? Whenever you go to the track, having the right set of tires is essential to going fast, being safe and having fun.

What type of tires do you need to bring for a track event? Depends on the type of event, the expected conditions and the resources available to you.

Take a look at your available options:

Street Tires 

Some people run their cars on the track with the same tires they use on the street. If you're already driving high performance tires, that set may work for you on the track. This scenario works best when you're attending beginner driving schools, casual lapping days or other events where the focus is more on polishing your skills rather than setting fast lap times. Street tires are not recommended for track use, and driving them in a track environment will most likely void their warranty. Keep in mind that if you overdrive them into corners, you could easily render them useless after only one day at the track. An example of this type of tire is the Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

Pros of Running Street Tires:

  • Convenience
  • Price
  • Can drive to the track safely.
  • Most street tires perform well in the rain.

Cons of Running Street Tires:

  • Performance - These tires aren't as fast in dry conditions as track tires.
  • Longevity
  • Getting home - What happens if you lose a tire on the track? Do you have an option for getting home?

Extreme Performance Tires

These options are really a subset of street tires, but they're designed to take the abuse of occasional track days. They have more focus on dry traction and responsive handling. Extreme performance tires can be used on an enthusiast oriented daily driver, or mounted on separate wheels for track use. An example of this tire is the Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R.

Pros of Extreme Performance Tires:

  • Grip - Better performance than regular street tires.
  • Durability
  • Value - Last longer at the track than normal street tires.
  • Convenience
  • Versatility

Cons of Extreme Performance Tires:

  • Competition - Drivers are at a disadvantage compared to drivers who use dedicated track tires.

Streetable Track Tires 

There are some tires that are essentially track tires, but can be driven to and from the track. They would wear out very quickly if driven daily on the street. These tires will generally have enough tread pattern to handle damp pavement, but will be very prone to hydroplaning. An example of this type of tire is the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo.

Pros of Streetable Track Tires:

  • Grip - These tires will outgrip extreme performance tires.
  • Convenient - If you can swap wheels at home, but your car won't carry a second set of wheels to the track, this can be the perfect solution.
  • Versatility - Some of these tires can work as an intermediate tire for damp or drying track conditions.

Cons of Streetable Track Tires:

  • Give up a little grip compared to the most specialized options.
  • Few miles of use as a street tire.
  • Hydroplaning can be an issue if caught in the rain.

Specialized Track Tires

Track tires provide the ultimate in grip. They discard most streetability characteristics in order to deliver the very best lap times. With lots of grip and shoulders that are generally more square, these tires can be more challenging to drive at their limits. They should be mounted on separate wheels and installed at the track. An example of this type of tire is the Hoosier A7.

Pros of Track Tires:

  • Performance - If you are racing to win, track tires are the way to go.
  • Easiest way to turn faster lap times.

Cons of Track Tires:

  • Track tires won't work in the rain. You need a separate set if rain is a possibility.
  • More challenging to drive at the limit.
  • Often requires suspension modification or a specialized set-up.

The New Hoosier A7 Versus the Hoosier A6

Friday, May 30, 2014 by Gary Stanley

For many years, drivers looking for race-winning performance in an autocross tire turned to the Hoosier A6. Not only are Hoosier race tires high quality, competitive products, they're made right here in Indiana. Building on the success of the Hoosier A6 is the all-new A7.  

Hoosier's A7 is a DOT-legal slick tread design with alternating five-dash circumferential grooves interrupting the solid grip surface. In addition to the new look of the five-dash grooves, the A7 features a new tread compound designed to extend wear and useable heat cycles. The tire is also designed so that it has less “fall-off” during a long run and less degradation over the life of the tire compared to the previous A6 version.   

The tire's internal structure features a symmetric construction that uses two lightweight steel belts reinforced by a spirally wrapped circumferential nylon cap ply under the tread on top of two nylon cord casing plies. It features a rim recess design on all sizes. Additionally, its symmetric tread design and internal construction allows the tire to be mounted on either side of the car (and later be remounted inside out to further extend its life).

To learn more about tires offered from Hoosier, read "Hoosier Tires Made in Indiana!

Track Day Magic with Continental's ContiForceContact

Thursday, May 22, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Recently, our tire testers got the opportunity to drive on Continental's ContiForceContact, a new entry into the Streetable Track & Competition performance category. While this option isn't quite a racing slick, it's definitely built with the track in mind. This class of tire allows an enthusiast to drive his or her car to the track and then compete in the event on the same set of tires.

The ContiForceContact was matched up against some stiff competition in the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and Toyo Proxes R888. It displayed impressive levels of grip and handling, and unusually good wet weather traction for the category. Progressive breakaway and neutral handling balance made this tire very driver-friendly. This tire can thrill you during hot laps with its precise handling and confidence-inspiring demeanor, while still being able to get you to and from the track, rain or shine.

While Streetable Track & Competition tires aren't for everyone, they are for drivers who want to get more from their car at the track than even the most capable road tire can delivery. Developed at the world famous Nurburgring circuit, the Continental ContiForceContact brings together Continental's racing and passenger car tire technologies.

Current size selection is limited, so we're hoping to see more sizes in the future. If your size is not currently available, check out other Streetable Track & Competition options.

For a complete recap of our test, read "Continental ContiForceContact: Track Day Magic."

Introducing the New Hoosier A7

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

Hoosier has long been the gold standard when looking for the best racetrack and autocross tires. This season they have launched the new DOT A7 Radial. The tire replaces the widely popular Hoosier A6 and aims to set the bar even higher.

DOT A7 Radials are Racetrack & Autocross Only tires developed for drivers who compete in autocross, time trial and hillclimb events in dry conditions where responsiveness and high levels of grip at lower operating temperatures are desirable. A7 tires are also used for road racing on lightweight cars or when competing in cool ambient temperatures where Hoosier's R6 Radials can't be brought up to favorable operating temperatures.

These tires incorporate a new tread compound designed to extend wear and useable heat cycles, as well as experience less “fall-off” during a long run and less degradation over the life of the tire (compared to A6 tires). The tread compound is molded into a slick tread design interrupted only by five-dash circumferentially oriented grooves alternating outboard and inboard.

 Hoosier A7
Hoosier A7
 Hoosier A7
Hoosier A7


Beginning with a tread depth of 4/32", they will not require shaving for competition, however they'll benefit from a minimal scuff-in prior to their first run. We can provide a heat cycling service for an additional $15 per tire, so when you receive your new A7 tires they will be track ready.

The new A7 tires are in stock and ready for race season. Shop by size and see if there is an A7 tire offered for your track car today!

2014 One Lap of America Winners Trust Michelin

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 by Tire Rack Team

Catesby Jones’ and William Taylor’s 2010 Nissan GT-R came up a little short in the 2012 and 2013 One Lap of America, but this year was a different story as they won their first overall victory. Not only did they have the best vehicle, they were again this year driving on the top-rated tire from our Max Performance Summer category – the Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

Pilot Super Sport tires are designed to allow sports cars, sporty coupes, performance sedans and supercars to achieve their full potential in dry and wet conditions. Jones and Taylor would agree, as they were able to best the competition in the Wet Skidpad portion of the competition, too. 

These tires are truly for the driver who cares about how tire technology enhances their vehicle’s performance and safety. They are engineered to deliver durability, handling and traction while increasing treadlife. The tires are also comparatively light, with a weight savings of up to 10% compared to other tires of similar dimensions. This reduces unsprung weight to improve handling.

It’s not just the winners of the 2014 One Lap of America who love this tire, our customers do, too. Currently, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport has the highest rankings in the following areas of our survey results:

  • Hydroplaning resistance
  • Wet traction
  • Cornering stability
  • Dry traction
  • Steering response
  • Ride comfort
  • Noise comfort
  • Treadwear

Watch “Latest vs. Greatest Max Performance Summer Tires” to see why the Michelin Pilot Super Sport can make this summer your most enjoyable driving experience.

Continental TrueContact Replaces ProContact with EcoPlus Technology

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Continental has been on a roll! First, they introduced the ExtremeContact DWS which quickly became a customer favorite in our customer survey data. This Ultra High Performance All-Season tire set the bar for winter snow traction in its category while still being competitive with good wet and dry traction.  

Next, Continental released another winner with the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology. This tire is currently ranked number one in our Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season category. It's praised by customers for its outstanding combination of ride, wear and traction in a variety of weather conditions.  

Recently, the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology equaled or bested the top Grand Touring All-Season tires from Michelin and Bridgestone while coming in at a lower price-point. For more information on this tire, read "Continental's PureContact with EcoPlus Technology vs. ContiProContact."

Now, Continental is set to have another big winner, this time in the Standard Touring All-Season category, with the new TrueContact. This new tire is replacing the ProContact with EcoPlus Technology. The ProContact with EcoPlus Technology is ranked second in the category. Will the new TrueContact be able to claim the top spot?  

 Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology
Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology
 Continental True Contact
Continental
TrueContact


TrueContact tires have vertical ridges in the circumferential grooves to improve snow traction, as well as Continental's Comfort Ride Technology to provide an even smoother ride. These features and other improvements include a treadlife warranty of 90,000 miles. Is the TrueContact right for you? Search by vehicle and find out!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General AmeriTrac TR

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

General AmeriTrac TR Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.85
 
 

2007 Ford F150 STX Super Cab 4wd
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 55,000
Location: Blaine, WA
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 55,000 Miles on Tires
April 20, 2014

These were the stock tires on my F150 4x4. They didn't look like a very aggressive tread, but looks can be deceiving. I live in NW Washington. Tons of rain! Have also driven in snow up to 12". I have never lost traction in heavy rain at highway speeds (70 MPH). No hydroplaning. In the snow I was very surprised how good the traction was. I now 55,000 miles and will probably get another 10,000 miles on them. They have worn perfectly even on all tires and I have only rotated them once. These have been outstanding tires in all respects. I am planning on buying another set very shortly. Great tires and priced lower then the competition. Quiet, comfortable and long wearing.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Goodyear Assurance ComforTred TouringReviewer's Overall Rating: 7.91

2008 Toyota Sienna XLE FWD
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 400
Location: Troy, MI
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 400 Miles on Tires
December 09, 2011

This is a replacement of OE tire which came with the '08 Sienna XLE FWD. Primary reason for choosing the Comfortred Touring was ride comfort, treadwear and price. Ride comfort is improved (less noise and less secondary vibrations transferred to the cabin). Treadwear is an on-going evaluation, but I don't expect to replace this tire for another 30,000 miles. Price is attractive/competitive. Overall very happy with the purchase, but will update when more miles are racked onto the tires.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin X-Ice Xi2

Thursday, April 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Michelin X-Ice Xi2 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.27
 
 

2009 Subaru Forester 2.5 X
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 12,000
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Driving Condition: Easy Going
 

Initial Review, 12,000 Miles on Tires
March 20, 2014

I have tried several types of winter tires (including Dunlop and the very good Bridgestone Blizzaks) but these Michelins are the best by far. When first mounted in the late fall while the roads were still clear, it was very obvious that the tires had a deeper and softer tread than all-season tires - in particular the tires felt much more compliant over pot holes and poor road surfaces. I actually checked and rechecked tire pressures thinking that the tires were all down a few psi but they were all right at 34. Turns out that the tires just have a very compliant sidewall and that contributes to their excellent performance in real winter conditions. Wide, high perfomance summer tires with stiff, low-profile sidewalls deliver sharp handling on warm, dry and smooth race tracks but they are a disaster when the road conditions are less than perfect. I belive that Michelin enginneered the x-ice sidewalls to provide a less punishing ride on rough ice covered roads, and in so doing, found that the tread maintains constant contact with the road for better traction. The x-ice tread pattern provides excellent grip with minimal road noise and the rubber compound seems much more durable than that of the competition. I expect to get at least one additional winter out of this set! I live at the top of a hill, half a mile up a 14% grade in a snow belt. Highly recommended for anyone that really needs snow tires.

Max Performance Summer Tires for 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Here in South Bend, Indiana we are nearly thawed out from a brutal winter and it is time to start considering what tires to run this summer. For enthusiasts with cars that are driven on the street as opposed to the track, this usually means selecting a tire from our Max Performance Summer category. Max Performance Summer tires feature advanced ultra low profile, high speed options that combine computer developed designs and unique materials with precision manufacturing techniques to provide an unsurpassed blend of dry and wet traction and handling.

If you're shopping for a set of tires from this performance category, here are your top picks:

King of the Hill: Michelin Pilot Super Sport

The Pilot Super Sport does everything well: wet traction, dry traction, steering response, braking and even treadlife is better than average for the category. This tire is designed to allow sports cars, sporty coupes, performance sedans and supercars to achieve their full potential in dry and wet conditions. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires are competitively priced and usually cheaper than the previous generation Pilot Sport PS2.

Top Tier Value: Bridgestone S-04 Pole Position

The Bridgestone S-04 Pole Position is a leading member of the most recent generation of Max Performance Summer tires. While their raw grip is not quite equal to the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, they have excellent traction in wet and dry conditions, are extremely stable and provide confident handling. Bridgestone has been pricing them very aggressively, and in some sizes, you'd almost be crazy not to buy a tire this good at such a low price.

Lots of Grip, Not Yet Hyped: Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105

If you're the type of enthusiast who likes to do things a little differently from the rest, this may be the tire for you. The Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 has not yet made a big splash in the marketplace, but it has exceptional grip. I'm also a fan of the responsive handling that its stiff sidewalls provide. To see how the tire performed during our in-house test, read "New Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 Tested."

View all Max Performance Summer tires we offer and find the one that will make your summer driving a blast!

Introducing Continental's New Track Tire, the ContiForceContact

Monday, March 17, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Continental has brought their Streetable Track & Competition tire, the ContiForceContact, over from Europe. Developed at the world famous Nürburgring circuit, the ContiForceContact is built to deliver extremely high levels of dry traction along with precise steering response and predictable cornering behavior. It is designed to allow driving on the street, though caution should be taken when driving in heavy rain. While it is built to resist hydroplaning, the tire is not recommended for high-speed driving on extremely wet roads/tracks with standing water where there is the risk of hydroplaning.

The ContiForceContact competes with other Streetable Track & Competition tires such as the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and Pirelli P Zero Corsa System. It offers exceptional performance at the track while allowing drivers to drive to and from the track without changing their wheels and tires. With a treadwear rating of 80, the ContiForceContact isn't intended for long service on the road. The tire would work best on a set of wheels used for track days and performance driving events, or on a second car that is driven primarily for fun. 

ContiForceContact tires are molded with approximately 6/32" of tread depth in their grooves and are left unshaved for use on damp tracks. While the tires do not require shaving for dry track use, their durability and lap time performance will improve if shaved to approximately 4/32" deep tread to begin competitive road racing/track use in dry conditions, however this will sacrifice treadlife.

To learn more about tire shaving as an effective means of permitting more of a tire's performance capability, read "Shaving Tires for Autocross / Track Use / Competition."

Getting the Most From Your Competition Tires

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

You want your competition tires to last as long as possible and perform their best when in use. How can you maximize the amount of wear and increase response/handling at the same time? Luckily, Tire Rack offers competition tire heat cycling and shaving for these exact needs.

Any tread design that breaks up the contact patch into smaller elements or adds additional tread depth (required to enhance wet traction) will increase tread block squirm and reduce dry performance. Tire shaving is an effective means of permitting more of a tire's performance capability to be realized early in its life. And in many cases, shaved tires used in competition actually have a longer useful life than tires that enter competition at full tread depth. Full tread depth tires tend to squirm more, which can build up heat that can overwork the tire causing irregular wear or damage. Shaving a tire also reduces weight and provides slightly more footprint on the ground by increasing its contact patch. We shave tires by removing tread rubber from a new tire on a specialized machine that operates as a tire lathe. This service can also be performed on street tires used for competition use. Our tire shaving service ranges between $25 and $35 per tire.

Like many high performance parts, high performance tires will last longer if properly broken in. The first time Track & Competition DOT tires go into service is very important. All tires deflect under load and their tread rubber compounds repeatedly stretch and relax as they roll into and out of contact with the road. This stretching breaks some of the weaker bonds between the tread rubber molecules, generating heat. If a new Track & Competition DOT tire is initially run too aggressively, too hot or too long, some of the stronger bonds will also be broken which reduces its grip and wear. Cycling a tire through an easy heat cycle and letting it cool over a 24-hour period will allow the stronger molecules to bond back together in a more uniform manner than they were originally manufactured. Heat cycling actually makes Track & Competition DOT tread compounds more consistent in strength and more resistant to losing their strength the next time they're used.

Our heat cycling service begins by mounting the tire on an appropriate-width wheel and inflating it to the desired pressure. It's then placed in our heat cycling machine which has three rollers positioned at the corners of a triangle. The tread flexes where it comes into contact with each of the rollers, stretching the rubber compound enough to progressively bring it up to temperature all the way around the tire and across the tread. There is no artificial heat added by an oven, forced air or heat lamp. Tread temperature is monitored with a pyrometer to confirm when the tire has reached the desired 170-180° F temperature. The tire is then dismounted and stamped as Tire Rack heat cycled. Since the minimum 24-hour waiting period typically occurs while the tires are in transit, the tires are ready to use when they arrive! The only thing our heat cycling service doesn’t do is scuff in the tires. Heat cycling service costs $15 per tire.

To learn more about this process, read "Competition Tire Heat Cycling Service."