Me-More than you wanted to know

Yep, this is me.  Been doing this for a while, and am still enjoying it.  I race whenever I can, but more often on some one else's dime than my own, as kids and wives often do not appreciate expensive hobbies that do not include them.  I will always give you the truth, even  when that is not something you particularly want to hear.  Basal Advice-

1.  Cars have no opinion on tires beyond their minimal requirements of load, speed rating, and size.  How you drive the car determines what tire you should have.

2.  Everyone builds good product, and everyone builds junk.  The difference is primarily in what you want to do with the product, and with which specific item you want to do it.

3.  Above all, do not break what is not broken.

As always, I am here at ext. 648 or through email at wes@tirerack.com.  Let me know if you have any questions, or need some help-Always happy to try, at least.



Best Tires for Winter Snow and Ice Traction

Friday, November 4, 2011 by Wes .
Tire Survey Results - WinterWith the first real snowstorm of the season under our belts in many parts of the country, a few of the best tires to tackle the snow and ice this winter are the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 and the Michelin X-Ice Xi2. For people who are willing to trade some handling on dry roads, a set of these Bridgestone winter tires and a set of these Michelin auto tires offer amazing snow and ice traction.

The Bridgestone's famous Multicell compound offers escape routes for water that are created from the pressure of the tire on ice and snow to prevent hydroplaning and exploit cohesion. The latest generation features tiny bite particles embedded into the tread that serve as millions of small studs benefitting both snow and ice traction. Due to its high tech compound and tread design, I recommend it highly as the tire offers the best snow traction according to our Tire Survey Results.

The ice and wet focused FleX-Ice silica compound found in the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 was engineered to retain more dry road stability, while still offering amazing traction levels in cold weather. Because of this, it purposefully gives up some deep snow traction when compared to the Bridgestone. However, for areas where 4" or more is not normal, such as urban environments, the Xi2 excels in controlling a car at slippery intersections where ice tends to form due to traffic patterns.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Michelin X-Ice Xi2
Michelin X-Ice Xi2

Naturally, as with all winter / snow tires and especially with all-wheel drive vehicles, tires should be installed on all four corners, not just two. Watch "Why Gamble With Winter Tire Selection When Four of a Kind Always Beats Two Pair?" to see the benefits of installing four winter / snow tires this winter season.

Subaru Tires for Winter

Thursday, October 27, 2011 by Wes .
Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3Subaru prepares its owners for winter by utilizing a state-of-the-art all-wheel drive system. Unfortunately, while the traction of AWD is amazing, it doesn't provide any advantage when the vehicle has to turn or stop. This is where winter / snow tires come in to play. They provide the stopping power to match the car's traction possibilities. Choosing the wrong tire however, can take a fun-to-drive vehicle and turn it into a winter beater.

For those Subaru owners looking for the best handling winter / snow tire, I'd suggest the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3. Highly rated in our Tire Survey Results, the Pilot Alpin PA3 is a technological tour de force combining the finest green technologies Michelin has to offer. For instance, sunflower oil is used instead of petroleum in the production of the compound. 

Here's what a Subie owner had to say about their experience with the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3:

"What an awesome snow tire. They were not cheap by any means, but to be able to put something on the car and just drive off and be totally happy off the bat is rare and appreciated! Don't look at anything else, get these tires! :-)"
-- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2011 Subaru WRX 5 Door

Naturally, as with all winter / snow tires and especially with all-wheel drive vehicles, tires should be installed on all four corners, not just two. Watch "Why Gamble With Winter Tire Selection When Four of a Kind Always Beats Two Pair?" to see the benefits of installing four winter / snow tires this winter season.

Shop by vehicle to find the winter / snow tires that work best for your vehicle.

PIAA Bulbs for Those Long, Cold Winter Nights!

Monday, October 24, 2011 by Wes .
PIAA 9004 Xtreme White PlusWinter's short days and long nights are approaching. Take control of the darkness with the selection of lighting products from PIAA. When it comes time to replace headlights, the PIAA 9004 Xtreme White Plus throws as much light as possible into the night to make certain you see everything needed to be safe. With its proprietary Xtra high efficiency design, they consume only the normal amount of power to keep your harness cool, while producing light equivalent to 95/120W bulbs. Here's what one consumer had to say about their experience with the PIAA 9004 Xtreme White Plus:

"Great upgrade to stock lights especially if your current bulbs are getting old. I have used them on two of my cars and the difference is noticeable. Have been using them for a year on one car and about four months on another. No problems yet. Highly recommended." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 1999 Subaru Legacy GT 2.5 Sedan

Available in a variety of different fitments, shop by vehicle to ensure you find the lighting products that work best for your vehicle.

Fun Winter / Snow BMW Tires from Pirelli

Monday, October 17, 2011 by Wes .
RecPirelli 240 Sottozero Serie IIently, I spoke with a customer from Chicago who was looking for new tires and wheels for his BMW 1M. During the conversation, I suggested he look at the Pirelli Winter 240 Sottozero Serie II to fit his needs. He told me that he had run more aggressive winter / snow tires before, and was sincerely impressed with the traction levels of this tire. Being in an urban environment with excellent snow removal services, he went with this set of Pirelli snow tires because he didn't want to miss out on the fun factor of his new performance vehicle. 

The Pirelli Winter 240 Sottozero Serie II offers the great steering response characteristics of Pirelli's summer and all-season line. The tire's brickwork tread design has thousands of biting edges that lock together under lateral load to increase dry road handling. The result is an excellent set of Pirelli winter tires for areas of the country that get cold and snow occasionally, or for the driver who doesn't want to compromise all the fun of their car in the winter. 

Take a look at what other customers are saying about their experience with Pirelli Winter 240 Sottozero Serie II:

"Talk about driving with confidence. You can feel the tires bite into the snow. I used to worry about stopping and sliding in the snow and on ice, now I only worry about the person behind me stopping. I think these tires should be mandatory in southern Ontario (where I reside) in the winter. They are that good." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe LT3

"This is my first time driving on winter tires. From the very beginning in dry or wet, the tires have felt soft, responsive and frankly awesome. If you have a performance car and love to drive, do not hesitate to change to new snow tires like the Pirelli 240 Sottozero Serie II. Huge improvement over all-seasons in feel and traction. Great investment!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

When it comes time to buy snow tires, shop by vehicle to find the tire that works best for your vehicle.

Good Stuff from Goodyear

Saturday, January 15, 2011 by Wes .
The Goodyear Goodyear Eagle F1 AsymmetricEagle F1 Asymmetric is an amazing product. As a Max Performance Summer tire, it wrings amazing amounts of lateral grip and steering response from its carcass and compound, while remaining comfortable and quiet to the last. Not only does it rate consistently at the top of our performance tests, but a highly respected, national consumer rating magazine rated it as their top performer, as well. 

If you're in the market for a true summer performance tire, this Goodyear deserves a look. 

Braille Lightweight Car Batteries

Saturday, January 15, 2011 by Wes .
Braille Batteries Braille racing and automotive batteries were created to give the user enhanced performance from their electrical system, as well as enhancing the overall level of handling from the car by reducing the weight. 

When buying a car battery, one must take into account its intended usage. If your intended purpose is pure racing, and the battery is only used to keep the car's electrical6 lb. Braille Lightweight Car Battery system going throughout the competition, Braille makes the Lightweight Racing series to fill this need. From 6 lbs. to 21 lbs., they will save precious pounds from your competition vehicle. Some of the heavier models pack enough punch to use as a street battery in warmer weather. See technical specifications on each model.

If you are buying a car battery for year-round usage, Braille offers the Endurance series, which are hearty enough to use year-round. Utilizing the same clean, no corrosion technologies, the batteries gain weight over the racing series, but are still lighter than manyBraille Endurance Series Battery (Group 49) other traditional car batteries. They are a sealed-cell battery with sufficient power for year-round usage, and are made from environmentally friendly recycled materials.

Best All-Season Tire for Winter Driving

Saturday, January 15, 2011 by Wes .
Continental TiresContinental ExtremeContact DWSBased on our testing and experience, as well consumer reviews, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS is a very solid choice if one is looking for an all-season tire that is good in the winter and performs well the remainder of the year. If you like to drive hard year-round and only want to use one tire, this would be it.

But not everyone should go with this tire. First, it is a performance tire. You'll sacrifice some comfort, some road noise suppression and some longevity to get handling on dry roads. There is no way around it. One tire cannot do everything well.  However, if you are looking for a performance tire that is decent in the snow, this would be my pick.

Best Winter Tire for the Family Truck

Friday, October 29, 2010 by Wes .
Lawn raking time is here in South Bend again and so our minds turn to winter tires. On my family truckster, we use the Blizzak DM-V1 due to its outstanding deep, fluffy snow traction. Without fail, it seems that we are the last subdivision to be plowed.  Consequently, I needed something that my wife could get through the white stuff in to get the kids to school and herself safely to work. 

The DMBridgestone Blizzak DM-V1-V1 uses Bridgestone's famous and efficient multicell compound to provide absorption to the thin layer of water that forms when pressure is applied to ice or snow. Since fluids cannot be compressed, the porous nature of the compound prevents the tire from hydroplanning and allows it to grip at the underlying surface with its embedded micro-bite particles to attack the surface like millions of little studs providing amazing chemical and mechanical grip.

SUVs, trucks and crossovers are extremely difficult to beat if you get all the winter traction available. Normally, they last my family about three seasons (about 20K miles or so) and our customers agree that they are the best for your family's SUV, truck or crossover.

Best All-Season Tires in Snow for Light Trucks/SUVs

Saturday, August 21, 2010 by Wes .
The unicorn of the tire world has to be the elusive all-season tire that excels in snow traction. I think it is important to first understand that not even the best all-season tire will come close in winter traction levels to the worst winter tire. They simply can't. They are asked to do too many things in too many temperature levels. However, for many it is simply not practical for a variety of reasons to run two sets of tires on their light trucks or SUVs.  To those people I typically recommend the following:

If traction is the goal and one can accept a slight penalty in ride comfort and road noise generation, I would suggest the Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 2 or the Michelin LTX A/T 2 (shown below right). Both are extremely technologically advanced tires that offer  state-of-the-art tread compounds and designs to take advantage of all the traction the tire has to offer over the entire life of the tire. This is important, as snow and wet traction typically dissipate with age due to the loss of tread depth. Bridgestone uses a dual layer tread compound to expose a focused wet compound as the tire wears, while Michelin employs advanced tread design to maintain siping as the depth of the design goes away.  However, all this technology does come at a price. They are both on the premium edge of the pricing scale.  Well worth it; however, not for everyone.

If you need a good tire at a good price, consider the Firestone Destination A/T (shown at left). They do not have the technology, however they do behave well in the snow and wet. Since the tire was less to develop, and less expensive to manufacture, they are the best value in an On-/Off-Road All Terrain tire for a truck or SUV in the winter.

If you are not into traction at all costs, but are more interested in wear and comfort, there are still some decent options to get you through the white stuff. I would recommend the Michelin LTX M/S2 (shown right) or a General Grabber HTS, which is a surprising value. Both will be more comfortable, quiet and should wear a bit longer than an All-Terrain tire. Again, Michelin uses state-of-the-art construction and design techniques to get you more wear and wet traction. General doesn't have quite the technology thrown at it, however it still achieves good results and is priced far less.

Yokohama AVID ENVigor

Saturday, August 21, 2010 by Wes .
Yokohama AVID ENVigorYokohama AVID ENVigor H- or V-speed ratingThe latest High Performance All-Season tire from Yokohama, the AVID ENVigor, is a good one. Replacing the AVID H4s/V4s, it is made in a wide range of sizes from 15" to 20" and offers the promise of sporty handling, blended with comfort and long tread life. 

From my time behind the wheel testing it against tires in the same price range, I can tell you that it it is more comfortable than its predecessor and offers extremely good traction in the wet when pushed. I was amazed with the wet lateral grip available and turned my fastest lap time on our test track with the ENVigor quite easily. In fact, that is a great way to describe the tire: easy to drive.

Backed with a great warranty package and Yokohama's signature quality, it's a great bet for someone looking to enhance wet and dry handling, but maintain acceptable levels of ride quality. In fact, it's rated number one in the category by consumers, as well.

Tire Rack Garb -- How to Look the Part

Thursday, August 12, 2010 by Wes .
Adidad ClimaLite Polo ShirtMy favorite shirt is one that I got here at work. Believe it or not, we have a great selection of shirts and sweatshirts for the weekend enthusiast. My favorite is the Adidas ClimaLite Polo shirt.  They are available in red, white or black, and, at $40-42 per, are of the exact same, wonderfully breathable, material that those shirts my home golf course charges twenty dollars more for in the clubhouse.

Being a do-it-yourself type of guy, I really like the hooded sweatshirt, too. It's black, so grease and oil don't show as readily, and it wears nicely over the years. Check that one out at $29.95. 

If you want to be really advant garde, we do have a selection of O.Z. Racing apparel. A little more money, but, like their wheels, they are well made and have a bit of Italian style to them.  My pick: the vest. Versatile, and makes a definite statement. 

View all of our clothing, and let us know if you have any questions. We sometimes can't even match our socks, but we'll give it our best.

Best Wheels for Winter Tires

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 by Wes .
Winter tires need winter wheels. Especially with the mandated onset of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, it is far less expensive in the long term to have an extra set of wheels on which your winter tires are mounted than to pay some one at least $20 per tire twice a year to switch the tires onto the same wheel. But what to look for in a winter wheel?

My best advice is always the least expensive, most simplistic wheel that you can find. It used to be that a steel wheel was the automatic choice for people running winter tires. They were inexpensive, and hard to ruin, so they fit the bill nicely.  Nowadays, with steel prices running high and the demands of today's high performance vehicles' handling and braking potential, alloys are a much more practical choice. Also, sometimes they are your only choice, as they offer more clearance for today's larger brakes. They don't rust, they clear large brakes, and they actually look decent on the car.  However, they don't have to be expensive.

Dependent upon your car and its needs, I would suggest taking a look at the Sport Edition or Elbrus wheel line. Their simplistic, classic designs make them easy to keep clean and maintain properly. Check out your options for a Winter Wheels and Tires for your vehicle, and consider the easy way to make your car go in the snow this winter.

Save Shipping Costs by Picking Up Your Order

Saturday, July 24, 2010 by Wes .
Nevada, Louisiana, Indiana, Georgia and Connecticut residents: Do you live near one of our five distribution centers currently offering customer pick-up?

Save the cost of shipping by following these easy steps:
South Bend, IN Corporate Headquarters and Distribution Center
1.  Shop by vehicle and select the products you'd like to order in our Upgrade Garage.

2.  Call to check stock at the warehouse nearest you, and then place the order via phone since orders for pick-up IS NOT an option online.

3.  Pick up your merchandise at your preferred distribution center.

4.  Head over to one of our independent Recommended Installers for installation.

IMPORTANT NOTES:


The holder of the credit card used to purchase the merchandise must pick up the order. They must have the credit card and a photo ID with them. 

Pick-up IS NOT AVAILABLE at our distribution center in Delaware.

All applicable taxes will apply to your pick-up order.

Installation Made Easy

Thursday, July 22, 2010 by Wes .
A common question from customers is also a very natural one: How do I get the products I have purchased from Tire Rack installed? It's really a lot easier than many think thanks to our network of independent Recommended Installers. These are shops that have been carefully screened for their installation equipment and expertise to perform installation of the products we sell for our customers. And most will accept direct shipments of our customers' merchandise.

Very simply, here is how it works:

1.  Shop our selection of products for your vehicle, then either call in to place the order, or add what you need to your shopping cart.

2.  Take a look at the Recommended Installers in your area. You can review pricing information and read consumer reviews.

3.  Choose to ship your items to the installer directly, bypassing your need to handle them, or if you prefer, you can save the installer information, and ship the items to your home or office.

4.  When your order ships, we'll send you a shipping confirmation email that contains tracking links. After your installer receives your order, simply call them to confirm receipt and to schedule installation.

Drive in for installation. Drive out with your merchandise installed.

Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Thursday, July 15, 2010 by Wes .
Tire manufacturers have begun to make serious efforts towards making fossil fueled vehicles more efficient by designing tires with lower rolling resistance. By reducing the amount of energy required to start and keep a tire rolling, the car becomes less expensive to run long term and reduces its impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

Last year, we did an enjoyable test with the Toyota Prius, and then, this past week, we tested the newest entries in the Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) category on our normal fleet of BMW 3 Series. We are still finalizing the results from the most recent test, but I can tell you that the differences in fuel mileage were not huge. However, when the difference is factored in over the life of the tire, the differences can be significant.

You have to be careful with LRR tires since they can have low traction levels when stopping in the wet. Based on last week's experience and last year's testing results, here are a few LRR tires that I suggest:

Conti ProContact EcoPlusThe Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology: I first drove a prelaunch version of this tire at Continental's test facility in Texas and was immediately struck with the ease at which it handled wet stopping tests. It is very comfortable and should wear well with proper rotation and care (which will be easy to achieve since it is a normal symmetric tire).


Michelin Energy Saver A/S
The Michelin Energy Saver A/S: Performed well in the wet portion of our testing last year and was a pleasure to drive. The tire had great road manners and ride quality.



There are other good LRR tires and most of them provide a good balance of handling, ride quality and wet traction. However, these two are great options in a tire category that will continue to grow.





Fast Competition Tires

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by Wes .
I talk to customers frequently about the best tire for their competition needs. We lump them all together in our, Track and Competition DOT Tire category. However, we can further define them by the user's intended purpose. These are all my informal categories, and I break them out into several more groups:

Tires that are going to win events:
These are meant to be the fastest thing around, without regard to wear or ease of driving.

Hoosier R6 (R for Road Race)
Hoosier A6 (A for Autocross)
BFGoodrich g-Force R1
Kumho Ecsta V710
Hankook Ventus Z214

These tires will last maybe a few weekends, but they are quick.

Tires that make the track more fun
For people that are just out there to have fun, and not necessarily trying to win something, these are a far better choice. Easier to drive, and, most importantly, longer lasting, these tires give the car an extra edge, but are not as fast as the ones listed above.

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup
Yokohama ADVAN A048
Pirelli P Zero Corsa
Kumho Ecsta V700
Kumho VictoRacer V700

Street tires that survive some track duty
For those people who are maybe doing street tire class autox, or maybe just want a tire that can be driven to the track without worry, I would suggest looking at any of the tires in our Extreme Performance category. They are not quite competition tires, however they are as quick as competition tires of just a few years ago.

Clearance wheels-Less than what?

Thursday, May 6, 2010 by Wes .
Tirerack.com is great, as it offers you stocking levels on all of our products. At times the information causes some questions. A common question is; "What does less than two (Or insert your quantity here) mean?"

To help customers when selecting tires, wheels, brakes, suspension, or any of our products we list what we have in stock, and what has to be ordered.  Tires are usually pretty straightforward just enter your Zip Code and we will tell you the cost of delivery and a date range for when you should expect delivery. You can ship to the location of your choice including one of the 5000 independent Recommended Installers listed on Tirerack.com.

Our listings for closeout wheels can created a few questions about inventory levels. Wheels are on closeout since the manufacturer, for a variety of reasons, will not longer manufacture of a specific model. We display ALL models that we have for your particular vehicle even if the wheel is discontinued by the manufacturer and we might not have a complete set of four for you to purchase. We want to make sure that customers looking for less than a set of wheels for replacement are able to find the product they need. If we did not display items with low inventory someone may purchase an 4 of a different wheel instead of the single wheel to match. Unfortunately if it says less than four, we do not have complete set and if it is marked as a closeout we are not able to order more. 

We list the quantity as less than 4 instead of saying 3 as the quantity is based on the data from the night before and we may sell one or more of the items during the day. Less than three in the availability, means two or less in stock.  Less than two, would mean one or no wheel is available. .

This usually snags people looking at wheels that would normally be hundreds of dollars per wheel, but now show for $49 or $59 dollars.  That, unfortunately, is why-We just don't have a set of four to give you.  Further, since it is a discontinued item, we do not have access to any more.  Thus the price.

Hopefully this helps to clear the confusion, since disappointing a customer is one of our least favorite things to do. We hope that we can help both customers looking for a single replacement or a full set with our full inventory listings.




How big of a difference do winter tires make? Night and Day!

Thursday, September 24, 2009 by Wes .

One of my favorite conversations to have with customers is the difference winter tires can make to them on a practical level.  I wasn't always employed here, and was extremely skeptical before I purchased my first set.  Now having been a convert for the past ten years, I get very excited this time of year, because the move to a set of winter rubber offers the most dramatic benefit to a vehicle's winter readiness. 

Being a tire geek, I often have very in depth conversations on what amount to nuanced differences.  Sure, the differences are there between Tire A and Tire B, but really, most of the time, we are talking about slight personality changes that one has to really look for to notice.  With a winter tire, the change is dramatic and immediate.  We have all sorts of data to back that up (In fact, here are a bunch of links, if you are so inclined: This is a great video demonstration.  If you are video challenged on your machine, this might help.)  However, the best experience is actually doing it yourself.

When I first happened upon the potential of winter tires, I was not employed here, and was confronted with a Northern Indiana winter in a my brand new, lightweight, rear wheel drive car.  I drove it twice in light snow, and decided that something had to be done, or I was quite simply going to have to sell the car.  I've been a car guy all my life, and honestly thought I knew what I was doing, however I had never thought about winter rubber, as I remember the pointless products of my youth-Dad would put two of them on our car when I was a kid, and it really offered no benefit that I could see.  In fact, after a while Dad simply stopped doing it since they didn't work anyway.

After calling The Tire Rack, and listening somewhat suspiciously to the salesperson tell me about the benefits, I almost begrudgingly gave him my info to get a set.  He made some good points (They last for around three seasons, the cost is typically less than the insurance deductible on the car, the summer tires would last longer, etc), however I honestly was at the end of my rope, as I had almost ended up sleeping the previous night at work because I was afraid to drive home.

I put them on a few days later.  It was as though I had been living in the dark, and some one had turned on the lights.  I could actually drive without fear!  The car stopped.  It turned.  I moved away from intersections without the rear end hanging out to the side.  To say that the transformation was amazing was understatement.  It made my little rear driver a snow mobile-It was life changing, and I was now a winter tire evangelist.

However, some did not want to hear the gospel of the modern winter tire.  The main combatant was my father.  Dad is a great guy, who is an engineer by profession, and as such is very grounded in empirical truth.  He cannot be swayed by verbal argument, but demands demonstration.  He dismissed my claims of salvation from lake effect snow as the ramblings of his young son, who was simply wrapped up in consumerism and trying to justify this recent purchase.  After all, he as the elder and wiser had experienced "snow tires" and found them to be a waste of money.  Things could certainly not have improved that much without his notice (Authors note:  Just making fun of my dad here-Not older people.  As I age, I am slowly turning into my father, so I am allowed...)

Dad had discovered the wonders of all wheel drive by this time, and was then enthralled by the improvements it alone made in the wintertime.  As such, I made him a challenge:  We'd take my rear driver with winter tires and his all wheel drive to the high school parking lot next time it snowed.  We'd set up a basic course that we both would drive in first our own cars, and then the other person's car, and compare what we found-It wasn't even close. 

Dad is now two cars beyond that experiment, but he and mom favor the Michelin winter offerings.  This year he says he will try the new WS-60's from Bridgestone that I suggested.   But, as dad says now as he is telling his friends about them, "It's such a night and day difference, that once you drive them you never want to be without them."  I can't say it any better.

Whatever winter tire you choose, if you drive in the snow or ice, you will be thrilled with your purchase.  Yes, times are tight and  specialized tires don't seem like something that one absolutely needs, however they only have to save you or a loved one once to make them worth it.
 

Tires on Backorder-What am I looking at for a wait?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 by Wes .
If there is one word that is confusing to my customers, it is that of backorder.  It means so many things in so many companies, but the easiest way to describe it here at The Tire Rack is with plan words: 

Backorder literally means that I have no stock to fill your order, as the manufacturer has no stock to fill our order, and they are unable to give us a date at which they will have stock to fill our orders.  As they cannot tell us, I cannot tell you how long it will take to get an item.  Through experience, I would say the average wait on a tire that is backordered is around 6 weeks or so. 

It does not mean that the item is discontinued, as they will make it again.  It simply means that the particular product you are looking for is loosing out in production priority-Maybe it's an odd size or specialized product, for example.