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  1. #1
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    winter tires

    its time to swap out the summer tires for some winter ones. NOT going through the nightmare of driving through the snow on these things again. anything ya'll would recommend? i'll be using the stock 15" wheels, should i stick with the stock 195/60/15 sizing? i'll be using it in colorado, AND the midwest (RAYS!), so studs are not an option.

    Tim M Hovey

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    Im looking too for my 08 subaru. I think i like the Firestones. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....omCompare1=yes

  3. #3
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    You should look for a dedicated set of winter tires / wheels. I like using steelies in the winter with a smaller diameter (say 15" rather than 16") because you are far more apt to encounter potholes in the winter. Steel wheels are less likely to break, and cheaper to replace.

    With a smaller diameter wheel, you can mount a larger profile tire for the same rolling diameter / radius. While it may be a little less responsive, it will be a more comfortable ride and adsorb bumps better, which again is more important in the winter. I also like going with a smaller width tire for snow, as they tend to bite better on hardpack and ice.

    Depending on the type of roads you'll be driving, and how much snow and ice you'll see, I whole heartedly recommend either the Michelin Pilot Alpin or X-Ice studless snow tires. I use Pilot Alpins on my Audi A6 (with quattro) because they are more performance orientated and the Audi already has a superior AWD system for traction. On my Mercedes (300E) I use the X-Ice for winter driving.

    I've also heard good things about Bridgestone Blizzaks, but I don't have any experience with them. I've got lots of time on my Michelins though, and they are fantastic as long as you don't try and use them on dry pavement at temperatures above 50 or 60 degrees. (Reason being that they wear out much faster when its warm.)

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    I had 5 seasons on a set of Michelin Arctic Alpins and one on a set of Dunlop Winter Sport 3D. Tire rack is great for wheel/tire deals as well as reviews.

    I'd say no matter which tire you choose, it will be better than an all season.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser
    Im looking too for my 08 subaru. I think i like the Firestones. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....omCompare1=yes
    i'm also looking at the winterforce. they are the cheapest, and i'm willing to think they will offer a huge performance improvement, unless anybody can argue that its worth paying the premium for a different tire.

    mounted and balanced to some steel wheels from tire rack comes out to about $500 shipped, so i think that works out nicely.
    Tim M Hovey

    Nukeproof Mega 290
    1950 CJ3a
    1999 BMW 540i
    1999 F350 PSD

  6. #6
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    One MUST have winter tires in my opinion. (Rant and rave start) Do you wear running shoes in two feet of snow? Do you wear snow boots in 90 F weather. No. Then why do people run on the same set of tires all year? I've been running snow tires for years, one dedicated set on separate wheels. Its amazing the difference. I've never gone in the ditch, got stuck, or any accidents. I live a mile away from Lake Michigan and when it snows, it snows.

    When you decide to buy a set, go to tirerack.com and buy a complete package. I've used Blizzak WS 50s and 60s, Dunlop DS1, DS2s, and the new 3D Older Blizak M1s, and Michelin X-Ice2. So far, i've been impressed with all but right now my X-Ice2s are phenomenal.

  7. #7
    local trails rider
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    I've been doing OK with 195/60/15 both winter and summer. Nokian Hakkapeliitta for winter, of course, on a separate set of rims. The studless options now are: Nokian Hakkapeliitta R and Nokian Hakkapeliitta RSi

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    I have 2 winters on the Blizzak WS 60's for my Civic and they have been wonderful. I live in Denver so they are not always utilized, but when it does snow or when I head up the the high country, they work like a charm. One thing I didn't realize before I bought them is how awesome the stopping power is in the snow. I only have experience with the Blizzak's, but I would buy them again in a hearbeat.

  9. #9
    fux
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    I have used Nokian for years now.

    Last year I decided to go studdless and went for the Hakkapeliitta R and they work superbly even though I have rear wheel drive.

    snow.jpg

    Although they don`t help me find the front door to my house.

    Disclaimer. I now sell bicycles and bicycle tyres.

    instacrap ----> http://instagram.com/manx71/

  10. #10
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    I am looking at some Blizzaks on craigs list. I have herd if you do allot of driving on dry roads they don't last long.

  11. #11
    fux
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    I would say that for most good winter tyres.

    I usualy dont get more than a couple of winters out of my tyres. Winter tyres have softer compound rubber for winter use, lowering thier lifespan.

    Studded tyres last longer but they arn`t kind to the roads and/or cyclists. They kick up quite a bit of tarmac dust when the roads are dry and are noisy.

    Here is an indipendant test done by the respected Norwegian automobile assosiation

    http://www.naf.no/vinterdekk09

    This table is for studdless.



    A quick translation of the words used in the left hand coloumn.

    IS = Ice
    SNØ = Snow
    Slaps = Slush
    Våt Asfalt = Wet tarmac
    Tørr Asfalt = Dry tarmac
    Økonomi and komfort = economy and comfort (if you couldnt guess that one )


    Bremsing = Braking

    Here is another test for those of you who like using Google translate.

    http://www.klikk.no/motor/bil/article503916.ece
    Disclaimer. I now sell bicycles and bicycle tyres.

    instacrap ----> http://instagram.com/manx71/

  12. #12
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    diggin those SVT EAPs on your c-dan!

    I run Bridgestone Blizzak LM22s on my C30 for winter and love them.
    2010 Trek 4300 Disc

  13. #13
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    Nokian Hakkas were the best winter tires I've ever owned. Currently on Yokohama Guardex which are OK, not as much grip as the Nokians but much harder wearing.

  14. #14
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    185/65r15 is narrower (good for winter), and a tad taller (slower speedo & odometer).

    ON a budget, Winterforce tires are great in the snow. When the road is dry, they are load & squirmy.

    On the opposite end, Nokian Hakkapeliitta studless tires are great. Had the RSI (replaced by the R). They are also low rolling resistance--- great for fuel economy.

    the best I ever used? Green Diamond remolds. Nothing like carbide chunks in the tread in terms of snow & ice traction.

  15. #15
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    yeah i wish the nokians were within budget, but i'm just not going to drop that kind of dough on tires when i'd rather be spending it on bike parts and, well, also the upcoming wedding as well. on top of that, i just bought some new 3 season tires... (lol, you can see the notable lack of tread in that photo).

    heres another question: can stud capable tires be bought and used without studs for a year and then have studs put in after the fact? or do shops get cranky having to do it as a retrofit?
    Tim M Hovey

    Nukeproof Mega 290
    1950 CJ3a
    1999 BMW 540i
    1999 F350 PSD

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by vfrrider17
    One MUST have winter tires in my opinion. (Rant and rave start) Do you wear running shoes in two feet of snow? Do you wear snow boots in 90 F weather. No. Then why do people run on the same set of tires all year? I've been running snow tires for years, one dedicated set on separate wheels. Its amazing the difference. I've never gone in the ditch, got stuck, or any accidents. I live a mile away from Lake Michigan and when it snows, it snows.
    .
    I get the "good drivers dont need snow tires" thing a lot. I just tell them that no matter how good a driver they are, the 16 year old girl in her moms 3 ton SUV with snow tires in front of you will still be able to stop faster.

    2wd + snows > awd/4wd and all seasons.

  17. #17
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    Usually you can NOT add studs after the studdable tire has been driven. Rocks and dirt get in the holes and make it hard to get the studs in.

    Why not just get studs to begin with?

  18. #18
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    I have been using the Hankook iPikes on my SVT focus in the winter time out here in CO and they are excellent! They are a direct take off of the expensive and über effective Nokian's ... just as good but cheaper.

    ..:: sleestak ::..
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleestak
    I have been using the Hankook iPikes on my SVT focus in the winter time out here in CO and they are excellent! They are a direct take off of the expensive and über effective Nokian's ... just as good but cheaper.

    Thats what I run too.

  20. #20
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    are these general altimax also the same tire?

    http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....omCompare1=yes

    very similar looking.

    but no on the studs. i'll be living in chicago until march, and studs are not allowed here. i'll be in lewisville colorado after march, where studs are allowed.

    makes sense that you can't retrofit.

    are ya'll running those hancooks with or without studs?
    Tim M Hovey

    Nukeproof Mega 290
    1950 CJ3a
    1999 BMW 540i
    1999 F350 PSD

  21. #21
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    General Altimax Arctic are actually an older Gislaved Nord Frost tire.

    Gislaved is owned by Continental. General is also owned by Continental

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by kntr
    Usually you can NOT add studs after the studdable tire has been driven. Rocks and dirt get in the holes and make it hard to get the studs in.

    Why not just get studs to begin with?
    Because driving on studs on wet or dry pavement sucks azz, is loud, and isn't allowed in many areas these days due to accelerated road wear.

    A proper studless snow tire, such as the Blizzak or Michelin Pilot Alpin or X-Ice tire is far better over nearly every driving condition except glare ice, and isn't too terrible on that either. Note that these aren't snow tires that can be pinned with studs later, they are designed without studs altogether. What they have is a very sipped design to put as many 'cutting edges' of rubber on the road as possible. I was skeptical at first, but after my first set (which I still have 5 years later) of Michelins, I'll never go back to studded tires again.


    Tire Rack studless snow tire test 2008

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tednugent
    ON a budget, Winterforce tires are great in the snow. When the road is dry, they are load & squirmy.
    Yup, the Winterforce is great in the snow. Yup, they are pretty loud on dry roads. I have not noticed any squirm, as I don't drive very aggressively.

    Blizzak WS60 is much quieter, but not as good in deeper snow.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy
    Because driving on studs on wet or dry pavement sucks azz, is loud, and isn't allowed in many areas these days due to accelerated road wear.

    A proper studless snow tire, such as the Blizzak or Michelin Pilot Alpin or X-Ice tire is far better over nearly every driving condition except glare ice, and isn't too terrible on that either. Note that these aren't snow tires that can be pinned with studs later, they are designed without studs altogether. What they have is a very sipped design to put as many 'cutting edges' of rubber on the road as possible. I was skeptical at first, but after my first set (which I still have 5 years later) of Michelins, I'll never go back to studded tires again.


    Tire Rack studless snow tire test 2008
    Ive driven on studded snow tires in the winter for 21years. Yes, they are loud. Yes, they suck on dry pavement if you are not careful, but the positves on ice out weigh all the negatives. How often do you drive on dry pavement in the winter anyway? Ill take studs here in Montana.

    Do you live in a state that studs are illegal? Do you travel to other states that dont allow studs? What states done allow studs?

  25. #25
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy
    A proper studless snow tire, such as the Blizzak or Michelin Pilot Alpin or X-Ice tire is far better over nearly every driving condition except glare ice, and isn't too terrible on that either.
    I've been on studless Nokians for years (well, the wife uses the car more).
    - On bare pavement, studless is clearly superior: better traction, lower noice,
    - On snow (all snow is not equal, but let's be generic) studs have nothing to bite at, so there is not much difference.
    - On smooth ice, and very hard packed snow, studs are better. I worried a lot when we got on a little winding country road that was all shiny ice. Maybe changing from boots to the light shoes that I had with me saved the day: even with the "light feet" we were drifting in some turns. The front bumper of the car was damaged in a subcontractor's icy front yard, when the car decided to slide sideways into a tree, after it was stopped... I am pretty sure studs would have worked there.

  26. #26
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    Not living where it snows now, but I had great luck owning a set of Nokian's for the winter months on those ice -n- snowy days while living in CO.

  27. #27
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    I am running the Kooks without studs and they are doing just dandy. I plowed a foot of fresh all the way up Berthoud Pass last season in my SVT. The studs would be ok, but totally not needed. Besides, when you get out here to CO you will have highway speeds of 75+. No need to launch studs, lol.
    ..:: sleestak ::..
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by kntr
    Ive driven on studded snow tires in the winter for 21years. Yes, they are loud. Yes, they suck on dry pavement if you are not careful, but the positves on ice out weigh all the negatives. How often do you drive on dry pavement in the winter anyway? Ill take studs here in Montana.

    Do you live in a state that studs are illegal? Do you travel to other states that dont allow studs? What states done allow studs?
    I've driven on studded snow tires for 20 years. 5 years ago I bought a set of studless tires (Michelin Arctic Alpin) for my wife's Mercedes. The following year I bought studless snow tires for my Audi and my SUV, and I'll never go back. Here in WA in the worst of the winter, still most all roads get plowed and de-icer applied. In eastern WA where I live, its snow driving maybe 20% of the time, if that, but I travel over the mountain passes just about every weekend going somewhere, and going skiing otherwise. The majority of the roads here are either bare and dry and super cold, or just above freezing and wet, and in both cases studs suck balls.

    Further, nearly every X-mas for the last 17 years we drive from WA to SOCAL to visit the in-laws, and obviously there's no snow down there, and lots of bare highways and high speed driving on the way (usually). The Pilot Alpin 2 tires on my Audi are V speed rated and handle great on bare roads.

    I've only encountered glare ice on the roadway exactly once in the last 5 years where I kind of wish I had studs, but that was after a freezing rain storm and the reality was NOBODY had any business being out on the roads after that, regardless of what you were driving.

    Like I said, I'll never go back to driving on studs.

    In regards to what states are legal and illegal to drive on studs, this is what I found:
    States with No Restrictions
    Seven states do not regulate the use of studs. Of these, Wyoming, Colorado, Vermont and New Hampshire are subject to long winters with heavy snow and ice. New Mexico and North Carolina have warmer climates but do experience heavy snow in mountainous areas. Kentucky, despite few heavy snowfalls, does allow studs.
    States that Prohibit Studded Tires
    Nine states allow no use of tire studs whatsoever. Drivers in the warm-weather states of Hawaii, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi have no need of them. In 4 other states that do experience hard winters, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Texas (in its northern plains and western mountainous areas), studs were nevertheless made illegal so as to protect roads.
    States Allowing Visitors to Use Studded Tires
    Wisconsin allows out-of-state cars to use studs for not more than 30 consecutive days. Minnesota allows non-resident students and workers to use studded tires.
    Prohibition Only in Certain Counties
    One state, Maryland, bans tire studs except in 5 mountainous counties where heavy snowfall and steep grades can make for difficult driving conditions. Tire studs are allowed in those counties only in the colder months.
    States with Special Restrictions
    Nebraska allows seasonal use of studded tires with a special permit. South Carolina permits their use for snow and ice, but studs are limited to 1/16-inch in length. Georgia allows studs only in snowy conditions, which would necessitate frequent tire or vehicle changes.
    States with Purely Seasonal Restrictions
    All the remaining states permit the use of studded snow tires only between certain dates, typically from October or November until mid-April. Of these, Alaska and Michigan allow longer use of studded tires in specified northern regions.

  29. #29
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    i picked up the hancooks in 195/60/15 on some black steelies at discount tire for $472 out the door after some negotiation. i'm stoked now, can't wait to try them out. gotta love discount tire, they really pulled through for me, knocked well more than a hundred bucks off the list price for me.
    Tim M Hovey

    Nukeproof Mega 290
    1950 CJ3a
    1999 BMW 540i
    1999 F350 PSD

  30. #30
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    score! I think you'll be more than happy with them. I spent one winter with all seasons on my stock SVT wheels and that was the end of that. Taller and narrower are what you want.

    You're lucky that you aren't rolling an SVT because you can't fit 15's on them due to the size of the rotors and calipers ... you have to go with 16's and they don't make steelie's in that size with the 4x108 pattern we have been "blessed" with. I got lucky enough to pick up a set of 16" stockers from someone on Focaljet for 200 bucks.
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  31. #31
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    well speaking of that lovely 4x108 bolt pattern, heres a little update. knowing that i had allot of road tripping to do over the next couple of months, i figured i best just go ahead and get them put on.

    come to find out, the steelies are the wrong bolt patten.

    i'm a little po'd about it as there is no discount tire in downtown chicago, and hitting one in the burbs will cut into my weekend ride/dig time. fortunately i had to drive down john deere world headquarters for work and knew of one i could hit on the way back out in aurora.

    so i swing by there and right away he looks at the receipt and realizes the other discount completely screwed up and tells me they'll take care of it, 15 minutes later they realize they don't have any steelies that will fit either and that they'll have to order them. i beetch and whine a bit about the fact that i'm from downtown and that they are really messin up my plans here, so they look high and low, find some aluminum wheels that will fit, and tell me that they'll hook me up with them for another $50 and will even throw in the extended warranty that i did not opt for the first time around.

    okay yeah, a bit of a long story there, but to summarize, discount tire rocks, they really took care of me here even though they goofed up and IMO, the car looks pretty awesome.

    (note that i DID almost upgrade to the svt brake package last year, but didnt because i wanted to maintain my 15" compatibility, my sedan already has the SVT engine/drivetrain and suspension package, and svt 17" wheels for summer)



    i have about 600 miles on these so far and though no snow driving, initial impression are exceptionally favorable. compared to my 225/45/17 tires (i've ran kumhos and now falkens) they are actually quiter and much more comfortable, they handle very good but obviously are not quite as planted. yesterday i drove to midway airport in a major downpour and i'm shocked with how good they are in rain and even deep water.
    Tim M Hovey

    Nukeproof Mega 290
    1950 CJ3a
    1999 BMW 540i
    1999 F350 PSD

  32. #32
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    sorry about the huge photo, i have very limited editing capability on the laptop here.
    Tim M Hovey

    Nukeproof Mega 290
    1950 CJ3a
    1999 BMW 540i
    1999 F350 PSD

  33. #33
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    i have been using the nokian haakapalita (sp) for about 4 years on my element. i studded them and think they are the best tires i've ever used...they corner and handle like a cat on carpet.

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