Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wanted: Semi-Stickies

Above: Michelin Pilot Super Sports off the truck; below: on the Bullitt.  Watchtower likes the "less mud-grippy" look
of the shoulders.  So do I.  The contact patch looks good too.

A recent post mentioned that some of the Killboy crew run fairly exotic tires and suspensions.  Kamal says the suspension on his Civic Si is so stiff that he doesn't enjoy it much except on the Dragon.  Some run near-slick stickies just this side of DOT-legal.  My crew isn't that hard-core.  But Dragon passes have left us somewhat dissatisfied with our all-season tires.

Hotshoe's new Focus ST came with summer-only Goodyear Eagle F1's as o.e. tires.  In northern climes, if the car is your daily driver, that means buying an extra set of rims with winter tires, which he did.  He also raved about the grip of his F1's.  "Whatever," thought I, until last spring when I got into a Dragon bend a bit too hot in his car.  I cranked in some more lock, and the ST took a tighter line.  My Civic Si, with all-season tires, would have washed out into terminal understeer.  "I gotta get me a set of these," I thought.

Watchtower beat me to it.  His Bullitt was factory-equipped with the same, sad, Goodrich all-seasons that are on my Mustang.  (Why would Ford do that?)  But now it wears Michelin Pilot Super Sports.    He drives this car very little in the winter, so an extra set of rims and tires are not necessary.  Here's his report on his new shoes:

     "I got down the road maybe a mile or two and the heavens opened up.  I managed a 'skidpad'
     test in a deserted parking lot, in a deluge of now-Biblical proportions.  When the front end
     started plowing, I stepped on it and got the rear end to swing out.  Seemed manageable at the
     limit.  After that I tried some tight curves in a deserted Interstate rest area.  The traction is mind-
     blowing.  It feels like the PSS's grip better in the wet than the old Goodriches did in the dry.
     "These tires seem just as quiet as the old ones and might even ride a little softer.  I can live with
     them from an every-day practical point of view.  As for steering feel, they give more feedback,
     especially when you get up around 8/10's."

Well... that settles it: lots of upside and no downside.  I'll get a set of summer-only tires, so I won't be outgunned on the Dragon by Hotshoe and Watchtower.  You could make an argument (and I do) that semi-stickies also provide an extra margin of active safety in evasive maneuvers.  The o.e.m. wheels and tires for my Civic Si are still in the garage for winter use.  When my current tires are worn, the OZ wheels will wear semi-stickies.

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