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Cheap high perf tires 15" vs handling


Cheap high perf tires 15" vs handling

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    Cheap high perf tires 15" vs handling

    At tirerack I saw that Bridgestone Potenza S-03 Pole Position and Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-DS (top max performance summer tires according to their survey) among others with the size of 195/50/15 seems to have great prices.
    And considering those tires wear fairly quickly this seems very interesting!

    Compared to 195/60/14 the 195/50/15 is only 2.3% smaller in diameter.
    And the price is almost half of the more popular 205/50/15 (0.6% smaller diameter) and 225/45/15 (1% smaller diameter).
    I don't think the load decrease is significant (am I wrong?) as it is still over 1000lbs (per tire).
    There would be a slightly reduced contact patch but the tires would also be lighter.

    Question 1: why are the 195/50/15 so much cheaper?

    Question 2: For handling, what differences would there be between the 195/50/15 and the 205/50/15 or 225/45/15? For spirited driving? for Auto-X/Solo II?

    I recall some chart somewhere that the best wheel sizes to tire sizes are:
    185/ 5.5" 195/ 6" 205/ 6.5"
    215/ 7" 225/ 7.5" (Is this chart right?)
    but can go up one size (e.g. the original rims are 5.5" which handle 195/60/14 well). So according to that chart a 15x6" rim would be best for a 195/50/15 tire.

    Question 3: What problems would running 15x6.5" rims (e.g. rota slipstreams) have for this size?

    Any comments?
    Or is there a better forum to put this in?


      1) First of all the S03's are on sale, so they're normally not that cheap. My second guess would be popularity. Supply and demand would make you think the more popular 205-50 would be cheaper... but my guess is they make it more expensive so they can make more money.

      2) Well, you sorta already answered this question. Wider is typically better. And depending on what type of driving/racing you're doing, you may prefer a certain size tire (gearing, ground clearance, weight, overal diameter...). How much of a difference they will make? Thats debatable, and probably quite subjective.

      3) That chart is fine, but its not a rule. There isn't going to be a hard and fast rule. Running 195-50-15's on a 15x6.5 is going to be perfectly OK. People do it all the time. I've always run a 195-55 on my 15x6.5's.

      Personally, I don't like the 195-50-15 tire size. Its too small for me. They look puny and I wouldn't like that the car would sit a tiny bit lower to the ground compared to a 205-50 or 195-55. Although I have to admit, the fact that the S03's are so cheap in a 195-50-15 made me think about getting them (since I've been strapped for cash, need tires, and would LOVE to try the S03's).

      Lastly, your comment:
      Originally posted by etrig
      And considering those tires wear fairly quickly this seems very interesting!
      I'm a little confused. What exactly seems interesting since they wear quickly??


        Thanks for the reply Colin

        I've gone through quite a few tires (most high perf Yokos) and I too would love to try the S-03s.

        What I meant about interesting is that I would not normally consider a max performance tire as they usually cost alot and wear so quickly (and I go through tires fairly quickly). But I noticed with these prices the cost per mile gets reasonable.
        Of course if I had the funds, the S-03 205/50/15 on a nice set of rims would be already on the car - and a new paint job (I'm not improving fast enough in repairing rust) and ...

        That's good to know that the 195/50/15 will fit the 15"x6.5" rims.

        There seems to be lots of other excellent inexpensive tires at this size, with some, like the S-03, on special.
        And for 15", it is the only size for some of them (e.g. the top rated Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3)

        I was wondering if the way the tire manufactured was somehow different between the 195 vs the 205 which might account for the cost difference. (which maybe affects the handling?)

        As the tests on high end tires at Tirerack usually on 17" or 18" low profile, I wonder just how that translate down to 15" not quite so low profile...

        The slightly smaller size (diameter of 22.7" versus the OEM 23.2") has the car a minimal .3" lower. Which is almost like driving on a well worn tire. The difference in looks would be worth the tradeoff for me.
        For somebody with a large drop, it might be significant (e.g. car is illegally low or scrapes much more).

        The gearing is a good point I didn't think of. I guess if somebody stays in 2nd gear through most of an autocross/solo II course, hitting the red line would be at 2.3% slower speed. But I'm not that good in solo II and if I was, it would be on Hoosier Autocross or something similar anyway.

        A smaller lighter tire would also slightly increase the torque so could help straight line acceleration but without a limited slip, wheel spin would more slightly prevelant in cornering especially as it would have a smaller contact patch versus a 205...

        So a 205 would, in general, be better. But with a significant price difference, price is a factor. For the same price as a regular performance tire on 205, getting a great performance tire on 195... it could be quite the upgrade...?

        e.g. Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 195/50/15VR at $356 for a set ($89 each) or S-03 195/50/15WR at $304 at set ($76 each), versus the Yokohama ES100 205/50/15VR at $300 for a set ($75 each) (S-03 at 205/50/15WR are $520 for a set)


          I don't really want to read all that, but for autocross if you want street tires, get Falken Azenis, Kuhmo ECSTA Supras, or Yokohama ADVAN Neovas. 205/50/15 is a good size to start with.


            Interesting tire that Yokohama ADVAN Neovas - that was the first I had heard of them. They apparently are on the Lotus Elise.
            And noticed that in general that 195/50/15 is a very popular size for the miata which might explain their availabilty and lower price.
            Saw this in the miata forum which talked about all these tires pro & cons