Monday, December 24, 2007

Let's chat, shall we?

We'll start out talking about tires.

I have to admit that I unfairly maligned these Falken FK-452's based on price tag alone. While they're not as good as the Pilot Sports that were on the car when I got it, they seem to perform as well (thus far, at least) as the Pilot Sport A/S's that I liked so much, at least in the dry. We'll see how they do rain when I get a chance to drive in some. They have it in the acceleration department all over the Conti Sports they replaced; with the new tires it takes serious effort to get so much as a flicker from the traction control light, while the Contis had it flickering like a strobe under even moderately heavy acceleration. Departure characteristics are much more benign as well. The Conti Sports were greasily queasy at the limits of adhesion on a cloverleaf, while the new tires almost politely tap you on the shoulder and say "This is all there is, kid, are you sure you want to be doing this?" The compound is soft, yes, but should provide more life than the Pilot Sports. (There's no such thing as a free lunch in the dry traction department; it always surprises me when folks buy tires that wear like Rug-Rite carpet and then bitch because the family bus goes into lurid, howling slides cornering at three MPH in the Kroger parking lot.) Incidentally, the salesguy was talking through his hat about them being run-flats. While they are indeed stiffer of sidewall than most tires I've used, they're no more run-flat than the Goodyear Blimp.

This does, however, have another blog tie-in.

Some interesting commentary was triggered by my initial whine-fest about NTB. For starters, there was a lot of well-meaning advice about speed ratings and cheap tires and so forth. It wasn't needed, really, but the posters couldn't have known that, since I've never sat around and nattered about tires here before. Oddly, a couple of the same posters also took umbrage at my description of being condescended to because of my gender, one regular poster going so far as to label it misandry. You can't have it both ways. Think about it: If a guy had a blog where he constantly went on about his sports cars and motorcycles, would you try and explain the difference between H, V, and Z speed ratings to him, or would you assume that he already possessed that information?


Carteach said...


I might resemble that remark, a bit. But... thats par for the course with me. I am an equal opportunity pisseroffer. Nothing to do with gender, politics, etc...

Long ago, I had a conversation with a truly racist son of a ... He was blabbering on, till I stopped him.
I told him I treated everybody the same, like they were a blithering idiot, and there was no point worrying about skin or anything else.

I'm really fair that way.

Tam, you are one of the least stupid people I 'know' here on the net.

Jay G said...

I'll step up here, Tam.

I'm a car nut, and I couldn't tell you what speed rating tires my truck has... I learned, long ago, not to push the envelope, so to me, speed rating's not all that important. Since I have no desire to watch my car insurance payments go higher than my actual car payments, I keep the speed modest.

And as such, it doesn't matter whether my tires are rated for 100, 120, or 140 MPH...

Matt G said...

I was wondering if you were going to let that stuff pass.

Carteach said...

He he... I rate the tires on my Titan in 'Oh Crap' numbers.

The more 'Oh Crap' I make it past without problems, the better I like them.

As it is, the round things I have on there now are so bloody hard I can steer with the back end, almost as well as the front. Touch the gas a bit harder, and WEEEE.

Cheap tires suck.

CGHill said...

I took a look at those Falken tires, and surprisingly, they can be had in a size suitable for my ride, though I've been trying to get away from the semi-annual tire-swap made necessary by this town's true nine-season climate. (I'm currently wheeling about on Dunlop SP Sport Signatures, which seem well-matched to this car's modest limits.)

A couple of Mazdas ago I had a set of Michelin X-Ones, which somehow managed to wear like iron and still provided better-than-decent grip.

Never tried the Contis, though I see a lot of them around town.

Tam said...

I was impressed by the Conti mo-cycle tires my GPZ550 wore back in the day when even sportbike tires were bias-ply (Blitzes, I believe they were? Sport-touring tires, at any rate), and I used nothing but Conti Sports on my 924S, but this latest set just wasn't up to the rather modest (by current standards) demands of the Z3.

J.R.Shirley said...

I trust you for the important things, sweetie.

Dunno if you've had a Dirty Ho before, but I'll be sure to bring framboise lambic and Hoegaarden the next time I see you.

Merry Dougmas!

Anonymous said...

You know, Tam, it's comments like that last one that always make me associate the word "girly" with you. It's no wonder the NTB robot didn't take you seriously.

( Now, I'll duck just in case you've figured out how to slap through the internet.)

Anonymous said...

I was working on a comment based on unsolicited cooking advice women give me in the grocery store, but as I typed I had it pointed out to me that I shop generally between six and seven, which is when the "just divorced and looking for fun" women prowl the stores.

Now I'm just creeped out.

Rabbit said...

I had a set of Falkens on a car several years ago and they didn't let me down. I, however, am at an age where I understand that sometimes it's best to stand mute.

Of all things, I also had a set of Michelin X Ones on the Zook. Wore like steel, they did. Finally wore them out and replaced them a year ago. For some reason, I still like Goodriches.


Anonymous said...

You're doing fine. Tantrum's almost over. Once you settle down, go back and read the actual information you offered in your post--all your adoring public had to go on. Then read once more the clarifying information your commenters offered in response. Things will start to look different to you.

In about 1000 km (or two more restatements of the theme, whichever comes first), you'll be going out for beers with that salesman.

And for Christmas' sake, don't forget to re-torque those lug nuts.

Tam said...

"I was working on a comment based on unsolicited cooking advice women give me in the grocery store..."

Oh, my side of the aisle has its stereotypers as well.

For example, women who think men can't be good with children. I tend to direct them to

Anonymous said...


As a longtime pickup pilot, I'm well versed in the vertical loading resistance of tires, not so much in their resistance to lateral thrust. Payload counts, cornering speed doesn't.

I do have some degree of expertise in the realm of rubber for sport touring bikes; I know, for example, that Avons last forever but get squirrely at high lean angles, while Metzelers stick better but die sooner.

T'ain't never heerd of them Falkens; mayhaps I should inquire when it comes time for the Majestic 4X4 to get new shoes later this year. Any idea who the parent company is?

Anonymous said...

I still think that the best bike tires I've ever had were the Conti SuperTwins that came on my R65 when I bought it in '86.

As for car tires... no, I couldn't tell you what the speed ratings are, either. I will, however, always avoid Bridgestones - there were a set on my RX2 when I bought it, and I must say... they wore like iron, and gripped the road about as well... that is, they slid across the pavement like a sheet of steel would. Yech.

Anonymous said...

Think about it: If a guy had a blog where he constantly went on about his sports cars and motorcycles, would you try and explain the difference between H, V, and Z speed ratings to him, or would you assume that he already possessed that information?

Are you new to this internets thing? I'm convinced that if Leonardo Da Vinci himself came back from the dead and started an art blog, he'd get knowitalls in his comments criticizing his compositional work.

There is no subject too trivial for the cyber cliff clavens to let go uncorrected, regardless of gender.

Anonymous said...

I ran Falken V-rateds on my BMW 735i and subsequent 735il, ('90 and '91 models, respectively)

Fantastic in every respect, except for tread-life....but hey, that's the price of admission for performance tires.

Surprisingly, I once fitted a set in of the same size in a Kelly Springfield Z rated on the 'il. Know what? About 5% less grip, and wore like a Michelin luxo-sedan tire.

As it is now, I'm in the automotive business, and I'd not reccommend a Conti to my ex, or even her lawyer. They're worse than "that bad."

For the big bikes, Dunlop rules. Check out damn near any Gold Wing or H-D, and you'll see.

Oh, and do keep the side o' the car which is the subject of the discussion down, and the shiny side facing up, okay?

Merry Christmas!

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Anonymous said...

pdb, the fact that Tam inaccurately stated data regarding speed ratings could leave one to suspect that on the subject she was not "up to speed":-) I've worked in various positions in the auto and bike industries off and on, and the holes in knowledge of even the professionals made me realize this is the norm. Having my best friend die because of a questionable tire choice makes me a little sensitive on the subject of tires. And no, I don't consider myself an expert on the subject.

CGHill said...

Did anyone notice the Michelin ad on the front page?

Anonymous said...

"For the big bikes, Dunlop rules. Check out damn near any Gold Wing or H-D, and you'll see."
Dunlops are good for the price, epecially for fair weather riders. I spend the extra money for the Metzlers. They may cost more then Dunlops, and not last as long, but the difference in rain makes it a no-brainer to me. On wet roads they have more traction then I have nerve.

jeff said...

How much do you play with tire pressure? I vary around 5 psi (usually up) from the manufactures suggested for street driving, and more than that based on track and conditions. Plus changes in profile size, width, ect. I just had a chat about tire performance/durability regarding some test Z3's, I didn't pay much attention because I don't own one. It had some rather unique issues though, I'll look the gentleman up and ask when I go back to work next week.

NotClauswitz said...

If the tire doesn't have knobs I'm not much interested, I used to be but that was a while ago.
But really, if a guy had a blog where he constantly went on about his sports cars and motorcycles I would assume he was fourteen and posting from his mother's basement unless there was substantial proof otherwise, and even then I'd be suspicious. But that's because guys ALWAYS lie about that stuff, and gas mileage too.

Tam said...

"It had some rather unique issues though, I'll look the gentleman up and ask when I go back to work next week."

For starters, the pronounced camber of the rear wheels will eventually leave you with a tire that is chewed up along the inside third and still okay looking outboard. Like your average 3-series but worse.

perlhaqr said...

I always find myself more worried about "load range E" than "speed rating Z" on my tires. :D

Anonymous said...

Hell, I just tought you were as cheap as me.
They teach condescending in sales school. I would have never thought it might be applied more to a woman than a man.
Just goes to show yuo can learn something new every day

Brandon said...

Little late in the game for me to throw my oar in, but here goes:

My Saturn L200 has a set of...uh...Toyo tires, I think. They don't go flat, and, uh...they ride OK and...they squeal like banshees in a tight parking-lot turn.

Yeah. Over the years, I've gone from a VW Rabbit to a series of old pickups to my current car. I do all my own maintenance and the vast majority of the repair work, meaning the stuff that doesn't require specialized equipment. Still, I know precisely squat about tires other than how to change them, how to read the sidewall to get the size, and how to read the damn sticker on the car for the proper pressure, something most tire jockeys seem unable to do in my experience.

Thus, I respectfully decline to offer advice to Tamara on how to shoe her steed, and somehow my manhood isn't threatened by that.

I've observed my wife get the "Hey, there, little lady" treatment often enough to trust her judgment in recognizing it when it happens. I'm a heavyset, white, southern male, and so it's been assumed by other heavyset, white, southern males that I have a sheet and hood hanging in my closet, but I do not. People make wrongheaded assumptions all the time, and it's not misandry to be offended and point it out when it happens.