Miata Tire Replacement – SO Many Choices!

If you’ve been following the woes of my Miata, Karlino, you’ll know I’m very much in the market for a new set of tires.  Yes, my friend, that’s all 4, of course!

Tier stacked worn tires - after their serviceable life

Karlino is currently running on a 14” x 5” wheel, the stock size.  The current (getting worn) tires are BFGoodrich TA Traction (NOT!) tires in the 185/60-14 size.

There are a limited amount of decent tires in this size range.  Some have suggested, within this same wheel/tire diameter, to go a little wider, say to the 195/60-14 size.  There is nothing wrong with a little more tire.  Better for safety reasons (rain & short stopping distances!), and autocross cornering (improved traction for reduced course times).  I wonder how much that would affect acceleration, odometer & gas mileage…?

BFGoodrich Traction T/A tires on stock alloy rims

Besides the advice of numerous buddies, both online & in person, I’ve reviewed the resources of Discount Tire.  Their website is helpful, but some of the user comments can be conflicting & confusing.  But since I live less than 1 mile from one of their stores, that is very convenient.  I have done business with them in the past & I’ve been very happy with their services.  In addition, I’ve been starting to look over the information and research at the Tire Rack.  Now they have a HUGE amount of data, much of it from their own testing.  One other obvious source is online forums…but then everybody has a variety of opinions.

Old Tires & Tubes sign

Some of you are asking yourselves, “Why doesn’t Dan do a +1 or +2 upgrade, to a 15” or 16” wheel & tire combination?”  Well, yes, that surely would be nice, but there are at least 2 reasons for not going that direction.

  1. I started out the 1st two SASCA autocross events of 2010 in C Stock – going to a larger wheel size would move me to a different class.
  2. Budget…the major issue!

So… although I’d like a tire that is fair in autocross mode, I need to be honest in that Karlino & I would be best served with a Ultra High Performance All Season tire.  Please realize this is my (aggressive) daily driver.  I think I’ve narrowed down my choice, but am curious to what those of you in the peanut gallery, my readers, think.

Racing Ready is really looking forward to some insightful comments, here…
…I know there’s a great knowledge base of competitive driving folks out there!

Dan

P.S. – Here’s some brand tire models that I’ve considered – what’s your opinion?

  • Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Spec
  • Falken Azenis RT-615
  • Kumho Ecsta MX
  • Hankook RS2
  • Or even a UHP AS Bridgestone Potenza tire…

P.P.S. – I do feel some competition withdrawal, not having participated in an autocross event since 21/FEB/2010…  I was just starting to learn how to improve my autocross course times (Thanks Wally!)…

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