Karlino Miata Tire Chosen & Installed, But…

In a recent post about Miata tire replacement research, I was close to finding a good compromise tire for my 1999 Mazda Miata, Karlino.

Karlino in a tire quandary...

You see, earlier this week I noticed Karlino’s handling became unpredictable & worrisome.  I then noticed my left rear tire losing air pressure.  I concluded that the tire had a slow leak.  So, after work I took Karlino to my local Discount Tire store.

My local Discount Tire Retailer

In the course of reviewing my Miata’s tires they strongly suggested I needed to replace my front tires ASAP!  Well, I already knew that…since last November…

My previously worn front tires, this picture is from NOV-2009.

The tire I had already considered had a special gift card offer – it worked out to almost 1 free tire out of the 4.  The gift card promo was ending on May 1st, 2010.  That & a favorable 0% Discount Tire card promo swayed me to go ahead & purchased my new tires.

Discount Tire Card

The guys at the shop did a nice, quick & clean job of mounting, balancing & installing these new tires – these guys are ALWAYS hustling!

The Discount Tire guys, fast at work on Karlino!

Discount Tire guy prepping to torque the lug nuts on Karlino...

The tires I chose to purchase are Bridgestone Potenza RE960 Pole Position, in the 195/60-14 size, up from the original size of 185/60-14.  I am now debating having gone to a slightly wider tire on the OEM 6″ rim width….

Bridgestone Potenza RE960S Pole Position - My new tires!

Driving Karlino is smoother & very quiet.  I thought the slightly taller tire (but same 60 aspect ratio), along with the wider footprint, would grant me renewed confidence in daily driving & more autocross corner traction.  Well, it’s not so!  There is a slight delay when I make a quick steering input.  Trying to hold the line in a constant radius corner is concerning.  I feel as if I have to correct the steering angle multiple times through the corner.  I also don’t know where the limit of traction adhesion is.  I’m almost afraid to get there as I don’t know how this tire would react at the limit.

Cornering grip explained...

In addition, the more I look at Karlino, with the bigger tires… it  sort of reminds me of one of the animated cars in the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

Karlino on the new "fat" Bridgestone Potenza tires

Benny the Cab, from the movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

After 3 days of driving with these new, unknown tires, & even raising the air pressure to 35 PSI (up from 28), I went back to the Discount Tire store.  I discussed my concerns & was informed I had up to 30 days to make a decision to change them for full credit (just as long as the are in relatively, like new, condition).

The new, "wonky", Bridgestone Potenza RE960 Pole Position tire...

Racing Ready is looking forward to better driving experiences…once I make the correct tire decision.

Dan

P.S. – I will have to temper my enthusiasm for autocrossing for a couple of months, as my work schedule has me now working on Saturdays & Sundays, when autocross & track events occur.  Damn, how counter-productive for me!

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4 thoughts on “Karlino Miata Tire Chosen & Installed, But…”

  1. I had these same tires on my STI actually and like you i was not too happy with them.
    The sidewall seems really soft and the tires dont give feedback really well, both thru steering and thru noise. I got to give it to this tire about wet traction though, i think it has great wet traction, not that thats a big selling point here in SA though….
    I would say if u still have the 30 day return option, go for it! and do some more reaserch and get something ur happy with; you dont want to be riding around ~20k miles with tires u dont like.
    Im not too familiar with options for 14 inch tires but the new RT-615’s same size as yours cost the same off of vulcan tire.com and ive heard good things about the new compound they are using… u should check em out…
    good luck!

  2. It’s so hard to get it ‘right’ when selecting a tire, as a specific one can work good on one car but not another. Best bet is to go to tirerack and read reviews from people with the same or similar cars. I could go on and on about my Yokohama AVID’s but honestly they might suck on a Miata. I went from a 205/45 on 17×6’s to a 215/40 on 18×7’s and haven’t looked back since. I think when you’re in the 40-zone on sidewalls you can play with 200+ tire widths, but with 60-series sidewalls even 195 might be too much. My sidewalls look straight up&down while those tires look bulged on the Miata.

  3. Hey Dan, Sorry to hear you don’t like the RE960’s. I can second Oscar’s recommendation on the Falken 615’s – that’s what I had on Squishy a few years back. They lasted almost 2 years, and about 12k miles, with about a year of that running at almost all Spokes AND SASCA events. I’ve also heard very good things about the Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Specs, and just noticed they have them in a 14″ size now on TireRack. Good Luck!

  4. Hello, I apologize for contacting you in this fashion, but I think you might be interested in submitting your site to my new sports directory…at thesportszone.org

    I’m assuming comments are moderated so when I click submit this post won’t automatically appear on site, if it does, I again apologize.

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