Being four years old and covering only 12,000 miles the RCZ R sits on its original factory spec Goodyear’s. The fronts were just above the markers, and the backs like new.
As with all tyres, rubber only remains supple for so long, and with the decrease in front tread, the R had started to push wide and understeer in anything but the driest of conditions.
It was time to buy new shoes.
Having a look at Camskill (the best place for the cheapest tyres delivered), I found prices ranged massively for the 235 40 19 size I needed.
At the top of the pile the Yokohama V103 Advan Sports were £205 per corner, and at the bottom end, an Accelera Phi would cost £47.85 a tyre. So for a full set of budgets, you could buy one Yokohama.
Why wouldn’t you go for the cheapest? It makes perfect sense, and motoring is already expensive enough, right?
Looking at those Accelera’s and the tyre rating didn’t look too bad, C for Economy, C for wet weather and 70 dB for tyre noise. Compare that to something a bit more upmarket like the Continental Premium Contact 6, and they rate C for Economy, A for wet weather and 72 dB.
On the face of it the differences seem minor, the £47 per tyre Accelera’s are just as good on economy, a little worse in the wet and quieter than the premium Conti’s.
As good as tyre labels are, they don’t necessarily go far enough in telling the full story.
Cheaper tyres will often have a harder, more basic compound and construction. Yes, they’ll last longer as the rubber is tougher, but they also won’t grip as well nor stop as well, especially in the wet. Tyre Reviews tested the budget vs premium theory, and the wet braking was rather shocking….
Naturally, with 270 BHP and 330 Nm going through the front wheels I wanted something that would grip well in all conditions and not understeer like the current rubber has ended up doing.
Having worked with Continental on the Black Chili road trip, I had a look at their offerings in the 235 40 19 realm.
Camskill had ContiSportContact 3, 5, and Premium Contact 6’s in stock. The best wet weather rating (A) was the Premium Contact’s; it also had the best Economy rating (C) from all Conti’s listed. Two days later and they were sitting at Pristine Alloys waiting to be fitted.
Tyre fitting – Don’t just let anyone do it
I did have a rather generous offer of free fitting thanks to Continental, but that was at Kwik Fit. As much as I’d have loved to pay nothing to get them fitted I wouldn’t trust Kwik Fit to change the tyre on my bike, let alone 19” tyres on brand new warranty replacement alloys. Hence taking them to Pristine Alloy Wheels in Milton Keynes. They fit tyres all day every day to a plethora of different size wheels, the larger the wheels are, the trickier they tend to be when fitting tyres.
Having used Pristine the year before when turning the Peugeot 207 to top-notch show and shine winning condition, I knew I wouldn’t trust anyone else with the RCZ.
Arriving at 8:00 on a chilly Tuesday morning the wheels were off in no time, the new rubber was waiting in the wings.
Front tyres off and something rather concerning is spotted. The outer edges are at around 1.7 mm, but the inner sides were scrubbed out with the cords starting to come through in places. There’s no way to spot this unless you look under the car at the inner shoulder. The guys weren’t too happy with them both wearing like that, the NS front was worse than the OFS, most likely due to the roundabouts in Milton Keynes.
Up went the RCZ for a quick alignment check. Everything was spot on. The camber setup of the R is to blame for the alarming wear — something to remember for next time when the tread gets low.
An hour and a half later and we were all done, fitting paid for and my alloys still in Pristine condition.
What a world of difference some new tyres make, road noise was far less, and grip felt incredible even in the damp morning air. Instead of tiptoeing on the throttle through corners I’m now able to tactically deploy all 330 Nm of torque at just the right point to slingshot the R onto the next straight.
Tyres are always something you shouldn’t scrimp on, at any one time there’s only the surface area of the palm of your hand attaching you to the road at each corner. Your life is in the hands of a section of rubber roughly 12 x 5 cm, so don’t be tight just to save a hundred quid here or thirty quid there, your life is worth more than that.
Think about it next time you buy tyres.