At some point my original (1999) 185/55/R14 Bridgestone tires started running out of life, therefore I started researching of what’s available in Cyprus for my needs.
Nothing fancy actually, more or less I was looking for a set of good branded tires sized as the OEM. Unfortunately at that size I could only find Michelin’s, which I had bad experience with in the past. Not only that, their price was way too high for no reason (€95 each!!!!).
That’s unbelievable! I wasn’t willing to pay such an amount of money for a set of tires of a brand I didn’t really like. So after some research I came across a local shop with pretty good prices and a large variety of tires and alloy wheels.
Even he didn’t have tires at the OEM size of my car though. So instead I got a set of 15″ MSW (division of OZ Racing). In addition I got a set of cool looking
Japanese spec FIrestone Firehawks SZ50EP 195/50/R15 tires.
So at the end, instead of paying €380 for a set of OEM size tires I got a brand new set of alloys and a brand new set of better specs tires for €470 🙂
*UPDATE*: After 4-5 years of good use, my car failed the bi-annual MOT because of low tires tread (and because the mechanic was a b@st@rd).
According to the mechanic, “these tires do still have life on them, but won’t last you another 2 years until the next MOT”. DUDE!!! WTF???
Since I was forced to change my beloved SZ50’s, I started looking for their replacement. Unlike the SZ50s, Firestone’s newer version (Firehawk SZ90μ) looked nothing like them. SZ90s, are asymmetrical type, with several parallel gaps and they look like a simple tire.
Most of my options at a normal price range, were looking similarly, and all were in the “comfortable range”, nothing sporty, except the Toyo Proxes T1R, which I was really tempted buying.
Actually, after researching this matter, I was definitely going for the Toyos, but they were out of stock 🙁
Anyway, I got 4 new SZ90s, for €220, hoping they were going to match their predecessors’ performance. Sadly I was so wrong!!!
SZ90s have a very good grip when accelerating and stopping, road noise is lower, and the ride is a bit more comfortable due to their softness. Also their performance in cornering is good, but something felt weird with the car’s handling, and I couldn’t tell what.
After some testing at 100+Km/h, I found out that when trying to zig-zag at such speeds, the car was handling as if the tires were a big bowl of jelly!!! If i did a fast zig-zag maneuver, the car wouldn’t even react! And sometimes when zig-zag’ing at slower intervals, the car felt as if it was drifting away!
For sure I didn’t expect such a dramatic difference going on a newer tire model of the same good brand/range! I was determined to return the SZ90s and exchange them for Toyo proxes, but sadly they were still out of stock. Online reviews showed that the corresponding Pirelli, Bridgestone, Michelin, Dunlop, were even inferior, so now I’m stuck with these tires 🙁
All the other properties of the SZ90 are good, except this “bouncy” feeling. After some thinking, probably I noticed so big difference going these new tires, because:
- SZ50s’ sidewalls were reinforced (double) unlike SZ90s, and most other brands’ corresponding range tires’ single layer sidewalls.
- SZ50s’ tread pattern was all V’s. There were no tread gaps circling around the tire. Thus there was less possibility for tread to “bend”
It sounds logical… but unacceptable! Below at the left it’s the SZ90 on the left hand side and the SZ50 on the right.
If I knew this in advanced, I wouldn’t rush replacing the excellent SZ50s. But thanks to the MOT douche mechanic, now I’m stuck with the SZ90s…and according to him, now I’m supposed to feel safer driving around!