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Thread: time for tires

  1. #1
    Gluon
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    time for tires

    My Atom is sporting the Yokohama Advans, 205/50 15s in the front and 225/45 16s in the rear. These tires are about shot. This Atom will be driven on the street only and on trips up to 200 miles a day. it will see lots of straight roads but also lots of mountain curves. I will surely be caught in rain storms...I will park it during downpours, learned that the hard way! I am looking for a performance summer tire but one with both dry and wet capabilities. TireRack.com advises against the Yokohama's in the wet. The Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 ranks at the top of their list. I know this is as subjective as "what color makes the best looking Atom" but I don't have a lot of experience yet with this car.
    Thanks for any advise.
    Guy

  2. #2
    Electron Lane's Avatar
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    I've tried a handful of tires on the Atom over the years and the main thing that I learned is that the car is very sensitive to tire selection. Go with a tire that's a little too all-season friendly, and you give up a lot as a trade-off. For example, I tried a set of Falken Azenis for a short time for both track and street. Not sure where that tire rates now, but it has been a highly-regarded tire for high performance street and light track use by owners of practically every type of car. My opinion on them on the Atom - not nearly enough grip and not predictable at their limit, which I found to be lower than I would have expected. No idea why - maybe it has something to do with the weight of the car. In fact, I look at my experience with these tires now and would consider them dangerous to use on an Atom.

    I've now been through several sets of Toyo R888 tires and have used them in all weather conditions except snow and they work very well. Never an issue in the pouring rain, even with standing water on the road, at normal highway speeds. Sufficiently grippy on the track for the occasional auto-x or HPDE, and they have a reasonable life expectancy. I have found that they heat cycle out before they run out of tread, but this was noticeable at their limit during track use only.

    The biggest improvement I've seen so far was from dramatically increasing the width of the rears. My last set of R888s were 245 width, the current are 275. What a massive difference in straight line and cornering grip when the rears are widened, and an improvement in the balance of the car as well. It tamed what I felt was the biggest weakness of the car, its tail-happy nature (IMO). And the wider width doesn't seem any worse in the rain either. So, big thumbs up for these Toyos from me. This car should have come from the factory with a wider rear tire than a 225 because it makes a heck of a difference.
    Ariel Atom 2, Ecotec 300, owner since 2007. Drive, Detail, Improve, Repeat. Visit my website.

  3. #3
    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyIII View Post
    I am looking for a performance summer tire but one with both dry and wet capabilities. TireRack.com advises against the Yokohama's in the wet. The Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 ranks at the top of their list. I know this is as subjective as "what color makes the best looking Atom" but I don't have a lot of experience yet with this car.
    Random tires (even top-rated ones) on an Atom is a bit of a gamble. The car is so light and the tire pressures so low that performance comparisons on other vehicles can be completely misleading. I've run AO48's for all but 100 miles or so of my Atom's 34,000 miles. Here is a video showing what happens if you throw out the anchor in heavy rain:



    The AO48's did a lot better than I expected them to. There was a bit of a wiggle, but nothing terrible.

  4. #4
    Fermion
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    The TireRack test I see on their site show the Yokohama' fastest in the wet. They changed the AD08's last year. The new tire is an AD08-R and is great in both dry and wet.

  5. #5
    Gluon
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    Thanks guy for the feed back. I realize that the weight of the car would probably make a marked difference in the tire performance. Lane, I have a dumb question for you, did you have to up size your wheels to run the275s?

  6. #6
    Electron Lane's Avatar
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    I still run the Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 wheels, 15" in the front and 17x9 4x100 et23 in the rear. Bimmerworld.com special ordered the rears for me in 2011 (came from the UK) and the price was around $220 apeice, if I recall correctly. At that time, other sources included 5xracing.com, outmotoring.com, and good-win-racing.com. I'm sure there are other options aside from the TD wheels these days that probably don't need to be special ordered. Sector111 is probably worth checking as well.

    Fender fabrication was another matter. I do recall seeing someone making & offering wider rear fenders recently, either on this forum or the other one. You'll have to do some searching. Pics of fabricating the fender mounts as well as a view of the tire comparison can be seen on my website in this gallery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Kennedy View Post
    The car is so light and the tire pressures so low that performance comparisons on other vehicles can be completely misleading.
    This could not be more true.
    Ariel Atom 2, Ecotec 300, owner since 2007. Drive, Detail, Improve, Repeat. Visit my website.

  7. #7
    Gluon
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    Thanks Lane, your work looks great!

  8. #8
    Electron Karl's Avatar
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    I second all of Lane's conclusions about tire width and selection.
    300hp K20A | "It'll never go, my dears! Not if he's had anything to do with it."

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