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Tyre Conversion


TurboZutek
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So one of the things that sorta annoyed me about my New Fiesta Titanium from day one was its crashing and overly harsh ride quality. It's not the cars fault really, more a poor match of tyres for Scotland's crumbling roads. The factory tyres I'm sure are wonderful on Germany's well maintained Autobahn, but rubbish on Scotland's M8 and A roads. Not only were my teeth starting to suffer after crashing down an uneven and badly maintained road full of potholes, but the rims can actually be damaged too, with one or two chips appearing on the leading edge.

So what to do, given you can never avoid every bad road surface? Well, slightly taller tyres seemed like an idea!

Before:

FiestaBefore.jpg

Fiesta sitting on the factory 195/45 tyres.

After:

FiestaAfter.jpg

Fiesta sitting on new 195/55 tyres.

I had a few reservations, which I'll attempt to address here:

1. Uh, isn't the speedometer out now that you've changed the wheels rolling radius?

Yes, the speedometer always over-reported the speed by 5 MPH, so if I was doing 30 it would read 35. Now it reads 30, so that has actually improved! The speed was checked against my GPS and also on a calibrated kilometre at Kinning Park industrial estate, Glasgow.

2. Does it feel more sluggish now?

Not that I can notice. This was my biggest concern, that I'd loose 'nippyness' for want of a better word, but it's just as quick with the slightly taller tyres.

3. How's the handling?

More or less unchanged - there is the tiny perception of being slightly further off the ground, but really nothing's different. Still grips the road perfectly and doesn't mind being chucked around at all. On less than perfect surfaces the handling is improved, as the car gets knocked off course less.

4. Any unintended consequences?

As the car now sits a little higher, you don't scrape the front airdam on steep inclines or have to slow down quite so much for speed-bumps. Also, these tyres are a lot quieter than the old ones so road noise is reduced a bit too, though that may have nothing to do with the size change. In addition, there is more rubber presented on the side wall of the tyre, hence kerbing is more likely to skiff the tyre than damage the alloy rim now, though I'm very careful to avoid kerbing the wheels anyway.

5. Any bottoming out or arch rubbing?

None found. As a test I filled the car with people, put some weight in the boot and went for a drive - all was fine.

6. So did it actually work?

I would say yes, it has had the intended effect. The ride is FAR more comfortable and hitting rough patches on the road is no longer a ball-breaking experience. The comfort factor is 100% improved.

So yeah, if you find your Titanium is a bit uncomfortable on UK roads, you could do worse than give this a try.

Chris...

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"crashing overly harsh ride quality"

"ball-breaking"

I dont doubt your claims regarding the ride but I do think you're going a bit over the top.

I have the 17" street pack alloys and love the firm ride, dont like soft rides or "big tyres"

But its your car and you like the difference and thats what matters, thanks for the post and info

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"crashing overly harsh ride quality"

"ball-breaking"

I dont doubt your claims regarding the ride but I do think you're going a bit over the top.

Not really, you'd need to see the roads we have around here to understand though (both the phrases above relate directly to the road quality, as mentioned in my first paragraph). My local council doesn't have £1 to put in the leccy meter, let alone the money required to make a decent job of the roads I'm afraid, especially as my town houses a trucking company and a ton of bus routes which make a right mess. :-(

As a result the tyre fitter I use gets a lot of work repairing alloys.

Also, to clarify I wouldn't say it was a 'soft ride' now either - it still feels very taught while being a little less dramatic on the rough stuff and a 1cm gain doesn't really put us in 'big tyres' territory.

Not like this anyways:

smart-car-monster-truck.jpg

:D

Chris...

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have to agree, the ride is quite shocking on the titanium. will deffernatly think about going up a tyre size when there due if it helps. the Hankook specials arn't much cop either, what make where the 195/55 you got?

The new ones are NANKANG XR611's (Online Review) which cost £180 for 4 wheels fully installed. As always, could have gone cheaper, could have gone dearer, but based on reviews these tyres hit a good value point for me. As you say, the factory tyres didn't impress me much and I was very close to needing to replace all four anyway, especially as the TDCi can have an appetite for front tyres when driven, eh, non-conservatively! :lol:

The tyre fitter for a little extra could have also sorted me out with 195/50's, which would maybe be a good compromise between keeping the low profile look and adding a little extra comfort I guess.

Chris...

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"crashing overly harsh ride quality"

"ball-breaking"

I dont doubt your claims regarding the ride but I do think you're going a bit over the top.

I have the 17" street pack alloys and love the firm ride, dont like soft rides or "big tyres"

But its your car and you like the difference and thats what matters, thanks for the post and info

I'm with you. Recently I changed my 16" to 17" and I just love them.

Myfiesta.jpg

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The Titanium's ride quality on poor surfaces was discussed in this thread a while back but this is the first I've read of anyone actually doing something about it. Very interesting TurboZutek! I suppose you told your insurance company? What was their reaction?

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The Titanium's ride quality on poor surfaces was discussed in this thread a while back but this is the first I've read of anyone actually doing something about it. Very interesting TurboZutek! I suppose you told your insurance company? What was their reaction?

Yeah I checked with my insurance company before I had the rubber swapped - as long as it's no more than two profiles up and I'm not changing the physical alloy wheel itself, they don't give a monkey's; which is handy as if it had changed my renewal any I might not have bothered. If you're concerned of course, I'd recommend you double check with your insurance provider before changing, each has their own set of rules.

Chris...

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Aww, look at the cute wee brake disk in the middle, totally lost in the sea of alloy! :)

Even worse at the back with the drums lol, i had the same make wheels except they were 16's and all silver on my first mk7.

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