Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
158 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It’s time for a new set of tires. I know there are lots of threads and opinions on this subject and maybe because of that, I am having a little trouble coming to a decision on what to buy.

My ’91 currently has a set of 205r60-14 Michelin Pilots (which are no longer available) on the 14” Campy alloy rims it came with. They handle OK at speed on dry pavement but the steering has always felt heavy to me, particularly at low speeds despite power steering. Plus the speedometer reads low.

I have never particularly liked the looks of large aftermarket rims with low profile tires, and when I see them on Honda Accords and pick-ups, I can only laugh when I think of the expense that someone went to for those rims and tires on a vehicle that doesn’t really benefit from them. Besides, I know that narrow tires often provide better traction on wet roads and in the snow and less hydroplaning. Look at old photos of a Model T going through deep mud and snow.

I am not interested in changing to 15” or 16” rims so I think I want to go down to either the original 185r70-14s or perhaps 195r70-14s with a T or H speed rating.

The advantage to the 195r70-14s as I see it is a slightly higher ride height (already quite low with the oil sump skid plate installed). The advantage to the 185r70-14s might be a little more accurate speedometer. The question I have is whether handling is significantly different and if anyone using the narrower 185s occasionally experiences a loss of rear end traction on dry pavement when hard cornering due to the smaller footprint.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
820 Posts
It’s time for a new set of tires. I know there are lots of threads and opinions on this subject and maybe because of that, I am having a little trouble coming to a decision on what to buy.

My ’91 currently has a set of 205r60-14 Michelin Pilots (which are no longer available) on the 14” Campy alloy rims it came with. They handle OK at speed on dry pavement but the steering has always felt heavy to me, particularly at low speeds despite power steering. Plus the speedometer reads low.

I have never particularly liked the looks of large aftermarket rims with low profile tires, and when I see them on Honda Accords and pick-ups, I can only laugh when I think of the expense that someone went to for those rims and tires on a vehicle that doesn’t really benefit from them. Besides, I know that narrow tires often provide better traction on wet roads and in the snow and less hydroplaning. Look at old photos of a Model T going through deep mud and snow.

The advantage to the 195r70-14s as I see it is a slightly higher ride height (already quite low with the oil sump skid plate installed). The advantage to the 185r70-14s might be a little more accurate speedometer. The question I have is whether handling is significantly different and if anyone using the narrower 185s occasionally experiences a loss of rear end traction on dry pavement when hard cornering due to the smaller footprint.



the grip level will be defined by the compound of the tire you buy, not the profile. tires have wear ratings these days ... a 3 digit number and a letter for traction designation in the code on the side ... for instance an A 200 will be very sticky and wear out fast and a D 600 will be a lot less sticky and wear for a long time. its not an ideal system but at least gives you an idea of what you are dealing with. the 60 vs 70 side wall heights will define the transitional response and ride quality. the 60 series tire will have a stiffer sidewall which equates to a higher spring rate and a crisper response and harsher ride vs a 70 series tire which will have a softer sidewall and a somewhat slower response . if the car is stock than i suggest that the 70 series tire is the better deal and the dif between a 195 or 185 in a functional sense will be not noticeable assuming no clearence issues. the difference in rolling diameters will be a function of manufacture.

tire selection is a strict function of what you do with the car, the conditions it lives in and what you expect it to do for you. once you figure those out, the selction is almost obvious...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
There's no such thing as a simple tire question.

My '89 Quad had 195/60's, stiffer springs and shocks and wider bars and I was still running out of rubber, I drive what I'd consider to be moderately aggressive. When they finally wore out I got a set of Michelin 205/55's and it made a noticeble difference, the car handles beautifully.

I think there's a lot to be said about tire ratings and the like, but if you want absolute performance, get a set of summer only/high performance tires in the 205/55 size, maybe read the owner reviews at Tire Rack, what you're looking for is 'Liveliness' to counter act some of the inherent disadvantages of what's basically a 50 year old suspension design. I do not like my Michelins, they are 'dead' and devoid of any real road feel....a Michelin characteristic, even in performance tires, although they stick to the road like glue. And I feel your pain about the steering, blame it on vintage '60's worm and roller technology, there's not much to be done about that, either.

I would think that larger wheels and tires with a lower aspect ratio would not do much more than make the ride unbearably uncomfortable, there's a limit on absolute adhesion and road feel you can get from the suspension set up, so stay with the 205's, going back to 195's will diminish overall performance and feel.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top