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Old 12-07-2006, 03:23 AM   #156
Back Road Runner
Scooby Guru
 
Member#: 60082
Join Date: Apr 2004
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Minnesota
Vehicle:
2004 Forester STI
Silver

Default

#1.) what tire are you offering for review (please include size)
Toyo Proxes4
size: 225/45/R17

Vehicles used on: 2002 Subaru Forester

#2.) what is your geographic location
United States, SE Minnesota

#3.) what types of driving events if any (i.e. track, AutoX, RallyX)
No events

However, daily "agressive" driving. I tend to push my cars and tires to and past their limits for fun a little more often than a sane person should.

Conditions experience: asphalt dry/wet, gravel dry/wet/packed/loose rock

#4.) percent of highway vs. city driving
50% each

#5.) your review and personal comments
I got the Proxes4 wrapped around a used set of Rota Subzeros I bought on Ebay. The price was good and they only had one summer on them. Both the wheels and tires were a good investment

Impressions:
I'm impressed. For what would be considerd a high performance tire, they are very civil. Besides having a far shorter sidewall than I was previously used to, these tires are very comfortable. They ride quiet and soak up both small and large bumps well. Yet, they provide good road feel. I'd almost place these in a performance touring tire sort of category.

Since these are performance tires, I have to talk about grip. Well, they're ok. They were designed as an all-season option capable of handling some light snow. In this reguard, they suffered some summer weather grip. This is noticable. When I first got these tires, I was somewhat disappointed. They offer grip a good notch above standard all-season tires, but they don't make you say wow. They feel good, but they just kind of run out of grip a little early.

Wet traction fairs a good deal better. I was actually suprised by their wet traction capability. I was fearing the large tread blocks would hamper wet traction through standing water and hard downpours. Instead, they just shined through. Wet grip levels fall a small amount over dry, but it's very acceptable. These tires have never felt uneasy in wet weather, not in a downpour, not through puddles.

These tires are designed for all-season use, but I removed them prior to any serious snow. What I can comment on is their cold weather use. The compound isn't very sensitive to colder temps, which is good news for those of us living a little farther north.

Earlier I mentioned civility. I think this one of the major focuses of these tires
besides cold weather use. I wouldn't call the tire silent as there is some light drone from the tire. It's noticable but not strong. For a performance tire, I'd consider it pretty quiet. As well, the ride is superb. The sidewall design really does handle the rough stuff beautifully. I was really expecting a lot harsher ride.

If it's comfortable, how bad is handling? Well, pretty good actually. I played with tire pressures a bit trying to find a really good spot. The tire felt very much at home around 35psi or a few above. If you go much above 40psi, they tend to start riding up on the center. Handling crispness varies some by pressure. At 35psi where you have full tread contact, the tire feels...comfortable. Handling isn't razor sharp, but it's also not to a point where it feels mushy. If you up the psi to 40psi or higher to say 45psi, handling tightens up and the tire begins to feel edgy. It's a good sporty feeling with plenty of crispness and nearly no wiggle. High 30's seems to be the sweet spot. I've run them up to their max 51psi just to test out their feel. Not much changes from 45psi. The tires don't really get bouncy either, which is kind of nice.

These tires transition in and out of grip relatively smoothly, no real suprises. Wet or dry, they're pretty easy to use. If I were to complain, I'd say their grip ends slightly abruptly. You just kind of run out at some point, and that's it. Besides some tire squeel which is pretty audible but not annoyingly so, there's not a lot of tell before the grip level ends. You just kind of learn where it is and leave it as that. The tires feel stable and smooth through grip/slip. I think it's primarly because grip levels almost seem constant from grip to sliding back to grip. You just hit that grip wall, and it just sort of sits there. Nothing's gained, nothing's lost.

Since part of my commute with these tires have been gravel, I figure I should comment. These obviously are not gravel tires. There's nothing special here. Their relatively hard compound and large tread blocks don't favor loose gravel. They aren't horrible, but they don't really bite much either. If the gravel road is packed down, they fair a good deal better as grip approaches something more like asphalt. It makes for an uncomfortable tire on gravel. Depending on the surface, the tire can have a good amount of stick or be pretty loose. I found nothing particular with wet gravel roads. If the road gets a little mushy, some tires kind of turn to slicks and end up doing very little. These are somewhat that way, but I really haven't gone through any real mushy stuff with them.

So far wear has been pretty good. The tread compound feels relatively hard, more so than I'd expect from a performance tire. Still, they show very little wear from hard driving and don't seem to chunk/melt like a lesser tire. They scrub a little bit(if I'm using that term correctly) and get a little noisy for a few minutes, but they seem to take abuse with stride. 30,000 miles would seem like no problem for these tires.

Final Thoughts:
If you're in the market for a performance tire but are affraid of the ride comfort, the Proxes4 is a tire you should heavily consider. It's a very civilized option. If I were to complain about anything, it would be road noise. It may only be slightly noticable, but it's still noticable.

I personally would like to see a little more grip, but I understand the trade-off for all-season use. I little more progressive grip limit would be nice too, but again you get a trade-off of crisp and predictable/uneventful handling at the limit. However, wiggle room is kind of nice as long as the transition remains smooth and predictable.

I'm somewhat curious why the tread compound is so hard. I'd be curious to see a version of this tire with a softer compound. It could see it gaining a bit more stick and even a quieter ride. I am suprised that the compound being as hard as it is doesn't really worsen with cold weather. Maybe the change isn't as big as one would see with a softer compound tire.

All in all, it's a very good daily driver performance tire that's easy to work with. The tire itself really has no real negatives. It's well built and functions well.

Update(7-22-07):
A couple intro auto-x events: ~40-50 runs(novice school + test n' tune, lots o' seat time)

Well, needless to say this chewed through the tires well. Being an all season compound, they faired quite well till the current near end of nearly slicks. They hold up well to spirited driving, however, long term heavy driving pays its toll. The tire handles hard driving well. It doesn't get greasy or lose grip. A little extra heat actually helps a little but don't look for a lot of gain. Continuous heavy driving just sort of chews them appart. If you have them as a disposable set, they fair quite well reguardless of their all-season ranking. Grip is good, not tremendously high for a performance tire but good. The tire's stability and easy of use makes it a breeze to work with and is probably one of its better traits. Grip/slip is easily mannaged and transitions are smooth and without really any change of grip levels. The tire has good internal dampening that soak up bumps well, and there is no odd hopping or unnecessary wiggle when pushed. Handling crispness is good, not stiff, not mushy, comfortable yet responsive.

Minus the autocrossing, these tires would have no problem lasting 4 full spring/summer/falls.

...got some Bridgestone RE-01Rs coming in the mail soon to replace these
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Last edited by Back Road Runner; 07-22-2007 at 10:35 PM.
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