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Old 05-11-2006, 07:58 PM   #1
Paradenu
Scooby Newbie
Member Sales Rating: (7)
 
Member#: 110037
Join Date: Mar 2006
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Michigan
Vehicle:
2005 STI
WRB

Thumbs up Initial Impressions: Rota Tarmac II's with Hankook Ventus R-S2 Z212

Wheels: Rota Tarmac II (17x7.5" ~19lbs ea.)
Tires: Hankook Ventus R-S2 Z212 (225/45R17 ~22.5lbs ea.)

After about one week of driving on them, these are my impressions of my wheels and tires. I'm grouping them together because I went directly from stock wheels and tires to this setup, so I can't attribute certain differences I feel to just the wheels or just the tires.

For reference, here are my other mods:
- Cobb front and rear sway bars
- Cobb rear endlinks
- SPT catback
- Kartboy shifter bushings

Handling
Where to begin... The differences are night and day. First of all, I'll start with grip. Compared to stock, these things are just insane. Taking corners at speeds that would make my stockers scream for dear life, they just grip and hold the line with no fuss. I have only felt safe getting them to slide in very tight corners as the traction limit is so high that sweepers would require speeds that make me nervous on public roads. That said, break away feels very progressive and controllable. I haven't been able push them really hard in the rain, but I can tell that they grip better than stock tires for sure. They also seem to cut though water pretty well just going down the road on the highway. Overall, my car feels much more planted and stable in corners.

As far as steering is concerned, I have noticed that the steering wheel feels a bit heavier. I count this as a plus since it helps the car feel more planted IMO. It doesn't feel so heavy that you have to strain to turn the steering wheel, but it's noticeable none the less. Pretty much the only negative thing I have to say about the handling is how they follow grooves and uneven road surfaces. For instance, the road in front of my house is kind of troughed just to the left and right of the center of the lane from people driving on it. If I am not perfectly in those troughs my car pulls fairly hard to the left or right. In the city especially, my steering wheel (and car) gets pulled around a lot on bad roads. This isn't a *huge* issue to me, but it gets annoying fighting the steering wheel all the time on some roads.

Acceleration & Braking
I didn't notice too much of a difference in my acceleration. If I dragged my car I would probably notice a difference in my times, but I don't drag race so it's not a big deal to me. My butt dyno registers only a very minute difference, so I'm happy in that respect. Initially I felt a big difference in brake feel though. I don't know if it is because of the added weight or less leverage or what, but my brakes didn't feel quite as strong as before. After driving with them for a week I don't notice it as much, so I must just be getting used to it. During hard braking I think the car stops even faster than before due to the extra grip, so I can't tell for sure if it's an actual difference in performance or just brake feel. If pressed for an opinion I would have to say it's just feel.

NVH
Due to the stiffer than stock sidewalls I can feel bumps a bit more. I don't think it's enough to worry about, even if you're concerned about having too bumpy of a ride. My car does, however, sound like a truck going down the road now. It's not super loud, but there is a light humming sound from the tires. Frankly, I don't care about the noise. If one of your goals is to achieve a quiet ride though, these tires will definitely NOT help you get there.

Verdict
I absolutely love these wheels and tires. I would buy them both again without hesitation. I might try Falken RT-615's for my next set of tires just to try something different, but it won't be because I am dissatisfied with the performance of the Hankooks. I think if you value performance over NVH like most of us here do, you would be happy with them. If you have a significant other also driving your car that doesn't have the same priorities as you though, they probably wouldn't like them very much.

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Last edited by Paradenu; 10-08-2006 at 02:57 PM.
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