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Old 12-05-2010, 01:29 PM   #1
gsrcrxsi
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Default Winter Tire comparison. Mid Atlantic region

hello all,

just want a few opinions. im looking to buy some new winter tires soon, and ive got a comparison of 5 tires from tire rack. price doesnt vary too much.

car: 2010 WRX 5 door
wheels: stock wheels
area: balt-wash metro area. i live in baltimore, but commute to DC for work. so far no snow, but its gradually getting colder.

comparison:


1. so what is the best "bang for buck" tire out of these? or would you even suggest a different tire?
2. do i have to worry about TPMS issues? do i HAVE to replace them, or should i be OK as long as the tire mechanic isnt sloppy with tire removal/install?
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:33 PM   #2
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Best bang for the buck, if you're going to be keeping the car for at least 3 years, would be to pick up a set of new rims to mount the tires on - it doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, but what it will save you is (1) the aggravation of having damaged your factory rims and/or TPMS, during the seasonal change over and (2) the cost of mounting/dismounting a set of four tires, each year (which, depending on where you live and the going rate, can start to catch up to the cost of a second set of alloy 17-inch rims by the 3rd or 4th-year marks). If you can afford TPMS and a TPMS reset tool (or if your dealership is willing to reset your TPMS, either for-free or for a very low fee), then I'd definitely opt for it with your winter set, as it does offer a highway commuter, in particular, another level of security and peace-of-mind....but honestly, for the winter, I'd just tape over the dash idiot light, and inspect your tires more often.

As for the tires? Trek over to the Tire Rack sponsored "Official Winter Tire" thread, and you'll see that there are a few of your local brothers/sisters looking at winter tires, and pretty much, I recommend either a good set of all-seasons (something that's decently winter-capable but affordable, so that you can watch the tire-wear and change them out as soon as they are no-longer winter-capable, since your accumulated-mileage will be an issue, with your commute [while my then-girlfriend/now-wife did some research at Georgetown Med in '98, I did a reverse-commute from DC into Baltimore, to continue my work at Kennedy Krieger on the JHU SOM campus ]) or, as Luke will recommend there, a set of "Performance Winters."

I'd ditch the thought of any of the "Studless Ice & Snows," since they will offer you a less composed highway ride and will compromise you too much in your transition months, which will be much more clear-wet and clear-dry than it will see of anything in terms of frozen precipitation. Yes, those more aggressively winterized tires would've been great for you, during "Snowmageddon," but having lived in Baltimore in both my pre-teen years as well as again during my college years (during which we frequently drove into DC for fun), I know well that that type of snowfall in Baltimore/DC is a once-per-half-decade kind of thing, and during those times, you might as well just stay home, since nothing else is open, anyway. [ But just to be complete, I will debate the three of those for you: The DS-3 isn't worth your hard-earned money - they continue to be bottom-ranked for their sub-genre in virtually every European test of winter tires. The WS70 utilizes a proprietary dual-layer compound, with the overlying layer offering tremendously enhanced traction capabilities on ice and hardpack snow: the problem? that top layer covers only the top ~50% of the tread, and is quickly worn, similarly, due to this "stacking," this tire is among the least "stable," when it comes to subjective "feel," of its fellow sub-genre mates. The Xi2s wear very well, but even so, they offer much to be desired of, in terms of highway-speed stability and tracking accuracy. ]

A V-rated "Performance Winter" is as close to an "all-season" tire as you can get, and still have full-on winter capabilities (sure, the "All-Weather" tires are yet a step closer, but of the ones available in that segment currently, only the Nokian WRG2 is worthy of its price, and given your extensive commute mileage and the fact that tread-depth is one of the fundamental judges of a tire's winter capability: and that you're not likely to simply reserve the Nokian's for exclusive winter use, I'm dropping them from contention, based on renewal costs). With the Dunlop 3Ds, the hard choice comes in the fact that most of the European tests tested the H-variant of this tire, but you're likely to see slightly better highway stability and slightly better wear with the V-variant....
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:02 PM   #3
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wall of text lol.

1. i am "essential personnel" at work. regardless of how bad the weather is, i am expected to be there.
2. i plan to mount the winters to my stock wheels, and then come spring get a nicer set of wheels for summer use, with its own set of tires. im still on the factory tires with 24,000 miles and counting.

could you be more direct? which tires are you recommending? no for the "hardcore" ice&snow category? which from performance winter?

Last edited by gsrcrxsi; 12-05-2010 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:20 PM   #4
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Hey Fellow MAIC'er :wave:

I found a set of the Dunlop Winter Sport 3D's (V-rated) used on here and purchased them. They should be here Wednesday/Thursday.

Have you read the "So winter is here..." thread in the MAIC? (http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2094601)

A couple people in that thread like them for our region. irish44j from the MAIC has owned them for about 10-12k miles and a few winter seasons and praises them.

I have been like you. Trying to find the best tires for our region. LGT+WRX and [email protected] are very knowledgeable. It's easy to get confused since there are so many options!

-Jeff
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:28 PM   #5
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yea i was leaning in that direction, just leaving it open to other opinions
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:41 PM   #6
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what's your budget?
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhat View Post
what's your budget?
$150/tire or less
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Old 12-05-2010, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsrcrxsi View Post
wall of text lol.
I know, that's a problem of mine. Diarrhea at the keyboard.

Quote:
1. i am "essential personnel" at work. regardless of how bad the weather is, i am expected to be there.
Oh, man, that makes for a hard one.

My wife and I are on that list, too (her more than me, though: I can play around with things for about 24-36 hours) - but the thing with her equation is that our commute is all on local roads, and short distances, at that. This means that we can more "aggressively winterize" than for someone who must log many highway miles every day, and for her, that's basically why I chose the Xi2s (c. winter-2008).

So, you're going to have to make a hard decision.....

Like the LGT.com tire guru outahere and another member, DrCloud have had to say:

Quote:
Originally Posted by outahere View Post
This highlights a fundamental choice winter tire buyers need to make. Do you want a tire that will meet the challenges of the worst winter conditions you will encounter (e.g. deep snow or ice) or do you want a tire that will meet the "challenges" of the best winter conditions you will encounter (e.g cold dry pavement).
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCloud View Post
One bit that's been lost here is mweiner2's combination of daily commutes (into Denver, it appears by the mileage) and weekend trips to a job at a ski area (Eldora? Loveland?). There's really no reason for performance tires on the commute, and there are lots of severe winter conditions he's encountering on the trips up the hill.

I lived north of town in Boulder County (great view of Haystack to the south of our house) for several years, and commuted into CU and spent almost each weekend skiing, using an Audi A4 with studded Gislavads. The tires were wasted on the commute, but I always -- always -- was happy to have them on the weekend trips.

So it goes back to outahere's comment about what conditions you're preparing for: the worst, or the most common. If it's the latter, winter on the Front Range calls for all-seasons about 75% of the time. But that other 25% can be dicey. [ note: highlighted for-emphasis ]

Ultimately, I decided the studs were too much for my needs and went with performance winter tires -- it was an earlier version of the Dunlops at the time. HPH
The "Studless Ice & Snows" - which, really, is about as aggressive as you want to go - will get you through the worst of it (i.e. while everyone else is sliding off into the medians on I-95, I can virtually guaranty that, unless you were taken out by another car or that you've managed to high-center yourself, that you'll still be heading towards your destination) they will, when the highway is clear, feel much less secure than any of the "Performance Winter" tires, and will, furthermore, also significantly compromise your emergency maneuvering/response capabilities in either clear-dry or clear-wet conditions (look at the performance differences across the different tire genres and sub-genres in this 2009 Car & Driver article: http://www.caranddriver.com/features...mparison_tests). So, the question becomes whether or not you're willing to compromise in the clear-dry/wet, in order to gain more wintering capabilities.

If you ask me that question, based solely on your highway mileage, then I'd say no, with virtually no uncertainty.

But throwing "essential personnel" into the mix - that changes the picture significantly, and by that, I mean that I'd have to leave the decision up to you, as it truly becomes a personal choice. Would I do it, stepping to the "Studless Ice & Snow" or even perhaps running something like the General Altimax Arctic (or another good "studdable winter" tire: since their tire compound is harder than the "Studless Ice & Snow" tires, despite their tall treadblocks, they tend to offer a bit better highway tracking and slightly better wear characteristics)? I probably would (i.e. although offering significantly less highway tracking precision than a "Performance Winter," it's still not like you'll be reduced to driving only in the slow lane, driving like granny: and while having a much more restricted safety envelop in clear-wet/dry, again, that's not something that you can't at least somewhat compensate for, by altering your driving practices for those months) - but then again, that would be my personal decision, and you may not be willing to make those same compromises.

If you're looking at going with "Studless Ice & Snows," I'd look at the Continental ContiExtremeWinterContact, the Michelin X-Ice Xi2, and the Nokian Hakka R (in no particular order). The Nokians are likely going to be priced out of your budget, but are still at least worth trying to bargain-hunt for. All three of these rank highly in various European and North-American tests, and tend to offer more highway tracking stability than their sub-genre competitors.

RE: "Performance Winter" tires....
Quote:
could you be more direct? which tires are you recommending? no for the "hardcore" ice&snow category? which from performance winter?
^ Basically, any of the big-name "Performance Winters" will do you more than fine. The Dunlops are a very strong tire, so since you posted both the H- and the V- rated variants, I automatically assumed that's where you were headed.

In-truth, the only other recommendation I have would be to perhaps look at the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60, as it's sorta a hybrid between a "Performance Winter" and a "Studless Ice & Snow," and should thus give you some extra snow-moving power.

In your case, the double-whammy of the long highway commute combined with your "must be there" status makes it really hard to say what's likely going to be the best tire for you: and furthermore, that mileage is going to be all hell on your treadwear (which is important, as simple tread-depth is a big part of mobility, though the winter mix).
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Old 12-05-2010, 08:18 PM   #9
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honestly, i didnt even realize that i linked 2 variants of the same tire. i just excluded summer tires, and picked tires in my price range that had good-decent ratings.

what is the difference between the H and V rated dunlop WS3D's? just speed rating? i get the general consensus that the V are preferred, but why? are they better for dry highway driving with the higher speed rating? they are also cheaper too, which is a plus.

plus, even though im buying tires now, im going to push actually installing them as long as i can. my tires now arent worn, and i want to maximize the life of the winters.

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Old 12-05-2010, 09:18 PM   #10
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Check all numbers at 3Ds.
91H
94V

V can carry 1477-1356 = 121lbs more.
It is much sturdier (read stiff) tire with probably harder compound.

Your problems (I will try to be a little more brief than LGT+WRX):

If you go with "studless ice/snow" they will wear down like crazy during warm weather and long commute. You may end up watching your tread deapth very closely and suffer imprecise handling and poorer dry and wet performance all the way. You will need to change tires more often, they may last you 2 seasons.

If you go with "performance winter" then dry, wet and snow will be handled quite nicely. Treadwear will be longer (but you still need to watch the magic 6/32nds when snow traction diminishes greatly) but they will suck (compared to studless ice) on ice.

Questions:
How important is driving on ice?
Are you willing to suffer "studless ice/snow" limitations during mild weather?
How is your storage? How quickly can you change tires?

Maybe you want to pull LGT+WRX trick? He has 2 sets of winter tires: Dunlop 3D and studded Pirelli? In your case it would be 3D V and probably Michelin X-ice Xi2.

Krzys
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsrcrxsi View Post
honestly, i didnt even realize that i linked 2 variants of the same tire.


Quote:
what is the difference between the H and V rated dunlop WS3D's? just speed rating? i get the general consensus that the V are preferred, but why? are they better for dry highway driving with the higher speed rating? they are also cheaper too, which is a plus.
Quote:
Originally Posted by krzyss View Post
Check all numbers at 3Ds.
91H
94V

V can carry 1477-1356 = 121lbs more.
It is much sturdier (read stiff) tire with probably harder compound.
^ Like brother krzyss said, for those of us who like the Vs, that's the reason why. Our reasoning is that a V-rated "Performance Winter" should be the closest thing that you can get to an "all-season" tire, in terms of how the tire wears as well as how it handles in the clear. Sadly, none of us have any real data to support this.

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...ghlight=dunlop

As I said there, it seems that the majority of "Performance Winter" tire testing occurs with the the H-rated variant.

The interplay of speed-rating, sizing, compounding and other "invisible" differences as well as even visible differences (i.e. tread pattern) are all unanswered questions that we as outsiders to the actual intimacy of the specific tire's design/engineering process can only guess towards...with the 3Ds, it seems that at the very least, the V-to-H difference extends to compounding as well as sidewall (and, by logic, also other carcass) differences.

Overall, I'd say that if you wanted a "known quantity" tire, to go for the H-rated variant.

I can speculate as to the advantages and disadvantages of the V-rated variant: I think that they would be better in the clear, based on what logically should be a "harder" compound (in reasoning that the compound must be more stable at higher speeds, and also in reasoning that what the Russians [Auto Review] speculated to be the weak [relative to modern premium studded tires] clear-roads performance of "Studless Ice and Snow" tires is blame to be put on their ultra-soft compounding, in that they do not offer sufficient rigidity to effectively grip the roadway until temperatures dip far, far below freezing), but that they would offer less hardpack snow as well as ice capabilities (take heed of what krzyss said in his reply [BTW, krzyss is one of a handful of true winter tire gurus, both here and on LegacyGT.com] - what I mean here is only relative to the H-rated variant of the same tire).

But alas, to the best of my knowledge, there's no direct cross-comparison of the two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsrcrxsi View Post
plus, even though im buying tires now, im going to push actually installing them as long as i can. my tires now arent worn, and i want to maximize the life of the winters.
That's pretty smart, by my books.

Current testing shows that non-winter-specific tires are much more capable than we originally thought they were, in cold-clear wet and dry conditions. If you can effect the change-over, I'd actually honestly wait until you know you're about to receive frozen precipitation, before making the change.

Including this year, I've been making the change too early, from my summer setup. Armed with this new data, I won't jump so quickly, next year.

Finally, as for the pricing of the H- versus V-rated 3Ds.

That's a weird one, indeed. Typically, pricing is higher for the V-rated than the H-rated. I have no idea why the situation is flipped around on you, this time around, gsrcxrsi.


------


Quote:
Originally Posted by krzyss View Post
Your problems (I will try to be a little more brief than LGT+WRX).....
Hey now, you may be my friend, but that still hurts too much of the truth!

Quote:
Maybe you want to pull LGT+WRX trick? He has 2 sets of winter tires: Dunlop 3D and studded Pirelli? In your case it would be 3D V and probably Michelin X-ice Xi2.

Krzys
Hey, you know what, I now know at least 2 other people who have three sets of seasonal tires!

Come on, bro, you know you want to join us..... "Resistance is Futile!"

Last edited by LGT+WRX; 12-05-2010 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:38 AM   #12
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Hey, I am a fellow MAICer and also "mission essential" at my work. I had to drive from near Annapolis to DC during Snowmegeddon last year, as well.

I was on Bridgestone Potenza RE960ASs during that blizzard, and made it in fine. My normal 1/2 hour commute took significantly longer, but I didn't get stuck, slide across any intersections, etc. With super heavy snowfall around here, it seems like they only plow one or two lanes, and then you're stuck behind people going 10-15 mph on the Beltway anyways. The only place where I would have had an issue was on my own street before the plows got there - and no tires on my STI would have gotten me through 50-odd inches of snow to the plowed area anyway.

That said, due to the really long commute time and the number of people who didn't know how to drive in snow on the road, I did bring a sleeping bag and change of clothes to work and just slept in the office for two nights. Thus, I only did the back and forth to the office in the snow twice.

I changed my winter wheels and tires this year to Blizzak WS-60s. I put them on in late October since I had to do a long road trip including going across the Appalachians, and I was worried that I might see snow by the time I returned. Of course, I didn't. I kind of regret getting something so snow-oriented now. I can deal with the tire hum no problem, but I do wish I had more dry road grip than the Blizzaks can provide. The tires are very squishy and you can feel it whenever you turn. If I wear out the Blizzaks before I leave the DC area, I will probably go for something closer to a performance winter than a studless snow next time.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:48 PM   #13
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What category do General Altimax Arctic's fall under? Minor thread jack but these are the ones I'm considering. I also am 'essential personel" and have a 60 mile commute daily. I can take either highway, or rural route.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:09 PM   #14
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http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....Altimax+Arctic

per tirerack it is Studdable Winter/Snow.

Do you need to drive on ice?
Concord, NH is not exactly mountains but which way do you commute?
Are roads plowed when you go?

If there is enough snow on the road (especially if it is heavy) it does not matter what tires you have - you will run out of ground clearance.

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Old 12-06-2010, 01:47 PM   #15
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I take route 4 to the sea coast every day, or i can take 101 and have it be all highway.

Unsure about plowing, this will be my first winter with this commute.
I would assume that plowing would be more reliable via 101, than route 4.

I did a year of Concord - Burlington VT, and drove a 5 series BMW through some pretty thick snow, and carry a shovel with me for that exact reason.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:01 PM   #16
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I suspect that if you have to get to work even in the worst conditions then sudless ice/snow or studded tires are your friend.
Shovel might be handy too.

If I am not mistaken studded tires are legal in NH so you can use them, the problem is if you want them.

Wait for LGT+WRX opinion on studded (I have never rode, not to mention driven studded tires in my life). The modern ones are supposedly not that bad in dry and wet.

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Old 12-06-2010, 03:11 PM   #17
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No restrictions on studded tires in NH, could run them year round if you wanted.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:57 PM   #18
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I bought the Dunlop 3D's yesterday because i'm needed for work too and the stock tires are crap in snow.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:03 PM   #19
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i'm buying a set of 225/50/17 hankook icebear w300s for my 17x8s. live in the DC area so i don't anticipate too much snow this winter. ~$100/tire is great and i'm gonna find out how they compare to the lm-22s i had last winter.
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:12 AM   #20
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I have the wintersport 3ds because I commute 70 miles a day turnpike and they are GREAT on cold dry and cold rainy tarmac compaired to summer rubber. Also quiet at highway speeds.

No comment on snow/ice yet as I have not had any. They look good for snow and slush looking at the tread though.

I think they will be a nice winter tire for anyone who commutes any sort of distance
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:02 PM   #21
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With all due respect to other tire brands the Nokian snows are the best. Tested in real life harsh driving conditions not on a man made fake snow course. my favorite part is you do not compromise performance when it is not snowing!
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:14 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtwwholesaletire View Post
With all due respect to other tire brands the Nokian snows are the best. Tested in real life harsh driving conditions not on a man made fake snow course. my favorite part is you do not compromise performance when it is not snowing!


You are on a roll. 2nd thread I read about you posting about Nokian being the best.

How much stock do you have in Nokian?
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:36 AM   #23
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He sells them for profit. I suspect that margins are good on them.

Krzys

PS Some Nokian tires are top notch but not all of them. And they cost arm and leg (usually).
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:35 AM   #24
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I bought a set of Dunlop Winter Sport 3D's for this winter. They have to be WAY better than my RE92's right?
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:26 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by p220guy View Post
I have the wintersport 3ds because I commute 70 miles a day turnpike and they are GREAT on cold dry and cold rainy tarmac compaired to summer rubber. Also quiet at highway speeds.

No comment on snow/ice yet as I have not had any. They look good for snow and slush looking at the tread though.

I think they will be a nice winter tire for anyone who commutes any sort of distance
96accord and p220guy, you both will find happiness with the 3Ds.

In the clear, dry or wet, their performance is comparable to a very, very good UHPAS. Hydroplane resistance isn't quite as good as some of the all-seasons with absolutely monstrous water-channels, but it won't make you scared, either.

The RE92s are of no comparison, to the 3Ds.

p220guy, on glare ice, you'll white-knuckle - unfortunately, that's not the strength of any of the "Performance Winter" sub-genre. In past years, the 3Ds have been ranked very highly, within sub-genre (i.e. it's as good as bad can get ), for ice traction, but this year, either the competition have stepped up their game, or Dunlop's latest reformulation did not go as-planned, and ice traction is ranked lower by many reviewers.

In fresh powder, they're very impressive - until you hit the 6/32" mark, when you'll notice a significant decrease in performance in that specific context.



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Quote:
Originally Posted by krzyss View Post
I suspect that if you have to get to work even in the worst conditions then sudless ice/snow or studded tires are your friend.
Shovel might be handy too.

If I am not mistaken studded tires are legal in NH so you can use them, the problem is if you want them.

Wait for LGT+WRX opinion on studded (I have never rode, not to mention driven studded tires in my life). The modern ones are supposedly not that bad in dry and wet.

Krzys
F3nris, I'll be absolutely honest with you - I'm going to stick with studded winters from now on. They go (and stop) like nothing else out there, when the going is really, really bad.

But you have to make a HUGE sacrifice: you (and your passengers) have to be able to withstand the aural onslaught of the tires, and that also must include your typical commute being favorable - i.e. not too much highway (or other excessively high-speeds) travel.

The benefits are amazing traction in slippery conditions, and in so far as the compound seems to be harder, it bypasses the "Studless Ice & Snow" tires' "wobbly" and inaccurate feeling, when clear-dry or clear-wet (and, in this manner, also defeats the friction tires, when it comes to absolute quantified performance, in such conditions).

I'd honestly only use a "Studless Ice & Snow" tire if:

(a) You/your passengers will not tolerate the noise.
(b) There are legal restrictions/concerns (including where you must travel to).
(c) If your winter temperatures instead most favors "Studless Ice & Snows" to outperform studded tires.

Put it this way:

If if weren't for the fact that my wife would NEVER tolerate the noise of the studded tires, I'd put her FXT in them, without hesitation.

Last edited by LGT+WRX; 12-09-2010 at 12:33 PM.
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