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Old 10-28-2013, 12:28 AM   #1
DSTi06
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Default General AltiMAX Arctic winter tire.

Looking to get new snow/ winter tires this year. I'm looking at General AltiMAX Arctic winter tire. I'm not going to stud them. What are your guys reviews on them. Did u ever use them on your sti? I've read a bunch of good things about them.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:01 AM   #2
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Well, they are cheap, so that's good I guess.
These are off-brand, cheaper version of Continental winter tires. They'd use somewhat cheaper/dated tread designs (it looks exactly like euro Gislaved NF3 from several years back) and compounds. In that, they'd be performing worse than Conti EWC (and costing less too). They are made for US market only (I think), so one won't find them in major euro tests of winter rubber. I think CR tested them last year and found them subpar. They also found Hakka R crappy, so who knows how crappy is their test.
For the money, if one just wants to have more snow/ice grip than 90% of the people on the winter road - they are fine.
Personally, I tried them once and found ice/snow grip not to my liking and sold them.

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Old 10-28-2013, 04:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radeon View Post
Well, they are cheap, so that's good I guess.
These are off-brand, cheaper version of Continental winter tires. They'd use somewhat cheaper/dated tread designs (it looks exactly like euro Gislaved NF3 from several years back) and compounds. In that, they'd be performing worse than Conti EWC (and costing less too). They are made for US market only (I think), so one won't find them in major euro tests of winter rubber. I think CR tested them last year and found them subpar. They also found Hakka R crappy, so who knows how crappy is their test.
For the money, if one just wants to have more snow/ice grip than 90% of the people on the winter road - they are fine.
Personally, I tried them once and found ice/snow grip not to my liking and sold them.


General Tire isnt any 'off brand'...these get good reviews and are good bang for the buck
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:58 AM   #4
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Except they are. They get good reviews from people switching from A/S tires. As a winter tire they are sub-par. Like I said, it's a dated thread design at the very least.
Compare:

Gislaved is owned by Continental.
These were top of the line tires for "Northern Europe" winter like 10 years ago. They are a still capable tire, but a 10-year technology nonetheless (at least tread-design wise).

Last edited by Radeon; 10-28-2013 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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They are a little dated, however they're still a good snow tire. 2 or 3 years ago Consumer Reports had them highly rated, somewhere around #3, and they were FAR cheaper ($80-100/set) than whatever was rated better. I've had them on several cars and would've bought them again this year but I got a better deal on something else. Something else to consider, at least when looking at ratings like Consumer Reports', is that they don't take wear/longevity into account. The winter tires that get "satisfactory" braking and handling ratings most likely won't last as long. If you don't drive like a complete d-bag everywhere the Generals will stop and turn just fine.

The best? No. A decent deal? Yes.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh R. View Post
2 or 3 years ago Consumer Reports had them highly rated, somewhere around #3, and they were FAR cheaper ($80-100/set) than whatever was rated better.
The CR results are above. 11 out of 16. Cheap winter tires with good snow manners. Dry and wet - not so good.

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Old 10-28-2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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I use them exclusively for ice racing on frozen lakes and they can hang with any other snow tire that I've competed against. A lot of other partipants use them as well since they are very cost friendly. Very happy with them, great bang for the buck. The sidewalls are a bit squishy in the dry but that's to be expected with snow tires.

Everyday normal winter driving: they are fantastic as well in the real world snow/ice covered roads. These snow tires with the STI's AWD means I can hum along while the rest of traffic is crawling.

Good luck.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:10 PM   #8
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Michelin or Goodyear are both far better options.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:44 PM   #9
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I got Dunlop wintersport 3ds last year because they are winter performance and I don't see a ton of snow. The Altimax would have been my choice if i had more weather. People love them, and if all your doing is driving your normal commute, and not looking to do some crazy driving, you will be good. Tons of morons drive these cars in the winter on the oem summers.
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:22 PM   #10
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Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and Continental ExtremeWinterContact are the two current leaders for snow and ice tires. Both are highly competent on snow and ice and both are very good dry/wet road tires too. Neither have any weird traits with very linear and predictable behaviors in all directions of slip.

The Xi2 is a little weaker for grip laterally than longitudinally but otherwise good with minimal fault. Both of the above are still better buys.

I would check out TireRacks test results for the tires you're interested in.
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:52 PM   #11
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Hmm.
I would not call their performance in dry and wet "very good". Anybody testing them claims that these are their weak spots.
As far as "current leaders": Xi3 and Nokian R2 more than Xi3 and EWC.

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Old 10-29-2013, 03:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krzyss View Post
Hmm.
I would not call their performance in dry and wet "very good".
Amen.
Too bad very few tests of winter rubber test winter tires in the dry at least against a decent A/S. For that matter, I think CR's dry-wet is not done on winter hwy, not that it would significantly affect their marks.
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Old 10-30-2013, 05:52 AM   #13
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If you've used them and say that, fine. If you simply go by what an article says, that's another story. I've used these tires. My summers have been RE01Rs and RE11A for quite a few years. I go to my winters every year for a number of months driven from reasonably warm 70F dry, sunny days to -20F ice storms. I am stating that they are competent products. When I say good dry/wet asphalt performance I reference towards what I consider a standard all-season tire. I say good because their performance isn't really all that different from an all-season meaning you won't be surprised by a significant lack of grip while cornering and braking. You will be surprised how good these newer winter tires have become in just the last few years. The last couple generations of products have become stellar and very broad performers that vastly outpaced the older generations.

I should also note that I do auto-x and rally-x as a hobby and have done so for the last 7 years using a good variety of tires on a broad range of surfaces. I'm kind of used to pushing cars and tires to their limits on every surface you can think of. I have come to value a well behaved and well performing tire with no serious faults. I see the Xi3 and ExtremeWinterContact as two of these products that both offer some of the best ice and snow grip you can buy as well as offer very broad performance on a huge variety of surfaces with no glaring faults in behavior. Examples of faults would be things like ride issues (noise, bounce), handling issues (excess squirm or sluggish response that can't be fixed with more psi), odd or low grip behaviors [low near center bite (problem with V tread designs, ex. Nokian WR, Goodyear WRT), moderately oblong traction circle with significantly lower grip in one direction of slide, ex Goodyear WRT, Xi2), or simply poor performance in some way, ex WR or LM-25 on ice)].

I would be curious to see Tire Rack test the Nokian's R2. I know the ExtremeWinterContact is a slightly grippier tire on ice/snow than the original R. According to NAF the R2 is a solid winter performer and a bump up in ice performance versus the R. NAF rated the Xi3 highest overall in 2013 (although not in 2012 against a number of the same tires), but the snow and ice metrics do seem to put the R2 in the lead on raw performance score (accel, brake, lap time). They had the Conti and Michelin tires the previous year along with the WS70 and older Nokian R tires. The resulting numbers vary a little between years as does their rankings. It's good to compare Tire Rack's results too, and their spider charts are very useful when comparing various metrics. Unfortunately there's not much info out for the Nokian R2 yet. Some of the big shootout reviews don't happen for another couple months.

Last edited by Back Road Runner; 10-30-2013 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radeon View Post
Amen.
Too bad very few tests of winter rubber test winter tires in the dry at least against a decent A/S. For that matter, I think CR's dry-wet is not done on winter hwy, not that it would significantly affect their marks.
If I am not mistaken current CR category blobs are comparable between UHP tires. Which means Performance winter, UHP summer and UHP all season results can be compared.
The big issue is that you have access to 5 grades and not to raw data.

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Old 10-30-2013, 03:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner View Post
If you've used them and say that, fine.
I did, it's in my first reply to this thread. Also, a few years ago, I directly compared head-to-head in a space of an hour a set of Hakka RSIs and their tread-ripoff Hankook ipike w409(?, don't remember now). The latter are (were) also much-loved on car forums and a lot of people "swore by them" etc. RSIs won easily on ice/packed snow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner View Post
When I say good dry/wet asphalt performance I reference towards what I consider a standard all-season tire. I say good because their performance isn't really all that different from an all-season meaning you won't be surprised by a significant lack of grip while cornering and braking.
You would have significantly less dry/wet grip. There are very few tests of this, here's one. Compare Xi2 to MXM4, or Pilot Sport A/S (not fair, it's a summer tire basically).

That said, Altimaxes are designed to run as studded and have a harder compound, so they are probably better than Xi2/3 in the dry. But I doubt they are better than a decent A/S.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krzyss View Post
If I am not mistaken current CR category blobs are comparable between UHP tires. Which means Performance winter, UHP summer and UHP all season results can be compared.
The big issue is that you have access to 5 grades and not to raw data.

Krzys
They are comparable in that sense, but the comparison is not done at winter temperatures, where non-winter tires lose some grip, while winter ones could gain some.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner View Post
.Unfortunately there's not much info out for the Nokian R2 yet. Some of the big shootout reviews don't happen for another couple months.
Yes and no. Nokian currently lists 11 magazine tests of the R2, but most are not available as free downloads, and most are not written in English.
http://www.nokiantyres.com/test-success-autumn-2013
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:02 PM   #18
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CR tested R2 too.
It got excellent snow traction and ice breaking.
Poor in wet and dry.

3rd position behind WR G3 and Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4.

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Old 10-30-2013, 08:43 PM   #19
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Yes and no. Nokian currently lists 11 magazine tests of the R2, but most are not available as free downloads, and most are not written in English.
Google translate usually works fine.
ADAC/Autobild usually test euro-winter tires or performance winter tires. If you want tests of ice&snow rubber, you're gonna have to look at Russian on Scandinavian tests.

In the Russian test, R2s came in 1st overall, winning dry and wet warm-ish braking, generally being in the top half in snow, and among the best on ice.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:00 PM   #20
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I Bought a set of these for my Hyundai XG300, and they where great in the snow and good on ice. but even the 190 hp of my 3600 lb car would make feel squishy. I sold them to my mother in law for her Prius. I wouldn't get them for my WRX if its going to see a lot of dry pavement, the dry weather handling of these tires suck.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:38 AM   #21
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I've had the General arctics on three cars now. Civic, A4, WRX.

Great snow/ice driving. I haven't had any issues on dry/wet roads-but I don't really push them either.

Just got a set of the Nokian R2's on a 328i. Been driving them for a few days in the snow/ice & dry.

Really really like these tires-Hardpacked snow grip is amazing.

I'll be switching my wrx's generals next winter to the R2's.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:54 AM   #22
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point78,
are they studded or not?

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Old 11-06-2013, 07:57 AM   #23
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Currently the generals aren't studded, although I had a set that were(got stolen).

I'm going to see if the tire place will studd my current ones.
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:27 PM   #24
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I ordered some of these a few months ago from Tire Rack when they had a good sale and finally got them on, and I really hate them in the dry. Mine are studded, and they feel like driving on a beach ball. Some squishiness was to be expected, but a stiff wind literally blew me out of my lane. The compound should firm up a bit when it's colder, but it was in the high 30's today, sooo..... yeah, not very impressed. I know they'll be great in the snow and ice, but with the exceptionally poor dry performance, I know I'll never buy them again.

My last set was the Dunlop 3Ds, which I really did like. Overall they worked well, except I needed a bit more ice traction. Those actually did feel like an all-season tire. The Generals do not.

tl:dr General Altimax Arctic are a great budget snow tire, but have the dry handling sharpness of a hovercraft.


UPDATE: after a bit more research, i bumped them up to 38F and 35R, which at least made them tolerable. It was originally set at 32psi all around, which was perfect on the 3Ds. `They definitely don't feel as dangerous and "floaty" anymore at highway speeds, although "good" is still not how I'd describe their dry performance. Maybe more like "adequate, but be careful". Perhaps there are different results for different batches, based on the reviews that I've seen. There is no way in hell someone should be driving "spirited" on the set I have. They are snow tires and they handle like snow tires. By comparison, my old Dunlop 3Ds felt like summer tires.

Last edited by rotorhead; 11-16-2013 at 12:04 PM. Reason: update
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Old 11-14-2013, 04:45 PM   #25
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i have the General Altimax Arctics on my 2010 WRX.

215/65/15 on 15x7" TD Pro Rally 1s
King Lift Springs

Honestly i do mostly drive on dry pavement. but these are winter tires and i drive on them as such. im not trying to break skidpad records on snow tires. they perform adequately in dry/wet, and they perform great in the snow. and they are cheap as shi*t. currently $75/tire from tire rack in my size.

used them all last winter, probably 10,000miles tire wear went from the new 12/32 to 8/32. i expect similar wear this season, and then i'll replace them.
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