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Old 07-12-2004, 12:09 AM   #1
ButtDyno
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Default S03's - what's the appeal?

I bought a set of them things used, cheap, so that I could experience the S03 love fest. They probably had 5/32" or 4/32" left, can't remember. Either way, I don't have a lot of money invested in them to the point where I feel like I HAVE to defend them just because I bought them.

So a set of these in 225-45-17 costs almost or more than $800 mounted and balanced. The longevity isn't that much better or worse than a lot of the other good summer tires. They are not spectacular autocross tires. I like my STi-takeoff RE040's better for autocross, not to mention the official street touring "cheater" tires - Kumho MX, Falken Azenis, KD's, etc.
And the ride quality at is unspectactular. Road noise has been pretty noticeable (I don't use my stereo a lot). Tramlining is as bad or worse than my RE040's and the set of 215 width Azenis I had for a little while.

"But John", you think, "you're being a frigging pansy caring about ride quality on performance tires." Well, allow me to retort. When I can buy tires that will perform similarly or BETTER for less money I need something to cling to. Everyone says these are the best rain tires evAr. In one of the Tirerack comparos they got beat by the Pzero Neros in wet lap times, and the Pirellis are cheaper. The Toyo T1-S's are up there too. And those of us who don't drive like asshats in inclement weather don't need to be able to drive 90mph in wet weather in off camber sweepers.

So, other than "they will let you do stupid things in the rain" what is the appeal of these tires? Why would anyone spend money on these instead of the other tires? I know luke@tirerack has said he loves em and buys them with his own money... what am I missing here? I still have enough tread left to have an epiphany if it's out there

Thanks,
john
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:36 AM   #2
imprezzakc
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I dunno , I also got a set used and cheap , in that size . I used em for rain autox tires (have a set of almost gone azenis for dry)and they held their ground better than I expected . I don't think i woud cough up the cash for new ones though , I would rather get a new set of azenis for wet duty .
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Old 07-12-2004, 02:01 AM   #3
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I love mine...but there are newer better tires that have come out in the last year. The S-03s aren't the newest tires out there My next set of tires will prolly be the t1-s's or the michelin ps2's. They are newer and seem to have the edge.
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Old 07-12-2004, 10:40 AM   #4
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The T1-S are not even close in terms of a performance tire to the S03. The T1-S is a great high performance street tire but if you plan to track/autoX your car the S03 has better grip and is more durable. The S03 has terrific wet grip (much better than azenis or KD or STI take offs) but not as much dry grip. The MXs are louder and don't last as long but have similar levels of performance, perhaps offer a little more dry grip. S03s are great all around tire, terrific wet and very good dry grip. They are tough and durable, stiff sidewall, responsive and predictable. They are not the top tire for dry pavement (may be the best wet tire though). They do tramline like crazy and are not as quit as the RE92. I am currently running the T1-S in both 16" and 17" and I can't wait to wear them out so I can go back to S03s (or perhaps MXs).
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Old 07-12-2004, 11:22 AM   #5
Boxologist
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Quote:
Originally posted by ButtDyno
I bought a set of them things used, cheap, so that I could experience the S03 love fest. They probably had 5/32" or 4/32" left, can't remember. Either way, I don't have a lot of money invested in them to the point where I feel like I HAVE to defend them just because I bought them.

how can u compare a tyre when u buy it at the end of its life?
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Old 07-12-2004, 11:38 AM   #6
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STi takeoffs r RE070, not RE040.
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:09 PM   #7
ksikyat2000
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Quote:
Originally posted by TubeDriver
The T1-S are not even close in terms of a performance tire to the S03. The T1-S is a great high performance street tire but if you plan to track/autoX your car the S03 has better grip and is more durable. The S03 has terrific wet grip (much better than azenis or KD or STI take offs) but not as much dry grip. The MXs are louder and don't last as long but have similar levels of performance, perhaps offer a little more dry grip. S03s are great all around tire, terrific wet and very good dry grip. They are tough and durable, stiff sidewall, responsive and predictable. They are not the top tire for dry pavement (may be the best wet tire though). They do tramline like crazy and are not as quit as the RE92. I am currently running the T1-S in both 16" and 17" and I can't wait to wear them out so I can go back to S03s (or perhaps MXs).
The best wet tires right now are gsd3's or ps2's. Everything else is pretty accurate. Also one of the advantage of s03's is their high wet performance after much tread wear due to some dual layer technology.
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:12 PM   #8
ButtDyno
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Quote:
Originally posted by Boxologist
how can u compare a tyre when u buy it at the end of its life?
They should only be BETTER in the dry when they are at lower tread... and like I said, I don't need the ability to drive 90 mph sideways in the rain.
Quote:
Originally posted by ommmjido
STi takeoffs r RE070, not RE040.
Thanks, but I know what tires I'm running... they are takeoffs from a JDM STi
Quote:
Originally posted by TubeDriver
The T1-S are not even close in terms of a performance tire to the S03. The T1-S is a great high performance street tire but if you plan to track/autoX your car the S03 has better grip and is more durable. The S03 has terrific wet grip (much better than azenis or KD or STI take offs) but not as much dry grip. The MXs are louder and don't last as long but have similar levels of performance, perhaps offer a little more dry grip. S03s are great all around tire, terrific wet and very good dry grip. They are tough and durable, stiff sidewall, responsive and predictable. They are not the top tire for dry pavement (may be the best wet tire though). They do tramline like crazy and are not as quit as the RE92. I am currently running the T1-S in both 16" and 17" and I can't wait to wear them out so I can go back to S03s (or perhaps MXs).
But if you are tracking/autoxing you are going to be better off with a tire more meant for that purpose. Plus using S03's for that purpose would get expensive FAST.

I guess in summary:
-If you are really into track/autox, you are almost certainly going to be better off with Azenis/MX/something else (probably on dedicated wheels)
-If you aren't, you can spend $$ on these, but you are paying for something that if you are careful you aren't using (wet grip) and you have to put up with unspectacular ride quality.

Is that fair?

john
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:12 PM   #9
kenchan
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john- You might want to change your suspension setup too
a tad to match that of the S03's handling characteristics.
You have to have ability to dial-in your suspension when
you change tires inorder to get the best perf out of a tire.
imho, the stock suspension setup on the WRX is only
decent off road.

Here's my setup for your reference...and she corners as good
or better than most modded FF cars out there. Very neutral
to a inducable slight oversteer.

TEIN HA will pillow mounts
Cusco front/rear strut tower bars
Whiteline 22mm rear swaybar (medium setting)
Aluminum endlinks
SSR comps 17x7.5 with S03's 225/45
Sparco Flash3
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:17 PM   #10
driggity
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Quote:
Originally posted by ButtDyno
I guess in summary:
-If you are really into track/autox, you are almost certainly going to be better off with Azenis/MX/something else (probably on dedicated wheels)
-If you aren't, you can spend $$ on these, but you are paying for something that if you are careful you aren't using (wet grip) and you have to put up with unspectacular ride quality.

Is that fair?

john
Its fair, but I wouldn't really say thats its new information either.
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:25 PM   #11
ButtDyno
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Default

Quote:
Originally posted by kenchan
john- You might want to change your suspension setup too
a tad to match that of the S03's handling characteristics.
I have STi RA struts/springs w/ Grp N top mounts, and Cusco sways. I can't adjust anything except the rear bar, but I have driven on Azenis, S03s and RE040s on the same setup, so suspension is at least a "control" for purposes of my evaluation..

driggity... fair enough, it just seems like there is a lot more hype about the S03s than they deserve..

john
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Old 07-12-2004, 01:25 PM   #12
kenchan
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john - people just benchmark the S03's as one of the
better tires to be used on our cars for the streets. If you have
a better tire for your setup, use that instead.

You'll want to have at least some suspension adjustability if you
really want to play with tires and its potential. The S03's
weren't particulary designed for the WRX, so need to dial
your car into them instead.

S03's were actually designed to be used on euro-cars on
Japanese roads as a economical touring tire with comfort.
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Old 07-12-2004, 02:22 PM   #13
driggity
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Quote:
Originally posted by ButtDyno
driggity... fair enough, it just seems like there is a lot more hype about the S03s than they deserve..

john
Its just important to remember that often times when people proclaim the virtues of a particular product they have not compared it to other similar products. There are some who can truly compare and contrast these items but those people are few and far between. If you do enough research you can usually determine what some of the tradeoffs are and make your decisions based on this. But to blindly follow the hype is not wise. Hell, some products are hyped for months before they even exist.
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Old 07-12-2004, 03:19 PM   #14
kenchan
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>There are some who can truly compare and contrast these items but those people are few and far between.


Thats where Tirerack comes in.
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Old 07-12-2004, 03:43 PM   #15
driggity
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Quote:
Originally posted by kenchan
Thats where Tirerack comes in.
If they carry the models you want and have a comparison test between those models.
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Old 07-12-2004, 05:19 PM   #16
rexpdx
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In most car modding circles, paying too much for an expensive product is cool. It's like a status symbol. Pardon my accurate cynicism.
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Old 07-12-2004, 07:45 PM   #17
Uncle Scotty
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I HAD MX's....I HAVE Azenis....I will NOT buy Azenis again...I would buy MX's again in 1/2 a heartbeat.
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Old 07-12-2004, 08:47 PM   #18
mofugga
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i've had one good set of SO-3's & one bad set, the current set on the car right now is crap & i'll probably never buy SO-3's again.
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Old 07-13-2004, 12:09 PM   #19
TubeDriver
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I have owned and raced S03s. It seems pretty simple to me.

The S03 is one of the best wet surface, 3 season tires street tires made (top 3 anyway). It is a good dry surface street tire (top 10 tires). It is durable, reasonably quiet and not very comfortable on the street. It is a responsive tire that has predictable handling qualities. It is pretty expensive.

A very good overall tire and my first choice for a 3 season street tire. Are there better tires? Sure. I use Toyo RA-1s for compitition and summer street tires. They are faster than any 3 season street tire. Some other tires have better features like greater dry grip, longer wear, better comfort, cheaper price etc but the fact is that the S03 is a great all around 3 season tire.

Oh yea, I have a pretty worn out set of 225/45-17 S03s that would make a good set of autoX and or track rain tires. I think thay have around 15k miles on them. $50 and you pick them up in the DC area.
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Old 07-13-2004, 07:00 PM   #20
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I bought them for thier wet tire traction...but now that I am in Cali (from Washinton State(...I will most likely go to a dedicated summer tire.

dP
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Old 07-13-2004, 08:09 PM   #21
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Funny...Everyone is complaining of the S-03's ride quality and road noise but I really don't notice it at all. Just recently I was thinking "I think I need new tires. These are starting to get too soft."
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Old 07-13-2004, 10:52 PM   #22
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I ran my s03's in the winter on my 18's...that sucked but in the rain in was geat, i just bought new 225/40YR-18 Kumho Ecsta MX from tirerack, because i nevre go out in the rain...
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Old 07-14-2004, 09:57 AM   #23
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Wet tires, eh?


*cough*


Dunlop SP9000.


'Nuff said.





I've had mine for two years, and you couldn't push that car off a wet road with a bulldozer, with those tires on.
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Old 07-14-2004, 04:57 PM   #24
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I think S03 are only good for the first 3 or 4 thousand miles. Then after that, its not very grippy even though you have like 3/4 of the thread left.
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Old 07-14-2004, 09:14 PM   #25
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I was not really impressed with the S03s either. It's not bad, but it's just not good compared to Kumho MXs considering the MXs cost only 2/3 what the S03s do and seem to have more grip. Of course the Kumhos aren't all that good in the rain.
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