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Old 06-29-2004, 06:53 PM   #46
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 3385
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Golden, CO
2002 WRX

Default Silverstone gravel rally tires, SO3s, Pirelli Snows

#1.) what tire are you offering for review (please include size)
Silverstone S-525 gravel rally tire, hard compound 16/64-15
Bridgestone S03 215/45-17
Pirelli Winter 210 Snowsport 195/65-15

#2.) what is your geographic location
Denver CO and the Front Range

#3.) what types of driving events if any (i.e. track, AutoX, RallyX)

#4.) percent of highway vs. city driving
50% highway/30%city/20%mountains

#5.) your review and personal comments
Choosing a tire for life in Denver and the Front Range is difficult, as one encounters dry pavement, wet pavement, slush, snow, ice, gravel, and mud, sometimes all in the same day. It's like selecting a tire for the Col du Turini. On my 02 WRX (Stage 3, STI suspension, RA gearbox, quick rack, etc.) I have the following "quiver" of tires:

Bridgestone S-03s: good on dry and wet pavement. Fairly scary on even light snow or ice. Understeer is prominent on gravel-- too wide and too little tread to bite. They tramline badly along the troughed pavement of 6th Ave west. The tramlining can scoot you half a lane in an eyeblink if you don't pay attention. Since I commute 40 miles on 6th Ave a day, the tramlining is annoying and I have to admit that my commute is more comfortable when I run the other two tire choices. I haven't tried the S03s on the track. I know there are stickier street/track tires out there. Mileage: I get about 20K miles per set.

Pirelli Winter 210s: these performance snows are actually a pretty good all-around tire for Colorado, if you can live with the lower ultimate dry pavement grip and turn-in than the S03s. Bear in mind, mine are tall and skinny-- 195/65-15-- so a wider, lower profile size would be a better allround tire. They really bite in the snow, yet they are quiet on the highway getting to the snow. I can't justify true snows such as Nokians here because usually the drive to skiing involves 60 miles of dry pavement and then 10 miles of snow over the passes. The Pirellis are good on gravel. Probably would do well in rallycross. Oh, and no tramlining at all on troughed pavement. Mileage: hard to tell. I have three winters on them and I'd guess they are at 50%.

Silverstones: I have always wondered how much gravel grip the rally cars have, so on a lark I ordered a set of Silverstones this summer instead of replacing my worn S03s (at $120/tire instead of $170.) First off, on pavement these tires are very noisy, reminiscent of the retread snows of my youth. The singing on pavement is very obvious 20-50 mph but fortunately the frequency rises and it totally blends with the highway noise at 60 mph+. The good news is no tramlining on 6th Ave. In spite of their very tall profile and open tread, they are actually quite sticky on pavement. Tossing them into hairpin corners and sweepers up Lookout Mountain Road, they are less prone to understeer and squeal than the Pirellis. I don't yet have a sense of their breakawya characteristics on pavement. At first they were slightly disconcerting on the highway in quick lane changes-- the tall sidewalls and tread squirm make for more roll and suspension movement in lane changes than either the SO3s or the Pirellis. This has improved as the tread blocks have worn in a bit. Now for their real strength: on gravel they are quite unbelievable. They feel like they turn in like the SO3s do on tarmac. There is minimal understeer and the car is much easier to rotate. Once in a drift, they are very controllable and very fun. By the way, its too soon to tell how these hard compound tires will wear on pavement, as I only have a couple thousand miles on them. The Silverstones on OZ Gravel rally wheels are near invincible on rough roads and potholes.

Call me nuts, but I'm going to try running the Silverstones this summer, obviously giving up some pavement fun for killer grip on the gravel roads. I am getting used to the low speed tire noise. Kind of like having a dogbox!

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