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Old 09-19-2005, 04:48 PM   #1
DubSlick
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Question Hankook W300 vs. Dunlop M3 for Bay Area to Tahoe trips

Looking to get a set of winter tires for weekend trips from the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe. I have a set of summer tires, so this will be a dedicated set. In addition, I commute in another car, so it's not like I'm driving with this set every day.

I'm wondering, which would be the better choice, especially since I have to drive about 100 freeway miles before seeing any possiblity of snow. The W300 in 205/55-16 are H rated while the M3 in that size are V rated. Will the W300 last longer given all the freeway milage? Will the M3 give more control in the snow? Opinons welcome.

The W300 will cost about $360 installed for a set
The M3 will cost about $512 installed for a set
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Old 09-19-2005, 05:38 PM   #2
Portly
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I've been quite happy with my W300's, and they seem to be holding up very well. But I can't compare them to the M3s.

The W300's are definitely a snow-biased tire. The sidewall flex is noticeable. But not nearly like an old-school deep-lug snow tire. Compared to the Dunlop SP5000 all seasons I was using before in the winter, the W300 has slightly more flex, a fair bit more snow grip, and a bit more tread "walk" when you push it hard on dry pavement.

One other thing to note: I run 205/50r16 in the winter, so the 55-series tire you're looking at will probably be a bit more flexible. (The 205/50r16 is a closer match to the 195/60r15 that came on my '97 L.)

_Jeff
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Old 09-19-2005, 08:54 PM   #3
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I've no experience with the Hankook snows. I do have close to 1000 miles on the Dunlop M2, the cheaper/last years model of the M3. IMO, given your description, I'd go with the Dunlops even though they're more expensive. They are a good snow tire and a great performance tire. I got the M2s from tire rack $96 to the door.
Just one man's opinion.
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Old 09-20-2005, 10:16 AM   #4
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i have the m3's and they lasted an entire winter on the autobahn about 6 months of use and abuse. looks like they will be good for another 2 winters. they will definately be good for this winter. maybe next year too. they also handle great in the snow. i love them. they work good in dirt too.

josh
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Old 09-20-2005, 10:24 AM   #5
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Thumbs up Dunlop M's in dirt/gravel

Quote:
Originally Posted by spongejosh
i love them. they work good in dirt too.

josh
I agree on both counts and I only have the M2s. I was amazed at the dirt gravel work these Dunlops perform. The sipes and gooves do pick it up and throw it too, so if you're gonna do it in the dirt, get flaps.

You'll be glad you did.

Machts Güt
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Old 09-20-2005, 03:48 PM   #6
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IMO a dedicated winter tire is overkill for weekend trips to Tahoe. I have been going up there for years in my wrx wagon with ultra high performance all seasons (like Dunlop SP5000 or Pirreli PZero Nero). I have never needed anything more (although in some severe conditions I have had to drive slowly - but this is a good idea regardless of tire choice). Also, the roads to Tahoe are not that bad. I have heard it said many times by Tahoe locals "if your subaru can't get traction, you shouldn't be driving."

Get the all seasons, run them during the winter - that way you'll have great rain and snow traction.

just my .02

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Old 09-20-2005, 06:29 PM   #7
David Bleurex
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Lightbulb J-WRX has a point

If you're only doing this a few times a year, J-WRX has a good point. Save your money. I'm from the Lehigh Valley in PA and I can get away with all seasons but because I've never owned a car like this, I decided to go with performance snows. It was a good choice for me, but maybe not for you.

Happy Motoring!
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Old 09-20-2005, 06:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j-wrx
IMO a dedicated winter tire is overkill for weekend trips to Tahoe. I have been going up there for years in my wrx wagon with ultra high performance all seasons (like Dunlop SP5000 or Pirreli PZero Nero). I have never needed anything more (although in some severe conditions I have had to drive slowly - but this is a good idea regardless of tire choice). Also, the roads to Tahoe are not that bad. I have heard it said many times by Tahoe locals "if your subaru can't get traction, you shouldn't be driving."

Get the all seasons, run them during the winter - that way you'll have great rain and snow traction.

just my .02

j-wrx
I was thinking at first of going with all-seasons, but since I have a summer set, I started leaning towards dedicated snows. These are high performance oriented winter tires as apposed to your standard snow tire. And I think you're right, for about 80-90% of the time, a subaru with decent all seasons would be enough for Tahoe roads (I was considering Falken 512 BTW). But then, I keep hearing about driving confidence in snow, and you have much more confidence with dedicated winter tires than all-seasons.

Do you think they'd be overkill because of excessive wear? Maybe I'm bearing paranoid about driving during a severe storm? Now I'm perplexed again
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Old 09-20-2005, 06:54 PM   #9
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I ran the M3's last winter as my first dedicated snow tire on my WRX. I have driven other snow tires, but I cant say I have really ever been too satisfied. With the Wintersports, I could drive harder than on my RE-92's and still handle 10-12" of the white stuff. Never ran into anything that they couldnt handle and the ABS was less testy...

They actually seem quieter than my summer tires than I have on now, and the ride was quite smooth. I still have them on my stock rims and will probably put them back on next month. Ran them into april last year, and the sidewalls were hard enough for somewhat spirited driving

If you didnt guess, I am quite happy with them
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Old 09-20-2005, 07:36 PM   #10
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how about trying something out of the ordinary and go green diamond tires. they come in 205/55/16 (really the only size that fits the rex). they are advertised as all-seasons but can handle snow like a true dedicated one. they are a cheaper alternative to the nokian WR (costing roughly $150 more for a set).

i have never used them but the feedbacks are always positive. you'll also get more treadlife out of a tire like this

http://greendiamondtire.com/
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Old 09-20-2005, 08:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubSlick
Do you think they'd be overkill because of excessive wear? Maybe I'm bearing paranoid about driving during a severe storm?
Dubslick - I don't think you're being paranoid. But, unless you have a cabin in Tahoe that is located up a remote road that doesn't get plowed often, I think that you might get more use out of all seasons than the dedicated snows.

During a severe storm, you'll have to go slow regardless of the tire. Everyone else on the road will be going slow and while you'll be able to pass more confidently with snow tires, you can still out run most vehicles with all seasons. Also you'll probably be more confident on the part of the trip outside of Tahoe with all seasons. For the 3 hr drive, 2.5 hrs will be on snowless, but maybe wet, roads, while only the last little bit (if even that) going over the pass will be snow. This past winter I made it out of S. Shore during a really gnarly storm (I saw Jeeps sliding out) with my Dunlop SP5000's. As long as I didn't have to slam on the brakes, I had zero issues (I think only studded tires would have helped with the stopping).

I don't think you'll go wrong with snow tires, but I think you'll get more use out of all seasons (you might just end up leaving them on during the whole rainy season).

Good luck with your choice...

j-wrx
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Old 09-20-2005, 08:53 PM   #12
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Ive used the m3s for the past 2 winters and plan to make it a third. There amazing. If you can stand to drive sane in the snow you can get through anything. I was going through fields with about 8 inches of fresh snow with no problems. Great snow tire
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:14 AM   #13
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I live in Truckee (14 miles north of Tahoe). I have the M3's and they are awesome up here.

For those that don't know the area we average 400-500 inches per year. Last year we received over 650 inches. Dedicated snows are a must if you live up here. Almost everyone I know has either dedicated snows or studded tires on their subaru's. However, if you come up only occasionally,all seasons will probably be fine. It's those occasional heavy wet snow storms that require the studs or something like m3's or Blizzack Mz-01's (probably the best snow and ice tire I have ever used).
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Old 09-21-2005, 08:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleurx
It's those occasional heavy wet snow storms
Isn't that the only kind of snow that you guys get?
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jweiss
Isn't that the only kind of snow that you guys get?

A lot of people think that. However if we got only wet snow in those amounts we would have snow year round. Actually most of the snow that falls here is of a much dryer variety. It turns to Sierra Cement due to how many sunny days a year we have - 280. In fact last year I must have had at least 20 days of super light dry powder skiing. We do of course get the occasional 90% water content storms, but that is not nearly as often as we get the lighter stuff.

I've skied many places (europe, colorado, new england, idaho, utah and montana) The sierra's are my favorite which is why I moved here. It gets more snow than any of those areas and has much nicer weather. It is the only place I have skied where you can get blue bird powder days more consistantly than any other ski destination.
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:39 PM   #16
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I skied tahoe and Mammoth a lot when I lived in CA '78-90. I've been in Utah since '90. There is no comparison.

Alta had received 700" of snow last year at the end of April (when they stopped tracking... they got another 50" in May).

http://www.alta.com/Frames/snow_report_snowtracker.htm

The vast majority of our snow is less than 10% density.

I had around 25 official "Utah powder days" last season (defined as 12+ inches of new). This doesn't count the backcountry...

Got my Alta pass and my Canyons pass last week, a set of WS-50s for the STi and I'm ready for this season
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jweiss
I skied tahoe and Mammoth a lot when I lived in CA '78-90. I've been in Utah since '90. There is no comparison.

Alta had received 700" of snow last year at the end of April (when they stopped tracking... they got another 50" in May).

http://www.alta.com/Frames/snow_report_snowtracker.htm

The vast majority of our snow is less than 10% density.

I had around 25 official "Utah powder days" last season (defined as 12+ inches of new). This doesn't count the backcountry...

Got my Alta pass and my Canyons pass last week, a set of WS-50s for the STi and I'm ready for this season
Well I stand corrected with regards to snow quality and terrain. Alta actually is my favorite ski area. I have skied there dozens of times. You are correct on the quality of the snow, no question. My point is more with regards to the amount of snow we receive here is more than Alta. Alta averages around 450 inches per year. There are three sierra ski areas that average 550-600 inches per year. Last season Alpine recorded 750 inches also. The main reason I prefer Alpine Meadows has to do with the weather, proximity to everything in California, Tahoe, Reno etc. It is no where near as cold a mountain and we get many more sunny days. While in my youth I would balk at that statement, I really enjoy the sunny days here throughout the year. We also have tons of backcountry access right off of Alpine Meadows that is amazing. The ski are is 2000 acres in bound and over 8000 acres when you count all the backcountry access. Most of it is just a short hike back to the lifts. To top that last year our ski season went from October 29 - Memorial day when it closed with top to bottom skiing and a 12 foot base.
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:48 PM   #18
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Oh yeah - bluebird skiing is for girls and sissies



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Old 09-21-2005, 12:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jweiss
Oh yeah - bluebird skiing is for girls and sissies



Yeah that's me!

I was in Alta in 1978. We got a 5 foot storm over 36 hours. A huge cornice built up over Mt. Baldy (I think that's the name). When the storm cleared we were all at the top when they "controlled" that thing across the trails. That was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:54 PM   #20
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jweiss I just noticed you have a 82 911........nice. I've got a 91 C4 cab. That is the car I drove up here in the winter with the Blizzack MZ-01. Great snow tire. You can move the lugs they are so soft.
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleurx
Alta actually is my favorite ski area. I have skied there dozens of times. You are correct on the quality of the snow, no question.
Next time you're out drop me an email and I'll show you around my favorite lines

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleurx
Alta averages around 450 inches per year.
More like 500-600.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleurx
The main reason I prefer Alpine Meadows has to do with the weather, proximity to everything in California, Tahoe, Reno etc.
Absolutely good stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleurx
While in my youth I would balk at that statement, I really enjoy the sunny days here throughout the year.
Fair enough. I'm sure I'll get to that frame of mind at some point...

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleurx
To top that last year our ski season went from October 29 - Memorial day when it closed with top to bottom skiing and a 12 foot base.
This is where the Sierras really shine. Corn in June. Alta closes at end of April - not for lack of snow, but lack of interest among the locals. Everyone switches over to mountain biking and climbing. Snowbird is open till end of May.

Cheers,

Jeff
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:57 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleurx
Yeah that's me!

Here's an old photo of me at the bird around when I first started telemarking:


Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleurx
I was in Alta in 1978. We got a 5 foot storm over 36 hours. A huge cornice built up over Mt. Baldy (I think that's the name). When the storm cleared we were all at the top when they "controlled" that thing across the trails. That was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
I love the sound of avalanche control work in the morning
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:58 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleurx
jweiss I just noticed you have a 82 911........nice. I've got a 91 C4 cab. That is the car I drove up here in the winter with the Blizzack MZ-01. Great snow tire. You can move the lugs they are so soft.
There is no substitute. Mine sleeps during the winter...
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:09 AM   #24
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I've ran a set of M2's for the last 3 winters. They've held up very well. I'll be able to last a few more winters w/ them. I'm in the same situation as you. I used my car for weekends to Tahoe.
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Old 09-22-2005, 02:53 AM   #25
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Just got my '06 STi two weeks ago. Ordered a set of Rotas with Falken Ziex 512 tires today in preparation for this winter. I'll be making the same SF Bay Area to Tahoe trips as the original poster. I was also looking at getting a set of wheels and fitting them with Blizzaks or M3s, but my research came to the same conclusion as the posters here...winter tires are overkill for our application. I probably would go up to Tahoe at most 15-20 times per season; realistically 5-10. So yeah, winter tires would give me better performance in those situations, but what about the other 5.5 months or so that the tires will be on the car? We'll get a few months of rain, but the climate here is pretty mild.

So, I went with the Rota/Falken set because the price was right (less than $1300, tax, mounting, balancing included) and, for my use, the Falken all-seasons would serve their purpose.
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