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Old 08-26-2005, 05:53 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 20240
Join Date: Jun 2002
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Chicago
2005 STI
2002 wrx - sold

Default Recommended Winter+Gravel Rims and Tires [05 STI]

Hey all,
I've looked all over the web but haven't seen anyone really address my particular want, hopefully someone here has some advice. I've an 05 STI that I want to buy some wheels and tires for the winter. Ideally, I'd like a wheel and tire combo that will perform well in a Chicago winter, plus be pretty decent in gravel and off road.

I'd like to maybe run a Rally or few sometime in the future, so I figure if I'm going to get some new wheels I might as well buy something that's suitable for rally/gravel/winter/cold slush.

I can find lots of advice on winter tires and tarmac wheels, but little to no advice on rally wheels and gravel tires.

So far, the best I can come up with for wheels are some Prodrive P1s. Also, they have to come in gold

I have pretty much nothing on tires good for both winter/all season/gravel.

Thanks for any help you can offer me!
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Old 08-27-2005, 12:57 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2003

i'm also looking around for new winter wheels that double as at least one set of rally wheels too. i don't know anything about the p1s but for the winter, you could use whatever wheel you'd like. however marking up your sti wheels or insanely expensive advans or prodrives on frozen gravel or by skidding into a curb and that sorta stuff isn't nice.

mixing in the rally requirement limits your options a bit. also, you've an sti and though i haven't looked, i don't know off hand of any 15" wheels that clear your brakes. there are some, but not many 16" wheels that will fit over the brembos you have either. something else to keep in mind.

here's a few wheel links:

speedline and compomotive are real popular in the rally crowd. as of now, i myself will go with speedlines most likely but i'm not buying for a little while still. i'm pretty sure Advan makes a gravel wheel, or try the Prodrive WRC-1 which is made by OZ racing and is used on the WRC Impreza. costs maaaad $$ though. there are more companies than this too. try searching around and probably any of the nasioc vendors can get any of these wheels for you.

one thing to keep in mind is in snow, it's preferable to have a wheel with a small width which sinks into the snow better than a larger size does. think of wearing a set of snowshoes, now think of just stepping around in a pair of keds. in the small shoes you'd sink in the snow just about as far as you can. for the car, you want keds.

this dosn't necessarily apply to rally. you want to sink in to gravel and mud and stuff, but most rally surfaces make up the gray area between soft, wet snow and hard, flat, grip providing tarmac. they can be anything from wet, chocolate colored mud to dry, firmly packed dirt. also, many teams bring numerous sets of wheels to accomodate all surface types.

for tires:
i may be off on a few things. if so, someone correct me. snow tires are a very hard compound and on asphalt or concrete (the street) when it's rained, i've kicked the back of my impreza out a few times just from having to jet out into traffic during rush hour. rally tires are in 3 basic flavors; soft, medium and hard. how hard the rally compound is compared to the hardness of a snow tire, i don't exactly know but i'd imagine they'd be comparable. the harder the tire, the longer it will last, generally.

i can't really see any reason to have rally tires on a street car and don't forget that rally tires have taller sidewalls than most street driven tires, snows included. good all seasons are ok for most people or dedicated snow tires (some people with studs, some without) should they live in an excessively snowy region. a set of un-studded Nokian Hakkapelitas Q's got me through last winter just fine and we got a BUTTLOAD of snow in NJ. don't know how it is in chicago, but in nj it's wet, heavy stuff.

Nokian Hakkapelittas, Dunlop Wintersport M3, and Blizzak LM22 and LM90 seem to be the preferred snow tires for us suby owners. again, there are others but there's a snow tire sticky here:

this is probably more than you wanted to read...but whatever, i'm bored.
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Old 08-27-2005, 01:32 PM   #3
Uncle Scotty
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Rota's and Nokian WR's may be the best bet....there is NO "one tire does all"...we just had THAT thread....
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Old 08-28-2005, 02:53 PM   #4
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2005 STI
2002 wrx - sold

Default hmm

Thanks for the input guys. I did see that some people mentioned the Nokian WRs as an ok gravel tire, and one guy said he was going to use it for rallycross. So maybe that is the best bet so far.

Yeah I read the one tire does all thread

I guess part of the problem is that I have never seen a thread or much info about pure gravel tires. Which are they and where do you buy them? What tires do people buy specifically for rallyx? I grew up in the boondocks with about 8 miles of dirt/gravel/mud to the house, and we all ran 'mud tires' on our SUVs and trucks. The pictures of rally races that I have seen do not have tires with such aggressive treads, obviously.

And yeah the wheels. There are no 15" wheels I have seen that fit over the brembos. What happens if you run a 17" wheel in a rally? Are you at a severe disadvantage performance wise, or are you just much more likely to bend your wheel?

The prodrive wheels I was talking about are actually OZ racing wheels it seems.

The Prodrive P1 wheel is a 10 spoke design inspired by the 6 time champion World Rally Car wheel. The P1 wheel brings rally racing performance and durability to the street with an impressive strength to weight ratio. The P1 wheel looks great and provides the ruggedness and strength that street conditions demand.

Manufactured for Prodrive by O.Z. Racing in Italy.

And roofis I followed up on your compomotive link. I found a company that has this package for sale for WRX STI Winter rally wheels.

Need some Compomotive winter rally wheels for your Subaru WRX STi?

Package Includes :

*4 Compomotive TH2 or TH3 models for your STi.
*Available in the following sizes:
o 7.5" x 17" TH2 / TH3 ET50
o 8" x 17" TH2 / TH3 ET50
o 8" x 18" TH2 / TH3 ET50

Tire Options (Extra $) :

*Tire Options for this package include the following currently in stock tires:
oYokohama Snow Ice Guard IG 721
oIce Guard IG 10
oToyo Snow Prox S950
oNokia NRW
*Tire sizes will range depending on the rims chosen. Tire price will vary depending on selected model.
*Tires can be sold with or with out rims, rims can be sold with or without tires.

Although those TH3's in 17x* are almost 370 dollars each. ouch! I was hoping for 200 or less.

I see they also offer the nokians. It's looking like those are the way to go, unless I can get some info on a tire that is damn good in gravel and is ok in the snow, which I'd rather have but cannot find.

Also looks like iwsti had a group buy for TH3s in Nov 2004, wonder if there is interest in that again right now, since so many are looking for winter wheels/tires?

Thanks for the advice
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Old 08-28-2005, 07:59 PM   #5
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From what I hear you don't want a winter tire for gravel/offroad because they have a very soft wall. I've hard of a couple of people that pop the bubble when rally-xing on winter tires.
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Old 08-29-2005, 12:05 AM   #6
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i've looked for info on here, rs25, and i-club about rally tires for myself; not for everyday use but for rallying. not much came up. if you want to know about rally tires, go to specialstage.com, rally-america.com, and nasaforums.com. for nasa and ra, find the rally specific forums and ask away.

these boards are great for learning how to work on your car, but the best way to learn about motorsports and stuff involved with them (like maybe, what kinds of tires are used on rally cars) is to go to a rally and talk to drivers. sit and watch an autocross to find out what it's about, or work a corner on an scca clubrace day. that may be more effort than you want to put into this, but that's my way of seeing it.

before you commit yourself to the winter tires, which it sounds like you're not 100% psyched on to begin with, ask on the forums above, even call or email tire manufacturers if you have to.

there are 3 main names in rally tires, there are others i'm sure...but i cant think of them now. Pirelli is like the sti, nismo, mugen, etc of the rally tire world. very good product with a higher price tag than the other stuff. also, a llot of subie people are attracted to them because the impreza wrc car uses pirellis. Michelin is the next step down (a small step, that is) and still is an excellent tire. Silverthornes are more like the azenis sport or the ventus rs2 of the rally world. they're good tires by far. not as good as the michelins or pirelli models, but still are widely used but are more affordable than the others. michelin and pirelli supposedly last longer, that's one of the big plusses of them.

everyone will have their opinions on what to buy, be it based on experience, read information or brand liking and loyalty. if you feel you need a competition tire to rock on the freeway, then do so. it may not be street legal though, so watch out. i'll say that i'm in the slow process of building up my impreza to compete in pgt class nasa rallies. i've run around on logging roads with crap tires so i've no experience with rally tires. everything i've told so far is from my own researching on the stuff.

i also can say that i've driven across the country twice (1900 miles each way) on my nokian hakka's and in pouring rain, wet slush and powder dry snow, and abnormally warm spring temperatures. i don't feel at all iffy or hesitant about driving them every day be it through school zones or at 85mph on the freeway. driving snow tires at high speeds gets a little wiggly, but you'll learn to adjust your driving...or just slow down.

lastly, if you're gonna rally don't get snow tires with studs in them. almost all motorsports, rally included, are usually in the warmer months which is out of the allowed times you can have studs on public roads. not all states are the same though, so you might wanna check on that. rally cars need to be street legal because there are transits between legs which may take you onto a highway or other public road.

and then, this is it i promise. go to rallyclassified.com. they always have tires there for sale. you've got to pay shipping if it's not local, but you could pick up 2 or 3 sets of tires (that's 8 or 12 in all!) for the price of 1 new snow set. they have both new and used stuff on there and many rallcrossers and starting fresh rally teams go for used tires because they're cheap. see what they've got.

a lot of people use snow tires for rallycross or tsd rallies but not so much competition events. they're more like an "i don't have the $$ for pirellis so i'll put on the snows and steelies for the rallyx this weekend" sorta tire. as far as blowing a tire, it happens. rallycross is tough on cars too, let alone competition rallying. i'm not trying to correct you, just throwing in what i've seen/read/heard.

everyone is basically right though, to find a 'do it all' anything with this sorta stuff is hard and if it can be done, it's many times custom and always expensive.

im interested to know how the 'hardness' of hard compound rally tires compares to that of snow tires and how the sidewall stifnesses differ too.

wow, long post.

yeah, the edit: for 17" wheels with rally tires, many rally tires are 65-70mm sidewalls so they're very high profile.... as opposed to low profile road racing tires. make sure they'll fit under the wheel well and be able to take bumping around without rubbing or anything. this may be easier said than done, especially with a stock spring/strut setup.

Last edited by roofis; 08-29-2005 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 08-29-2005, 10:53 AM   #7
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The Nokian Hakka 2 would be a better snow and gravel tire than the WR. The WR is H-rated (130mph) and has advantage of being not bad on pavement and in hot weather, but if your using summer tires and you don't want to do a lot of high-speed highway driving in winter then the Hakka 2's would be a better choice as they are a real snow tire. They are only T-rated (118mph) though and if you're going out on a gravel run in the middle of summer you may want to switch tires at the end of the road.
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Old 08-29-2005, 03:53 PM   #8
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Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Chicago
2005 STI
2002 wrx - sold


Thanks for the long posts, (no post is too long!) I appreciate all the info. Again using some of the websites you gave me, I've come across new information. Here's what I found so far:

Here are Pirelli's Gravel Rally tires. Also there links to asphalt and winter rally tires as well.


Here are Michelin's Rally Tires:


Kumho Rally gravel tires:


(also check out "race and rally compounds" link on the left)

The kumho's 'forest rally' only come in 13 to 15 wheel size though.

Interesting to note, it looks like gravel tires have varying hardness. The outside is soft and the inside is hard. So I guess if you're comparing winter tire stiffness to gravel rally tires, you'll have to specify which part of the gravel tire you're talking about

Looks more and more like you can't put a real gravel tire on an STI with OEM brakes.

Also, found a rallycross site (http://dcrally.com/carlisle/classes.html) that has a list of tires they consider to be 'rally tires' to determine which class you are put in. Ie if you have any of these you go into Modified class.


Rally tires will require a vehicle to be placed in a modified class. A tire should be considered a "Rally Tire" if it meets any of the following criteria:

* It is specifically listed in the Arena RallyCross Supplemental Regulations
* It does not carry a DOT stamp
* It is Marked "For Competition Only", "Not For Street Use", or similar verbiage.
* It carries a UTQG Tread Wear rating less than 100.
* It is modified or altered from its original tread pattern in any way.
* Any tire deemed questionable by the Tech Inspectors or other competitors before or during an event shall be brought to the attention of the organizational committee as a protest.

List of recognized "rally tires":

* Kuhmo: R700 Ecsta
* Falken: Azenis RS-01D
* Michelin: "M", "N", "Z", "FB", & "C" Series
* Pirelli: "T" Series
* Colway: Rally MS (RMS), & Rally Plus (RP)
* Silverstone: S55, S505, S525, S575, & S585
* Yokahama: A031, A034, A035, A036, WR26, & MT14
* Maxsport: RB1, RB2, RB3, RB3D2 & A, RB3D2.9 ULTRA, RB3D2N, RB4, RB5, HAKKA,
* Black Rocket: BR 22, 33, 44, 41, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90
Colway tires seem to be British, and they are re-treads, but pretty cheap.

Colways are remoulds: does this mean lots of punctures?
No. Every Colway Motorsport rally tyre comes with a puncture-resistant sidewall. Colway Tyres are made from carefully-selected car tyre casings, using the very latest Colway Motorsport Compound (made by Avon Rubber). Tread patterns vary depending on tyre size, but all the patterns offer similar performance, with rounded shoulders and relatively narrow gaps between the tread blocks (this is why they cause less damage to gravel roads).
Call the Colway Direct Order Line to find your nearest dealer there are over 400. For technical advice, please contact Fred Henderson (tel 0191 384 6319).
You can read the whole thing about them here:

Falken Azenis RS-01D I found here:
http://www.falkentire.com/tires_rs01d.htm (click on specs link)


I didn't find many used rally tires on the classifieds, but four star motorsports has some here:


Yokohama A and MT Series:


Maxsport are based in the UK and are a leader in the field of remanufactured competition tyres throughout Europe. Maxsport have researched the motorsport tyre market and have combined new compounds and proven tread designs to manufacture their new range of competition tyres.


They also make some forest rally tires. They even have a 16" tire!

http://www.bkcompetitiontyres.co.uk/tyres.html (then click on Dunlop), scroll down to the SP61 and the SP85 for the 16s.

Also they have a Maxsport RB3 205/55/R16. That whole website is pretty good. http://www.bkcompetitiontyres.co.uk/index.html

Anyway, my conclusion is that there are no gravel rally tires in 17" size, and I don't know of any 16" wheels that fit over the brembos. (see this thread: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=835749) So, I'll just get some new 17" wheels (found the oem bbs 17s for 700 for 4.) and winter/all season tires and be done with it.

Thanks for the help! Hopefully this'll be useful to someone.
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