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@Bob: IM S6 posted:

In more recent years, I have always gone to two sets of wheels and tires:  Summer and Winter.  Both are purposefully designed to react to the two different environments.

It costs more, but I don't find All Season tires to be effective at the end of their range - i.e. they are okay, but not great, in any season.  Best to have tires specifically oriented to the two distinct/different driving situations.  And you don't subject your nice Summer rims to salt, sand, snow, etc.

That's what I've done with the Smart for, I guess, 6 years now. The first year I put the WinterContacs on, it was amazing. It was unstoppable. What happened is I found myself putting the winter tires on sooner and leaving them on longer, because of the way they handled  

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Last summer, just as I finally decided to buy some new summer tires, a fellow Smart owner raved about the Quadtracs.  Being a fan of Vredestein since well before Sprints were "Classic," I decided to give them a try. The transformation of the Smart was incredible. I told my friend that the Quadtracs increased the joy of driving equal to the amount that replacing the OEM shocks and struts with Bilsteins did. Cornered better, rode smoother, etc.

The true test will be when the snow flies whether I can make it up the 8% grade to my complex. (Chains are under the passenger seat, just in case.)

As for the Spyder, I think I'm going to stick with the cheapo winter tires until I can raise my car enough to avoid the negative camber I have now to clear the fender. Unfortunately, my old car doesn't have adjustable spring plates like the newer ones do, so I've got to switch them. I'll think about SporTracs after I've worn out the front tires, too.  

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@Bob: IM S6 posted:

What's this winter of which I speak?

The winter of our discontent... 

See: photo above.

That was a heck of a day. NYS declared a snow day, schools and businesses were closed. I had Palidades Parkway all to myself. Until a trooper told me to go home because he didn't want to have to pull me out of a snowbank.

With the weight in the rear and staggered wheels/tires, the Smart is very similar to VW/Porsche in the snow. Just a blast to drive.

Last edited by dlearl476

For the record, I had a 68 Bug with Nokian-Hakkapeliitta snows. It was awesome in the winter. I also had a Scirocco with Sears Roadhandler snows, made by Michelin.

Then some years later, I had a Corrado with Blizzaks on the stock wheels. Then I had a 5000CS Quattro with Blizzaks. That thing was the absolute BEST in the snow.

All 4 cars had separate summer and winter sets.

SO when I say this, I have some knowledge to back it up. There is NO WAY that snow tires should be used all year round, nor are they stickier on dry warm roads than an all-season or summer-only tire.

Carey and I have spent some time separately and together trying to get the Sportracs stocked and available, in our sizes, in the US. Hopefully we'll be successful soon, then others can benefit.

I rode behind Stan a LOT in North Carolina last month, and can attest to the Sportrac stickiness. I was sliding, on and over the edge of traction. My tires were squealing and screeching the whole time. Stan was unflappable and I don't think his tires even squealed. Since the roads were smooth I doubt that the IRS versus Swing was even a factor, given that my Spyder has positive-camber limiting straps. We both run front sway bars and Koni front shocks. Stan has a rear bar and Koni rear shocks, I've got adjustable QA1 coilovers and no swaybar.

IMHO, the Sportrac5 is the cheapest STICKY street tire available, that is also a GOOD choice for the street.

The Avon CRZZ and the Vred Sprint classic are the other two choices, but are more costly and wear quicker. I'd say the Avon is probably best for the track.

Last edited by DannyP

I’m a firm believer in Michelin Pilot Super Sports and Pilot Sport AS3+, both of which I’ve had on our mountain drives.  I also used the former as track tires in a staggered setup and loved them, BUT...

...they aren’t available in 15” sizes.  Based on my research and the solid endorsements of several folks on this site I am confident that my Sportrac 5-equipped Coupe will be a blast on the twisties.

@Stan Galat posted:

@DannyP,

The car broke traction a few times bombing through the mountains. But when it did, it was deliberate (to rotate the car more quickly) and the slide was short and very, very predictable.

I'm nowhere near smooth enough to drive like that without a great setup. These tires will make you feel like a hero, even if you (like me) are a ham-fisted ape.

Sometimes I'm smooth, sometimes I'm "ham-fisted" as you say. Sometimes I threshold brake, sometimes I tap them and roll through, sometimes I crank the wheel on purpose under braking to pitch the rear out. Sometimes I push the clutch in a little, rev it, and let it out under full throttle to sweep through the corner tires lit.

I cannot wait to try these tires out.

Stan, I'm still jazzed about driving like a lunatic through the mountains with you. It was a pleasure, my friend! Can't wait to do it again, with more traction and cornering power.

Having separate summer and winter tires doesn't cost all that much more. When you are putting wear on one set you aren't putting wear on the other.

Yeah. I was going to point that out. When I bought my Smart in 2012, it had the OEM 2008 tires on it. I bought the winter set in 2014, and if I hadn't been so excited about Vredestein making tires to fit, I could have got one more season out of both. (Until this year, the only tires that were available were the OEM Contis and some Kumhos.)

When I got some spare wheels for my winter setup for the ML, they had Michelin tires on them that I figured would last the summer. 3 years later, they still have at least another year on them, I have studded Cooper Discoverers on it while they're legal. (I also don't drive it very much.)



The biggest expense is the extra set of wheels. (FWIW, the Discount Tire I use swaps sets for free, spring and fall, since they're mounted on extra wheels)

Last edited by dlearl476
@chines1 posted:

Danny had me order 4 sets of staggered 195/185 Sporttrac 5s.  The 195 are in stock, the 185 are in production and scheduled to arrive 11/30/20  Tire Rack is supposed to add them as a normal SKU, so once they backlog is filled you should be able to get these tires on their website, click and ship...

Just checked and they're in. When I did the front tire/rear tire search, only the HiTracs came up, but when I went to the SporTrac specific page, they say they have availability.

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Last edited by dlearl476

@dlearl476 The 195s are in stock at Tire Rack, looks like they have 9 on hand.  The 185s are still backordered, with an 11/30 arrival date.  I don't know how many they are getting but the 1st 8x come to my shop.  :-)

As for other 15" tires, I'm a huge fan of the new CN36s also.  Since they are a "Porsche Dealer Only" tire, I'm not sure if they show on Tire Rack's site, but Stoddards is buying them from a Porsche dealer and remarketing them, plus I can get them for new builds.  I've used them on a few cars to date and they handle VERY well...

@Napa Paul I have done business with 305 in the past without issue.  In fact, Lane's tires came from Michael.  Took about 2 1/2 months to get them, but they did arrive, as promised, and he told me from the start that they would have to be shipped in and would take a little while, so no gripe there...  I do like to spend my money locally, and Tire Rack is a local (albeit large) business, started in our hometown.

Last edited by chines1

Dave, and Paul, nobody has 185/65R15 in Sportrac5. Nobody. That's the size we need on the front of Spyders. Vredestein has to make some. And if anyone actually does have them, I don't want them. I want new, fresh rubber, not stuff that's years old. Freshness matters.

195 is too wide for a 4.5" rim, actually 185 is a tiny bit too wide, the widest tire that fits properly on a 4.5" rim is a 175. But I've had no trouble with 185/65 for 15 years and 40,000 miles.

Dave, you don't want 60, 55, or 50 series in the front, they're too short.

But 195/60 in the back is fine, I ran that on my old Spyder for ten years. I have 205/60 now, and I really can't tell much difference.

Last edited by DannyP
@chines1 posted:

@Napa Paul I have done business with 305 in the past without issue.  In fact, Lane's tires came from Michael.  Took about 2 1/2 months to get them, but they did arrive, as promised, and he told me from the start that they would have to be shipped in and would take a little while, so no gripe there...  I do like to spend my money locally, and Tire Rack is a local (albeit large) business, started in our hometown.

I like that, too. I also like that they have some sort of relationship with Discount Tire. I’m loyal to them locally because they swap my summer/winter tires for free and when I want a tire they don’t stock, I can purchase tire rack tires through them for internet pricing. That’s how it worked on the Quadtracs for my Smart.

PS: Thanks for putting your weight behind this to get the tires for the community. I think you succeeded where any one of us, or even 5-10 in a “group buy” might have failed.

I’m hoping this leads to better availability of all VVredstein tires. I love them. I switched to Sprints on my VW/Volvos back when they were 1/2 the price of the Michelin XZXs that I’d used up until then.

@DannyP posted:

Dave, and Paul, nobody has 185/65R15 in Sportrac5. Nobody. That's the size we need on the front of Spyders. Vredestein has to make some.......

195 is too wide for a 4.5" rim, actually 185 is a tiny bit too wide, the widest tire that fits properly on a 4.5" rim is a 175. But I've had no trouble with 185/65 for 15 years and 40,000 miles.

Dave, you don't want 60, 55, or 50 series in the front, but 195/60 in the back is fine.

Oh, duh. Brain fart.  I’m confusing F/R Sorry. I’ll shut up now.

PS: After watching that Jeff Zwart video the other day. It got me searching for Michelin Rally studded snow tires. When I get my V-190’s, I think I’m going to find some skinny snow tires to stud and mount on my steelies. Now that the projects I considered “winter projects” are complete, I’m going to really try hard to put on the parka, lumberjack hat, and gloves and get some “snowmobiling” in.

Last edited by dlearl476
@DannyP posted:

Dave, and Paul, nobody has 185/65R15 in Sportrac5. Nobody. That's the size we need on the front of Spyders. Vredestein has to make some. And if anyone actually does have them, I don't want them. I want new, fresh rubber, not stuff that's years old. Freshness matters.

195 is too wide for a 4.5" rim, actually 185 is a tiny bit too wide, the widest tire that fits properly on a 4.5" rim is a 175. But I've had no trouble with 185/65 for 15 years and 40,000 miles.

Dave, you don't want 60, 55, or 50 series in the front, they're too short.

But 195/60 in the back is fine, I ran that on my old Spyder for ten years. I have 205/60 now, and I really can't tell much difference.

Believe me, I'm not going to tell you this with a "Nanner Nanner"...but when I bought my set of 185/65R15 Sportrac5's, I also had 305Tire (Michael) send me a fifth one to put away. My "spare" is still a AAA Platinum card (annual free 200 mi. flatbed tow), but it dawned on me how screwed I'd be if I cut a tire and found a replacement was unavailable...whadda I do then?   Y'Know, there could be one of those biblical plagues or pandemic disease to come along, and I'm screwed. I've heard of the "Failure 3-2-1 Backup Strategy" but I figure with tires that's too much paranoia kicking in....so I stuck with the "Single Backup Strategy." Fortunately, the Vred's were only $68 delivered to my local Big-O for installation, and knowing I've spilled that much sitting at the bar...well, the fifth tire was a no-brainer.

I've been following Vredestein news with interest since they came up here and also on the Smart Car* forum, so when I saw a Alfa Romeo Montreal with these on it I was pleasantly surprised. I only wish I hadn't bought my son new tires last year for his Giugario-designed Alfetta Sprint Veloce so I could put them on it.





*I wish I could offer better news about the Quadtracs I put on the Smart, but it never snowed enough this winter to give them a real test. Regardless, I still love the tires. Great wet grip and tons better ride/noise than the OEM Contis I've been running.

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