All photos © Asanti Wheels
When you think TSW, you generally think performance. Think BBS and you think of road manners and stability. Enkei brings on thoughts of lightness and agility on the track. When you're thinking Asanti, you're going for looks.
Asanti does bling like basically nobody else. Remember the million-dollar wheels encrusted with gemstones that debuted years ago at SEMA? That was Asanti, and if you bought the set they threw in a Bentley for free just to put them on. To top that they made a set of wheels that are not only accented with real gold leaf, but have actual gold bars set into the spokes, because if you're going to ride around on gold wheels, you are obligated to not give a crap about gas mileage.
But it's simply true that basically nobody does breathtaking looks like Asanti, which is why Asanti Wheels is the next subject/victim of my Alloy Profiles series.
Photo © Tire Review
Tiremaker Atturo garnered a lot of attention at SEMA last week by demonstrating 3D printing technology that allowed them to print out a prototype tire tread right there in the booth.
No, the tread isn't functional and nobody will be printing up tires to order anytime soon. But wouldn't that be cool? Go to your local tire dealer and watch as your new tires are spun up by a 3D printer, weaving steel and kevlar belting and then extruding rubber right over the belts! A little nanotechnology joins the belt ends and heats the rubber, squish it all together and you've got personalized tires with your car's name and some trash talk on the sidewall in whatever color scheme you chose. Or whatever. Dream big, I always say.
Alas, Atturo's engineers only use the technology to design tread patterns and print out nonfunctional models on a 3D Systems Pro-Jet Plus Color-Jet 3D printer to see them in real dimensions, which helps them design better tread patterns. That's engineers for you. Dreaming small, always whining about "what we can actually do" and "that's not physically possible, you idiot" when trash-talk sidewalls lay waiting to be born. Cowards.
Keep Halloween Safe
As October slides to a close and Boston recovers from a World Series win, as little ghosts and goblins begin to scurry around outside, the thoughts of many of my readers are turning to winter tires. I've been getting a lot of mail lately about my Top 10 Snow Tires list, including several that inspired some reviews of the Vredestein Wintrac and General Altimax Arctic. One letter led me to take a first look at Toyo's new Gsi-5 winter tire, and I came away quite impressed by the technology packed into it, and looking forward to finding out if it all works. Other people emailed to ask about snow tires for the Tesla, and the difference between Nokian's Hakka R2 SUV and the Hakka 7.
And in upcoming projects:
Sebastian Vettel clinching the F1 championship points with 3 races yet to go caps a Wagnerian soap opera season of racing full of tires exploding on the track and drivers exploding off it. I'll be taking a long look back at what happened to Pirelli and F1 this year, and frankly, nobody comes out clean
And as we get ready for snow in the Northeast, I'll finishing up my summer projects with an upcoming look at Yokohama's ADVAN AD08 R street/track tire. Some friends and I will be putting Yoko's R compound tires on a project Miata T-50 for some parking lot autocross before the toys go inside for the winter.
Once the snow does arrive, I'll be taking another look at Nokian's WRG3 by subjecting it to whatever this upcoming Northeast winter can throw at it.
Have a happy, and above all safe, Halloween. Drive carefully out there.
Photo © Sumitomo Tire, Inc.
TBC Corporation (TBC), one of the nation's largest marketers of automotive replacement tires and the exclusive distributor of Sumitomo tires in North America, announced today that it will send one lucky Sumitomo Tire Facebook fan on a thrilling, all-inclusive racing expedition as part of its Sumitomo Supercar Speedway Sweepstakes.
Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, TBC Corporation (TBC) is one of the nation's largest marketers of automotive replacement tires. TBC's retail group operates more than 2,700 franchised and company-operated tire and automotive service centers under the brands Tire Kingdom®, Merchant's Tire & Auto Centers®, NTB®-National Tire & Battery®, Big O Tires®, Midas®, and SpeeDee Oil and Lube®.
Beginning October 28, 2013 and running through November 30, fans are encouraged to visit Sumitomo's Facebook page every week to vote for their favorite American Muscle Car or Import Sports Car. At the conclusion of the contest, 3 winners will be picked at random from the group of entries. The final winning vehicle will be randomly selected on November 30.
It's taken me quite a bit of time to write the second chapter of Yokohama's Avid Ascend launch in Florida, and I apologize to any readers who were kept waiting. (You can read about Day 1 of the "Orange Oil Tire" event at Sebring Raceway here.)
Even after writing the review, and the long-term LRR review, I still found myself struggling to understand quite how this tire really does what it is supposed to do. I had to put it aside for awhile until I could have a further conversation with the engineers. As I explain below, this further conversation showed me where I had gone off-track.
Day 2 of Yokohama's Avid Ascend launch event takes place in an honest-to-goodness Florida orange grove. On arrival, we find Yoko's PR team still engaged with a local news crew filming a story, so we print folks relax in the pleasant morning sun next to a sign warning of alligators. We munch on orange muffins provided by the grove while a small airplane flying overhead lazily skywrites "JESUS IS LORD" across the clear blue Florida sky. I find this somewhat puzzling - it seems like quite a bit of effort for literally ephemeral gain - until the grove staff brings out a tray of orange-tangerine slushies and I have a religious experience.
All photos © Sean Phillips
It's kind of like that, only colder. Words cannot adequately describe the orangey goodness.
Demotivational Poster by Very Demotivational.com
I got this email recently, but really, I get this email quite often. I also see it in forums and in online tire reviews. When I sold tires I heard about it all the time, and that's only the times I wasn't directly involved in it. This email specified a certain brand of tire and a certain installer that did the work, which I have removed to protect the not-yet-proven-guilty.
"I bought a set of these tires for a 2006 Impala LT. Right off they vibrated on the road at highway speeds... They rotated and re-balanced all four tires. However the same problem existed.
I was disgusted with the way these tires vibrated so two days later I took my car back to have my old tires put back on. Of course the guys came up with all kinds of B.S, excuses at to why there was a problem with vibration on my car, such as tires wear into the car they are on but I knew better.
So they remounted my tires including balancing... Funny thing, the tires ride smooth as glass, just like they did before. Which according to their excuse of tires wearing into the car they are on blows that out the window. They would have had to get the same tire on the same wheel in the same position it was on before they took them off.
I would not recommend these tires to anyone. I think they are JUNK!!!"
Demotivational Poster by Very Demotivational.com
When football season starts, you should start thinking about snow tires.
Seriously, late August to September is usually the best time to be looking for snow tires, because the prices will tend to rise as the temperature falls. What you need to do is get in the door before the bloody Canadians start buying up everything in sight. Start looking for snow tires when football starts, and then wait to install them until you can see your breath in the air.
I also know it's getting to be snow tire season when people start sending me snow tire questions.
Photo © Foster Tire
The issues surrounding tire aging have been kind of a big deal in the tire industry lately. There's been kind of a long-running argument between the tire industry and Congress over whether tires should have an expiration date, and if so how old is too old? 6 years? 10 years? Depends on who you talk to.
Just recently Maryland debated a bill sponsored by Delegate Benjamin Kramer to require Maryland tire dealers to give consumers a printed statement on the dangers of tire aging whenever they sell a tire that is more than three years past its manufacture date. Kramer sponsored a more sweeping bill last year that would have required all tire manufacturers and retailers in Maryland to inform consumers of the age of every tire sold.
The previous bill was killed in committee largely due to overwhelming opposition from the Tire Industry Association, Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Chesapeake Automotive Business Association. This latest bill was not brought to the floor before the end of session and will probably be reintroduced next year.
The TIA and RMA have argued a number of points, including:
- That tires do not really begin to age until they are mounted.
- That there is no statistical correlation between tire age and tire failures.
Given that the TIA and RMA are organizations dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of people who sell tires, one can be forgiven for taking such pronouncements with a grain of salt. In my case, one is expected to do just that. And so, I went and did some research. And then I did some more research. And somewhere deeper into NHTSA lab reports and rubber oxidation curves than most of you would ever wish to be, I wrapped my head around what I think are some good and usable answers.
Back in the day, the classic racing and muscle car wheel were often made of a magnesium alloy, leading them to be called, "Mag Wheels." The lighter alloy made for good performance, but traditional alloy paints wouldn't stick on mag wheels. When the Dow Corporation produced a magnesium coating that worked, the dull gold finish called DOW-7 quickly became a legendary icon of the era.
Photo © Vintage Engineering, LLC
Michelin is recalling approximately 100,000 SUV and light truck tires after one of their retailers discovered perforations in the sidewalls that - oddly enough - could cause rapid deflation. Rapid deflation, as you may imagine, is generally considered to be a bad thing.
All jokes aside, this was a remarkably quick and responsible reaction by a very large tire company. According to Michelin's report to the NHTSA, they were notified of a problem by their retailer on June 24th, had identified the issue by June 28th, issued a "stop sale" notice to dealers by July 3rd and notified the NHTSA of a voluntary recall on July 11th. Take it from someone who looks at tire recalls for a living - that's very fast work, even for what must have been a glaringly obvious problem. Companies the size of Michelin usually have a hard time moving that fast, but it seems to have become ingrained in many tire companies that moving quickly and aggressively to solve problems like this can turn a potential bad PR situation into one where the company has clearly done the right thing. It's a much better way to go.