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High Performance Tires from Goodyear, Dunlop and more - Six Degrees Of Specialization

Affordable Performance Tires Bring Exclusive Features To The Masses; Here's How To Stretch Your Tire Budget

Brooks Keller
May 1, 2009

You shouldn't have to take out a second mortgage or dip into your kids' college fund to buy a set of high performance tires. The good news is that "performance tires" and "affordability" are no longer mutually exclusive terms. Of course, you can easily pay a king's ransom for high-tech rubber. Let's face it: You have a better chance of breaking into Fort Knox than rolling off the lot with a set of Michelin Pilot Sports for anything less than a grand (and that's before mounting, balancing, tire disposal and other various and sundry fees).

Fortunately, tire manufacturers have come to the realization that relegating performance tires to stratospheric price points means missing out on a lot of business. How then do we define affordable performance tires? The same way "normal" performance tires are defined: by their design and construction (highly aggressive tread patterns, more pliable compounds and prominent water evacuation channels), physical dimensions (larger diameters and lower aspect ratios), and higher speed ratings.

As for affordability--well, that's a bit more subjective. Prices vary based on form, function and where you buy, but if you do your homework, you can snag a nice set of performance tires that will deliver superior grip, handling and responsiveness for $300 to $600. A lot depends on the features and benefits you want. But keep in mind that the larger the tire's diameter, the lower its aspect ratio and the higher its speed rating, the more it will cost. Here are six highly specialized stand-out products in the "affordable performance" category.

Epcp_0905_01_z+Goodyear_Eagle_GT+tire Photo 1/6   |   High Performance Tires from Goodyear, Dunlop and more - Six Degrees Of Specialization

Goodyear Eagle GT
Introduced last summer, the Eagle GT II is a dependable all-season performer. The tire's All Season Zone contains TredLock microgrooves that lock together when cornering to keep your car pointed in the right direction. And the black, serrated sidewall lettering gives it a sporty look.
Manufacturer: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Number of sizes: 43
Rim diameter compatibility: 15-22 inch
Available speed ratings: S, T, H, V
Stand-out feature: "Dual zone" asymmetric tread consisting of an outboard High Performance Zone for grip and handling, and an inboard All Season Zone for year-round traction.

Epcp_0905_02_z+Dunlop_SP_Sport_Signature+tire Photo 2/6   |   High Performance Tires from Goodyear, Dunlop and more - Six Degrees Of Specialization

Dunlop SP Sport Signature
Made by Goodyear, which controls the Dunlop brand in the U.S., the agile SP Sport Signature contains a silica-based compound for enhanced wet and dry grip, a solid center rib for extra responsiveness and stability, and steel belts augmented by Dunlop's proprietary Jointless Band Nylon, which promotes even tread wear.
Manufacturer: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Number of sizes: 25
Rim diameter compatibility: 15-20 inch
Available speed ratings: V, Y, W
Stand-out feature: Hydro-Paddle
Technology, which pumps water away from the tread through a narrow channel to keep more rubber on the road.

Epcp_0905_03_z+Yokohama_AVID_H4s+tire Photo 3/6   |   High Performance Tires from Goodyear, Dunlop and more - Six Degrees Of Specialization

Yokohama AVID H4s
The H4s is part of Yokohama's popular AVID high performance line, but it's designed for daily driving as well. Large shoulder blocks put more rubber on the road for secure cornering while multiple cross grooves provide additional edges for confident wet and snow handling.
Manufacturer: Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.
Number of sizes: 47
Rim diameter compatibility: 14-20 inch
Available speed ratings: H, V
Stand-out feature: Staggered block design working in tandem with four circumferential grooves designed to enhance lateral stability.

Epcp_0905_04+Firestone_FR710+tire Photo 4/6   |   High Performance Tires from Goodyear, Dunlop and more - Six Degrees Of Specialization

Firestone FR710
Introduced three years ago, the Firestone FR710 has proven to be a reliable workhorse at a popular price point. The tire boasts deep shoulder slots for extra traction, "flow through" tread grooves for maximum water evacuation, and continuous shoulder ribs for increased tread life.
Manufacturer: Bridgestone Corp.
Number of sizes: 19
Rim diameter compatibility: 14-17 inch
Available speed ratings: T, S, H
Stand-out feature: Bridgestone's UNI-T Technology, which encompasses a number of elements that ensure confident wet handling and a quiet, comfortable ride.

Epcp_0905_05_z+Falken_ZE_912+tire Photo 5/6   |   High Performance Tires from Goodyear, Dunlop and more - Six Degrees Of Specialization

Falken ZE-912
Boasting an expansive size range, the Ziex (pronounced "zeeks") ZE-912 blends sporty performance with all-season confidence. It features a "hybrid asymmetric" tread pattern for consistent, multi-season grip and circumferential tread grooves for increased hydroplane resistance on wet pavement.
Manufacturer: Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.
Number of sizes: 65
Rim diameter compatibility: 14-18 inch
Available speed ratings: H, V, W
Stand-out feature: Built-in Rotation Wear Indicators that tell you when to rotate the tires in order to ensure flat, even wear across the tread surface.

Epcp_0905_06_z+Continental_ContiWinterContact_TS810_Sport+tire Photo 6/6   |   High Performance Tires from Goodyear, Dunlop and more - Six Degrees Of Specialization

Continental ContiWinterContact TS810 Sport
The ContiWinterContact TS810 is an attractively positioned product that offers premium-level winter handling capabilities. Enhanced edge characteristics on the middle and inside of the tire provide augmented traction in snow and slush. Bonus: the ContiWinterContact TS810 is supplied as original equipment on various BMW, Porsche and Mercedes models.
Manufacturer: Continental AG
Number of sizes: 37
Rim diameter compatibility: 16-19 inch
Available speed ratings: H, V, W
Stand-out feature: Special spacers that prevent tread sipes from closing during surface contact.

By Brooks Keller
1 Articles

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