The import performance world has undoubtedly progressed faster than anyone could have possibly imagined. Archaic turbo kits and DOS-based tuning programs have given way to advanced, mega-efficient boost applications and user-friendly ECU units that are not only affordable, but also neatly packaged and ready for purchase by diehards everywhere. Still, with all of the knowledge and experience gained over double decades, there’s one area that seems to carry plenty of misinformation, misdiagnosis, and utter confusion: tires. Similar to a builder “over camming” their motor, tire selection is typically based on the stickiest formula that one can find. This isn’t always the best course of action, especially for a full-time street car. Tire wear, wet-weather performance, and reliability are three major factors that are often overlooked when thoughts of tearing up the tarmac begin to cloud one’s judgment.
Take Noel Hina of San Diego, California, for example. A 30-something automotive enthusiast with street builds that span the majority of the last 20 years. Husband, father of two, and a dedicated Honda fanatic, he recently began working on his 2007 Civic Si sedan. He adds, “I bought it brand-new and for the past few years, I left it completely stock and drove it daily while working on a Del Sol project. It’s a great car—I get the K20, but also a realistic backseat for my son and daughter in their car seats. After I got rid of the Del Sol, I decided to start playing with the Si a little bit.”
A basic suspension upgrade was followed by minor aesthetic changes and then came the tough part: wheels and tires. “I got a great deal on these Work wheels, and then the tire choice turned into a bunch of research online. I had old Azenis RT215s, then RT615s on my Del Sol, and they were great for that car, but I was looking for an all-season tire for the Si.” While the Internet masses, in sheep-like succession, urged him to grab a set of the stickiest tires on the shelf, Noel had a few reasons for avoiding that avenue, something many “street tuners” should think about. “Look, this is my daily driver. I’m not planning on being competitive with the car, but I do like to have fun in the turns on local backroads when I’m not at work or with my family. So I wanted a tire that was going to last a long time, improve handling, but most importantly, handle well in any weather condition. I pick up my kids from school every day, and I wasn’t about to sacrifice safety for performance—not a chance.” Noel chose 225/40-18 Azenis PT722s for his 18x9 +30 front/18x8 +35 rear Work wheels using a reverse stagger.
First-Person Experience – By Noel Hina
“The first thing I noticed about the PT722s once they were mounted on the wheels is that they carry a nice sidewall. Not as aggressive as the 615Ks, but still, they look really good on the wider wheels. Driving around the parking lot for a few laps to make sure there weren’t any significant rubbing issues, I noticed the tires were very quiet, which is a good thing—noisy tires are annoying. I jumped onto the main road and headed toward the freeway. Lane changing, a few sharp turns, and the tires responded very well. Obviously the wider wheels have a hand in improving handling, but the PT722s held securely and didn’t complain, even when I gave the car some gas through the on- and off-ramps. On the freeway, I rolled down all four of the windows and listened for road noise, and actually found the Falkens were quieter than my stock tires, a bonus on my daily driver.
“The day after the tires were mounted, on my way to work, it started raining. It hasn’t rained here in over three months, but the day after I mount brand-new tires and wheels, and wax my car, it rains! Steady at 65 mph on the freeway, no signs of hydroplaning, and where I pointed the car is where it went. Braking, initial turn-in, and lane changes on the wet concrete were pain-free, and I had confidence when I went to pick up my little ones from school. I couldn’t be happier with the tires’ performance overall, and I’m glad I researched before just buying a set of ‘sticky tires.’ I could have made a huge mistake in getting something intended for competition like most guys do, rather than a true, all-season performer for daily driving duties.”
|Falken Azenis PT722
Ultra High-Performance All-Season Tire
|Available in 16-20 inches|
|Wide steel belts, stronger-than typical cord,
offering better wear and performance
|Long Lateral groove reduces hydroplaning and
provides excellent stability in wet weather
|Unique rib groove inhibits irregular wear with
|Deep tread depth for more mileage and
|Jointless nylon cap fly and layer increases
durability at speed and in wet weather
|High-density casing ply for improved wear
|Treadwear indicators to warn of proper