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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everybody! As you may or may not have read, I'm going to attempt to get Genius 15" rims from Smart Madness. Instead of ordering the staggered rims, I'm going to request the rear size rims all the way around to get the 2" lip for all four. This will allow my tires to look more aggressive than they already are and put the fronts out a bit to give it a wider stance.

To keep the stagger of the tires, I'm going to put the rear size Conti's on the front since they still have tread and get a 205/50/15 tire for the back. Which tires should I get for the back from this selection? Any preference?

Tire Products - Discount Tire Direct

The tires are going to be for the spring, summer, and fall. They won't see any snow since I have snow tires on now and will swap out when the snow is over with. If anybody else has any other suggestions for the back in terms of brand or tire size, I'm ready to hear them. I want to keep the stagger and not have all four tires the same size.

Thank you everybody and have a great day!
 

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~Nice Knarly L00K~
Kumho Ecsta AST 205/50R-15 86H (All Season)
Tire Rack

Note: May have a little all season tread noise, but with your loud car you ain't ever going to hear them...

 

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Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec tires listed by size

I recommend this tires. They are serious performance tires dry or wet. A great all around tire favored by autocrossers in street tire classes, not the fastest dry tire but one of the fastest in the rain and trust me "you will like the dry grip"
Go with the 195 50 15, it will fit better on your 6.5" wheels and is lighter than the 205-50-15
BTW this tire calls itself 195 but it's wider than some 205 and 215 tires.
Make sure you ask for the "star spec" it has a softer compound and grips better.
http://www.treadepot.com/sizes/pr1r.html Toyo Proxes R1R also 195-50-15 is crazy wide. This tire will last much less than the Dunlop but is the fastest tire in street class in the wet, crazy wet traction and if shaved it is the fastest in the dry. Good grip in cold weather for both.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I know my brother has a set of Yokohama S drives. They seem to be pretty popular on the Discount Tire site, but not the Tire Rack site.

The AST's do look aggressive and have some great reviews with a nice long tire life. I'm leaning towards that one.

The Dunlops look really nice too! Any idea as to the life on them? They look like they will be short lived based on the depth of the tire tread.

The Falken's look interesting too! Keep those suggestions coming! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So now I'm leaning towards the ASX. Those look good too! Still up in the air, though.

Good news!! :D :D

Smart Madness wrote back to me today saying they can ship me out the 6.5" for all four! That made my day!

Now I just need to figure out if it is okay to mix tires...Used set of Contis for the front with a new set of Kumhos on the back. Tire Rack doesn't have anybody in that can help me and I don't know the extension to reach somebody ad Discount Tire to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Excellent information! Thank you very much! :D

So now the question is, do I go with 205/50/15 all the way around, 195/50/15 all the way around, or something different?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Has anybody installed 205/50/15 tires on the front and had any rubbing issues when hard cornering or braking? I might join the I can rotate my tires club, but I have no idea if the 205/50/15's will rub on the front.
 

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Those who I know who have done the rears all the way around say there is minimal rubbing if you do sharp turns like you can as is from the factory. The turning radius is enlarged. But I have not heard any major complaints other than that. I would be afraid of not only that, but the fact that the smaller tired up front cut through water so the wider traction tires can grip. No experience with changing the fronts out though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Excellent input guys! Thank you!

Rich, I ate up my fronts at 13k. That's either from misalignment...or my driving style :D

The water issue isn't that much of a concern, but it is a good point that you made jedi. I'm guessing with the larger tires in the front, it will hit water puddles harder but cut through the puddles in the end, but the front would probably slip a bit more than OEM sizes.

The minimal rubbing is an interesting issue that you mentioned. Since I drive my smart like I stole it and am running from the cops, if I go 205 all the way around, I'll probably do some damage under there. Magilly00 did all 17" and experiences rubbing issues when getting on the highway.
 

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Just my .02 (from personal experience with the Vette) - pick a tire with excellent wet weather performance, even if you have to give up some dry grip. Nothing like getting caught in a downpour with wide, dry weather tires and realizing the car is basically a ballistic projectile at that point. :eek:
 

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Excellent information! Thank you very much! :D

So now the question is, do I go with 205/50/15 all the way around, 195/50/15 all the way around, or something different?
Personally, I would recommend the 195/50s over the 205/50s. Everything is a tradeoff, so you're always compromising on handling, ride, efficiency, tire life, noise, all-season traction, etc. And, I would echo jwight's recommendation to consider all-season or something that isn't strictly a dry summer tire. I would vote for the 195/50s for the following reasons:

1) No rubbing with the 195s. I considered going to 195/55 when I bought tires recently since that size was more available, but one of the main reasons I didn't was because I knew the 195/50s worked well.

2) The 195/50 is the limit of what I would consider "good looking" on the front. Any wider and I think it would look too "ricey" (at least with the spacing on the Rial rims).

3) Overly wide rubber will increase the chances of hydroplaning and skiing on the light front end.

4) Increased contact area may decrease mileage somewhat - although I haven't noticed any real decrease with the 195s. Every little bit though...

5) 195s are probably a bit cheaper than the same 205 size.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Regardless, let us know what you decide and post pics! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Here's what I'm thinking. Since the cars' tires are currently set for stagger, I'll probably fuse your idea for 195/50 with my 205/50.

I'll put the 195/50 in the front and the 205/50 on the back. That way, I can keep the same stagger ratio that the OEM has it set at with the diameter of the tire difference from the front to the rear is .5". If I go 195/50 on the front and 205/50 on the back, the stagger difference is .6" which is only .1" of a diameter difference in stagger which is really close to matching the stagger of what the manufacturer had them set at.

Putting 195/50 on the fronts will relieve my hesitation of rubbing since you along with many others are running the 195/50 setup and don't have any issues. Since the 205/50's on the back won't be turning, I don't think I'll be having any hitting or rubbing issues with those on the back and it will help fill in my fender a bit in the back.

The other issue with the bigger tires is rolling resistance. I know I'll be feeling a hit in the takeoff aspect since the weight increase is about 2lbs per tire and the tires are bigger than the factory set. Also, it might take a bit more to stop because of the increase in rolling mass, the car has more to stop than it did previously.

According to Tire Rack, the difference in price between the 195s and the 205s is about $10 per tire. That's not that bad.

I'm not as concerned with mileage as I am with looks and performance. I think I probably have one of the worst mileage records of any smart car because of how I drive, but the tradeoff in looks with a nice set of Genius wheels with a 2" lip all the way around is worthwhile.

Once again, I have switched gears. Since I am going to with the stagger, the only three I like in both sizes are the Ecsta AST, S drives, and the Exclaim UHP. I like the aggressive looks of all three, but the UHP looks a tad bit more aggressive. Also, on the description of the tire, they said that the UHP has superior hydroplaning resistance in wet conditions. They are back ordered on the 205's, but who knows how long that will be. I guess I'll have to call.

And of course I'll post pictures! Don't want to keep you guys out in the cold on this one! :D
 

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Tires And Elks.

This tire issue with the Smart is very perplexing.

I'd love to be able to rotate the tires without pulling off the tires and flipping them, but something tells me same size tires and wheels are wrong for this car.

No manufacture would supply two different type tires (and part numbers) unless there was a very Good Reason. Non standard parts add to inventory control and purchasing costs. $$$

According to the book, "Smart Thinking", the new, MB type "A" rolled over during testing in front of the auto press. (Elk Test). The Smart people knew their car would not pass the test either, and pulled it.

The book says, Smart widened the rear tires, kept smaller ones on the front and set the car up to pass the test. Smart said the new set up was to improve hi speed handling.

Yet, although some 4 square users on this board have found a degrade in high speed handling, many say just do it.

As usual, Smart is silent on this, and has issued no warnings on tire size swaps. A2Jack
 

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2) The 195/50 is the limit of what I would consider "good looking" on the front. Any wider and I think it would look too "ricey" (at least with the spacing on the Rial rims). :)
Why not look Ricey...
The Smart is Ricey already... Mitsu = Rice Grinder Engine...
 
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