Federal vs Michelin

For the later Citroen DS and ID models with 15″ wheels there are currently 3 main brands of suitable tyre on the market in the UK; Michelin, Vredestein and Federal.

Michelin XVS

Michelin XVS

Michelin XAS

Michelin XAS

At the top end of the market are Michelin XAS, which are of course what the car had when new and in our experience are the best all round tyre in terms of ride, grip and longevity. They look good on the car too and if money was no object they’d be our first choice every time, however they are a bit on the pricey side at around £180.00 for the Michelin 180HR15 XAS at the time of writing. Please note that the  Michelin XVS tyre is not as well suited to the D models as the XAS tyre. This is because the XVS has a flat tread, whereas the XAS has a rounded tread surface suited to the DS’s characteristics. When a DS corners it has a bit of body roll, more than average you might say, and due to the suspension design, the wheels stay parallel to the body meaning they lean with it when cornering. The rounded XAS tread keeps maximum tread in contact with the road, whereas a flatter tread tilts onto one edge when the wheel leans meaning less contact with the road and faster wearing edges.
That’s why you don’t see motorcycles with flat tread tyres, they are all rounded because the bikes lean when cornering.

federal tyre

Federal 185R15 93T car tyre suitable for Citroen DS


At the other end of the market are the Chinese made Federal 185R15 93T. Don’t let the country of origin put you off as we have tested these tyres over many miles ourselves and can testify that they are pretty good. The Federal tyres actually provide a slightly softer ride than the Michelins and offer as much grip in the dry but slightly less in the wet.
They are a more flexible tyre which means they are less precise and stable when cornering and we would not expect them to last as many miles as the Michelin tyres, but with the kind of usage that most DS’s get nowadays, the tyres will need replacing due to age before they actually wear out the tread anyway. If your budget does not stretch to Michelin tyres, the Federal tyres are your next best bet and at the time of writing these can be had for around £75.00 each. 

Vredestein Sprint Classic

Vredestein Sprint Classic

This leaves the Dutch made Vredestein 185HR15 Sprint Classic tyre for around £115.00 at the time of writing. There are many Citroen DS and ID models out there using these tyres and by all accounts they are a pretty good tyre, but we have not tested these long term ourselves. 

However, we prefer not to recommend them for a number of reasons and these are our personal opinons only.
Firstly, they look ugly – a bit like a van or truck tyre. Secondly, we have seen quite a number of warped / bulging Vredesteins on cars that have been in for repair. We do not know if these
have been damaged by kerbing or pot holes, but we do not generally see the other brands like that as often.
The third reason is that we see no additional advantage in using Vredesteins over Federals so why spend an extra £40.00 per corner when you don’t need to?

Michelin Agilis 61 tyre

Michelin Agilis 61 van tyre – for vans or dessert driving in your DS!

We often have Citroen DS and ID models in the workshop with light commercial tyres fitted. This is usually because they are readily available in the right size from any tyre shop and reasonably priced.
This got me wondering as to the advantages and disadvantages of using van tyres on a car and after a bit of research, I can report the following:
Advantages: availability, longevity
Disadvantages: Poorer ride, usually noisier, less grip.
As far as I am concerned the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, especially as the cheapest 185/80R15 van tyres are about the same price as the Federal tyres above anyway.
The bottom line therefore is DO NOT FIT VAN TYRES TO YOUR CAR!

7 Comments on “Federal vs Michelin”

  1. enrico says:

    salve sono un possessore di una citroen ds e doverei combiare i pneumatici scusatemi dove posso trovare le MICHELIN 180 XAS

  2. alberto says:

    hi! my dsuper ’71 fits two michelin 185 xvs ahead and two federal at rear………….federal are very good!!!! alberto

  3. Vincent says:

    Hi, interestingly I was talking to my local DS guru about fitting some cheaper tyres to the rear, when due, and he said “no, the rear wheels track according to the front so it is better to fit the Michelins to the rear.” Words to that effect anyway. Upshot being that one is more likely to drive to the capability of the front wheels and feeling/controlling understeer is more likely than overwhelming oversteer from the rear breaking away. So I fitted Michelin’s all round just to be on the safe side. Not that I am in danger of illegal road behaviour on a quiet back-country road when there is great visibility across a sweeping curve, Officer.

  4. Chris Clampett says:

    What tire pressure please

    • For Michelin tyres, we find the pressures that work best are 31psi (2.1bar) in the front and 29psi (2 bar) in the rear.
      For softer tyres like Federal or Kumho we find that the front needs an extra 4psi or so to keep from scrubbing the edges off.

  5. cougar says:

    C’est սn vrai bonheur de parcourir ce site

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