New budget tyre for D modelsPosted: June 25, 2014
There is now a new 185/80 R15 budget car tyre on the market, perfect for DS and ID models, and I have just fitted a set to our test car for evaluation. These are Taiwanese made Nankang tyres, and get this, the tread pattern is a close copy of the Michelin XVS, albeit a mirror image. The tyres appear to be assymetric as they are marked “inside” and “outside” which hopefully does not relate to the tread, seeing it is on the opposite way to how Michelin puts it! As I’ve said before, I prefer Michelin XAS tyres on post 1965 D models, but I realise not everyone can stretch that far and a DS on the road is better than one sitting unused whilst funds for tyres are found. By the way, the Michelin XVS is not as well suited to D Models as XAS as it 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.
This is also something to bear in mind when looking at budget alternatives which will also have a flat tread.
I currently recommend Federal tyres as the best budget choice but need to evaluate any new alternatives as they become available. First impressions of the tyres are that dry grip is very good, the ride quality has improved and they are quieter on the road than my previous tyres. Not sure how good a comparison that is as my previous tyres were also on for evaluation too, being 165 Firestone F560’s on the rear and 195/80 15’s on SM wheels on the front. Neither one can I recommend at all. When it rains I’ll be able to check wet grip on the Nankangs and time will tell how well they last. These can be had for less than £60 a piece, so even if they wear out quickly, it’s not a big deal. Will update here when I know more.
September 2014 Update: I have now travelled over 1600 miles (2600km) on these tyres and have so far been unable to fault them. They did squeal a little easier under hard cornering after 1000 miles but then I checked the pressures and they’d dropped a couple of psi. I’m running 32psi in the front and 29 in the rear, the same as I do with Michelin. Topping the pressures up meant it’s hard to make them squeal again. We’ve not yet had any rain to speak of in our area, so I still don’t know how they are in the wet or cold. Wear rate seems good, especially the way I’ve been testing them! Will update again when the weather turns wetter and colder.
October 2014 update: With the last week or so of cooler wet weather, I’ve been throwing the car around roundabouts and corners where safe to do so, and also tried numerous emergency stops on different surfaces. So far I’ve not found any lack of grip, they are certainly a lot better than the budget tyres I had on my AX a year or two ago. I really cannot fault these tyres at all, even at double the price they’d be great value. In summary, I say use Michelin XAS as your default 15″ D Series tyre because that’s what should be on there, but if you really cannot stretch that far pricewise, these Nankang tyres are the next best with the bonus of looking a bit like they should too!
February 2015 update: I’ve now used these tyres in all weather conditions and temperatures that most of us will encounter and still have been unable to fault them. As long as the pressures are kept up, they just do the job without fuss. However, there are changes afoot….. I have recently found out that these tyres are no longer going to be branded Nankang. The name on the side will be “Classic Tyre” or something similar and the tread will be turned around the right way, the same as Michelin. The good news is that the price stays low, the grip should be even better on corners, and we’ll still be stocking them. We’ll also soon be able to supply brand new 5 stud wheels with square hole (5.5J) for D models and then you’ll be able to order the wheels by themselves or with new tyres (including Michelin) fitted. Check out our website shop as they’ll be listed on there as soon as we have them.