tyres for MGV8s
Replacement tyres for a classic sportscar like the MGBGTV8 and
MG RV8 has been a topic often discussed by V8 enthusiasts. This
note provides links to comments from several V8 Bulletin Board
threads on the topic. (26.6.09)
V8BB thread started by Andrew Jeyarajah on 26.3.09
I need to replace all four tyres on my RV8 and after having
read the tyre survey and previous threads on the subject i decided
to try and source the Michelin Pilot Primacy. Unfortunately
this no longer seems to be available (at least not from the
sources I've tried! Would anyone be able to recommend a Michelin
alternative or other please? I did try for the Goodyear excellence
also, but decided against due to the reports I read regarding
poor wear of the tyre. I'm changing my tyres just due to the
age, poor handling etc. my annual mileage is approx 4,000.
Al Barnett responded: A month ago I fitted a set of Continental
Premium Contact 2 tyres to my RV8. I am very pleased with the
result as the ride is much improved and the handling seems fine.
Incidentally 'Which? Magazine' has just published a tyre review
and the Continentals came top in the two categories tested.
I purchased the tyres via internet dealer Black Circles and
the whole process worked very smoothly including the fitting
by their local agent. Don't forget you can have a look at the
V8 Register tyre survey.
Bryan Moyse added: Glad to hear your report on the Continentals,
I have just bought a set of the same tyres and it is good to
now they are a success as I have yet to get them back on the
car. Doing some other work while I have it on stands. I will
look forward to the better ride!
Terry Starkey added: I just had a look at the Michelin
website and the Primacy still exists. Whatsmore, they tell you
how you can contact them for advice. I would have thought any
decent tyre outlet would 'steer you in the right direction'.
I have Primacy on my RV8 and they are superb. They suit it perfectly.
Mike Lane added: I have previously and regularly used
Continentals on my Rover 75, then MG ZT and later on my present
ZT-T and they have performed very well, although as a high mileage
business user, I now use the much cheaper and overall more cost
effective Maxxis tyres (purchased and fitted locally) that have
a firm grip together with a very much lower wear characteristic,
whilst still maintaining the excellent acceleration and road
holding performance of which the car is capable, on a daily
not had to look at this brand yet for the RV8, as I have excellent
Yokohama A300s, which are now getting on for 4 years old and
showing very little signs of wear (in fact, I've just checked
them and they still look like new) and I travel in excess of
6,000 quite quick and pleasurable miles every year. They are
superb and have a very positive and stable feel about them.
They hold the road really well, especially in the wet and since
changing to this new set of them, I have not lost the back end
I have previously used Micheldever Tyres on a regular basis
(as noted in the V8 wesite tyre survey and just down the A303
from my Andover home) as their prices have always been attractive
but interestingly, Ive now found that some other local
suppliers are keen to match or better their prices! Worth shopping
Bill Cole added: My tyres are 11 years old and in bad
need of replacing but not from wear. My local tyre fitter recomends
I use budget Maxxis tyres which he says are avaliable in the
size and he has fitted them on another RV8. The word budget
is my problem - does this mean inferior or cheap and being that
they might be on the car for many years do you think they will
be cost effective over the years? My tyre fitter swears by them.
Rob Collier responded: With all due respect, your tyre
fitter doesn't drive your car as you do and it is what you are
happy with yourself. Personally I would not be happy with budget
tyres on an RV8 which is a 3.9 litre high performance car without
the benefit of ABS, traction control etc. My advice would be
to buy the best tyres you could afford. As far as I'm concerned
there are no shortcuts where safety related items such as tyres,
brakes and shock absorbers are concerned.
Andrew Jeyarajah replied: Thank you all for your help
and advice, very much appreciated!
do you have the exact link for the Michelin website where
they mention the tyres please? I had a look but can't seem
to find the relevant link. If I don't have any luck then I'll
go for the Continental Premium Contact 2 I think (thanks Al
Bill - I'd
agree with Rob, stay clear of the budget tyres. From experience
of them on other cars, they seem to wear quicker so hence
you'll be replacing them sooner than you think (depending
on your mileage of course).
noted: I have no knowledge of Maxxis tyres but here are a couple
of quotes - A Maxxis high performance tyre has scooped
second overall in a comprehensive group test ... A
Maxxis tyre can withstand, endure and surpass everything
homework and dont just look at manufacturers; you need
to look at the type of tyre. For instance a Goodyear Eagle F1
is not the same as a Goodyear Eagle NCT and will perform completely
differently and it is quite possible that a budget performance
tyre will provide superior grip to a tyre from a premium manufacturer
that has been designed for long life.
Stuart Mumby added: I'd just like to endorse Al's recommendation
of Black Circle. I bought two tyres for my Jaguar in December
and the service from them and their fitting agent was excellent.
Micheldever Tyres has changed hands since I recommended them
and it would appear their prices have lost their competitive
edge - shop around and consider mail order from say black circle
or mytyres with fitting by your local tyre fitter.
Smith added: When I changed the tyres on my MGBGTV8 last
May I recalled Toyo tyres had been recommended by a member on
the V8BB but found they did not have a sufficient speed rating
for the 175/80 R14 88H size I needed so had to abandon the idea
of fitting that brand. I then browsed the latest tyre reviews
in the Which? magazine and found Continental Premium Contact
2 tyres came out very well. The review tested two popular tyre
sizes for modern cars - 185/60 R14 H and 205/55 R16
W - and the chart of detailed results indicated good wet
and dry grip and braking ratings for the Continentals.
I found the Continental Contact 2 tyre was available in a 175/80
R14 88H size with the correct speed rating for my MGBGTV8
and decided to go for a set. In doing so I had to trust the
qualities and key performance features of the Continental tyres
shown by the Which? magazine report would apply to a different
tyre size. My thinking was that the Continentals had come out
top in both sizes tested and by a reasonable margin, so it was
reasonable to assume that a similar performance would be provided
by the tyres I intended fitting to my V8. Now I know fellow
members with a knowledge of tyre and vehicle engineering may
respond and say that assumption is not one you can necessarily
rely on, but that was my thinking faced with a replacement choice.
The good wet and dry grip and braking performance indicated
by the test results were welcome features and even if the softer
rubber of the Continentals resulted in greater wear than the
several sets of Michelins I had run on for the previous 20 years,
then that was not going to be an issue with a low mileage classic
car because the age effect would arrive at 7 to 8 years well
before wear became an issue.
As I drove off on the new tyres I recall a different feel to
both the ride and handling which was welcome in many ways
a softer ride in terms of less thump as the wheels rode bumps
and manhole covers in the road and a different feel in the corners.
Of course the problem for a classic car enthusiast buying a
new set of tyres every 7 to 8 years, or possibly slightly longer,
is the opportunity of back to back tests does not arise. Even
comparing the new tyres with the partially worn but aged tyres
that they have just replaced is not a fair comparison because
the ageing effect on the rubber of the old tyres would mean
the ride and handling were reaching a stage where they were
a long way from that of a new set of the same brand. So referring
to the back to back test results of a consumer association like
Which? is, I feel, helpful.
Well in the recent April 2009 issue of Which? there is an update
test of tyres and again Continental Premium Contact 2 tyres
come out overall top in both tyre sizes. The test summaries
205/55 R16 W
Continental Premium Contact 2 tyres offer first-rate handling
on dry roads, good wet and dry braking and good resistance to
aquaplaning in bends and on straight roads. Its around
average for noise, so motorway cruising at speed shouldnt
be too much of a strain. The rating was 69% and the next tyres
were Michelin Primacy HP (68%), Uniroyal RainSport2 (68%) and
Bridgestone Tutanza ER300 (67%). Prices mentioned were £82,
£90, £67 and £81 respectively.
185/60 R14 H
Continental Premium Contact 2 tyres provide excellent handling
on dry roads, good wet and dry braking, and decent wet grip
in bends and on straight roads. Rolling resistance is around
average. Its slightly noisier than some of the tyres tested
but not intrusive. The rating was 73% and the next tyres were
Bridgestone Turanza ER300 (72%), Kumho Solus KH17 (67%) and
Uniroyal Rain Expert (67%). Prices mentioned were £58,
£59, £43 and £46 respectively.
After nearly 12 months with the Continentals I have to say I
am very pleased with them.
Mike Taylor added: I have the Continental Premium Tyres,
having done 2500 miles on a set, I would not consider any
other tyre, they are excellent in all respects, it is false
economy to buy cheap . . buy the best, your life may depend
Terry Starkey's contribution was clear: NEVER, EVER
buy budget tyres, espcially for an RV8. Always buy a good
Kev Lillywhite noted: I must say that I have to disagree
with people who say never trust budget tyres its a safety
item, but all tyres are constructed to the same standards
and anything claimed above that standard is just down to the
manufacturer's say so. Many so-called budget brands are in
fact made by the major tyre manufacturers but sold as budget
brands to keep market share. The major manufacturers also
realise that to the fashion conscious young car buyer to have
the latest tread pattern is as important as the latest phone
and the budget tyre is just last years tread pattern.
I have in a previous incarnation been a Mercedes owner and
due to an unfortunate incident required two tyres in an emergency.
All I could get in the correct size were then unknown nang
kang tyres I was dubious to say the least but had no
choice, but was surprised to say the least they proved to
be longer lasting, had more grip both wet and dry and were
quieter than the Pirellis fitted as standard. When I got home
I bought two more and never looked back, and at only £40
a corner fitted what a bargain. As an aside I have also been
bitterly disappointed by some expensive quality
brands and could not afford to changes them due to the price!
Rob Collier responded: I don't disagree with anything
you say and I'm sure that there are some good budget tyres
out there. I do have my own reservations about using budget
tyres on a high performance car like the RV8. There may be
exceptions however when it comes to price, like most things
you buy you generally get what you pay for.
Kev Lillywhite noted: The Merc had more power than
the RV8 and weighed over 2 tons. I think the only thing you
get with expensive tyres is an empty bank account and and
a well known name.
Rob Collier provided some useful information: Hers
a copy of Autocar Tyre Test on Budget Tyre, needlest to say
I have Continentals fitted to my RV8!
Autocar's latest tyre test reports on budget tyres - and how
they perform compared to a premium Continental. Unsurprisingly,
they don't compare well. The test focuses on wet weather handling
and tests five of the leading budget brands: GT Radial, Linglong,
Nankang, Triangle and Wanli.
The magazine tested wet handling and braking, dry handling
and braking and aquaplaning, plus a high-speed test at the
Contidrom test centre in Hannover. Senior tester Jamie Corstorphine
summed up with: We expected the bargain tyres in this
test to fall short of the Continental, but we were not prepared
for just how poorly some performed."
results are shocking. To get the full test results you'll
need to buy Autocar this month (March 2009) , but the results
from the wet braking speak for themselves:
Continental: 31.7 metres
Nankang: 33.8 metres
GT Radial: 35.8 metres
Wanli, Triangle and Linglongs: 40.2 metres
Linglong equipped VW Golf that Autocar used for its tests
was still doing 27.8mph at the point where it had stopped
on the Continentals. Overall the Continentals easily won,
scoring top marks in all but one test. A consistent performance
earned the GT Radials second place, but a wet lap time 3.4sec
adrift of the Continentals indicated just how far even it
Given the average rain fall in the UK, it's well worth thinking
twice before fitting super-budget tyres on your vehicle. If
you save £75 fitting four budget tyres, you only save
0.05 pence a mile over a 12,000 mile life of the tyre. With
the risk of an expensive insurance excess and loaded premium
for the next 5 years, not to mention what could happen in
a worse case scenario, is it really worth it?'
Victor Smith added some information: Test data carried
out by a reputable consumer association or by or for a specialist
magazine does provide factual information as a basis for an
enthusiast selecting tyres for a high performance classic
sportscar. The information provided by the latest Which? magazine
report I have mentioned, and that in the magazine Rob Collier
has highlighted, surely shows essential characteristics like
dry and wet grip and braking do vary by a substantial margin
which is material in terms of safety.
If cost is an overriding factor, then in the case of the MGBGTV8
choosing either the 3rd or 4th best tyre with a 67% score
compared with 73% for the Continentals would have saved £15
(£58 compared with £43) a tyre or £60 for
a set of four. The Khumo Solus KH17 at £43 got the Which?
Money Saver award but it had less wet grip on a bend than
the Continental, the same wet braking and slightly less dry
braking performance. The Maxxis MA-V1 Surpasa at only £40
scored 51% and the Wanli S1032 M+S at £37 scored a very
low 10% with very low wet and dry braking scores. The
Wanli took 67.3 metres to brake on wet concrete from 50mph
compared with the best performing tyre which took 43.8 metres.
That's "nearly the length of three buses" which
is a serious variance which clearly is a safety factor, particularly
with a classic without ABS.
Kev got any test data for wet and dry braking and wet corner
grip for the Nang Kang tyres he mentioned or other budget
tyres he has used?
Kev Lillywhite responded: No, I dont have any
test data for the tyres I mentioned but if we only sent in
independently verifiable reports the bulletin board would
be very short on content! I was merely passing on my personal
experiences and as I have said the nang kangs felt much safer
than the Pirellis especially at the breakaway point they were
much more predictable. Tyre grip also varies a lot with tyre
profile and width so what may be a brilliant tyre on one car
does not mean it will do so well on another. The Golf mentioned
in Rob Collier's report has totally different handling characteristics
being front wheel drive than the RV8 does. As for the Wanli
tyres you mention the M+S (mud & snow) on the name would
suggest that they are winter only tyres much favoured on the
continent as spares used only during periods of bad weather.
I have mentioned before not all V8 owners are that well off
and tyres are a major outlay. Therefore, cost does come into
it as someone who has been made redundant 3 times in 3 years
and has just spent the last 5 months on a four day week, I
do struggle to keep my V8 on the road. I was just trying to
put an alternative view based on personal experience.
Victor Smith replied: Your points are fair as clearly
the tyre is only one part of the suspension system which contributes
to the road holding and ride. I also accept that taking test
results for a different tyre size and tested on a more modern
car like a Golf would not necessarilly provde data which you
could say with total confidence would apply to an MGBGTV8
or RV8. But I feel there is a reasonable case for looking
at the test data and using that to guide your replacement
tyre choice for an MGV8. I also accept that cost is a factor
too, particularly in recessionary times, so feel your comment
on affordability is fair. The Which? tests did highlight the
Continental was a tyre which was available at a reasonable
price and had the best test score too, so that represented
good value for money. Equally the 2nd, 3rd and 4th tyres in
the rankings were good too and the lower priced tyres were
particularly good value. But it is fair to say those tests
did highlight that some "budget" tyres did not show
up well in the tests and I really do feel you cannot ignore
the wide variance in wet braking distances and wet corner
grip shown by those tests.
Bryan Shacklady added: The importance of negotiation
should never be forgotten when dealing with items like tyres
and exhausts, too. Many tyre and exhaust places have price
matching guarantees, and if you happen across somewhere that
needs to get rid of a batch of Continental or Michelin for
some reason (space, older stock etc), bargains can occasionally
be had. I
assume no-one is advocating remoulds?
Rob Collier ended the thread with: Kev makes a good
point in that the descision which tyres to choose is a made
a lot easier where money is no object. Whatever
your budget I think you should buy the best you can afford
and as Bryan says, shop around for the best price and haggle!