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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought my first focus st-2 about a month ago and it came with a set of champiro uhp1 tyres on the front (cheap tyres) and goodyear eagle f1s (expensive tyres) on the back. I've gotten a puncture on the back tyres and will need to get a replacement pair, was planning to fit michelin pilot sport 4s. Here's my question, is it worth my while to change the front cheap tyres at the same time even though they have plenty of tread to the michelins for improved grip? For anyone who has had both cheap and expensive tyres, just how much difference does it make? Will i notice an immediate difference and will the car be better to drive?
 

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Do not get cheap tires! Change them all! Yes, you will feel the difference immediately and the car will be better to drive. Tires and brakes are the most important safety/performance pieces in my opinion. If you can't go and stop reliably, the rest is immaterial.
 

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Tires are how your car contacts the road. Since the road is very important in driving I agree with ddfred. It is worth it to buy good tires that are designed for the type of driving you do. Cheap tries might be good for short term, but can end disasterous if you do anything fun with the FoST. Do your self a favor and get good tires, the car will be more reliable and fun to drive.
 

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Agreed with these two, it's the only part of the car that touches the road. Therefore it's job is to speed you up and to slow you down safely. Do NOT cheap out on the single most important part of the system.
 

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Just to play devil's advocate: Cheap and midrange tires can be more fun, BECAUSE they have less grip. Stay with me here...

For example, the BRZ/FRS twins come with non-grippy tires because it's easier to slide the car around at lower speeds and have a bit more fun. Installing sticky tires certainly increases grip, safety, and improves lap times on the Nurburgring (and your local autocross or dragstrip), as it takes more speed to exceed the grip of the tires. But a cheap/midrange tire can exceed that grip level at lower speeds. Now, with the torquey ST, 1st and 2nd gear will have more dreaded wheespin, but going around turns should produce more grins per mile with the the uniquely tail happy nature of the front drive ST. Regardless of the grippiness of the tire, you still need to learn the limits of your particular setup so you don't slide off into a fire hydrant or a school bus stop full of kids.


A Focus ST with cheap or midrange performance tires can still handle and brake better than a large sedan or pickup truck with expensive tires. The difference between an expensive to cheap/midrange summer tire isn't as drastic as using Blizzaks in snow vs Goodyear F1's in the snow. Cheap/midrange performance tires won't be like wearing bowling shoes and sliding across a wooden floor. They won't turn your car into an unsafe death machine...

So, if you are less concerned with beating the guy at the stoplight next to you, installing a big turbo, or shaving off 1.7 seconds at your local autocross, then MAYBE a cheap/midrange tire isn't such a terrible choice after all. Otherwise, get a sticky tire with a low treadwear rating if you feel that best fits your particular needs.

And now can begin the flurry of posts from people justifying why they spent $xxx per tire for the best possible grip in all potential scenarios that may never actually happen. :D
 

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Just to play devil's advocate: Cheap and midrange tires can be more fun, BECAUSE they have less grip. Stay with me here...

For example, the BRZ/FRS twins come with non-grippy tires because it's easier to slide the car around at lower speeds and have a bit more fun. Installing sticky tires certainly increases grip, safety, and improves lap times on the Nurburgring (and your local autocross or dragstrip), as it takes more speed to exceed the grip of the tires. But a cheap/midrange tire can exceed that grip level at lower speeds. Now, with the torquey ST, 1st and 2nd gear will have more dreaded wheespin, but going around turns should produce more grins per mile with the the uniquely tail happy nature of the front drive ST. Regardless of the grippiness of the tire, you still need to learn the limits of your particular setup so you don't slide off into a fire hydrant or a school bus stop full of kids.


A Focus ST with cheap or midrange performance tires can still handle and brake better than a large sedan or pickup truck with expensive tires. The difference between an expensive to cheap/midrange summer tire isn't as drastic as using Blizzaks in snow vs Goodyear F1's in the snow. Cheap/midrange performance tires won't be like wearing bowling shoes and sliding across a wooden floor. They won't turn your car into an unsafe death machine...

So, if you are less concerned with beating the guy at the stoplight next to you, installing a big turbo, or shaving off 1.7 seconds at your local autocross, then MAYBE a cheap/midrange tire isn't such a terrible choice after all. Otherwise, get a sticky tire with a low treadwear rating if you feel that best fits your particular needs.

And now can begin the flurry of posts from people justifying why they spent $xxx per tire for the best possible grip in all potential scenarios that may never actually happen. :D
Great post.
 

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Just to play devil's advocate: Cheap and midrange tires can be more fun, BECAUSE they have less grip. Stay with me here...

For example, the BRZ/FRS twins come with non-grippy tires because it's easier to slide the car around at lower speeds and have a bit more fun. Installing sticky tires certainly increases grip, safety, and improves lap times on the Nurburgring (and your local autocross or dragstrip), as it takes more speed to exceed the grip of the tires. But a cheap/midrange tire can exceed that grip level at lower speeds. Now, with the torquey ST, 1st and 2nd gear will have more dreaded wheespin, but going around turns should produce more grins per mile with the the uniquely tail happy nature of the front drive ST. Regardless of the grippiness of the tire, you still need to learn the limits of your particular setup so you don't slide off into a fire hydrant or a school bus stop full of kids.


A Focus ST with cheap or midrange performance tires can still handle and brake better than a large sedan or pickup truck with expensive tires. The difference between an expensive to cheap/midrange summer tire isn't as drastic as using Blizzaks in snow vs Goodyear F1's in the snow. Cheap/midrange performance tires won't be like wearing bowling shoes and sliding across a wooden floor. They won't turn your car into an unsafe death machine...

So, if you are less concerned with beating the guy at the stoplight next to you, installing a big turbo, or shaving off 1.7 seconds at your local autocross, then MAYBE a cheap/midrange tire isn't such a terrible choice after all. Otherwise, get a sticky tire with a low treadwear rating if you feel that best fits your particular needs.

And now can begin the flurry of posts from people justifying why they spent $xxx per tire for the best possible grip in all potential scenarios that may never actually happen. :D
If this was a Miata or BRZ/FRS forum i'd agree with you, but I can't get behind that logic because this is a FWD car, and while it is tail happy, it's pretty hard/dangerous to bring the tail out on any public street. On top of that, you'll be dangerously understeering well before you bring that tail out. At the very least, this guy should have his better tires up front.

I regularly drive some fast canyon roads and I can't imagine much scarier it would be using crappy tires vs. the MPSS i currently have
 

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You need 4 of the same tires because you'll eventually need to rotate them. And then the 'don't but cheep tires' thing.
end of discussion. :crazy:
 

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Just to play devil's advocate: Cheap and midrange tires can be more fun, BECAUSE they have less grip. Stay with me here...

For example, the BRZ/FRS twins come with non-grippy tires because it's easier to slide the car around at lower speeds and have a bit more fun. Installing sticky tires certainly increases grip, safety, and improves lap times on the Nurburgring (and your local autocross or dragstrip), as it takes more speed to exceed the grip of the tires. But a cheap/midrange tire can exceed that grip level at lower speeds. Now, with the torquey ST, 1st and 2nd gear will have more dreaded wheespin, but going around turns should produce more grins per mile with the the uniquely tail happy nature of the front drive ST. Regardless of the grippiness of the tire, you still need to learn the limits of your particular setup so you don't slide off into a fire hydrant or a school bus stop full of kids.


A Focus ST with cheap or midrange performance tires can still handle and brake better than a large sedan or pickup truck with expensive tires. The difference between an expensive to cheap/midrange summer tire isn't as drastic as using Blizzaks in snow vs Goodyear F1's in the snow. Cheap/midrange performance tires won't be like wearing bowling shoes and sliding across a wooden floor. They won't turn your car into an unsafe death machine...

So, if you are less concerned with beating the guy at the stoplight next to you, installing a big turbo, or shaving off 1.7 seconds at your local autocross, then MAYBE a cheap/midrange tire isn't such a terrible choice after all. Otherwise, get a sticky tire with a low treadwear rating if you feel that best fits your particular needs.

And now can begin the flurry of posts from people justifying why they spent $xxx per tire for the best possible grip in all potential scenarios that may never actually happen. :D
No, your point is fine.

The great Jack Baruth has said similar: Want to Be a Better Driver? Get a Worse Tire

I run the summer F1s because I want as much grip as I can get when driving on the street. For safety. This bit from Car and Driver about testing a Focus ST with the Pirelli All Season tire option was pretty telling to me:

Braking from 70 mph to a stop consumes 186 feet, about 20 more than other STs we’ve tested, and lateral acceleration dips to 0.87 g, a decrease of about 0.07 g. For perspective on what’s been lost, consider that the Honda Accord Sport betters the ST’s braking by 11 feet and ties it for lateral grip

That's not an insignificant difference, particularly the braking difference.

I don't track the car and I don't drive it like a maniac on the street. But, when I do push it a bit, I like knowing I have that extra bit of grip just in case. I don't mod my car so I can rationalize the price of tires for both performance and safety.

By the way, the worst aspect of cheap tires is that they simply don't last as long as premium tires. In general, Michelins will not only perform better than budget tires, but they'll also wear much better and last longer. Cheap tires cost more in the long run.
 

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If this was a Miata or BRZ/FRS forum i'd agree with you, but I can't get behind that logic because this is a FWD car, and while it is tail happy, it's pretty hard/dangerous to bring the tail out on any public street. On top of that, you'll be dangerously understeering well before you bring that tail out. At the very least, this guy should have his better tires up front.

I regularly drive some fast canyon roads and I can't imagine much scarier it would be using crappy tires vs. the MPSS i currently have
The best is even tread/grip all around, so best advice is of course don’t cheap out. But if you have to pick, most important is the rear tires, no matter if it’s RWD or FWD, because rear grip is what stops you from spinning out.

On my inherited/rescued FWD beater, I don’t wanna spend any money on it. It’s gonna need new tires at some point, and they will be cheap, but it’s not a performance vehicle or a young one so I take it slow and easy. For now, while the front tires have less tread on them, I’m not rotating them to the rear because, well, I don’t wanna spin out.
 

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If this was a Miata or BRZ/FRS forum i'd agree with you, but I can't get behind that logic because this is a FWD car, and while it is tail happy, it's pretty hard/dangerous to bring the tail out on any public street. On top of that, you'll be dangerously understeering well before you bring that tail out. At the very least, this guy should have his better tires up front.

I regularly drive some fast canyon roads and I can't imagine much scarier it would be using crappy tires vs. the MPSS i currently have
For most drivers, understeer is a safer problem than oversteer. The natural tendency is to let off the gas when a car loses traction, which is fine with understeer. Putting grippy tires up front and lower traction tires on the back would induce oversteer, which is a problem if you let off the gas or brake and aren't experienced with counter steering properly.

The key to remember is that the suspension and chassis setup of the car mostly determines whether it will understeer or oversteer. Grippy or slippery tires will act mostly the same way on a given car, just at higher or lower speeds. A car that inherently understeers will still do so with great tires, just at a higher limit. This, of course, allows enthusiasts like us to carry more speed into a corner on the street or track, but it doesn't change the physics involved with the car when it ultimately loses traction.

Of course, grippy tires provide more traction which is inherently safer in an emergency situation. But for scenarios which YOU control your entry speed into a corner, for example, a less grippy tire will be just as fun and manageable, but at a slightly lower speed than a sticky tire. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update on the tyres: i went ahead and had all 4 replaced with michelin pilot sport 4 and i can say that i can feel the difference immediately, turn in is improved and it just holds the road better
 

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There is a difference between *cheap* tires and inexpensive tires. For example, these Riken AS tires are damn good tires, and they're only $83 ea.:

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tire...autoYear=2017&autoModel=Focus ST&autoModClar=

It is quite possible to fir your ST with very good shoes for right around $350. I don't autocross or race my car, and a good set of AS tires that are grippy, ride well, and with reasonably stiff sidewalls is what I look for. The Rikens seem to fit this bill quite nicely. Yeah, you could get a bit more performance by getting the $350 per tire shoes, but it's 4X the money. Me, I go with the most bang for the buck....
CD
 
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