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article details
Author Various
Categories All Honda/Acura
Create Date January 17, 2002 16:05
Last Update April 03, 2002 00:21
Winter Tires

Last Updated: 02/11/98

Nokia Hakkapelitta NR-W (Nokian)

From: Andrew Chan
01/13/97

195/60 R15 88H
Price                   $120 Cdn (~$87 US) each
UTQG Treadwear Rating   ???
Expected life:          >70,000 km at sub-zero C temps

When the roads are nice and clean, you can really have some serious fun. Their sidewalls are on the stiff side for a snow tire (note H rating). It tracks well on the highway, and gives a reasonable amount of feedback. They are nowhere as squishy as Blizzaks and I think they will last a lot longer (Blizzaks act like an all-season when half-worn). When driven close to the limit they tend to get loose and the steering goes numb. Its squarish shoulders probably don't help here. The limit though, is high for a snow tire.

Deep snow (wet or powder) is where this tire really shines. Its tread is deeper than the Blizzak, Guardex, Alpin, or the 190/210Ps. The blocks are extremely sharp and for some reason stay that way even after 12500 km although the rubber compound itself is soft. I got through snow as much as ground clearance would allow.

Braking on icy roads is pretty good. I have to admit however I drive with the ABS off during the winter and that alone makes a big difference. I find the ABS too sensitive and consequently the system is busier anti-locking than actually slowing down the car.

Update: 2/11/98

Well it's been over 30,000km now, and thanks to an El Nino winter, there hasn't been much snow in the prairies. The roads were clean 99% of the time, which means I've been giving the Nokias a good workout on dry pavement. Even so, they still have plenty of life left, with about 2/3 life remaining until the tread bars. They have gotten noisier though, possibly because I've worn the outside tread blocks down more than the inside blocks (enthusiastic driving ya know, heh heh) thereby causing an acoustic shift.

Last year I noted that the NR-Ws tend to get squirrelly at the limit. This is no longer the case, partly because I got the tire pressures right, and maybe partially due to the fact the squarish shoulder blocks are no longer so square. It breaks away evenly and remains communicative at the steering wheel. The grip is impressively strong (for a snow tire) owing to the soft compound, but beware driving around in warmer weather since it will wear fast. My NR-Ws spend its lives at sub-zero (C) temps. Ideal pressures for best handling/response in dry/wet conditions are about 33/30 psi F/R (max rating is 44psi). You could go higher but 1) the ride gets uncomfortable and 2) you need compliance for the occasional pothole. For best traction in snow, I've found that 27psi all around works very well.

I must note though, 195 section is probably too wide for an ideal snow tire. The 185/55-15 is a better choice if you get a lot of white stuff. The wide tire width of the 195 combined with the relatively light weight of an Integra means that the tire doesn't exert as much pressure via the contact patch as a narrower tire would. With 195s, it is a bit tricky to travel in a straight line through deeper snow; many steering corrections are needed. It's not a bother, mind you, but it requires more attention. Changing lanes over large patches of slush at speed can be a little intimidating as the car loses and regains traction for a second, giving the sensation that you are jumping over to the next lane rather than crossing over to it. My friend's 97 Civic with the 185s is more stable in comparison. It all comes down to how much you are willing to compromise between foul-weather proficiency and dry road handling.


Yokohama Guardex 600

From: mcgarry@erols.com
'95 GS-R owner. Just put on a set of 4 Yoko Guardex 600s (185/65R-14) from Tire Rack ($400 + shipping w/wheels & covers). After last winter here in the East on XGTV4s, it was a no-brainer. Coming up on 500 miles, they're pretty squirmy even compared to the stock tires, but they're starting to break in and give decent (for snow/ice tires) dry response. Wet weather - no problem! Will provide a performance update after we're frozen in for awhile (I've lived in SoCal (San Diego) and boy do I miss it!).

Update: 01/13/97

Had enough snow and ice now for me to say that these tires are simply terrific ... they grip! They'll make a believer out of anyone driving all-season tires (especially OEM XGT V4s). If you live with snow & ice, even a little bit, put away your fair weather rubber and suit up with these (or Bridgestone Blizzaks, for that matter); the technology these tires employ will make your Integra more fun (and safer) in the winter. Pretty cheap insurance, IMO, to keep from bending your baby, winding up in a ditch, or (the worst) lodged in someone else's sled. Even when the roads are pretty clear, I try to find snow and slush to drive through just so I can explore the limits :-D Downside? Dry grip is merely OK, they sing at 60mph, and the sidewalls are pretty flexible; ultra high performance tires they are not. But, hey, that's not why you put them on. And, no, I don't work for The Tire Rack: I'm a 45 year old Navy Commander with a sense of responsibility who can still appreciate a fun drive.

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