Drivesolo
Posts: 409
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:46 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Oct 2011
Location: Pacific NW

Winter tires and winter wheels

Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:48 am

I finally got around to getting a set of Michelin X-Ice XI2's from Tirerack for the winter. They were rated at the top of Consumer Reports Winter tire ratings and are rated 'very good' for rolling resistance. I figure I would give them a shot this year.
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I needed a set of wheels to have them mounted on, months ago when I found out the tire was a 205/55-16 I thought 'Hey, that's the same size that my old S14 ('96 Nissan 240SX) had on it's stockers.'. So I compared the dimensions of the wheels and sure enough they were exactly alike; 16"x6.5" wheel, 5x114.3 bolt pattern, +40mm offset, 66.5mm hub. A decent set of S14 wheels is easy to come by, locally I can always find a set, oddly enough this was the 3rd set of those wheels that I've purchased. I found a set that had been used as drift spares. They were clean, straight, held air, in good condition, no repairs or paint and were relatively free of blemishes and curbing. I've never paid more than $100 for a set of S14 stockers, I got these for $80 but the tires were essentially useless. It's surprising how these 2 wheels are separated by over 15 years yet Nissan uses the same exact dimensions today.
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I was surprised that the Leaf's OEM wheels are made by Enkei. They have their fair share of crap-tastic bling wheels, but from their motorsports selection, I've owned and used for several sets for racing and as far as a wheel that is both light and strong, they are well worth the price.
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For giggles and to test the fitment of the S14 wheels as well as to see if they were an issues w/ them I tossed them on the car w/ the old ratty spent tires still on them and drove around. The ground was a little wet and the tires essentially had no tread left but as long as I avoided any standing water I knew that I would be alright.
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Strictly on a performance level; the Bridgestone Ecopia absolutely blow. To call them crap would be insulting crap everywhere. Here was a set of tires that were beaten to death, cord showing, unevenly worn, left outside for what looked like months, were heat cycled to the point of where they were as hard as plastic and they still gripped better than the Ecopias.... on wet roads. I thought, "Well, maybe the Ecopia's strength is in it's low rolling resistance and the range benefit.".... more on that later. I got the tires mounted and put the Leaf's OEM wheels away. Weight-wise there seems to be about 5 lbs of difference (by estimation form picking each wheel up and judging them) between the S14 OEM wheel + the X-Ice vs the Leaf's OEM wheel + the Ecopia, where the winter tire package is lighter.

Today I did a 54 mile round trip in the early afternoon which I repeated the same exact route driving in nearly the same exact conditions this evening. For the afternoon trip which I did w/ the OEM equipment, I ended up w/ 17 miles on the Guess-O-Meter. In the evening after the same trip on the X-Ice's I came back w/ 19 miles. So much for the Ecopias being hugely fuel efficient. The main difference is that in the evening it was colder (32 degs according to the outside temp on the car vs low 40's in the afternoon) and it was at night so I was running my headlights in addition to using more heat.

The X-Ices are a little louder than the Ecopias, when you accelerate and/or brake hard they have a strange raspy sound that sounds almost like sand running down a slide, possibly from the siping for winter tires. They of course grip better than the OEMs in the cold and dry which is expected since at 32 degs I wouldn't expect any all season tire to be as good. So now there is the issue of the warning lights coming on indicating that I have low tire pressure. Since I did not use TPS's in the winter setup, I'll just live w/ it. I've done so on other cars so its no inconvenience for me once my mind maps to it. The Leaf is a 3200lbs car, the S14 is 2900lbs. My experience w/ Nissan wheels is that they are severely overly built for the car they are used on. I'm not concerned about the weight difference.
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2011 SL Superblack - Delivered 10/10/2011
"As an individual, not as the boss of a company, I am very interested in motor racing." - Carlos Ghosn
"Racing improves the breed." - Soichiro Honda

JohnOver
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:06 pm
Delivery Date: 24 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 4232
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains near Hwy 17 & Summit Rd
Contact: Website

Re: Winter tires and winter wheels

Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:00 am

Thanks Drivesolo, for the details on what you did. I feel the same way about the stock tires. They really do suck.

I don't need winter tires for the snow, but we get tons of rain here and I'm worried how well the stock tires will do on Hwy 17 twice a day during rainy season. I have mud/snow tires on my other vehicles.
2011 LEAF (Silver SL+QC) - 6/24/11 (on 2/3/08 reserved an Aptera 2e #372)
AV EVSE, plus Ingineer's 240V upgrade, and a fist full of adapters
Other cars: '05 Honda Accord Hybrid, '96 Honda Odyssey
6.5 kW PV, making ~24 kWh per day (average).

Herm
Posts: 3765
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:08 pm
Delivery Date: 29 Aug 2012
Location: Timbuktu, Mali

Re: Winter tires and winter wheels

Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:07 am

How many miles do you have on the original tires?.. it looks like you have some edge wear but perhaps is just the picture. Please weight the new wheels before you shod them.

Drivesolo
Posts: 409
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:46 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Oct 2011
Location: Pacific NW

Re: Winter tires and winter wheels

Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:38 am

Herm wrote:How many miles do you have on the original tires?.. it looks like you have some edge wear but perhaps is just the picture. Please weight the new wheels before you shod them.
3100 miles at the time I removed them. Edge wear? Hmm.... maybe my wife's driving. I think she's drives like a maniac at times times attempting to find the limits of the stock package. ;)
2011 SL Superblack - Delivered 10/10/2011
"As an individual, not as the boss of a company, I am very interested in motor racing." - Carlos Ghosn
"Racing improves the breed." - Soichiro Honda

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TomT
Posts: 10649
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:09 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Mar 2011
Leaf Number: 000360
Location: California, now Georgia
Contact: Website

Re: Winter tires and winter wheels

Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:54 am

With the 422s, I think driving normally IS driving close to the limits of the tires! I am seriously considering changing them since they are one of the only two things that really do disappointment me about the car (the other is, of course, the steering)!
Drivesolo wrote:Edge wear? Hmm.... maybe my wife's driving. I think she's drives like a maniac at times times attempting to find the limits of the stock package. ;)
Leaf SL 2011 to 2016, Volt Premier 2016 to 2019, and now:
2019 Tesla Model 3; LR, RWD, FSD, 19" Sport Wheels, silver/black; built 3/17/19, delivered 3/29/19.

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DaveEV
Posts: 6246
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:51 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: Winter tires and winter wheels

Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:41 pm

Nice find on the S14 OEM wheels - $80 / set is great. The stock LEAF wheels are very heavy even though they're Enkeis - 21 lbs or so each.

Looks like the S14 wheels are about 18 lbs so a decent weight savings for the money - same hub bore diameter, too.

Tire rack lists the X-Ice tire as being 21lbs vs the OEM tires at 20lbs, so any overall change in weight should be just a couple pounds at most with your winter setup lighter.

Drivesolo
Posts: 409
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:46 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Oct 2011
Location: Pacific NW

Re: Winter tires and winter wheels

Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:21 pm

Update on the Michelin X-ice XI's that I have on my Leaf. I've put about 250 miles on them and I've noticed that they have "worn-in". when I feel the texture of the tread blocks across the tread face the siping is slightly more pronounced. As a result it looks like range has dropped. I don't have any hard numbers but judging from my observations a 39 mile trip which normally took 7 bars now takes 8. I was also running more heat now so I'm sure that is a factor. When I first took the tires for the first drive the tread face was new and perfectly even. Now that they are worn-in I think its fair to say what the true effect on range is like. Still not bad. They still grip better than the OEM tires in the dry. Also, the release agent used in the manufacturing process is completely gone so that's not a factor at this point. I made sure the 2nd day that I had them on to adequately remove them in the most entertaining way possible.
2011 SL Superblack - Delivered 10/10/2011
"As an individual, not as the boss of a company, I am very interested in motor racing." - Carlos Ghosn
"Racing improves the breed." - Soichiro Honda

GREENEV
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:36 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Jan 2012
Leaf Number: 17351
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Winter tires and winter wheels

Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:21 pm

Hi, Rick from Denver here.

I'm debating between the following winter rubber for my 2012 LEAF:

Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3 ($147.00)
Michlein Pilot Alpin PA3 ($152.00)
Michlein X-ICE Xi2 ($125.00)
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 RFT ($157.00)
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 ($123.00)
Goodyear UltraGrip Ice WRT ($115.00)

My next step is to check out the weight of each tire.

Any last minute thoughts or suggestions?
2012 LEAF: Glacier Pearl SL
Delivered 1-14-12
20,000 Miles as of 9/2014
26,000 Miles as of 8/2015

ColumbiaRiverGorge
Posts: 200
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 2:50 pm
Delivery Date: 06 Jul 2011
Leaf Number: 4992
Location: Hood River, OR

Re: Winter tires and winter wheels

Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:56 pm

Please let us know what you chose and how they perform this winter. Will these be studded tires? I live at the base of Mt. Hood and am trying to figure out the best winter tires to get (studded vs. snow tires). I am concerned about stopping on ice without studs and not being able to make the 75 mile trip to Portland with studs.
VEGAN & 2011 LEAF Tesla M3 reserved.

jkirkebo
Posts: 400
Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:51 pm
Delivery Date: 30 Oct 2011
Leaf Number: 007344
Location: Fredrikstad, Norway

Re: Winter tires and winter wheels

Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:37 pm

ColumbiaRiverGorge wrote:Please let us know what you chose and how they perform this winter. Will these be studded tires? I live at the base of Mt. Hood and am trying to figure out the best winter tires to get (studded vs. snow tires). I am concerned about stopping on ice without studs and not being able to make the 75 mile trip to Portland with studs.
I use Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 studded tires on my Leaf. They have excellent grip both on ice and in snow and have won most of the latest tests over here. They are load though, but that goes for any studded tire.

BTW; the Leafs traction control is very very good. No problems here going up inclines in several inches of snow.

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