Lotus Elan

Sumitomo tires (tyres...) @ $50 each

PostPost by: Davidb » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:59 am

These are listed on ebay and look useful.
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/122287612145?_tr ... EBIDX%3AIT

These tires went out of production a couple of years ago so these are old stock but as long as they haven't been stacked in the sunshine I would have no problem using them. It is very hard to find a 13" tire that is advertised as 'High Performance' as these are. The only negative comments I have read is that the sidewalls are not stiff and that effects the response of the steering.

Anybody have experience of them on an Elan or Plus 2?
Last edited by Davidb on Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:35 pm

There are several distributors of brand new tires with warranties that offer 175/70 X 13 tires. Most are $50 or less, several are H speed rated and none are dodgy. Why would you buy out of production tires from an unknown source??

Tire Rack:
Best Seller Kumho Sense Grand Touring All-Season 175/70R13 82H Blackwall UTQG: 460 A B $49.50
Laufenn G FIT AS Grand Touring All-Season 175/70R13 82T Blackwall UTQG: 500 A A $41.73
General Altimax RT Standard Touring All-Season 175/70R13 82T Blackwall UTQG: 440 A A $40.47 Special/Closeout Limited Stock

Discount Tire:

FALKEN SINCERA SN828 175 /70 R13 82T SL BSW 50,000 miles manufacturer warranty $44.99 :D
I got this exact tire in Indianapolis for my Plus 2 as I was driving it home from New York to Colorado and gatoring all over the road on old tires. It transformed the car and is a perfect all around tire for all season driving in CO.

BARUM BRILLANTIS 2 175 /70 R13 82T SL BSW 40,000 miles discount tire warranty $37.00
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PostPost by: nomad » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:08 pm

I had them on a Sprite and couldn't stand them. Think I've encountered stiffer side walls on condom's. :mrgreen:
Still have a couple that I haven't been able to give away.

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PostPost by: nomad » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:11 pm

Like Ross, I love my Falken Sincera's. Compound might be a bit hard but other than that.

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PostPost by: Davidb » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:31 pm

Hmm, interesting. I contacted two forum members who used the Sumitomos on Elans and who both really liked them. Looking at forums for other cars: Datsun, Mazda RX7, Opel GT, BMW 2002 there are rave reviews for these tires...

The tires mentioned by Ross are all low end 'grocery getters'. Can we do better than that?
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PostPost by: mbell » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:07 pm

Davidb wrote:The tires mentioned by Ross are all low end 'grocery getters'. Can we do better than that?


You can buy Michelin XAS from cooker, but they aren't cheap.... so you can buy cheap "Grocery getter" or very expensive and nothing from the mid ground that most of us would want to buy from.

Personally I fitted the BARUM BRILLANTIS 2 on my +2. Apart from them not being the original correct size I am very happy with them. I am only 300 miles in but since i warn the outer coating of the tread I haven't had any noticeable loss of traction. I haven't pushed the car that hard but have tested it a round a few corners/brake tests with good results Given how soft the rubber in I am not surprised by there performance.

I did quite a bit of research into them first, they get very good reviews from tire reviewers are European made, a continental company. Then you add the good availability should you need replacement at short notice and they were obvious choice.

Personally I prefer to fit cheaper carefully selected tires and replace the more often than fit expensive tires less often.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:22 pm

Yes, you and I discussed the Barum tires previously and I agreed they look good-you are the first to report on them though!

Would you mind going out and doing a few really fast laps of the neighborhood and telling is how they are? :)
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:54 pm

.........................and if u someday want to consider a tyre which can actually deal with the forces (this car really corners and this car doesn't want tryes which are meant for cars with 40hp and meant for innercity movement and little fun: a good modern tyre is the a539 yokhama ef) and please gentlemen: at least do your car a favour and not your originality obsession: if you dont really agree you might want or need a morgan! sandy ------------------------ wish i had a street legal 23B!!
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PostPost by: mbell » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:34 pm

I am out if town at the minute ago can't take it for a spin :-(.

I have already taken it around a few slower corners at speeds a bit quicker (30/40mph) than you should, probably fast enough that a poor tire would have struggled. No sign of any grip problems and car encouraging more speed... Not done much more adventurous higher speed cornering yet.

I don't think a539 are available here in anything like the right size. Tire selection is much more of an issue that in Europe with very limited options here.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:40 pm

Sandy, mbell beat me to it! These tires are not available in n.america and I am not sure the size we need is available anywhere.

Mbell, a couple of fast laps in the rain please. It rains a lot in this area and I need good rain tires :)
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:01 pm

The tires mentioned by Ross are all low end 'grocery getters'. Can we do better than that?


This is my last post on this topic in the interest of my mental health :?

1. Davidb - You asked for input and advice then backhanded it away. It reminds me of when I ask my wife if there is someplace she would like to go for dinner and she says "Nothing in particular" so I name a place and she says "Oh no, not there". Go buy the old Sumitomos and be done with it...just sayin'. Or is it that these low end tires aren't the right brand name to be seen on your car at the concours? If that is the case call Coker.

2. We have beaten this topic to death, but the relevant facts are these:
A: Any "Grocery Getter" tire made in 2017 is better than the best tires available in 1962 when our little cars were first specified for tires because rubber and design technology have come so far in 55 years.
B: We don't have the luxury of choices in 13 inch tires here in North America that you have in England and the continent. Besides Elans weigh about half that of the econoboxes for which these tires are specified so they are very lightly loaded.
C: Imported tires from the likes of Coker are much more expensive and will probably age out before they wear out. I am far more concerned about driving hard on 12 year old Michelins than I am on new Barums.
D: The idea that you require H rated tires is just silly. T rated tires are rated for 112 miles per hour SUSTAINED speed. I challenge anyone in the US to tell me why that is inadequate.
E: I probably drive my Elan as far and hard as anyone in the USA on this forum and I have NEVER had a problem with traction, tread failure or blowout on ANY of the cheap grocery getter tires I have used including a set of Sumitomos.

3. I don't reply to topics about which I know little because folks like Rohan and others are far more qualified. But this is a topic on which i HAVE spent a lot of time researching and then using the information to buy, install and drive thousands of miles on the tires I have chosen and paid for so just maybe I know something.

4. Nomad and Mbell are saying much the same thing I am. Is anybody listening?
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PostPost by: Davidb » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:54 pm

I think we are all listening-sorry if I offended-certainly it was not intended!

As I said in response to mbell, I am aware of the Barum Brillantis tires and in fact started a thread to discuss them about a year ago.

I am aware that we do not need high speed rated tires for road driving. But, I am also aware that "tires maketh the car" and I want something that will give me decent grip and handling wet or dry. The Sumitomos are recommended on other car forums.

I don't 'do' conkers... I am a driver.

Please remember, this is a forum--funny things happen there... :)

David b - in Canada, that large frozen lump to the north of you.
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PostPost by: nomad » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:49 am

Well, IMO, if you put the Sumitomo's on a car and drive it like a "grocery getter" you might like them. They ride very nice and they balanced well. If you like to carve corners I wouldn't think so. Even if you are only driving a lowly Sprite. The side walls are about what inner tubes used to be and I really didn't care for feeling the car slop from side to side through S sections or any other corner that I threw the car into. I suppose I could have ran the air pressure way up but then the ride is gone. I took them off and fitted Falken's. BTW, in their class I believe that Sprites and Midgets are just as competitive as Elans in theirs even with their archaic suspention and antique engine. :roll:

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PostPost by: mbell » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:18 am

I wouldn't be waiting for wet performance from me. My cars not water tight due to dried out rear window seal and I don't really want to find out where else it leaks.

Also when it rains it rains here. Last night was tornado warning, 0.75" rain in 15 minutes and 2" diameter hail. So normally any rain forecast and the +2 stays hidden away. Unfortunately the wife new car had to be out, luckily only one bit off haul damage.
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:51 am

This topic is very timely. I can't drive my Elan SS right now because the RR wheel and its lug nuts wore such that I could not get the wheel tight. That car has small diam rear springs so 175/70-13 are a good choice. I have the set of Yokohama A-001 that I originally bought for my special Sprite to us for vintage racing, decided they would be out-dated if I kept them for that use, so the went on the Elan probably in the mid-90's.

I have some Europa wheels that need blasting and painting and new tires added. I suppose at this point, w/o much further research, I'd probably take Ross's advice, since I know he drives his Elan all over the US, and I want to be able to do this again too.

My Coupe is under restoration here in Florida. I'd hoped to take it back to Ohio this summer, but I am not sure I can get new paint on it before we head north end of April. It has the set of Kleber semi-race/ rally that I bought in 1982. Wonderful, but I'm sure they haven't been available for over 30 years. They were an equivalent to 165/70-13 and fit w/ just a little persuading on the spring seat of the struts. When new, I swore I could see a measurable amount of wear just driving to work and back. They were so soft. But, I bought some Pirelli P4s back then just to save the Klebers for autocross or track day, Wish I could buy a set of Pirelli chain link pattern in 165/70-13. They have remade these tires in 14, 15 and 16 and I was hoping before I need them to have my size available. The SS will stay here in Florida and maybe grocery getters are OK, since all the roads here are straight. Not some much fun in a Lotus.

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