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Old 12-11-2012, 01:26 PM   #1
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Winter Tire Review Thread (Please contribute)

I wanted to start a thread that provides reviews for winter tires on the FRS/BRZ/FT86. This car is the daily driver for a lot of us in northern climes so we should discuss the best tire choice.

Tire: Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 & Michelin Primacy HP
Size: 215/45/17 on stock rims
Location: Ottawa Ontario Canada
Driver: Spirited driver. I'm no auto cross king but I do have a lot of experience with sports cars in snow. I owned a G35, WRX, and RX8 with a mix of X-Ice 2s, General Exclaim and all seasons. I've driven across Canada and back in a rear wheel drive minivan in the middle of massive snow storms on all seasons without issue. I love to ski so I do a lot of KMs every winter.

Bridgestone LM-60 & BRZ Impressions:

November-December (11th)

The Bridgestones were second hand but have a 9/32 tread depth. A new tire is usually 11 or 10/32 so these are basically new. I have about 1000 kms so far this winter, I haven't had a 30mm snow day yet but so far the Bridgestones are holding up nicely in 10mm+ drops. Slippage is minimal and my TC light comes on about as often as it does in the summer (sharper cornering). I'm quickly becoming more comfortable with when these tires will loose traction because it's a progressive, predictable experience.

I've only run into black ice once but it was on a downhill slope, with no overhead lights and I was going about 50kph. All four tires let go for about two seconds but the cars steering and suspension made it easy to control. My girlfriend gasped, I smiled and everything was fine. In that scenario only studs will prevent traction loss. In mixed ice and snow the Bridgestones are solid so far, no hydroplaning and the transitions between snow surfaces are pretty seamless. Road noise is about the same as the Primacys, maybe a little worse. The Bridgestones have a lot more grip in every situation than the Primacy HPs which is no surprise.

Mid-Winter Update:
We've had gobs of snow this winter, I've done a 3 hour trip to Tremblant in over a foot of fresh snow. It was perilous but the LM-60s did a fine job and got me there in one piece. I didn't see pavement for 3 straight hours, no plows other then my front bumper. I've had many days of 10cm+ snow falls already and the tires and car are solid. The car is so predicable in a slide that driving in deep snow is not impossible but it's also never easy. The steering is hypersensitive so you really need to be paying attention in the deep stuff. Done a lot of donuts and drift practice in empty lots. I've been satisfied with the tires but I don't think they cope with deep snow quite as well as the X-Ices. To be fair, the difference is impossible to quantify with out back to back drives of both tires with the same tread wear. I find the LM-60 quiet, predictable, and good all round.


I'll post an update to this in another couple months after many Tremblant ski trips. For me the benchmark is the X-ICE 2, they were stellar on my WRX and made my G35 bearable.

Michelin Primacy HP & BRZ Impressions:

The Primacy HP has absolutely no business anywhere near snow. My tires are down to a 6/32 tread depth at the back. I used them in around 5 mm of snow and I could barely make it up a 5 degree slope. I turned off TC, but in first or second the tires just kept spinning, even at a crawling speed. I made it up the street with momentum but it was a fish-tailing mess!

Last edited by pastuch; 01-08-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:47 PM   #2
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Hankook iCept Evo

205/55/16 on steelies

will keep review short since still no snow in TO

but the coldER weather and constant rain seem no match for this tire. In some regards i am willing to say that they are BETTER than the OEM tires that i've driven on up until the last week of November.

affordable and relatively quiet, i would highly recommend.

will add more once snow gets here, if ever.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:51 PM   #3
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I have Dunlop Wintersport M3's 215/45/17 that I previously had on my lexus.

I LOVE THEM! V rated and very grippy for snow tires. No snow in ohio yet to test them on with the BRZ.

When I had them on the IS300 they were unbeatable. I could go through some seriously deep snow with no problem and rode great. Good amount of road noise, but it's a "nobly" snow tire.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:54 PM   #4
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No snow so far. If there is none by January, I'll buy myself some Wintersports and sell Xi3's to someone up north.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:00 PM   #5
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i have General Altimax Arctic's on my stock wheels , hasn't snowed yet in NYC since i put them on the day after we had the decent snow storm. drove home on the HP's from college ( approx 20 mile drive ) and they were horrible, the car would just start turning on the highway with me going 5 mph do everyone else a favor and get some winter tires for your safety and everyone elses. So far on dry conditions the tires do peel out alot and some road noise over 65 mph. going over 75mph with these tires is dangerous and i almost lost control of the car because the tires couldnt handle speeds that high. with the HP's i could go easily 100mph and feel perfectly safe and great handling.
Never thought id say this but BRING ON THE SNOW !
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:15 PM   #6
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i have General Altimax Arctic's on my stock wheels , hasn't snowed yet in NYC since i put them on the day after we had the decent snow storm. drove home on the HP's from college ( approx 20 mile drive ) and they were horrible, the car would just start turning on the highway with me going 5 mph do everyone else a favor and get some winter tires for your safety and everyone elses. So far on dry conditions the tires do peel out alot and some road noise over 65 mph. going over 75mph with these tires is dangerous and i almost lost control of the car because the tires couldnt handle speeds that high. with the HP's i could go easily 100mph and feel perfectly safe and great handling.
Never thought id say this but BRING ON THE SNOW !
Same tire here but of the 16" variety on steelies.

In the first few hundred miles, the car was a bit wobbly and the tires were loud.
Now it's pretty much a quiet and comfortable ride. After the break-in, I don't recall a situation where I'd feel the car getting out of control me. Car stays planted but feels slower which is right. No snow yet but I've driven in the rain and on dry roads in both low and medium temperatures. I don't drive hard in the corners though. Rather be safe than sorry.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:26 PM   #7
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Nexen's Roadstone Winguard Sport 215/45/17

Cheap .. and it shows. They are great in the wet and just when it's cold out.

In snow they are passable pending it's not overly freezing out. On ice they are truly weak. One the temperature dips to -20 and beyond there's simply very little grip. The tires are usable but you have to limit your speed to about 35-45mph max.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:46 PM   #8
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Nexen's Roadstone Winguard Sport 215/45/17

Cheap .. and it shows. They are great in the wet and just when it's cold out.

In snow they are passable pending it's not overly freezing out. On ice they are truly weak. One the temperature dips to -20 and beyond there's simply very little grip. The tires are usable but you have to limit your speed to about 35-45mph max.
No winter tire can be good at everything. Hell, studded tires are illegal where I live so I don't even bother thinking about ice traction. If ice happens, we're all doomed anyways so why worry?
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:41 PM   #9
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I've got 205/50/17 Barum Polaris 3's on my stock wheels. They're a bit quieter than the stock tires. I've driven on wet roads below zero, but no real snow accumulation to test them out on yet. I drove in an inch or two of wet/freezing snow at slower speeds and they had tons of grip, so I'm pretty optimistic with how they'll do in more serious amounts of snow.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:52 PM   #10
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General Altimax, 225 45 17 on 2003 sti wheels.
Hasn't snowed a lot here yet, but on the fresh slippery stuff they preformed fantastic. With the traction control and these tires this is a perfectly capable vehicle. I only went with the 225's because of the great deal I got with them and the rims.
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:04 AM   #11
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I chose the General Arctic Altimax in a 205/50-17 on the stock rims. I already have one set of rims for summer/autox and will be picking up a second set for National events so the stock rims made sense as winter tires. That and I think they are kind of ugly so I don't really care what happens to them.

I have been ice racing for a number of years and for the money you cannot beat the Generals. The Blizzaks are only quicker on glare ice. Any type of snow pack, deep snow, or chewed up ice from the studded cars and the Generals beat the Blizzaks. They also wear much better and perform better at shallower tread depths than Blizzaks do. I have ran Blizzak WS50, REVO1, WS60, and WS70.

Additional weight in the trunk is a must for a RWD car IMO. I started out with 50lbs of lead shot and it helped but was still a bit meh from a dead stop. I then added another 50lbs and it is getting pretty good. Noticeably better from 50lbs and a world of difference over stock. Balance is now pretty neutral and it takes significantly more throttle to activate the nanny or induce oversteer without the nanny. We had a couple inches of really heavy wet snow and the roads were fairly slushy. The car tracked straight as an arrow at highway speeds. I also have ran 70+ mph and the car feels rock solid. I ordered another 50lbs of lead shot today and plan to experiment some more and will post my thoughts on 100 vs 125 vs 150. Lead shot is not cheap. I buy reclaimed stuff from Rotometals and the 2x25 pound bags come USPS with free shipping in a flat rate box. My mail person must be starting to hate me haha. The good thing about lead is that in the last 10 years the price has gone up five fold. A little over 5 years ago it was at an all time high of a 9 fold increase. Not a bad investment to have sitting around and very handy for a number of things.

I went with lead shot as I wanted to take up as minimal space as possible. Sand bags work great too but are messy and take up way more space. They do come in very handy when getting stuck on an icy area though. Salt is also popular but also takes up way more space and I don't like the thought of something corrosive in my trunk. As you can see below, 100lbs of lead fits easily in the spare tire well once the foam is removed and still provides support for carrying items in the trunk area.

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Old 01-04-2013, 05:30 PM   #12
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Pirelli Sottozero Series II

Size: 225/40/18
Price: $180 each shipped
Type of a tire: Winter Performance


Excellent winter tire for places that don't get a lot of snow, but get cold and get a lot of rain (e.g. Pennsylvania, New York). It is a winter performance, not a snow tire. It provides really good traction in cold dry and wet conditions, but is only acceptable in snowy conditions.


Dry warm conditions: Better handling than stock tires. A bit more road noise. But less fun to drive than stock.

Dry cold conditions: Much better handling than stock. Maintain traction in situations where stock tires were spinning (e.g. merging into a busy road from a complete stand still)

Wet conditions: Much, much better than stock in starting, handling, and breaking. Provide much more confidence in driving.

Snow: Breaking and driving was fine. Starting was an issue. You really had to be very careful not to spin wheels when starting. I drove around the town in the middle of the snow storm and i didn't have any major problems, but it was not an easy ride. Once you got going, you were fine, but starting from a traffic light, especially up hill, was difficult, but doable.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:57 AM   #13
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I chose the General Arctic Altimax in a 205/50-17 on the stock rims. I already have one set of rims for summer/autox and will be picking up a second set for National events so the stock rims made sense as winter tires. That and I think they are kind of ugly so I don't really care what happens to them.

I have been ice racing for a number of years and for the money you cannot beat the Generals. The Blizzaks are only quicker on glare ice. Any type of snow pack, deep snow, or chewed up ice from the studded cars and the Generals beat the Blizzaks. They also wear much better and perform better at shallower tread depths than Blizzaks do. I have ran Blizzak WS50, REVO1, WS60, and WS70.

Additional weight in the trunk is a must for a RWD car IMO. I started out with 50lbs of lead shot and it helped but was still a bit meh from a dead stop. I then added another 50lbs and it is getting pretty good. Noticeably better from 50lbs and a world of difference over stock. Balance is now pretty neutral and it takes significantly more throttle to activate the nanny or induce oversteer without the nanny. We had a couple inches of really heavy wet snow and the roads were fairly slushy. The car tracked straight as an arrow at highway speeds. I also have ran 70+ mph and the car feels rock solid. I ordered another 50lbs of lead shot today and plan to experiment some more and will post my thoughts on 100 vs 125 vs 150. Lead shot is not cheap. I buy reclaimed stuff from Rotometals and the 2x25 pound bags come USPS with free shipping in a flat rate box. My mail person must be starting to hate me haha. The good thing about lead is that in the last 10 years the price has gone up five fold. A little over 5 years ago it was at an all time high of a 9 fold increase. Not a bad investment to have sitting around and very handy for a number of things.

I went with lead shot as I wanted to take up as minimal space as possible. Sand bags work great too but are messy and take up way more space. They do come in very handy when getting stuck on an icy area though. Salt is also popular but also takes up way more space and I don't like the thought of something corrosive in my trunk. As you can see below, 100lbs of lead fits easily in the spare tire well once the foam is removed and still provides support for carrying items in the trunk area.


Thanks a lot trev, great info. Where can I order Lead shot? Any websites you have in mind?

I found roto metals, It's about 180 for 100 pounds. I think I have a big flat concrete slab at my parents I could use but I like that these fit snugly in the tire storage.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:15 AM   #14
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Thanks a lot trev, great info. Where can I order Lead shot? Any websites you have in mind?

I found roto metals, It's about 180 for 100 pounds. I think I have a big flat concrete slab at my parents I could use but I like that these fit snugly in the tire storage.
I bought mine from Roto Metals. You might be able to find it locally at a scrap place, shooting range, or race fabrication shop cheaper. I was in a hurry and didn't want the hassle of looking for it. Expensive yes, but it will last forever and historically the value of the metal has only gone up. Having the space was worth it to me.
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