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13" Road Tires: ZZS vs R888R


Ferrino
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Looking for a set of road tires for a Caterham build (Duratec 2.0). Running 13x6 wheels all-round and there seem to be two good options:

 

Avon ZZS in 185/55/13

Toyo R888R in 185/60/13

 

Assuming I don't care about the difference in sidewall/ride-height/gearing between these two, which would you go for? I'm in SoCal and this is a weekend warrior in the canyons. I don't typically drive in the wet, but my preferred time to drive is in the cooler months, when it can be down in the 40s of an early Sunday morning in the hills.

 

Also - TireRack lists the R888R as competition-only. But they're road-legal, right? I ask because I've seen folks refer to different compounds on the R888R (soft and medium). I'm just wondering if the US supply is the softer compound which is only for track use...

 

Thanks!

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I have not driven the Toyos but use the Avon ZZS on my UK Caterham in that size on the fronts. I use a wider set on the rear (its a 13x8 wheel). I like them as a tire. I just bought a set for 15 inch wheels as my road/rain set for my CSR. Definitely an improvement over the old Avon CR500s.

 

It was a while since I last checked but the Toyos were heavier than the Avons. Given we are supposed to be adding lightness and reducing unsprung weight I went for the Avons.

 

I have tested ZZS back to back with the ZZR. The ZZS is notably slower in a track environment - 1.5-2 secs on a 1 minute circuit. However, the ZZR is lethal as soon as there is a damp surface. Not worth it for the road - stick with the ZZS was the lesson from that comparison.

 

Someone should chime in on the Toyos shortly. I know people use them on sevens.

Edited by Croc
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I do use the R888R but in the 15" size. I had R888's before and also liked them a lot, I replaced them with R888R and at first had a lot of tire pressure issues. I used a tire pyrometer to get the "right" pressure and ended up with crazy low 12/14 psi pressures. I was at a track day at Mid-Ohio and talked to Johnny Miller long time Trans-Am racer and now owner of https://trackdaytire.com/ He did a 15 minute Tires 101 presentation after the last track session, very informative. I asked him to wonder over to my car when he had a chance and after a brief chat he just said adds an extra 10psi and you should be good. He was right they are now back to shit to a blanket grip level. I love the tires, have heard storied about there wet weather performance and I have driven them in the driving rain, with no issues, but I was very careful. They last well enough I replace them every 3 years or there about, just because I can rather then any performance issues.

 

Graham

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Wow, +10lbs! So what was your final cold pressure level, 28? Was it all 4 corners? I had R888's which I credit for putting me in the tire wall at Mid-O. I loved the Toyo R1's, I have a set of R888R's for the front but haven't tried them yet. They have a fairly deep tread pattern so shd be good in the rain.

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Graham's issue likely was the R888 has a stiff sidewall at zero inflation. You want the sidewall to flex. With our cars so light thats difficult. My recollection from NJMP was he was running just 12psi all round. So assuming I have the math right (using the calculator) 12psi + 10 psi equals....errrr.....duhhh....sucks finger and looks stupid....22psi.

 

Interestingly, Caterham recommend 20/22psi front/rear cold for the Avons on the CSR.

 

The reason I prefer the Avons is that they were designed for lighter cars and so the sidewall flexes more readily. Even so I usually run 18psi cold all round in 13 inch and 15 inch wheels. That ends up around 24psi hot on track which is the recommended temp for Caterham.

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I think Croc is right, the R888R has a stiffer sidewall than the R888. I will check my log tomorrow, but I think I ended up with 22/24. I looked at the Avon tires but the sizes were not good for 15" wheels and they are expensive almost double the R888R cost. I am keeping with the R888R for next year then I think the Hoosiers will be on my shopping list for 2020

 

Graham

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Actually, I mis-spoke, they are Toyo RA1's. They are still available, AFAIK. They last forever and seem to get more grip, not less, with age. The Toyo R888Rs have become more popular than the RA1's, not sure they are better tho.

Edited by Kitcat
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According to Toyo the sidewall of the RA1 is 10% softer than the R888. I've run both (albeit street-only) and prefer the RA1 as it feels a little more forgiving and adjustable mid corner. If Avon made tires in a size that works for my application, I'd definitely give them a try as I believe sidewall stiffness -- or lack thereof -- is an important characteristic for a car that's so light.

 

-John

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I just wish there was an easy direct way to order Avon's.

 

I went with Toyos 888R's and they did their job but I was never happy with the sizing.

 

Front's had too large of a side wall and the rears were too narrow with too small of a side wall. Max available is 225 while Avon's were 245's for the back.

 

I'm due for a new set of tires (after only one season?! 3 track days must have killed them) and trying to find easy ways to get back into Avon's without having to order from England.

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And on a se7en, that penultimate lap will be years (decades?) after you buy them. For street use or as a rain tire for track work, use them as is. If you want them to be primarily for dry track use, have them shaved (or shave them naturally with many miles of street/track use). Typically, they are shaved so that only the 2 deepest grooves remain. That should be worth 2-5 seconds a lap and 1-2 seconds on an auto-x course. But then they are useless in the rain.

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I just wish there was an easy direct way to order Avon's.

 

Call Roger Kraus Tires in San Francisco metro area. They always have them in stock. They ship ground to the east coast. I just received a new set of Avon ZZS, 3 days after I ordered.

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Call Roger Kraus Tires in San Francisco metro area. They always have them in stock. They ship ground to the east coast. I just received a new set of Avon ZZS, 3 days after I ordered.

 

Call? A person?

 

Is that like using your voice to transfer a text message? Can they prime it over?

 

You're really under selling the millennial in me when I say there is no "easy way to order". :rofl:

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Don't get too excited. Roger Kraus is the company, but there is a good chance that you will talk to his son. Imagine, not only a human answering a call with no computer interface or menu options. And an actual son of an actual person whose name is on the door. Remember, you're dealing with a sort of old-school car, so why not an old school tire company?

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Panamericano is so right.

 

Actually I got Roger himself last call. Both Roger and his son are great guys and well worth talking to. They are hugely knowledgeable about their product and know Caterhams along with most other racing cars very well. They supply all my tires for all my cars (they like me for some reason...). I have never found them to be out of stock, ever!

 

Sadly for those emotionally stunted millennials, who lap slower than their fiancé around the NJMP Thunderbolt Circuit, you cannot order by the interwebby thingy. But real people are so interesting to speak with!

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