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article details
Author Jeff Palmer
Categories Tires, Performance Parts
Create Date November 19, 2004 15:50
Last Update April 26, 2006 21:54
OE Constraints

Due to their success in establishing themselves as one of Honda's largest OE suppliers for tires, the Michelin brand has somewhat of a tarnished image in Honda enthusiast circles. As I myself have recently come to realize, this is a bit unfortunate because they currently offer some fantastic performance tires, and many people are looking to other tire makers when it comes time to replace their Honda or Acura's OEM tires.

How did this come to be? To put it in simple terms, it's all about compromise. Auto makers in general have very specific requirements that their OE tires must meet. And in speaking with insiders, it's pretty clear that Honda's OE tire requirements are amongst the industry's most stringent. As you might imagine, the design priorities are generally aligned with "core market" expectations rather than those of enthusiasts. Honda's always been about maximizing efficiency, so one of their top priorities is for a tire to deliver the least possible rolling resistance, even if it means a compromise in grip and comfort. Also top priorities are safety and manufacturing quality. Honda depends upon their suppliers to deliver highly consistent quality, and according to a number of Honda insiders, Michelin is one of the best tire makers in this respect. The next level of priorities is said to be ride comfort, noise, and wear characteristics. Then they start worrying about the tire's wet and dry grip. And of course, as with any manufacturer, cost is a huge issue, but the price sensitivity seems to vary a bit between models.

While this set of parameters plays okay on your everyday core market (Accord, Civic, Odyssey, etc...) vehicles, trying to apply the same goals to performance oriented vehicles hasn't really worked very well. Frequently, the end result is a contingency of dissatisfied enthusiasts. And this is where they develop a bad taste in their mouth for a given brand (Bridgestone is probably now getting a little taste of that thanks to the '04 TL's troublesome EL-42s).

I will admit that my own preferences had been skewed by my personal experiences with past OE tires. That is, until I had the chance to fully understand how having the right tire can have a huge impact on performance. Any time you put new tires on your car, chances are they're going to feel fabulous compared to the tires they replaced, almost regardless of brand. So at that moment, you feel quite satisfied that you made an intelligent purchase decision, and furthermore, that you were right about Brand X. But to fairly assess the merits of a given tire, really the only way to do it is in controlled conditions. Most people do not have this luxury (nor do we, normally), but large tire manufacturers have skilled staffs and test facilities that allow them to benchmark their products any time they wish. This past summer, I spent a fun-filled day at Michelin's Laurens Proving Grounds in South Carolina, comparing Michelin's latest performance tire, the Pilot Exalto 2 (PE2) to two of its contemporaries: Bridgestone's Potenza RE750 and Yokohama's AVS ES100.

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Date Thread Starter Thread
12-25-2006 13:54 Inflation pressures?   (Score: 1, Normal) BenjiBoy650
02-28-2006 12:54 Thanks TOV :)   (Score: 1, Normal) poljana
09-04-2005 16:12 Standard Tires?   (Score: 1, Normal) badhondaman
11-22-2004 02:39 No Falken Azenis comparison as usual...   (Score: 1, Normal) MinimumEntropy
11-22-2004 09:15 RyanDL
11-22-2004 09:50 MinimumEntropy
11-22-2004 15:47 rsxin
11-23-2004 03:17 shisero
11-23-2004 08:10 JeffX
12-16-2004 12:27 hondaracer
12-16-2004 12:46 hondaracer
12-27-2004 19:53 JeffX
11-23-2004 18:19 hey thats my garage!   (Score: 1, Normal) HappaSaiyan
11-23-2004 18:40 JeffX
12-05-2004 04:28 uhhhh
12-02-2004 14:03 OEM Michelins   (Score: 1, Normal) hampton
11-25-2004 12:44 I have the PS2's   (Score: 1, Normal) RSXcellent
11-21-2004 13:23 Dunlop FM901   (Score: 1, Normal) watermelonman
11-21-2004 13:47 JeffX
11-21-2004 13:19 Bridgestone on S2000   (Score: 1, Normal) fireblade954
11-21-2004 13:25 fireblade954
11-21-2004 13:44 JeffX
11-19-2004 19:02 How abut the stock tires on the RSX-S?   (Score: 1, Normal) TonyEX
11-20-2004 00:15 BOOMER
11-20-2004 20:24 TonyEX
11-20-2004 16:07 Just got a set of PE2's...   (Score: 1, Normal) jes98gsr
11-20-2004 17:41 JeffX
11-20-2004 10:41 soft rubber + surface area = fun   (Score: 1, Normal) zapata
11-19-2004 22:31 how do the pe2's compare to the stock dc5 type R tires?   (Score: 1, Normal) kiwikungfu
11-19-2004 20:59 How was the steering response?   (Score: 1, Normal) adrew
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