docbooks222
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:35 am

Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:47 am

Man, I really, really want to own an i3, but this one thing is a deal killer for me. Looking at tons of comments about fast tire wear, handling issues, etc, the fact that there is NO competition when it comes to tire selection is a huge problem for me. I wish someone would figure out how to adapt a, maybe, 18" wheel that would offer at least a few different vendor options when it comes to tire selection. That would put me firmly in the buy-it-now camp! I don't care how it would affect range...that is not an important factor for me. Oh well, I'll keep watching and hoping....OK, rant over

eNate
Posts: 759
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:51 am

Is that really the only factor?

Curious, I presume you've driven an i3... what was your opinion of the handling? Have you compared that to an i3S which runs wider tires?

I haven't looked but others have. There are wheel/spacer combinations that I believe work to get you into standard sizes, but with poke. An i3S might be the better candidate with its fenders.

But I'd take the opposite approach. If you love everything about the i3 except the selection, are tires really a deal breaker? I had my list of "must haves" meet reality: wagon, roof rack, 250 mile range, manual transmission (pre-EV). AWD, spare tire.

In "settling" for the i3 I found not the perfect car, but one that meets my needs, is a hoot to drive, and in many ways is an improvement on what it replaced.
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docbooks222
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:35 am

Re: Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:29 am

"Curious, I presume you've driven an i3... what was your opinion of the handling? Have you compared that to an i3S which runs wider tires?

I haven't looked but others have. There are wheel/spacer combinations that I believe work to get you into standard sizes, but with poke. An i3S might be the better candidate with its fenders.

But I'd take the opposite approach. If you love everything about the i3 except the selection, are tires really a deal breaker? I had my list of "must haves" meet reality: wagon, roof rack, 250 mile range, manual transmission (pre-EV). AWD, spare tire.

In "settling" for the i3 I found not the perfect car, but one that meets my needs, is a hoot to drive, and in many ways is an improvement on what it replaced."

Can't disagree with your points. Only drove a friends for a short time around town, so no time on the highway to judge handling in the wind or at high speeds. But judging by the amount of comments about twitchy handling under those conditions, I can only go by those comments.

This would be a car purchase that I would make for the long haul (at least 10 years), so I have a hard time wanting to commit to a car that goes thru tires faster than Liz Taylor went thru husbands, with only a single vendor to rely on. A tire size that had numerous suppliers would get me off the fence.

PBNB
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:28 am
Location: Vancouver, BC

Re: Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:03 am

Trying to fit an 18" inch tire/wheel would be a better option than a 19". The taller tire might give you more choices as far as widths.

Wheels from the Audi or Mercedes cars should fit and match up with the hub centers and bolt pattern. This would be a good project to improve the handling.

The 20" summer tires do seem to wear out quickly. I also found a dent in one of my rims when I put the summers on this year.
2015 i3 REX

eNate
Posts: 759
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:18 am

docbooks222 wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:29 am

... Only drove a friends for a short time around town, so no time on the highway to judge handling in the wind or at high speeds. But judging by the amount of comments about twitchy handling under those conditions, I can only go by those comments.
I believe I had four test drives at three dealerships, 19 vs 20, and took the family out for an extended drive 1 ½ or 2 hours long, because I was concerned about the same handling comments you're referring to.

Realizing times might make this a bit challenging, but it's worth the effort, just to know. Also wouldn't hurt to jump in a Niro or Kona, both of which run "normal" tires, and compare their handling to the i3.

FWIW I had pretty much dismissed the i3 without taking a serious look at it, was all settled on the Niro -- and then drove one. Instant Blah! Reevaluated, decided to check the i3, immediately became intrigued, and here we are.
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docbooks222
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:35 am

Re: Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:46 am

PBNB wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:03 am
Trying to fit an 18" inch tire/wheel would be a better option than a 19". The taller tire might give you more choices as far as widths.

Wheels from the Audi or Mercedes cars should fit and match up with the hub centers and bolt pattern. This would be a good project to improve the handling.

The 20" summer tires do seem to wear out quickly. I also found a dent in one of my rims when I put the summers on this year.
18" would have the best shot at multiple vendors I believe. Range, speedometer error & increased motor revolutions aren't a concern for me. If 18" tires provided better handling, that would be a plus, but not critical. I will monitor these forums to see if anyone who has an i3 (since I don't) succeeds with the Audi/Mercedes or any other setup. Fingers crossed.

jadnashuanh
Posts: 5196
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:51 pm

Regarding the 20" tires, being summer PERFORMANCE tires, they generally will always have fairly short tire tread life. The 19" ones being an all-season tire having a slightly deeper sidewall, ride better, and last longer as long as your alignment is good and you keep the tire pressure up.

Changing the tire's diameter will change the orientation of the tire tread patch, but not the size, depending on the air pressure.

You could probably find an 18" tire with the same OD as an OEM one, but there isn't much clearance to the brake, fender, and suspension components. The i3 has fairly tight turning circle, so the wheels turn further than on many cars, which can be an issue, too.

YOu don't want the outer edge of the tire to be outside of the fender. Partly so that it doesn't hit it during compression and second, it will throw all sorts of crud onto both the body and those behind.
Jim DeBruycker
2014 i3 BEV, 2021 X5 45e
(The i3 will be sold soon, <17K-miles, interested?)

m6rk
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:51 am
Location: Turkey
Contact: Website

Re: Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:41 am

After a long investigation and comparison period, last Saturday I've finally bought new set of tires for my i3s!

I had no concerns about the tires when I bought my former EV, i3 '14. I tested the car and came into conclusion that the tires compensate their slim dimensions with a stickier compound they've got. For me, handling & braking performance is much more important than longevity. I would rather be safe during 30k km. than having mediocre handling for 40k km.

Now that I switched to i3s '18 my tire options became much more slimmer with 20" wheels... I thought. The original tires are really hard to find & very expensive. I made many technical readings on tire specs & dimensions online and finally I decided to play with tire dimensions on my i3s.

Long story short, I bought one set of "Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance" tires, 195/55 R20 (My first choice was Nokian Wetproof but they were out of stock). At the rear, only the sidewall changed to 55 from 50. At the front, only the thread part changed to 195 from 175. Overall diameters increased to 723 mm. from 703 mm.

The tires are perfectly fitted to the car. I am currently in evaluation period but my estimations after this change are:
- The acceleration, the range and the responsiveness will be a bit decreased.
- Top speed on GPS, the handling/braking performance, the comfort will be a bit increased.

Regarding speed, I mean the difference between the GPS speed value and the speedometer value will change. For ex: if it was showing "100kph @speedometer => 97 kph @GPS" before, then it will show "100kph @speedometer => 100 kph @GPS" now (which is currently the exact case). That means also the range data will decrease even if the tires have exactly the same characteristics with the original set! It is just because the car will cover more range then it shows when we look at GPS data. So, when comparing the range difference between original tires and current tires, we have to take this into account.

Once you opt to use 195/55 R20 on all 4 wheels you have plenty of options for i3s: Nokian Wetproof, Goodyear Effigrip, Michelin Primacy, Conti Eco Contact, Pirelli P7, Uniroyal, Hankook etc...

As you probably know the front wheel is narrower than the rear wheel, 5.5J & 6J respectively. 195 is the maximum width compatible with 5.5J wheels, so nothing to worry about that.

Strangely, there is much less option of summer tires for 18" & 19" wheels at 195 or less width.

Since very few i3 owners do more than 15k km per year and some of them -like me- have also a set of winter tires, 4-5 years of usage seems to be acceptable. Using the same tire set longer than 5 years is a bit risky, since the tire compound will certainly be affected by the environment (UV, temperature etc.)

Cheers,
Casual XTRIathlete
47.492 km on a '14 i3 (got separated)
44.580 km on a '18 i3s (still together!)

SSi3
Posts: 270
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:55 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:29 am

m6rk wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:41 am
Long story short, I bought one set of "Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance" tires, 195/55 R20 (My first choice was Nokian Wetproof but they were out of stock). At the rear, only the sidewall changed to 55 from 50. At the front, only the thread part changed to 195 from 175. Overall diameters increased to 723 mm. from 703 mm.

The tires are perfectly fitted to the car. I am currently in evaluation period but my estimations after this change are:
- The acceleration, the range and the responsiveness will be a bit decreased.
- Top speed on GPS, the handling/braking performance, the comfort will be a bit increased.
Cool! Can you post pics?
Born electric 4/25/15 (2015 REx)
Re-born fully electric 7/27/19 (2019 i3s BEV)

m6rk
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:51 am
Location: Turkey
Contact: Website

Re: Beating a dead horse... single vendor TIRES!

Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:32 pm

SSi3 wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:29 am
Cool! Can you post pics?
[/quote]

I'll try to post the photo links, since I couldn't manage to post them directly... Here they are...

Above: the original tires Below: the alternative tires
https://photos.app.goo.gl/MNE6Vgq3oRY1mfD88

Rear tire view
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Twh6pjXyKAWnVbEL6

Front tire view
https://photos.app.goo.gl/4XrQMHkBYQxwxrfr5

Front tire fully steered on the left
https://photos.app.goo.gl/R9PFgpfnsnd8iN8p8
Casual XTRIathlete
47.492 km on a '14 i3 (got separated)
44.580 km on a '18 i3s (still together!)

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