Thursday, May 25, 2006

So, It's finally time for new tires.

Bit of backstory..... We bought a new Honda CR-V back in 2004 to replace our oft-stolen Civic. The pic above was taken shortly after we took it home.

Denise had always wanted one, as a friend had one and she really liked it. I was hesitant, thinking these cute little suv's couldn't be as versatile as she thought. I was wrong. I drive this thing hard, into places I don't think the designers meant for it to go. It has "real time" four wheel drive, which uses two hydraulic pumps to compare the speed front to rear. If they differ, drive power is sent to all four wheels until the speeds are all equal. It works well. Nothing like a fulltime four wheel drive with lockers, but I was pleasantly surprised at the paths we could navigate.

Being a gearhead, I tried to find information on the net, and found Honda suv mecca,

I had never liked the stock tires, an OE variant of Bridgestone duellers. Hard rubber, minimal tread blocks, slip and slide in the rain....these things were obviously spec'd to give the highest possible mileage and least noise for testing.

They're pretty universally hated, too. The forums above are full of complaints and requests for adequate replacements.

So, fast forward two years, the tires are finally down to the wear bars, thanks to my heavy foot. The CRV heads recommend a non-standard, unrecommended size to give the vehicle a little more clearance and grip. The downside is a little more road noise and a little slower acceleration as the tires are bigger and heavier.

So, took their advice and ordered them. Bridgestone AT Revo's, 225/70/15. Stock is 205/75/15.

They arrived at my door, and my first thought was, "These are going to fit?!?".

My second thought was, " Who's going to fit these?" Most "big-box" stores are so concerned with liability issues that their policy is to save you from yourself and only fit "approved" tires, regardless. I HATE this. Thanks, corporate America and all you sleazy sue-happy tards for creating this Orwellian nirvana.

So I looked at the independant shops. Found Fosters Wheel Service right down the street on Leary Way, halfway between the Ballard and Fremont bridges here in Seattle. Friendly, helpful, no hassles, reasonable pricing, Quick, did the little things like clean the rims so the balance would be right-on. The counter girl was great, knowledgeable, it's RARE to find a business as well run as this seems to be.If you can't tell, I'm very pleased with their work. Recommended.

So, they do fit. The CRV's about 2 inches higher now, the speedo is now right-on instead of optimistic. It does take a little more throttle to get up to speed, and a little more brake pressure to stop, but we both easily adjusted within the day. The cute little vinyl spare tire cover no longer fits, but I certainly don't care. I don't notice any increase in road noise.

Went for a bicycle ride in the mountains recently, got rained out but took the opportunity to try some off-roading. Yep. Much better. The clearance is appreciated, and the grip afforded by the bigger lugs is impressive. I'm happy.


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