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      09-20-2009, 03:17 PM   #1
DeeMac
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To RFT or not to RFT

Folks,

I have an e91 320d in black and I would like some advice on which alloys to choose.

The car came with 16" wheels and Bridgestone run flats. I replaced all 4 tyres last summer ~ £500. I just had the car serviced and checked the tyre tread - the rear two tyres are bald and the front two have 3.5 and 4.5 mm left. So I'm basically looking at 4 new tyres. Again.

Rather than spend £500 a year on RFTs I thought I would take the leap and switch to standard tyres and put some new alloys on.

I've looked at 18" mv3, m6 style, m3 style but can't make my mind up. Any thought out there? I know its down to personal preference, but nice to see some recommendations.

Local alloy companies are offering 18" alloys with Nankang tyres for £500, or Falkens for £650. Does anyone have any experience of the Nankangs? I've run Falkens before with no issue.

I've taken off my bald tyres and put an old set of 17" with RFTs (second picture) until I make my mind up. For winter tyres a local tyre firm has Nokian RFTs for £380 for a set of 17" tyres. Again - has anyone used these?

Lots of questions above, sorry for the rambling.
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      09-21-2009, 03:31 AM   #2
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I have been running on Nankangs on all four corners on my 2007 335i coupe for the last few weeks with no problems and before that use to have then on the rear of my E46 330ci with out any problems.
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      09-21-2009, 03:35 AM   #3
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HI,

Personally I wouldn't touch nankangs or any other non main brand tyre, not worth your life IMO. You must do a lot of miles, my michelin RFTs lasted 24000 miles easy, driven pretty hard on a 330i.

Don't forget your 16" RFTs are cheap, if you run 18" MV3s a set of Michelin RFT will be near £900.

Do you really need winter tyres? I see you're in Belfast, the last time I was in Ireland i didn't notice any glaciers or ski resorts? If you want winter tyres then this should mean your summer tyres would last double the time.

If you can get some used 18"MV3 (look great on the E91) then a set of Staggered Falken FK452 will be about £400 or a bit less and that will be a good combo I reckon. The local alloy sets you mention must be copies for that price I assume??
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      09-21-2009, 03:57 AM   #4
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switch to non RFT - you wont regret it
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      09-21-2009, 04:15 AM   #5
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Michelin PS2 have transformed the drive & ride of my car. Yes they are pricey but worth every penny ...stopped me looking at other cars (for a while)
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      09-21-2009, 04:51 AM   #6
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PM sent regarding genuine BMW 18" style 189 wheels for sale in Northern Ireland with runflats.
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      09-21-2009, 05:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Michelin PS2 have transformed the drive & ride of my car. Yes they are pricey but worth every penny ...stopped me looking at other cars (for a while)
Run flat PS2s or normal ones?

I was surprised at the ride of the 318d M Sport (courtesy car) on lower profile PS2s and suspension - it was actually pretty compliant.

Once my Potenzas wear out, I'm looking at either Conti SportContact 3s or PS2s. Both are neck and neck as my favourite rubber. Think I'll stick with RFT though.
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      09-21-2009, 06:45 AM   #8
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335d, funny you say that, I borrowed a new 320i M sport, it was a much better ride, firm but compliant, than my 335i which is very crashy on PS2 RFT.

The 320i was on 17" bridgestones.

I'm ditching the RFTs this week hopefully, I just can't for the life of me find a single plus point for keeping them.

- expensive
- crap ride
- unfeasably heavy
- fitters often damage your rims changing them
- hard to find at short notice when you need one
- need replacing even for a simple puncture (officialy)
- can often fail catastrophically during 'flat use' (as seen on this forum)
- BMW only use them due to commercial tie in's with manufacturers
- BMW are ditching them next year on new cars (will be optional)
- M cars don't use them, proving they are not compatible with good drive & handling etc.

any + points?

I'll sell my nearly new part worn PS2 (8kmiles) on ebay, which will cover the new non rft set.

Going for conti 3's - joy
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      09-21-2009, 07:02 AM   #9
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Doughboy - errrmmmm....they look quite cool?!

Have to say I'm not experiencing quite so many issues - the ride is hard but not crashy and I just think "what the heck, it's a sporty car so a firm ride is normal" - it's certainly a lot comfier than my near rock solid R32 Golf was (on non RFT PR2s). But then that had no spare - just a compressor and a can of tyre weld as standard. I may still consider non RFTs as Conti 3s have served me well for many years.

But for now, I'm fine on the OEM tyres, even if they are generally regarded as worse than iron banded cart wheels.
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      09-21-2009, 07:16 AM   #10
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Do you not get the 'double bump' feeling whenever you hit a catseye or other sharp bump?

I feel the RFTs turn every bump into 2 because the damping can't control the weight or bounce of the RFT (especially at the rear)

If it happens mid corner the car moves sideways pretty badly,as tyres in the air don't provide much grip!!

The reason i'm keen to change is because I had the last 3 weeks in my old 330i on normal tyres earlier this year and it showed me the difference it makes to a new BMW.

Im a big fan of OEM too, but not when it's only a 'recommended' 3rd party product, and such a misguided one as RFTs seem to be.
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      09-21-2009, 07:23 AM   #11
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Doughboy - not sure if it's my very slightly softer set up (mine has sports but not M Sports suspension) but I'm honestly not getting any of that. The ride is firm but generally excellent - and I live and drive in Cornwall, land of the cr4p road surface!

I'm very critical of cars so I'd want to change them immediately if they were really bad but apart from slightly OTT responses to bad potholes, I'm actually pretty impressed with the ride. I did a lot of very spirited driving on some very twisty back roads this weekend (Roseland peninsula) and had total confidence in the cars set up and handling. I've had a traction light on a few times turning hard and very bumpy corners at speed but nothing alarming.

However I'm still up for better tyres when I need to replace them - and if non RFT rubber is better, I'll get some.
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      09-21-2009, 07:50 AM   #12
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My 335i with 225M 19's is has a much better ride compared to my 320D with the same wheels and tyres, I don't know if it's anything to do with the extra weight of the 335.
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      09-21-2009, 09:57 AM   #13
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My previous 330i on the same 18"MV3 and PS2 RFTs was miles better than the new 335i tourer.

They have tinkered with the setup, softer dampers etc, and it just doesn't work with the PS2 RFT over a poor surface.

335d, are yours 18 or 17? what profile are they?
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      09-21-2009, 10:42 AM   #14
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Once my RFTs are illegal then I am switching. Going to try Falken 452s, 90% motorway journeys so not overly concerned with ultimate handling.
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      09-21-2009, 11:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doughboy View Post
My previous 330i on the same 18"MV3 and PS2 RFTs was miles better than the new 335i tourer.

They have tinkered with the setup, softer dampers etc, and it just doesn't work with the PS2 RFT over a poor surface.

335d, are yours 18 or 17? what profile are they?
My wheels and tyres are actually straight from a Lada Riva... sort of...

225/45 17" all round. TBH, they don't look as "trick" or flashy as most but I like the stealth and I'm impressed with the ride and handling despite the RFTs.

While I'm not an Evo road tester (I wish!), I have driven a fairly large number of cars from Morris Marinas (!!) and Ford Transits to Evo FQ360 and F355 so hope that by now I might have a rough idea of handling/ride/etc.

Wife's grandad is also an IAM observer and lifelong car nerd and he rated the ride and he was in hyper critical mode when he drove it too!
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      09-21-2009, 02:04 PM   #16
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It's a no-brainer IMO
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      09-22-2009, 02:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 335diesel View Post
My wheels and tyres are actually straight from a Lada Riva... sort of...

225/45 17" all round. TBH, they don't look as "trick" or flashy as most but I like the stealth and I'm impressed with the ride and handling despite the RFTs.
I think that slightly taller profile must be the key factor here, allowing a bit more give.

RFTs can't be all bad in all sizes otherwise it would be a nonsense. They are probably fine in regular size / use, but its the lower profile sizes that their characteristics start to show adversely.

Still ditching mine though

£600 for 4 conti 3's fully fitted (255/35 & 225/45 18) is the best so far.....
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      09-22-2009, 03:17 AM   #18
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Doughboy - that's a flipping bargain! Is it from a known chain of tyre places?

I got four Conti SportContact 3s for the Astra (for some reason it came with slightly OTT rubber) - same size as my BMW - for £94 each from Kwik Fit. They were doing 30% off for four tyres. They were utterly brilliant tyres.
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      09-22-2009, 06:33 AM   #19
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I've been running Nokian Z RFTs in 225/45/17 for a while. I am very impressed. Much better ride than the Contis which came with my car originally. Wear seems to be better and more even. The Contis were shot after 9k miles: the Nokians have done the same with negligible wear :-)

BTW I paid about the same for mine from a local indy tyre supplier I have used for the last 10 years.
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      09-22-2009, 07:15 AM   #20
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I'm still not convinced about switching. I can see the obvious cost saving and wouldn't worry I could have a blow out as that can still happen.

I totally agree with your negative points Doughboy which is what is making me thinking of swapping but I wonder about the following:

-Can it affect your warranty?
-Would it affect future trade in if it was on non-RFT?
-I assume tyre pressures would stay the same?
-As the car is designed for RFT could it affect the handling detrimentally?
-Would you expect the same sort of wear rate (I have at least half tread after 24,000 miles)
-Would non-RFT's need to be extra load (XL) to compensate for the stiff sidewall of the RFT.

Sorry to ramble and go off topic but for me its quite a big decision!!!!!

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      09-22-2009, 07:37 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxy-367 View Post
I'm still not convinced about switching. I can see the obvious cost saving and wouldn't worry I could have a blow out as that can still happen.

I totally agree with your negative points Doughboy which is what is making me thinking of swapping but I wonder about the following:

-Can it affect your warranty?
-Would it affect future trade in if it was on non-RFT?
-I assume tyre pressures would stay the same?
-As the car is designed for RFT could it affect the handling detrimentally?
-Would you expect the same sort of wear rate (I have at least half tread after 24,000 miles)
-Would non-RFT's need to be extra load (XL) to compensate for the stiff sidewall of the RFT.

Sorry to ramble and go off topic but for me its quite a big decision!!!!!

Foxy
Common concerns foxy,

-Can it affect your warranty?
No absolutely not, no bearing whatsoever. The manual only recommends funflats it does not say they must be used. Run flats are a cost option on ES cars anyway.

-Would it affect future trade in if it was on non-RFT?
Most dealers won't even notice, but if they do remind them that it is BMWs own internal policy to RECOMMEND, supply and fit non RFT tyres to customers who find the ride too harsh.

-I assume tyre pressures would stay the same?
No, you'll need to increase non RFT pressure in general. But start at the rated pressure, then go up.

-As the car is designed for RFT could it affect the handling detrimentally?
Thats marketing BS, what they mean is the car had been ruined in order to be bearable with RFTs. The handling will be much improved, but it may highlight the softer damping used to try and hide the RFT harshness. Higher pressures helps to give some of the stability back to the non RFT. But less tyre weight can only improve things.

-Would you expect the same sort of wear rate (I have at least half tread after 24,000 miles)
Thats REALLY good, my RFT (PS2 with best wear) lasted 24,000 to bald so you are doing well. Wear of a good brand tyre rft/non rft should be similar.

-Would non-RFT's need to be extra load (XL) to compensate for the stiff sidewall of the RFT.
Not especially, but many non rft in our sizes are XL anyway, for example all conti sport 3's are XL in our sizes. Again XL's require higher pressures also.

Also, I gather that from 2010 BMW are making RFTs an option on all models, so after the M cars showed they weren't compatible with 'performance' handling, now they seen to admit they're not compatible with anything else either....
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      09-22-2009, 08:01 AM   #22
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My insurance firm (Direct Line) want £105 if I fit non-standard alloy wheels. That's for 6 months of policy remaining. When I queried "non-standard" I was told that as a rule of thumb, if the car can be ordered without the part, it is non-standard. So my leather seats are non-standard and they noted that on the policy!! Anything which effects performance, effects the premium. Only if your car came from the factory with (larger) optional wheels would it not be a chargeable item on policy. Time to move insurers!

Has anyone come across a run flat for 225/50 R16 other than bridgestone?
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