Review (Tires): Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport

Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport. Photo courtesy of http://www.tirerack.com

The Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport; just reading the reviews makes one want to purchase them. Whether it’s a fair and balanced test such as those on Tirerack or the weirdly compiled mish-mash of UHP, Max, and Extreme Performance Summer tires that Car and Driver did a while back, it’s all enough to make you click “Add to Basket.”

So I did. Twice.

My first go was a set of 245/45R17 tires for my RX8. I like to think I have a very good grasp of what different tires can do, and that I can discern minor details of each tire I purchase. The tire history is as follows for this car:

My RX8 with 245/45R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 tires. Photo by Rob Glick (me).

  • 225/45R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE040 (original equipment)
  • 225/45R18 Dunlop Direzza DZ101
  • 245/40R18 Dunlop Direzza Z1 (non-star spec)
  • 225/45R18 Goodyear Eagle GT
  • 245/45R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport (the subject of this review)
  • Front: 275/40R17, Rear: 285/40R17 Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval (how the car sits now)

Wow, writing out that list really makes me depressed in regards to how much I’ve spent on tires in the last two years. Yay for aggressive driving (and selling off wheels/tires because I’m bored of them) I guess.

When I purchased the tires I had already read the two previously mentioned reviews and knew what I wanted to get. In those reviews they mentioned the tires had “good road manners” and respectable dry and wet performance. I’m here to explain how they stack up to my previous tires, some of which many of you may have driven on with your vehicle.

I’ll start with the first thing I noticed: the ride. My previous two sets of tires were extremely noisy. The Goodyears probably more so than the Z1s, surprisingly. Both of those tires are in different categories (the Goodyears being an Ultra High Performance All-Season and the Z1 being an Extreme Performance Summer/track oriented tire) but this aspect is apples-to-apples; anyone can appreciate good ride quality, and the Potenza RE760 Sport delivered. I immediately noticed that the tread noise was appreciably subdued compared to the loud and, frankly, more aggressively-designed tread of the Eagle GTs. They were also quieter than the Firestones I have now (which are, in turn, quieter than the Eagle GTs and Z1s). I also noticed that the impact harshness was noticeable less. This is not apples-to-apples because I went from a lower-profile 18” tire to a higher-profile 17” tire, but my perception is that the reduction in impact harshness was not proportionate to this change in profile (i.e. a same-sized GT or Z1 would probably ride more harshly). The only tire that comes close to the RE760 Sport that I’ve driven on would be the Direzza DZ101 in terms of ride quality. This tire is the reason why I think the improved ride quality is not proportionate to the increased sidewall height. My recollection is that the DZ101 rode similarly if not just slightly harsher than the RE760. Overall, of the performance tires I’ve driven on, the RE760 Sport, to me, provides the best ride quality.

However, most value handling performance over ride quality, and in this measure the RE760 Sport does not disappoint. In my opinion from driving these tires fairly aggressively, its performance belies its category. I feel it handles very similarly to the Direzza Z1, though in the interest of full disclosure I did have the non-star spec model which don’t have great performance when not fully warmed up, and I never tracked the car so I may have not actually experienced the full potential of the tires. The RE760 Sport provided great initial turn-in response, and excellent mid-corner correction response.

Wet traction was never an issue for me, as I never drove them in the rain, but from the reviews it should have been above average but not class leading. My only complaint was straight-line traction. I went to Sacramento Raceway and did 14 runs at the drag strip. Traction was an issue at launch, and between all shifts (1-2, 2-3, and 3-4). This may have been due to the semi-aggressive camber I was running in the rear (-2.0 degrees) but my 60’ times were worse than my runs at Infineon with the Eagle GTs (off by about .2-.4s on any given run) though the significantly lighter 17″ wheel and tire setup dropped my quarter mile times by .12s on my best run. Straight-line performance is not a strong point of many UHP tires and, thus, should probably not deter anyone from purchasing.

My Protege5 with 205/45R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport tires. Photo by me.

As for my second go; I recently finished building a budget “hellaflush” 2003 Mazda Protégé5 as a daily-driver/beater. By budget I mean I bought the car for $800 and put about a grand in parts and modifications getting it running and properly fitted and stanced. I got the car with some old General Exclaim tires (not the newer UHP model, the older all-season model) sized 205/50R16. They were noisy, producing almost as much road noise as my Wide Ovals do on my RX8. I picked up a set of 17×8 +38 stock Evo IX wheels from my best friend in return for doing his front and rear brakes (good deal, though it took a few hours) and put a set of 205/45R17 RE760 Sports on them. Upon fitting them on the car I immediately noticed that the ride retained about the same harshness (maybe very slightly less harsh), but the road noise had been reduced somewhat. This is mildly astonishing as the tire was lower-profile and the tire pressure I was running was increased from 30psi to 36psi (higher pressure necessary due to running a stretch-fit tire/wheel combination). Handling, predictably, was greatly improved over the Generals. Overall, a huge improvement in my book.

This second experience cemented my belief that this tire belongs at the top of the shopping list for any car enthusiast or, really, anyone interested in extracting great handling out of his/her car without sacrificing ride-quality.  Hopefully you’ll agree by selecting “Proceed to Checkout” immediately after clicking “Add to Basket.”

I’m So Original.

I guess I’m going to take this blog in the only direction I can speak on with utter confidence in my ineligibility on the matter: car talk.

Wow, I’m so original. Another car blog.

Well, I’m an enthusiast, with access to things that I think people want to read about. I.E. different types of tires, suspensions, how smaller diameter wheels affect performance, different attainable (for the monetarily un-endowed) cars, and the like. I think people are interested in things that could affect their hobby of choice tomorrow, and I want to write about that.

I’m always driving different cars, trying new tires, fitting different wheels, and just generally tinkering with cars. Just the other day, I made an incredibly sturdy mounting interface for my buddy’s built B16 powered Integra out of zip-ties using symmetry and some creativity.

DIYs are fun, I’ll pepper in some of those. I’ll review tires & cars and I’ll cover car meets when I can. Hopefully I’ll pump some life back into this blog soon.

Don’t Give In

The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn

“So… I’m not gonna beat around the bush, Rob. We need you. What can we — what can I do to keep you here?”

Those words made me feel like I had life by the balls. I had never felt more valued, more important, more necessary then I did when my district manager presented me with that question. I walked into his office that day already knowing the answer to that question, but I never thought he would word it like that.

“I want a promotion.”

“I can’t make anything happen today, but I can promise you by August 1st it’ll happen.”

More was spoken, mostly words that amounted to ‘thank you’s’ and ‘lookin’ forward to a long successful collaboration.’

I left that office happy as a clam. I was on top of the world and as soon as I returned to my shop, everyone knew something good had, or would soon, happen.

I worked my ass off that entire month to prove my worth (which didn’t need to be proven I mostly wanted to rub in my co-workers’ faces that I was better than them) and help the shop turn its act around and become the business it needed to be. I was successful. My customer base had grown significantly and our customer service scores were higher than they’d been since my then-current manager had taken over.

The month of July had passed and August 1st finally arrived and I’d heard through the grapevine that the DM was in the area and wanted to meet with me as soon as I’d arrived at work. Finally I thought, my days of working ten times harder than everyone else and getting paid less are finally over. I picked up coffee on my way to work, like I always did, and there was a noticeable hop in my step that day. I walked through the shop and said hello to all my mechanics, like I always did, and everyone knew I was expecting something good. I walked in and said good morning to my manager, like I always did, and even he saw the excitement glowing in my eyes. He mentioned to me that the DM was waiting in the office and I promptly clocked in, and practically skipped on over.

“Hey Rob, how ya doin?” He quipped.

“Good, good. Just ready to get to work, you know…” I replied.

“So… I’m not going to beat around the bush. But when I was going through your file I found something that I couldn’t ignore,” and he showed me a write-up I’d received several months ago.

I quickly scanned the document.

“Did this really happen?”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“Rob, I really like you. And that’s why I wanted to talk to you today. I had really high hopes for you — I think we all did — but unfortunately this is a huge policy violation and I don’t know why HR never heard about this. I already called them, I didn’t really have a choice, but I wanted to talk to you before anything got escalated. I don’t usually give this option to everyone but I really feel terrible about the whole situation. If you want to resign today — say whatever you want, personal reasons, etc., I’ll accept it and no harm will be done.”

I couldn’t defend myself. It was there in writing. I always thought I was going to get fired for it, but I never did. They’d led me on all those months just to use my talents and when things were finally good again, they’d pulled the carpet out from under me. I felt like I had just had every hope and dream of mine shattered in one second. I didn’t know what to think, say, or do. I was speechless.

I scratched a ‘Dear John’ letter to the company and bid that fucking place adieu. I walked out, kept my dignity, and no one knew what happened.

But I got home and I thought I was going to just lose my mind. I felt like I had no purpose anymore. I really wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

Two days later I had an interview with a manager from a competing company’s shop. Two days after that I had an interview with his assistant and head district managers and two days after that I was offered the exact position that had been torn from my grasp, but at a better shop, better pay, and with much more capable management and support staff.

Maybe I got lucky, I’m not sure. But you can’t just give up. It has been said “the darkest hour is just before dawn,” and my experience shows there will always be a dawn.

A Great Bay Area Day.

Traffic on the 101N. Photo by Will E.

Traffic on the 101N. Photo by Will E.

So the meet went off without a hitch. We all had fun (I hope) and a lot of good food was eaten. The day started with most of us running late because of ridiculous traffic on the 101N for no good reason. I personally sat in traffic for about twenty minutes, making me about fifteen minutes late. The “official” report from KCBS was that the backup was caused by “some sweeping on the freeway” and that the traffic was “slowly recovering.” What a pain. Pretty much everyone has arrived by 1:00PM and the party was in full swing.

Partys getting started. Photograph by me.

Party's getting started. Photograph by me.

Like I said, we had tons of food (actually, too many snacks and not enough meat) and everyone definitely left satisfied. There were more than a couple of bloopers along the way too… why is there so much salsa in that one plate?

Catsup incident. Picture by Will E.

Catsup incident. Picture by Will E.

Apparently the catsup got the better of one of us. As demonstrated by Anthony, catsup is harder to aim than one might think.

Appaarently buns taste better when covered in dirt. Photo by Me.

Appaarently buns taste better when covered in dirt. Photo by Me.

One of us (who shall not be named) thought that only the bottom bun was necessary and that open-faced burgers were the new craze.

Close-up of the weiner situation. Photo by Me.

Close-up of the weiner situation. Photo by Me.

Not all was lost though. Most of the barbequing went on without a hitch. Eight burgers and many hotdogs, as well as two cans of chili, were enjoyed by all. Rich volunteered to be the grillmaster for the day, and it turned out to be a wise decision; to my knowledge no one died or got food poisoning.

Rich (left) and Nikko (right) studying the food. Photo by Will E.

Rich (left) and Nikko (right) studying the food. Photo by Will E.

Obviously Rich and Nikko take pride in their work, as evidenced by their immaculate attention to detail. However, this group isn’t all about food. Oh no, there is some talent among us.

Me shooting Bob shooting Anthony shooting Bob. Photo by me.

Me shooting Bob shooting Anthony shooting Bob. Photo by me.

Many of us have at least a smidgen of semi-professional photography equipment. I came equipped with my Canon Rebel XT, kit lens, and a Sigma 70-300 for those really personal moments. Bob is seen here with his Lumix and somewhere in the bokeh-ness is Anthony enjoying his Canon Rebel XTi.

Ukulele jam session. Photo by Me.

Ukulele jam session. Photo by Me.

Nikko #2 and JP kept it real by filling the air with the sounds of the islands. Both showed off impressive skill and prowess by strumming softly on their ukuleles.

But of course, we’re all vain, conceited bitches who all want people to stare at our cars. So we fashioned our cars in ways that everyone could get a few glamor shots in.

Lined up on the bay. Photo by Me.

Lined up on the bay. Photo by Me.

Cruising up Skyline to photo-op #2. Photo by Will E.

Cruising up Skyline to photo-op #2. Photo by Will E.

Rob and Bob adventuring to the top of the hill for the perfect shot. Photo by Will E.

Rob and Bob adventuring to the top of the hill for the perfect shot. Photo by Will E.

The group in front of the peninsula. Photo by Me.

The group in front of the peninsula. Photo by Me.

At the end of the day, I think we were all happy. Most went home, but a few went over to grab dinner in the east bay. All-in-all the day went about as perfectly as possible. No deaths, crashes, injuries, or illnesses.

Thanks everyone for a great bay area day.

The Big One (Prologue)

Tomorrow will be Bay Area Corolla’s second annual (I guess this is turning into an annual thing) Coyote Point BBQ/Pot Luck Meet and Cruise. It will start at 12:00PM (noon) and will go till we’re full, tired, or both. We are anticipating a large crowd (13 cconfirmed attendees and 3 maybs) and we should have a blast. Look for pics and a recap of the event as soon as I have time. My Rebel XT will be at my side the whole time and I am going to try to fenagle some sort off mount for my Sony Webbie HD to take some video. It should be exciting.

Word. (vent)

When you say something, mean it, and know that you can make it happen. I work with someone who is notorious in my shop (and, I do believe, in the community) for speaking before thinking. Sure, there is an “ideal” answer that everyone wants to hear, but most people would rather hear the truth.

Case in point: today we had a customer that came in with a cracked oil pan. Oil pouring everywhere under the car. and a very unhappy driver inside the car. She apparently hit something and damaged the oil pan. This person in my shop, in his infinite wisdom and reaching and grabbing for money, decided that we could do a 9.7 hour job in less than 8 hours before he had even checked to see if the part was available in the area. He happily quoted her a large sum of money, to which she replied, “whatever it takes, just do it.” He also stated it would be done this afternoon.

This job is a pain in the ass. It requires removal of the transaxle and dropping the engine cradle. 9.7 hours is conservative and it’s more like a 15 hour job. Luckily the oil pan was available locally and it was picked up. As of 5:15pm the mechanics (there were two working on it all day) were about 75% done. I’m obviously no longer at the shop but I’m pretty sure they did not/are not going to finish tonight as the shop closes at 6:00pm.

So sure you made the customer’s day by telling her that her oil pan would be done this afternoon. But if you had’ve been honest and said it would be done the next day, she’d be even happier because she could’ve planned accordingly. When you say something, mean it, and know that’s it’s feasible. If you’re making promises to make a sale, then your word doesn’t mean sh*t.

(end vent)

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