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The 15" Tire "What is left that's actually good???" Thread

10460 Views 176 Replies 49 Participants Last post by  Fred289
One of my older threads kind of started in with this, and I thought it better to move to a new thread since the old thread was actually supposed to be about 17" wheels.

So here it is - a thread dedicated to people giving input on the BEST 15" TIRES STILL AVAILABLE AS OF NOW IN 2022.

Let's face it, 15" tires are getting pretty scarce, especially the good ones. Almost every tire is fine for just putt-putting around, but very few are truly good for bailing you out in a hairy situation, and the number is dwindling. So, let's talk about them.

This is not a place for "well they haven't blown up yet, and they are fine for getting ice cream five times a year at 35 MPH or less" tires. This is not a place for "well ten years ago they made these amazing tires and I'm still running them even though they've been discontinued for 10 years" tires. This is a place for us to compare tires that are truly good for driving (street or mild track, wet/dry weather, corner carving, etc.) - or, weigh in if you've tried some absolutely awful tires that you need to warn people away from!

I will start with my data. My car, Jane, a 1966 Fastback. I have tried three tires. I will list their relevant specs, and what I thought of them.

Wheels: 15x6" Wheel Vintiques Styled Steel Wheels, 4.25 backspacing

1) BFG Radial T/A. Absolutely the worst and I'm not even going to put its specs here because no one should have these tires unless they are truly only putt-putting around in low-traffic areas.

2) Firestone Indy 500 Firehawk. Used 2011-2022. DISCONTINUED (which is why I've got this thread going now, actually)
Tire, SizeUTQGLSpeed/LoadRim Width Range "Meas. Rim Width "Section Width "Tread Width "
Firestone Indy 500 Firehawk, 215/65/15500AB95S6.0- (can't find spec)

Feedback: I truly loved these tires. They were very comfortable rides, always confidence-inspiring. They would get a little squeaky on sharp corners but never let go. Never darted or followed imperfections in the road. Wore surprisingly quickly, and got about 40,000 miles out of them, which I didn't really consider to be that bad. Pretty decent in the rain although they would skate in very deep puddles. I took them through the worst monsoons I've ever driven through and they didn't let me down so I have to say I was happy with them. Cosmetically, they were also great, nice donut shape on the narrower wheel (how I prefer it), RWL were great. But alas, they are discontinued. Therefore, they are only included here for a comparison point as a tire that I was happy with.

3) Cooper Cobra Radial T/As. Used 2022-present.
Tire, SizeUTQGLSpeed/LoadRim Width Range "Meas. Rim Width "Section Width "Tread Width "
Cooper Cobra Radial T/A, 215/65/15440AB95T6.0-

Feedback: I put these tires on in October 2022, and took them to Big Bend for a week (2000 mile round trip). They were... okay. They do not feel planted the way the Firehawks did, although they did seem to break in a little bit and were better on the drive home than the drive out. They may get better with wear but considering that the average vintage car owner rarely puts a thousand miles on their car in a year, it bothers me that these tires (which are geared towards classic cars) should need so much of a break-in period. They are bouncy feeling and tend to wander, especially over uneven surfaces or in high wind. No feedback on rain yet. I'm surprised because the treadwear rating should seem to indicate that they are stickier, but they really don't feel that way. They also run noticeably smaller than the Firehawks (although it might be that the Firehawks actually ran large). Still, they are probably the best for RWL tires that can be acquired at any of the major tire shops.

Okay, so that's what I've got so far to contribute - not really that much considering one tire is hated, and one has been discontinued, leaving me with only one actual contribution! Lol. But that's where you guys come in.

Next post from me will be a list of interesting 15" tires I've found, and I'd really like to hear feedback from anyone who's tried them - or if you have other tires to throw into the fray, please do!

(I also know that Zray is going to chip in with a plug for the extraordinarily expensive Avons, and he should know that they are no longer listed for sale by Avon in the US)
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what caught my attention here was the speed rating, a V:
The 400 A-A and V speed rating is also what caught my eye. Performancetire has them for $120/ea. and free shipping, handling/boxing is $25 so you can get 4 for $500 (they were <$100 ea pre-Covid...) I've been waffling on ordering any tires since my car isn't running yet but I haven't read a negative review of them. Gotta be better than BFG's. I did a spinning 360* in my '70 in 1999 on dry pavement on those rocks, front and rear slid, I ended up backwards in a parking lot off the 3 lane road. Maybe they updated their tread but fool me once.

I'm really torn between trying these and settling for a harder run of the mill A/S tire like the Kinergy PT, etc, which also have lackluster reviews, especially for wet conditions. My hope is that the Galaxy's give a better turn in, feel, response, etc. due to the TW and V rating than the higher TW S/T/H speed A/S tires,

One review from the PerfTire website: Comment: I have run the cooper cobra for years, it's a fair tire, but this Galaxy R1 it's a fantastic tire. great traction,quiet,great ride and "V" rated.
If you are on the fence, get these tires. They are sticky and rugged. These are not cosmetic performance tires. I don't think you can get anything better in a 15 inch, classic car sizes.
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@Kelly_H I found some more reviews from 2021, here's a thread from Club Cobra forum, experiences with big billboard, Avon, M/T's and Galaxy R1's: So hard to shoes. (Tires) - Page 2 - Club Cobra
On a big Roadmaster Wagon: I Tried a New Tire (Vitour Galaxy R1)

Found a couple Mustang pics on a AU forum. Not pushing these, just gathering info. This makes me lean to RWL out now but the BWL goes with my TA series theme too...:

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...I don't get buying communist Chinese tires to save less than $100 on set of 4? My now going on 5 years old Mustang trailer came with commie tires and though it is garage kept and climate controlled I know I need to replace them this year. 205/75/14 load range C, I guess it's Goodyears or commie? Can you get me a deal?:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

I don't get running generically named raised white letter tires on a 60s car. It's actually one of my pet peeves. The lettering on those "Galaxy" tires isn't even centered 180º apart WTH!
We are just trying to collect a list of available 215/60&65/15 tires available so each person can be aware of what options there are. They can rank them any way they want, by diameter, TW, speed rating or country of manufacture; that may be your #1 but not everyone's. Goodyear makes tires in US, Thailand, Taiwan and China, etc. so they're commie too I guess.

I'm not looking to save a buck, I'd buy any reasonably priced $100-$200/tire that is the right height, TW and speed rating I'm looking for but I'm not looking to spend $350/tire for Pirelli's or $600/ tire for Avon's that I can't drive cross country. These tires are 400TW with a V rating, I can't find that in a major brand name US tire in these sizes. S or T rated are a poor performing tires for turn in, response, etc. in my experience and I'd rather not be at 70%+ of the tires top speed at 80+mph.

The reviews I've read that I linked to were positive for a 15" tire that's available and may fit the bill for a lot of people. I would rather try a new tire that has good specs and reviews over known BFG garbage and 700/800 TW all seasons. They're just ($500) tires, they'll wear out and I'll try something different when they do if I don't like them. I haven't read any 'these tires are dangerous in the rain' or 'they exploded' reviews so I feel safe to try them.

I'm sorry if the offset RWL triggered you :ROFLMAO:, I'd rather them be 180* also. If I choose to get them I may put them blackwall out, sand them and paint HOOSIER or GOODYEAR billboards on them just so I won't trigger anyone. (y)
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OCD, what you gonna do? I had just noticed that the price between the Thailand and China tires compared to the Americas tires wasn't that much. I think the modern BFG sidewalls look the best of what's available today even though they are way smaller than back in the day. I do remember not liking the new side wall when they first came out. Everybody knocks the BFG's, but what other tire can you do a half mile long burn out with little smoke and no treadwear loss?
That's because you don't loose tread off a rock. :D I had BFG's on a '70 in 1989, did a spinning 360* across 3 lanes and ended up backwards in a parking lot off the street. That started as just a legal U turn across a median. Anytime I see BFG's on a classic at C&C I figure that they only drive the car once a month to/from the C&C and not in the rain. Some people like them, I'll never buy another, they have a 'period look' and that's it.
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Not sure what period certainly not 65 or 66
OK, not concours, I just meant you see a lot of RWL on classics, Mustangs of all years and GM, Mopar, etc. Not from the dealer maybe but at some point common for classics. I see many in pics posted here and Kelly_H is a fan so it fits the thread. (y)
Looks like those are RT43's by the tread design? AltiMAX™ RT43 ; I wonder if both sides look the same? 600 AB - 215 sizes are T rated; 600 AA - 225 is H rated.

They were replaced by the RT-45 in General's lineup in 2022. AltiMAX™ RT45 says it's available in Outlined White Letter (OWL) and Black Sidewall (BSW) but doesn't specify if that's in all sizes and no pics of the OWL I can find.
Overview review of the R45
The 20% chance of not buying another set of BFGs, would be a tire that:
Has a plane jane sidewall,
Is superior to the BFGs,
Within the price range of the BFGs
Made in America
I really like my BFGs, but merely suggest that I'm open to purchasing something else if it meets my above criteria.
According to TR you can remove the BFG from your list then, 95% of sizes made in MX:
Rectangle Font Material property Parallel Pattern

Is superior to the BFGs, (not difficult at all)
Within the price range of the BFGs (most are <$)
I see a new tire brand in your future ;)
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You can go the "Showing:" field and change the selection to OWL. The Description for 215 60 15 and 215 65 15 say the style is blackwall though...that must be a larger size thing.
Thanks, I never noticed the 'showing', too bad you have to click on every tire to see if it's BW, OWL, RWL rather than list it in the specs list.

On another note I may experiment with sanding the sidewalls of my 13 yo Hankooks before having them removed for new tires sometime in 2023. Now I need to look at some YT vids on how to.
pictures if the Vitour tires..
Very interested to see how these perform on track, in wet, etc.

Update for anyone interested - I tried to order Vitour Galaxy R1 G/T - 215/60/15 from Performance Plus Tire but they only had 2 left and had yet to get a bill of lading for what would be coming and when from Vitour. PPT said they normally carry >2,000 Vitour tires but have not gotten a shipment in over a year due to supply chain/ shortages/ labor. They are down to <200 loose tires from Vitour in stock.

I may have to get a 600 TW/ H rated A/S (General Altimax RT45) to hold me over if my car is running soon but would still like to try these 400 TW / V rated tires eventually.
I wish I could say I uncovered a hidden gem of a miracle tire that last and has incredible grip and handles heat on the track, but no... ..They would be fine on the street and IMO they are on par with BFG TA's but not alot better
Thanks for the feedback on track use and wet. The classic car street use reviews I've read put them better than the TA's so I was hoping for at least that level of 400AA TW and V-rated would up there performance beyond the BFG's. Everyone drives differently (just to a cruise in, sporty, twisties, autocross, etc.) so it's hard to classify a 'good' tire.
As the Vitours are currently unobtanium I'll have to wait for a later chance to try them maybe, as I doubt they'll be back in stock by the time my car is running. Always good to have options in the shrinking 15" category.
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