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Riviera Tires

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Hey lets talk tires again....

I'm in the market for new tires on my cars. Currently on my 84 & 85 I have Yoko Avid Touring 205-75-15 with a UTQG 620 and Regul Select 215-70-15 UTQG 660. Both of the cars ride "rough" in my opinion. When I say rough, I mean you can really feel the pavement seams and imperfections in the roads. I've been checking around locally with some other guys who have larger & older Buicks, Cadillacs & Olds. Most of them seem to ride pretty good and about the only correlation I can find is that most of their tires have a lower UTQG number like around 460,420 one even had I think a 360! The couple of tires shops I've shopped around at have all looked at me strange when I tell them that the lower the UTQG number to softer the ride seems to be. Does anyone else have any input on this before I go out and buy some tires that I'm unhappy with? I know the higher the UTQG number the longer the warranty and sturdier the tire is.

What does everyone else have on their 80 model Riv's that they are happy with?


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In general, the mileage ratings on the sidewall of the tires have no bearing on ride quality as such, but MIGHT have something to do with traction in some situations (softer rubber generally bites a little better). Where the ride quality comes in is in two areas . . . tread depth and how the belts in the tire carcass are put together.

In general, and especially on a steel belt radial tire, the less tread on the tire the more you'll notice impact harshness and such--regardless of whose tire it is. Where some of the non-name-brand tires (although made by name-brand companies!) is the thickness of the rubber between the bottom of the tread rib groves and the outer layer of the steel belts. In some, IF you get the opportunity to wear one that long (or quick if the front end's toe-in is incorrect!), you'll notice that about as soon as the tread ribs are lost, you'll see evidence of another layer of a different sort of rubber and through which the edge of the steel belts will "bloom like weeds in the spring".

Rubber compound CAN also affect ride quality, though, and still have high mileage numbers. Years ago, I bought two sets of Pirelli P77s (designed and "tuned" for American cars and roads, they claimed). They were great tires and made my Camaro ride like a Caprice on the Interstate, but I could never get the KONIs adjusted "right". I suspected that the tire's rubber and body configuration filtered out too much of the harshness and the shocks' valving thought it was always on the Interstate when it was not--just my shadetree diagnosis. When I replaced the last set with BFG Radial T/As, it got the gutsy feel back into the chassis and the shocks felt "right" again.

It might be interesting to see how you are defining "rides rough", just so we might know what your reference point might be. If it might be that you're talking about impact harshness on patched pavement areas, the tread depth issue might take care of a bunch of that. If it might mean that the ride is "jiggly" on smooth roads (picking up little imperfections in surface smoothness rather than absorbing them), that would be a tire construction/rubber compound thing (For example, in the later 1990s I rented several Monte Carlos for weekend drives. The suspension calibrations had a slightly gutsy feel on smooth roads, but went soft on bigger bumps, somewhat. On the bulk of them with Goodyear Eagle GAs, the ride was also jiggly. On the one or two that had BFG Touring TAs, the ride was a little more firm and no jiggle--only difference in the cars was the tire choice.).

If you're looking for whitewall tires (with whitewalls of a specific width), that can narrow things down somewhat. I suspect that most of the tires in that criteria will be more "ride oriented" than "performance oriented". I would suspect the Yokohamas you reference might be a little more performance-oriented than most in that classification of tire--just my gut suspicion.

Just some thoughts,


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Back in the day, when a customer complained about the Cadillac's riding harshly, we would upgrade them to Michelin X's, or Vogue's if price was no object. The Michelin's lasted a long time, so the tread wear/hardness didn't equate to the compliance of the tire as much as the stiffness of the side wall. The tread can be a VERY hard compound and if the side wall is very compliant, the tire will ride smoothly, and this is where the Michelin X really proved itself. What you need to ask yourself is what are you willing to compromise? If you go with a stiffer side wall, handling improves but ride softness suffers. If you go with a soft tire tread compound, so may pick up some smoothness, but you will have reduced tire life. I put a set of Dunlop's on my 98 Intrigue that were an AWESOME tire. Great handling, traction and ride quality, but in 30,000 miles they were worn out, and the original Goodyear Eagle LS's went 65,000 miles before them!

I recommend to all of my friends to go to They offer tons of tire choice plus tire reviews from their customers, and their prices are pretty good, too.

Take Care,


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