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Testing done April 2006 to November 2006.

Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tires. 

245/45 R18 96Y - front

275/40 R 18 93Y - rear

Click pictures to enlarge.

 

   

Choosing the right summer high performance tire can be a daunting task.  There are usually many choices all highlighting some new technology or touting words like "rosso" and "g-force".  Some buyer's just look at the treat pattern, hoping a flame design will lead to hot performance.  While most tires in the high performance summer tire category will be good enough for many, those seeking the ultimate tire for their ultimate toy will want to read on.

A tires' pedigree is a good indicator of how it may perform, just like in horses.  Our recent test of the Potenza RE050 performance summer tire came from looking at what original equipment manufacturers have used on their cars from the factory.  The ultra high performance Mercedes S55 AMG uses this tire.  A slightly enhanced version is used on the Ferrari Enzo supercar.  This tire also is available in run flat versions and is found on the BMW Z4 and 5 series from the factory.  With this kind of support form such high performance brands, drivers should gain confidence in buying this tire for their car.

 

 

The Bridgestone Potenza RE050 offers a host of unique technologies.  UNI-T for outstanding wet and dry traction, a water evacuating tread pattern, variable tread block dimensions, and a smooth road noise reducing shape.  Useful features also can be found such as the Rim Guard, which is a raised rubber ridge that acts like a bumper to protect wheels from curb damage.  This is especially helpful on a thin tire with profile sizes of 35 or 40.  LL carbon is a innovative compound which enhances wet performance and improves tire wear.  The RE050 also uses a spiral wrap of nylon encircling the whole tire, so that the tire holds its original shape better, it also improves the high speed capabilities of the Potenza RE050. 

The directional tread design of the Potenza makes going to wet roads much safer.  This also means that you must put each tire in only one set position, there is no rotating tires every so often.  In most performance cars rear tires have wider widths than front tires resulting in increased traction.  With most drivers using this tire on 18 inch wheels and above, having a stiff sidewall Most sports cars and high performance vehicles will be using this tire on 18 or 19 inch wheels and so having a stiff sidewall is very important in making sure you go where you want to go quickly and precisely.  The Potenza RE050 offers this ability with almost excellent steering response. 

 

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In our tests the RE050 performs best in dry conditions, which most summer drivers will face.  The tires felt extremely solid on our test car, did not produce any road noise.  Road feel was also excellent with the Potenza RE050 offering good road surface feeling through the steering wheel.  Traction in dry conditions was excellent with our car putting down more than 500 horsepower on these tires.  While the car does play an important part in the equation, sticky tires greatly help put any amount of horsepower down to the pavement.  Taking turns fast was simple and effortless with zero squealing even in fast sharp curves. 

When we drove with the Potenza RE050 in heavy thunderstorms, which we had plenty of this year, we found performance to be mediocre.  In puddles at highway speeds, the vehicle would hydroplane on one of its four tires.  This could usually be felt going over standing water.  While the entire car never lost grip, the feeling was not of a superb tire in watery conditions.  This should be improved in future versions.

 

 

Braking capability is excellent with all four wheels providing excellent no slip stops again and again.  The RE050 Potenzas from Bridgestone always provided solid grip to the asphalt and great feedback. 

Bridgestone is one of the first manufacturer’s to present a tire safety web site.  Check www.tiresafety.com to view some helpful tips and keep your car’s tires in great shape. 

For a summer tire which helps the world's finest cars perform to their best, the Potenza RE050 is a very good tire.  It's high price point is in line with other offerings and being a summer tire the useful mileage will be lower than with a all season tire.  However there is nothing like having a high performance car with a good set of summer tires.  You want to be able to grip the road like a cheetah, make quick and sharp turns on a dime without thinking twice about wheel slippage.  The Bridgestone Potenza RE050 allows you to do just that, use your car to its max. 

 

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Tire Markings demystified:

In a example of a tire size such as : P195/60R15 87S :
The 195 represents the tire width, the 60 represents the sidewall height or thickness, and the 15 represents the wheel size this tire will fit on, the 87 represents the tire's load rating and the S represents the tire speed rating. 

 

Load IndexPoundsKilograms
Load IndexPoundsKilograms
71761345911356615
72783355921389630
73805365931433650
74827375941477670
75853387951521690
76882400961565710
77908412971609730
78937425981653750
79963437991709775
809924501001764800
8110194621011819825
8210474751021874850
8310744871031929875
8411025001041984900
8511355151052039925
8611685301062094950
8712015451072149975
88123556010822051000
89127958010922711030
90132360011023371060

Speed ratings and load ratings can be written in different ways such as this:

225/50SR16225/50SR16 89S 225/50R16 89S

Here is a table of speed ratings, tires are safe to a maximum of a set speed.

M81 mph130 km/h
N87 mph140km/h
P93 mph150 km/h
Q99 mph160 km/h
R106 mph170 km/h
S112 mph180 km/h
T118 mph190 km/h
U124 mph200 km/h
H130 mph210 km/h
V149 mph240 km/h
W168 mph270 km/h
Y186 mph300 km/h
Z150 mph +  240 km/h +
Some tires say they are Z rated and tested to a speed up to 168mph or 186 mph these have a second letter such as:
225/50ZR16in excess of 149 mph, 240 km/h
205/45ZR17 88W168 mph, 270 km/h
285/35ZR19 99Y186 mph, 300 km/h
If a tire has been tested at a speed in excess of 186mph, the it is shown in parenthesis such as :
285/35ZR19 (99Y) in excess of 186 mph, 300 km/h

 

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