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      01-09-2013, 02:02 AM   #1
drp90210
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How can I soften the ride of 18" run flats?

I just ordered a 2013 X1 sDrive x-line, which comes with 18" run flats. I love the look of the 18" wheels but the ride seemed noticeably more harsh than the 17". Can anyone suggest:

1. A more compliant run-flat tire than what BMW gives
2. A good non-run-flat tire to replace the run-flats
3. Any other suggestions to address the harshness

I live in LA and have no need for winter tires.
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      01-09-2013, 05:07 AM   #2
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I have the same problem... Can anyone help?
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      01-09-2013, 06:11 AM   #3
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Buy 17" non run flats, I have goodyear fitted from new and ride is great. 18" wheels do look better IMHO..
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      01-09-2013, 07:28 AM   #4
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Lower the air pressure to just above what won't give a warning, and it should be softer. At a price of wear and mileage, of course.

And, as others have said, switching to 17" with more sidewall will help.

I'm not sure I'd want to change to softer rubber if living in L.A., unless having a big tire budget.

I myself prefer hard suspension and soft tires as opposed to soft suspension and hard tires. So I'm a bit worried that when I switch over from the 17" winter wheels to the 19" staggered summer ones, it's going to be rough, and I'll have to invest in yet another set of wheels. We'll see.
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      01-09-2013, 09:23 AM   #5
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I think pretty much everything has been covered. Move to a smaller diameter wheel or swap out the tires. I wouldn't recommend deflating your tires, though. Aside from wear and lower mpg, you may be putting your wheels at risk by doing that if you do not have the smoothest of roads around you.

The few RFT sets I've experienced were not bad for 'normal' commuting and milling about but a lot of others have claimed the same tire was too harsh. Harshness is a common complaint with RFTs, in part due to the metal reinforcement in the sidewalls (amongst other things). I do not mind a harsh ride, though.

Moving away from RFTs altogether is not so bad an option. You would be surprised at how much a difference a different tire can make for not just 'performance' but also ride quality and noise. I tend to swap out RFTs for personal preference of tires. I always keep a bottle of slime and a plug/patch kit in my cars to mitigate being stuck somewhere with a flat/puncture.Aside from getting a tire I like/want, non-RFTs are usually cheaper to replace, too. The Pirelli Cinturato RFT actually costs a fair deal more than Pilot Super Sports (if you can believe it). Some places will plug/patch a RFT depending on if the tire deflated from a puncture, location of punction, distance driven after noticing said puncture, etc... even though they are technically not suppose to. If your tires hare fairly worn and you get a flat/puncture, you really should replace both tires on on that axle (a lot of people don't) so the cost goes up even further.
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      01-09-2013, 12:22 PM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions. If any X1 owner with 18" wheels has actually swapped out the stock run-flats for non run-flats, it would be great to hear your experiences. If the difference between 18" run-flats and 18" non run-flats isn't that great, I might just have to bite the bullet and get the less-attractive 17-inchers.
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      01-09-2013, 02:11 PM   #7
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I think I can offer you some insight.

I live SoCal and drive many different vehicles. IMO 18" is the right size for the X1 here. I just sold my e90 335i sport with 18s. Moving from the Bridgestone RE050a RFTs to Michelin PSS transformed the car in both ride quality and performance.

My wife commutes to LA everyday. She has a 128i sport with 17s and trading the RFTs for some cheap Hankook V12s made a huge difference (she loves the car now, not so much with the RFTs).

I used to drive an E39 540 (Eibach ProKit and Koni FSDs) with 19s. I had a few different tires on that but the best ride quality was with Bridgestone Potenza 960s. I hear the 970s are even better.

I'm planning to go with Michelin Pilots or the 970s...or perhaps something better will be available, when the time comes to replace the OEM rubber.

Conventional 18s will ride better than RFT 17s.

Also, we carry a donut for emergencies vs a slime kit. Never had to use it (knock on wood). We just drive to our nearest America's Tire when we have a puncture.
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      01-09-2013, 02:20 PM   #8
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Just want to say I am happy so far with the 17" Goodyear RFTs on my sDrive28. My regular drive was a 2006 Lexus IS250, with 18" non-RFTs, and the ride is much nicer in my X1. Even with "regular" tires, the IS 18s seemed to pick up every crack (and worse) in the road. So I am not sure the RFTs are the focus of the problem.

The X1 with 17s has less road noise than the IS with 18s too, but the X1 does have more wind noise...the H/K rides over that very nicely, tho!
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      01-10-2013, 01:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nospam View Post
I think I can offer you some insight.

I live SoCal and drive many different vehicles. IMO 18" is the right size for the X1 here. I just sold my e90 335i sport with 18s. Moving from the Bridgestone RE050a RFTs to Michelin PSS transformed the car in both ride quality and performance.

My wife commutes to LA everyday. She has a 128i sport with 17s and trading the RFTs for some cheap Hankook V12s made a huge difference (she loves the car now, not so much with the RFTs).

I used to drive an E39 540 (Eibach ProKit and Koni FSDs) with 19s. I had a few different tires on that but the best ride quality was with Bridgestone Potenza 960s. I hear the 970s are even better.

I'm planning to go with Michelin Pilots or the 970s...or perhaps something better will be available, when the time comes to replace the OEM rubber.

Conventional 18s will ride better than RFT 17s.

Also, we carry a donut for emergencies vs a slime kit. Never had to use it (knock on wood). We just drive to our nearest America's Tire when we have a puncture.
Thanks for the insights. I think I will take a leap of faith and get the 18" Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, which have glowing reviews on other sites, although I remain nervous that a performance tire like the PSS will remain a tad harsh. The ride difference between the X1 with the 17" tires versus the 18" tires was significant (as also noticed in several car mag reviews) and I wish BMW would devote as much attention to the tires it puts on its cars as it does the cars themselves.
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      01-10-2013, 02:23 AM   #10
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I did not find the PSS harsh at all. The PSS is the best tire I have ever owned. What makes them the best is that they have a good tread wear rating but the grip of a summer tire you'd only expect 10,000 miles out of.

I'm not sure, but the PS2 or PS3 (all-seasons) are likely more comfy but with a bit less grip. Look at these or the Potenza 970 if comfort is your main concern. Tire rack has some detailed tests all using BMW 328s.
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      01-10-2013, 10:00 AM   #11
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Actually, the PSS has softer sidewalks and less steering precision than the PS2, but it does have more grip and a smoother ride, plus it wears a lot better. I had both on my M Coupe.
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      01-10-2013, 10:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nospam View Post
I did not find the PSS harsh at all. The PSS is the best tire I have ever owned. What makes them the best is that they have a good tread wear rating but the grip of a summer tire you'd only expect 10,000 miles out of.

I'm not sure, but the PS2 or PS3 (all-seasons) are likely more comfy but with a bit less grip. Look at these or the Potenza 970 if comfort is your main concern. Tire rack has some detailed tests all using BMW 328s.
You've sold me - I'll be getting the PSS. Ironically, although the other tires you mention are marketed as having a balanced ride, at tirerack.com the PSS gets better ride ratings than than almost all of them, at least in terms of customer feedback. BTW have you adjusted your suspension settings when going from RFT to non-RFT? I have read that BMW tweaks its suspension specifically to accommodate RFTs. I also wonder if a tire store would swap the RFTs for PSSs with a modest fee - my dealership says it can't.
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      01-10-2013, 10:26 AM   #13
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Your dealer won't, but nearly any tire place will. We used America's Tire (Discount Tire outside of CA) to change the Bridgestone RFT's to Michelin non RFT's on my wife's previous 135i. They asked if I understood I was not putting RFT's on and that was it.

Many folks do switch to a higher spring rate after replacing RFT's, but I'd try it with just new tires before deciding what to do. Plus there aren't many spring options for the E84 yet.
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      01-10-2013, 11:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Bread View Post
Your dealer won't, but nearly any tire place will. We used America's Tire (Discount Tire outside of CA) to change the Bridgestone RFT's to Michelin non RFT's on my wife's previous 135i. They asked if I understood I was not putting RFT's on and that was it.
Thanks. Did the tire dealer buy back or give you credit for the RFTs, which in my case would be new? I haven't had any luck yet finding a tire dealer to buy back the RFTs.
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      01-10-2013, 11:15 AM   #15
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We also use America's Tire. Great prices, service, and warranties.

I found no need to tweak the sport suspensions (E82 & E90) when switching to non-RFTs, although I did pay for realignment at Crevier BMW. The one BMW I had with standard suspension (E39), I quickly swapped with aftermarket bits (I am a fan of the Koni FSD dampers).

No, you get no credit for your new RFTs which is why we drove them until they were worn.
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      01-10-2013, 11:20 AM   #16
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The tires aren't new, unfortunately, if they have the normal 8-10 miles on them. I've never heard of a "new" tire shop buying back used tires. Try eBay.

As for spring rates, I've found that BMW are sensitive to wheel/tire weight in their suspension tuning. For example, my E46 rides more nicely with the heavy OEM wheel/tire combo than with my snow tires, even though the shows are higher profile. Nonetheless, I don't think you'd have great success trying to re-calibrate the suspension yourself with aftermarket parts, and it certainly wouldn't be worth the money.

I think you'll find a huge improvement from dumping the RFT's without bothering with anything else.
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      01-15-2013, 08:10 AM   #17
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If you do switch to non-RFT, remember to also buy all the necessary kit to repair your tires in the case of a puncture to get you mobile again.
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      01-15-2013, 08:15 AM   #18
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all you will need as a repair kit is this, cheeper than the BMW set

Slime 10914 Tyre Repair Set for Automobile Tyres including Dispensor
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      01-15-2013, 10:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drp90210
Thanks for the suggestions. If any X1 owner with 18" wheels has actually swapped out the stock run-flats for non run-flats, it would be great to hear your experiences. If the difference between 18" run-flats and 18" non run-flats isn't that great, I might just have to bite the bullet and get the less-attractive 17-inchers.
I choose the 18" run flats on my MSport because of the harsh drive from the 19s. I got that info from a buddy of mine that had the 19s until he put 18" non-run flats. It's a noticeable difference from his vehicle to mine but don't know if its worth the cost of tires, plus the thought of being without a spare.
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      01-15-2013, 10:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Bottle View Post
all you will need as a repair kit is this, cheeper than the BMW set

Slime 10914 Tyre Repair Set for Automobile Tyres including Dispensor
Even cheaper is an air compressor and a plug kit. Slime is a pain to clean up, can clog the TPMS sensors and doesn't like the heat or sub zero temps. Learn to use a plug kit and you'll never worry about flats.
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      01-17-2013, 02:36 AM   #21
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My X1 M Sport came with 18" runflat which was quite harsh riding, so first I swapped them out for 18" Continental DWS non-runflats. The ride difference was quite noticeable... we also have another X1 with 17" runflats and now the ride of the two cars are almost identical.

As I like mods, I then upgraded the wheels to 19" wheels with non runflat Conti DWS. Now the ride is back to where the 18" runflats are...but still a bit softer than runflats. So I think if you switch to Conti DWS non-runflats or some other good tires you will be very happy. I just carry a tire compressor and I don't worry too much about getting flats sincwe we have road assistance anyways.
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      03-01-2013, 04:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nospam View Post
I did not find the PSS harsh at all. The PSS is the best tire I have ever owned. What makes them the best is that they have a good tread wear rating but the grip of a summer tire you'd only expect 10,000 miles out of.

I'm not sure, but the PS2 or PS3 (all-seasons) are likely more comfy but with a bit less grip. Look at these or the Potenza 970 if comfort is your main concern. Tire rack has some detailed tests all using BMW 328s.
I took your advice and repalced the 18" run-flats with Pilot Super Sports. Wow - it rides really, really great - firm and planted yet not harsh or jarring. Thanks for the suggestion and I hope that when I get a flat I am not in some remote area.
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