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Old 12-08-2010, 07:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Looking for opinions on Firestone Winterforce

I have been shopping around for winter tires for our new 2010 Sport Tech Forester. Like everyone looking for winter tires in December I am wishing I had done this 2 months ago!!

Anyhow, I am trying to keep the budget in check and I am seriously considering four new FIRESTONE WINTERFORCE winter tires. The local tire shop has a great deal on these, as he has a set in stock. The reviews seem pretty good but I was hoping to hear some feedback from anyone who is actually running their Forester on these winter tires.

I get the impression that there are BETTER winter tires at a higher cost, but that these do a great job for the price.

As I say, we would appreciate any feedback. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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These are great for the price. However I think the general altimax arctics are a better choice now on a street driven car for the money (especially if you aren't going to use studs in either).

The winterforce is a hardcore snow tire, and is not very good on wet roads, and not the best on ice if they're not studded. Also a good amount of their snow performance is based on the deep tread, so when they get worn out they aren't nearly as good.

I ran the winterforce (Before they started putting the firestone brand on them) in 215/65/16 with studs and -never- got stuck. If you absolutely need to get where you're going in the snow, they're a good choice. If you expect a lot of clear road driving, I'd check into some other tires.

My gf runs them in 245/70/16 on her jeep without studs (year round), and we weren't that impressed. On dry pavement they're just too soft and loud, however they perform great in deep snow and offroad.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I put these on a 97 Nissan Pickup last winter after a couple of sets of Michelin's. They are not X-Ice or Alpin sticky on ice but they are adequate to get my 2 wheel drive with no extra weight in the box moving on Calgary's unplowed roads, and they work well in snow. Good value for the money.

Really noisy when new driving on paved roads, seem quieter now as they wear, or maybe I'm just getting used to them. Sorry I can't give you any feedback on a Forester.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think they are an excellent choice for the price's available in Canada. Pricing is ridiculous compared to the tire market in the US. You can always take a gamble on having them shipped to Canada from places like Tire Rack, but it's a gamble in Ontario as to wether you'll get dinged for duty.

If you were going to mount them on your stock rims, you could make friends with someone from NY, have them shipped to them and pop over and get them installed.

You could always use the list **The Official Tristate (NY, NJ, CT) Forester Owners List** and PM some of the border members and see if they'd be willing to help out.

Just a suggestion but you may be interested in **The Official Canadian Forester Owners List**
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Great feedback on the Winterforce. Thanks.

I think I should RENAME this thread" "Winterforce versus Hankook W409 iPike" because I now need to compare these 2 tires... The dealer called back to say he can offer me either the Winterforce or the iPikes for almost the same price.

Any new thoughts?
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm on my 4th winter with Winterforce tires. I use them as dedicated snows and travel 7 states of the NE. They are very good and cheap. But I only run them late Nov thru late March. They are excellent in the snow, noisy on dry roads ( not as bad as a knobby SUV tire ) and with 3 winters behind them, they still look like new. I feel certain they have over 40K on them already. They will probably go past their SAFE TO USE date before they wear out on me. ( Tire Safety Warning – Don’t Use Tires Over Six Years Old! )
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I was doing this research a month ago too, and for me it boiled down to the Winterforce and General Altimax Arctic for a very similar price. Seems safe to say the Arctic Altimax are better street snow and ice tires.

I went Winterforce because I wanted a tire that would do double duty on wet/muddy dirt roads. This based on the deep lug tread design, and user reviews praising the dirt traction. If you are planning dirt road travel in the winter or during the spring melt, seek out user reviews on the tire you're considering.

For me if the Arctics rate a 10 snow/ice, the Winterforces rate a 9, and all-seasons rate a 5 or 6, then the Winterforces are good enough given their better off-road capability.

Also, it's funny to me how widely opinions vary on the same tire. I read so many posts claiming the Winterforce was loud and squirmy on the road. Then others saying it was quieter than various well known all-seasons. I don't know! In my use so far, on dry roads, they are the same noise level and same squirminess as some generic but new all-season Mastercrafts that came with my car. On some heavy rain days, I found them quite grippy, a bit more so at speed than the all-seasons. I've read plenty of people say they use them year-round with 40k routine, which would seem to indicate the compound is not too soft. Which means longer tread life, better dirt/rock capability, and lesser ice traction.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dougr View Post

Also, it's funny to me how widely opinions vary on the same tire. I read so many posts claiming the Winterforce was loud and squirmy on the road. Then others saying it was quieter than various well known all-seasons. I don't know! In my use so far, on dry roads, they are the same noise level and same squirminess as some generic but new all-season Mastercrafts that came with my car. On some heavy rain days, I found them quite grippy, a bit more so at speed than the all-seasons. I've read plenty of people say they use them year-round with 40k routine, which would seem to indicate the compound is not too soft. Which means longer tread life, better dirt/rock capability, and lesser ice traction.

I couldn't agree more about the seemingly contradictory opinions about the same tire, lol...

I was settled on the Winterforce after some solid reviews... Until I stumbled on a bunch of lukewarm reviews. After that my tire sales guy called me with the offer to "upgrade" to the Hankook W409 iPike tires... I'm just trying to figure out if indeed it is an upgrade...
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg17 View Post
I couldn't agree more about the seemingly contradictory opinions about the same tire, lol...

I was settled on the Winterforce after some solid reviews... Until I stumbled on a bunch of lukewarm reviews. After that my tire sales guy called me with the offer to "upgrade" to the Hankook W409 iPike tires... I'm just trying to figure out if indeed it is an upgrade...
The ipike are a FAR better all around snow tire. Maybe not as good at deep snow as the winterforce, but for road use they will be very good, one of the better ones on the market.

If you won't be going offroad, or on snowy dirt roads or anything like that, I'd go with the ipike (given its the same size and isn't one thats been sitting in a warehouse for a few years)
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I ran winterforce on my X for 3 seasons, never once had an issue with them in th esnow, ice or rain. Great tire for an NA Forester. I tried them on my XT and the sidewalls were a bit soft so I sold them and put iPikes on both my Foresters. I haven't notice any drop in deep snow performance, and they handle much better in the wet and the dry than the winterforce did. I've had the iPikes for 3 seasons on my XT and two seasons on my X and they still look new.

If you have an NA Forester and want to save a few bucks go with the Winterforce. If you drive a little more spirited or have an XT, go with the iPikes.
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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No matter what you drive the I-pikes are a better tire hands down.. there a Nokian Hakkapeliitta clone and go great in the snow
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Sounds like the ipikes are a better choice for me... I checked out the hankook website but it doesn't do such a great job of promoting them. So am I right in assuming that you can order these with or without studs? Im in Toronto, and Im pretty sure studded tires are not allowed here.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'll put my 2 cents in here. I bought a set of General Altimax Arctics in mid Sept. from Canadian Tire. They were on sale for $124.99 each(reg. $165.99). By far the best winter tire I've ever had(Blizzacs & Nordic Icetracs). I'm sure the Winterforces or I-Pikes are good in their own right. I say, a decent set of winter tires is better than a great all season in winter anyday.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Read further about the ipikes. I shied away from them because of many reports that they just don't hold their traction with any amount of reasonable wear. They're copies of the Hakkas, so they're good when new. I'd go with the Altimax Arctics, they're just renamed Gislaved Nordfrost 3's, since Conti owns Gislaved. The 3's are awesome from reports and test results I've read.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I work w/a guy who drives a 1988 Chevy Caprice. No kidding, that is his daily driver. It's a bit rusty and dinged up, but that 5 liter push-rod V-8 just won't die. It's a heavy vehicle w/rear drive, not an ideal set-up for winter. He drives it with 4 unstudded Winterforces year round. When the tread gets low, he just buys another set.
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