Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

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Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:18 pm

Tires finally arrived on Dec. 26th. Late Xmas! santa Very Happy

Installed them on my OEM wheels <17" x 7">. They're the new Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec tire in 225/45R17; an ultra-high performance summer tire that has had alot of rave reviews from not just the Subaru community but most anyone racing ST or avid spirited drivers. I've only read one negative review about performance from a BMW M3 racer but the following post from another fellow BMW owner offset the bad remarks about "no traction" on Tire Rack's reviews on these tires.

First impression:
Saw the tires up close for first time at freight forwarder and damn were they nice! Cool Huge corner treadblocks and super aggressive pattern layout. Sipes are HUGE but didn't lead all the way out to the edges of the tire. Although they appeared great for wet conditions the fact that the sipes stopped short had me a little worried about our weather conditions out here; never really dawned on me until I saw them up close and personal. This worry was soon to be smashed Wink

Mounting and Balancing:
Mounting was nothing short of hell! Evil or Very Mad I mean seriously....I've had easier times mounting 20" tires with waaaaay lower aspect ratios than these darn 17" Direzzas. The sidewall is so damn stiff that it took alot of coercing from a friend of mine and I along with what I considered alot of mounting lube to get that outer bead to seat. Kicked our arses but got it done without incident. The Hunter mounting lube is great in the sense that it dries very quickly and all that's left is a light flaky residue that easily comes off.

Dynamic balancing required minimal weight and runout was just as well (thank the lord since I was dreading dismounting them to reindex if assembly runout was excessive). I used the new 3M non-lead adhesive backed wheel weights which are really nice.

Mounted on car:
Bolting them on I can tell the wheel assembly is heavier. Tires are definitely beefier than the RE92s. Lowered car for the first time and these things look mean Twisted Evil You can't help but stare at the outer treadblocks. Really aggressive...I likey. Not too much sidewall bulge since the 225s are the widest recommended for a 7" wide wheel. Still wish I had wider wheels though....in due time.

First drives:
In my opinion the tires are very quiet (road noise) and are comfortable. If there is noise to complain about it's the fact that the tires are so sticky that it throws up a roost of rocks whenever you go over small pebbles & such. I think I need mud flaps to help prevent long-term rock rash behind the wheel wells. I was expecting a really drastic increase in harshness (stock Potenza RE92 is very supple and quiet, I hate these OEM tires Mad) Around town it drives pretty much like the factory tire. This gave me false doubts because I was expecting a harsher ride and more noise with such a stiff sidewall but I think the soft/suppleness that the car has always had is both attributed to the OEM tires and the soft suspension. I was a bit worried about whether or not these Direzzas would perform to my expectations at this point. Drove around on them for a few days hoping to break them in and get that moulding lube out before Sunday AutoX. <note: I do have a performance alignment setting on the car and had this prior to the new tires. Remains the same until I get a little more driving impressions and note tire tendencies>

AutoX Sunday - January 4, 2008:
Woke up to RAIN! Actually, Rudy brought the rain after a few feeble attempts to be a no-show due to rain, haha! Shocked Prepped the tires. Pumped them up to 42psi front and 44psi rear. Kept the factory F/R delta the same just to see where I am with how they handle. Considering it was really wet and first time out with these tires all I want to do today is find the limits of traction and make sure I'm not rolling onto the sidewall. I'll adjust as necessary after some runs.

*all runs performed without traction control/VDC disabled

1st practice run <Solo>:
Decent dead-stop launch traction in the wet. Slalom maneuvers were almost effortless! I took this at a spirited pace but nothing dazzling...just enough to get me to understand what the tires could do....major understatement. Turn-in was instantaneous, braking traction was flawless, and cornering grip (for wet) was nothing short of surprising Cool NO understeer.

2nd practice run <Brian as my witness>:
Familiar with the course, I put on my race face and went at it in hopes of finding the traction limits still yet. Forgot to tell Brian that I had new tires and he later admitted that he was a bit worried affraid when I entered the slalom Laughing I'm sure that worry was all cleared up about mid-course when he experienced what I call "force de Direzza" ! Shocked

3rd run <Timed with Neil>:
Okay. Now I'm mad Evil or Very Mad. I haven't found the traction limits of these tires. The course is wetter than ever! I mean pouring buckets and calming to a drizzle but sheets of water just everywhere! I'm going to find out where these things let go if it means I go balls to the wall. Aside from driver error on the back straight going into a tight left and locking the brakes from an extremely late braking attempt I have failed to overcome these tires affraid Shocked scratch For heaven's sake, I'm driving like there wasn't any rain and the course was dry! These tires are astoundingly awesome in the wet! Time: 54.51

4th run <Timed with Neil>:
Tires are laughing at me jocolor They're practically on vacation on the course Sleep I just drive with the mindset that the tires are going to hold and although the back-end oversteers at times (off-throttle oversteer) it's very predictable and controllable. Late braking is uneventful and all I can say is WOW! Cool Time: 54.46

Conclusion:
For the money I am fully impressed. I do not have a dry condition impression but for a tire to impress me on the wet like these have I'm completely sold on these Direzza Sport Z1 Star Specs. I'm pretty confident that they will live up to their reputation in dry conditions and if so, for those of you that are considering a dual duty tire that you can daily drive, put these tires really high on that list of considerations. It will take alot of convincing for me not to purchase these tires again. Subie brothers listen up! AWESOME tires! Very Happy

J


Last edited by catgut on Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:21 am

GuamSTI wrote:Wow what a nice review. Grassroots Motorsports magazine had a section on the National Solo Event last year and they said the Direzza was the king of ST class tires.

I am surpirsed they are not noisy at all with those agressive thread blocks my Yokohama Advan tires were supper noisy it was like running on off road tires.

How much to mount and balance at AK, regular price? Do they accept walk-ins just for this?

Thanks Jay. Just trying to give the best possible opinion on my take of these tires so all can gauge their tire choice based upon my experience with them. I too was surprised with the level of road noise but maybe the '08 has more sound dampening than earlier years?? scratch To me they're quiet. I've had noisy tires and these are really low. On a tire noise scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being quietest I'm definitely set below 5. I have no other tire model experience on my platform to compare against other then the RE92s. I do know a loud tire based on my '94 Integra, '85 Corolla GT-S, and a few other cars I've driven with numerous tire models to know that this is a quiet tire Very Happy I edited my original post since I forgot the rock noise from the sticky compound.

*Note: I have read Tire Rack reviews that it does get appreciably louder with wear. But, since when did a tire not get louder after a few thousand miles? All subjective I guess but I'm hoping for the best in long-term use. I'll update if this changes.

Currently AK doesn't accept outside tire jobs because they are not a tire business. They simply have the equipment for it's customers in the event tires need to be diagnosed and/or serviced for warranty purposes. Unfortunate for the Subie crew pale but I'm sure ProLine <sister company with Prestige Motors> has the expertise to work with these performance tires. I simply did mine here because I work here and I wanted to know how difficult mounting & balancing was on these models. Now I know Laughing

J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  tempest24 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:29 am

i needs to talk tires with ya guys... need to know wat to get but i might following jay's foot steps and buy rims and tires for daily and put racing tires on my stock bbs...

jay ya my subie idol! Razz
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:22 am

tempest24 wrote:i needs to talk tires with ya guys... need to know wat to get but i might following jay's foot steps and buy rims and tires for daily and put racing tires on my stock bbs...

jay ya my subie idol! Razz

Tommy we missed you yesterday! The weather was perfect!

Just my $0.02 . For ST class I can't think of a better tire for the price than these. If you have cash to burn then Advans are there at about twice the price.
Considerations to take note of: Even if you have a set of race tires, we're on Guam...it can come pouring down rain at any moment. If you get a set of R-compound tires you'll be in SM class. If you have DOT race tires you'll be in SM class <correct me if I'm wrong Jay>. At least if you're planning on running ST class with me cheers these particular Direzzas can keep you planted in both dry or wet conditions and are very forgiving; no need to swap tires for either situation. One last thing to add; remember as these tires wear to lower tread depths they get even stickier (less tread block distortion) but lose wet weather performance which is my worry over time.

J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  Mmanni39 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:38 am

Yeah, Jess and God was my witness I was affraid! I enjoyed being shotgun Jess and no doubt the brand is going to one of my top five. I am really suprised and most of all the skills you have shifting from first to second through the turns simply awesome. Back to the subject, how much were they, who did you order from? Good job SCG way to break the one minute marks.....!!!!!!! cheers cheers Nice Driving Rudy and Pat keep it up.
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:52 am

Mmanni39 wrote:Yeah, Jess and God was my witness I was affraid! I enjoyed being shotgun Jess and no doubt the brand is going to one of my top five. I am really suprised and most of all the skills you have shifting from first to second through the turns simply awesome. Back to the subject, how much were they, who did you order from? Good job SCG way to break the one minute marks.....!!!!!!! cheers cheers Nice Driving Rudy and Pat keep it up.

Glad to offer up a ride to the owner/driver of that quick '05 CGM STi! That was a fun ride afro Next time you gotta try mine to see what I'm up against when driving it compared to the STi's. Thanks for the compliments. The WRX is just a really nice ride out of the box; just needs some decent tires to highlight its capabilities.

Glad to have been part of the group that dipped below 60-seconds. I definitely give HUGE props to everyone's driving skills in the rain yesterday! Way to show guys!

Tires can be had at Tire Rack http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Dunlop&tireModel=Direzza+Sport+Z1+Star+Spec&partnum=245WR7Z1SS for about $137.00 each. Shipping takes about 3-weeks give or take. I'm glad the wait is over Laughing

J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  gummx97 on Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:05 am

you ought to be in sales Jesse!!! are you sure you do not work for Dunlop???? Mad

Anyway, we'll see how the tires wear out, from your review, seems like a much better value as supposed to my OEM Potenzas, plus at the price you mentioned for each tire, very consumer-friendly.

Will keep monitoring you on those tires...

then again...there is always WOOSUNG tires!! rabbit
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:03 pm

GuamSTI wrote:Jesse, is right if you plan to stay in ST class you can replace the casings when they wera out and buy the Direzza's. If you go R-compound you end up in SM. But I think Tommy's goal is to get some bling by having a different set for show and crusing and racing.

I was thinking of selling my BBS and try to get 9" wide rims. But still debating since money is an issue.

BBS Dibs! Jay, think of me if you ever decide to sell Wink

I'm trying to stay in ST as long as I can so I don't go crazy with expensive sus mods etc. that I can't afford. I wonder if they'll allow me to run STi BBS wheels on mine in ST....OEM wheel and only 7.5" wide with 225mm tires....what do you think? I should ask.

J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:13 pm

gummx97 wrote:you ought to be in sales Jesse!!! are you sure you do not work for Dunlop???? Mad

Anyway, we'll see how the tires wear out, from your review, seems like a much better value as supposed to my OEM Potenzas, plus at the price you mentioned for each tire, very consumer-friendly.

Will keep monitoring you on those tires...

then again...there is always WOOSUNG tires!! rabbit

Sometimes I think so too but I don't think I would be happy even though the money can be appealing.

My impression of the dry traction for the OEM STi Potenzas is that it's a great tire too. Just not sure where they're at in comparison to the Direzzas. Brian's car stuck pretty well and like I said, an alignment with some more tweaking can get more bite and help carry more momentum through the twisties. You guys have phenomenal suspensions! Wish I had a sus starting point like yours bounce

Yes, price is really nice considering what you get. You'll all know the long-term tire verdict as I update this thread. I can only hope the info I provided helps with your tire decisions.

J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  gummx97 on Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:27 am

yup, after seeing your tires, i will monitor your insights closely, once my tires wear it, i'll probably get those dunlops. i'll just stick to my stock sti for now and enjoy what it has to offer as Jay advices me too. but maybe save for an accessport instead, to get rid of that every annoying CEL i am getting.
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:20 am

300 miles. Still quiet Very Happy
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  gummx97 on Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:24 am

off topic...is that a miniature bathtub in your avatar, jess?? seems pretty disproportional to the faucet on the wall.

just wondering... Idea
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:53 am

gummx97 wrote:off topic...is that a miniature bathtub in your avatar, jess?? seems pretty disproportional to the faucet on the wall.

just wondering... Idea

Ahhhh, OT at it's finest jocolor I'd love to hear your experience after you try using it as a bath tub! Laughing lol!

It's actually a boot washer as my Australian instructor put it once Suspect I couldn't concentrate in class for the rest of the afternoon :snickers:

That's a "Traditional" toilet in Japan at our technical training center lol! Funny story....during one of many trainings I developed the daily 'urge' for #2. So, I excused myself from class and made my way to the restroom. I had no prior knowledge that there was a difference between the signs posted on the toilet stall doors "Western" and "Traditional". The "Western" stalls were all occupied at the time so I proceeded to the remaining 1 "Traditional". Well, if you could have seen my expression when I barged into the "Traditional" stall about to drop my trousers.....I nearly had a premature crapulation when I laid eyes on the floor only to find this motorcycle fairing looking porcelain floor-flushed contraption! affraid scratch I stood there in shock trying to figure out if it was a bidet or a practical joke Suspect Sooooo, I held in my deposit and waited for the next stall.

My biggest concern is whether or not to face towards or away from the fairing....scratch I'm still confusted. I think I need therapy now.

J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  gummx97 on Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:21 pm

i knew you'd get a kick out of that one!! tongue
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:39 pm

Update:
Still quiet.

I'm holding out for this Sunday's AutoX <1/18/09> hoping conditions are dry so I can get a better feel of what they can do. Keeping my fingers crossed study

J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:24 pm

Update 1/09:
Still quiet, full of traction, and lookin' awesome! Cool

J


Last edited by catgut on Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:17 pm

Update 3/09:
Tires are doing quite nice actually. No excessive noise and I have put about 2k miles on them and have driven them HARD at the autox. Noticeable outer shoulder wear and I've rotated them front to back once already. I'm thinking about putting one more autox event on them before dismounting and switching side-to-side so I can get more usable life out of them.

I can tell you that finding the sidewall roll-over point was a little tricky but once you find it it stays pretty consistent and I have a better understanding of what makes these tires tick with my suspension combination. I'm thinking about going with a wider wheel (8") and going with 235 or 245/45 R17 next time. For now I'm extremely happy with these 225/45 R17 on my OEM 7" wide wheels.

J


Last edited by catgut on Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:42 am

Update 8/09:
Have put about 3k miles on these things. Still love them. Wet weather lately has not phased it. Dry road driving is well, uneventful Smile Autocross, lap times speak for themselves Cool I have no complaints other than I wish I had done my camber bolt and ALK mod before I put these things on so I could get less shoulder wear.

I'm contemplating to try the Kumho MX tires out (140 treadwear, Direzza Star Spec = 200) but I'm not sold on the Kumhos. Theses are a great low-cost tire that wears very nicely for regular road use and crazy-grip for what they are.

For those that are interested, check out my tires the next time you see my car at our next event and you'll see how they're wearing-in with my driving. I think they get stickier as the days go by Laughing

J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:16 am

Update 11/09:
6k + on the odometer with these tires. I have about 3/32" left of treadwear on most parts. I rotated front to back about 800-miles ago and also swapped the tires on the wheels to expose the inside portion to the outboard direction to get more 'bite' in the corners. I just chose the best outer tread for the front and placed the most worn outer shoulders at the rear.

Tires still amaze me. Even with the shoulders rounded from extreme cornering the bite is not as tenacious as when they were new (obviously) but the break-away point is very predictable and loads of grip nonetheless. What's neat is that if you look at the shoulders, you can actually see the molten rubber and the striations from me using the tires to their maximum limit; appearance is like tiny and consistent wrinkled & undulating pieces of rubber on the outermost shoulder tread block all the way down to the roll-over point and nothing more Cool reminds me of my B-compound shifter kart tires after a few hot laps in a new set of tires cheers

I do the some of the tech inspections on the event participant cars and I never see this wear on the other tires...I do wonder if this is normal but afaik I'm basing my tire readings on my results and I think this is normal for all this traction and my suspension set-up.

Ordered a brand new set of Dunlop Direzza Start Specs 225/45/ R17 and await the new season Very Happy I guess you can say I'm stuck on these tires Cool very happy with them and they lasted a full season of rocky, hair-pin riddled, off-cambered Guam autocross events cheers



J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  gonzosti on Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:27 am

Solid review...Also the Z1 had a solid placing as mentioned in the Sports Car mag review, for cars as heavy as ours! I finally sold my scooter but had to make a work related purchase so now im just awaiting end of the holiday season to make my Z1 purchase!
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  07GDJ25 on Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:02 am

Ordered my set this week. Once their in I plan to rip up my old Bridgestones all over the island. The Z1s were the right price and had good reviews.
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  07GDJ25 on Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:54 am

Jan 29, 2010 Friday: Put on my Z1s today. First Impression to following in a week or so on the tires.
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  07GDJ25 on Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:57 am

Okay...the Z1s seem a bit more noisier than the old Bridgestone R070s. But I don't mind, it actually is music to me. They seem to bite harder on turns, but the feel of traction regarding tire contact patch seems...less. It could just be a perception, we'll see more later.

Haven't autocross tested the tires yet, but from previous input they should be good.

Overall I would say they are a great buy. The cost is good, the traction/grip is good, and the breaking point is communicated nicely.
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  catgut on Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:10 am

Hey 07GD25, nice catch!

I'll suggest a 'revised' wheel alignment to take full advantage of those gum-balls. As with any tire a proper alignent does wonders but not without the associated compromises Wink definitely best bang for your $ currently. keep us posted!

J
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Re: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 <Star Spec> Initial Impressions

Post  07GDJ25 on Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:37 am

With the modified wheel alignment, will it increase the time for tire wear change? Will it cause uneven wearing of the tires? I'm not the son of Hyundai, which means new tires every year is a dream, not reality. My tires are all purpose, meaning daily driving, autocross, modified cruising, and everything.

So what do you think? Got a setting that'll increase the performance, but not the uneven wear? Hit me up and let me know.
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