The Elise is currently delivered with Pirelli P-Zero tyres at front and rear. The front tyres are 185/55 R15 and the rear tyres are 205/50 R16. The current owners manual states tyre pressures of 23psi (front), 24.5psi (rear 205) and 27psi (rear 225). Tyre pressure make a huge difference to the way the car grips and feels. Check them regularly.
On the basis of a review of tyre pressure gauges by AutoExpress, I bought the Cosmic C508 gauge for £11.50 (inc. P&P). With good accuracy and excellent value it came top in their review. Cosmic are based in Ipswich, Tel. 01473 226262.
With a weight distribution of 39/61 the Elise places considerably more emphasis on the rear of the car, hence the rear tyres are more critical to over all performance on the road or track. Some owners have fitter 225 tyres on the rear, but you need to be careful. One manufacturers 225's may be wider than anothers and some owners have had problems with tyre contact on the body work. It is also possible to fit 190 or 195 tyres on the front for improved grip, but an associated, reduced rolling radius will need different tyre pressures. I've seen several owners commenting that these wider tyres touch the wheel arch, so check this carefully before you do it. A guide to tyre markings can be found at the Pirelli site.
|The Bridgestone SO-2's are expensive but give improved grip in both the dry and wet, better than Pirelli's in all cases. They don't offer quite the same ride comfort though. These are the current favourite upgrade for the mk I Elise. Recommended sizes and pressures are 195/50/15 (1.6 bar) front and 225/45/16 (1.9 bar) at the rear. These tyres will fit the standard rear 7" rims and geometry. The ideal rim width is 7.5" but 7" is within the safe limits. The arch spats should be fitted to achieve legal wheelarch coverage for road use. These are soon to be replaced by the new SO-3 tyres.
|Michelin Pilot SX
|Slightly wider and excellent grip in wet.
|The standard tyre fitted to the Elise.
|Toyo Proxy T1 Plus
|Relatively cheap all-rounder, better in dry and comparable to S0-2's in wet. Don't use the 225 on the rear standard J7 rim, since it's nearer a 235. Will fit on a J8 rim.
|Toyo Proxes T1-S
|Not very highly rated in standard 205/50 size. On initial turn into bends it feels as though the rear tyres have gone flat, there is a distinct initial oversteer feeling. Once you are actually cornering the grip is very much lower and the breakaway very much more sudden. For example a particular corner I could get round a 70 mph on the limit, now I am having big moments at 60mph. High speed stability is much worse too. Cant recommend this tyre at all, the last thing you want on the rear end of an Elise is a tyre with a poor grip level that lets go suddenly.
|The A520 is best in the dry, almost as good in the wet, expensive and don't last as long as SO-2's but are cheaper. You can fit a 225 to the standard wheel, but a 205 fits better unless you upgrade to J7.5 rims.
|Good reports on these tyres.
|Yokohama Advan Neova LTS
|Yokohama's aftermarket tyre constructed specifically for the Elise in conjunction with the Lotus ride and handling team and are aimed at the everyday Elise user, offering a better balance between wet and dry performance than the P Zero. These tyres were launched 1st Feb 2001 and should be available through Lotus dealers only, from June 2001. They are asymmetric and directional, and are available in 195/50/15 for the front and 225/45/16 for the rear. They will fit on the standard rims and do not require any geometry changes. Standard cars with 205 tyres will need to fit rear wheel arch spats to stay road legal. Recommended tyre pressures are 1.6 bar front and 1.9 bar rear. They cost £425 a set including VAT, but excluding fit and balance. The fronts retail at £75.50 each plus VAT. The rears retail at £105.35 each plus VAT. There is a picture and more information on the Pistonhead's site. These tyres have very good wet and dry performance. Note: Yokohama is the manufacturer, Advan is the tyre range and Neova is the model. The LTS denotes a Lotus specific tyre constuction and it is essential that tyres with this designation are fitted.
|Lotus have recently launched a Yokohama tyre which has been jointly developed for road and track use. It is a heavy cut slick tyre and it looks excellent and provides excellent grip in the dry when the optimal temperature is reached. Wet weather performance is debatable and these are not generally recommended for every day road use since it is hard to get them up to temperature. They are a great tyre for track days, where you need to drive to the track though. Front tyre (A111G6048F) is A038-R 195/50R15 82V (K-5243) and cost £136.87. Rear tyre (A111G6049F) is A038-R 225/45R16 89W (K-5244) and costs £167.29.
This is standard fitment on the 340R but in the Lotus Parts Bulletin (LPB0046/99), Lotus recommend you fit: Spring and damper set (A111C0138S @ £695), Front anti-roll bar (A111C0134S @ £223.65), Uniball link kit (A111D0127S @ £546.80) and the Race Wheel Set (A111G6038S Silver A111G6039S Grey @ £745.50 (6J15 and 8J16 rims are essential). A lower ride height and geometry changes are also required to ensure proper tyre contact. The suspension changes are recommended due to the higher grip levels and associated forces generated and also to appreciate the benefits of the better tyres. These are not essential and simply reduce component wear rates.
Lotus have recently launched a Yokohama produced tyre which has been developed for road and track use. See above for details.
The owners manual recommends Michelin XM+S130 winter tyres for the Elise. The front tyres should be 185/55 R15 81T on the standard front wheels and the rear tyres should be 195/60 R15 88T on standard front wheels. No that is not a mistake, you need four front wheels.
As most owners know, the Elise doesn't have a spare wheel or even a space saver spare wheel. It has a pressurized can of sealing foam which will only be suitable for small punctures. If it is used you should follow the recommendations on maximum speed and distance carefully. Once used some tyre repair centres may refuse to repair the tyre since it coats the inside of the tyre. This can has a life expectancy in excess of five years.
Please select the dimensions of the tyre you want.
|(fields marked * are compulsory)
|Powered by Black Circles
Thanks go to the following for technical details and/or images:
Simon Scuffham, Bernhard Scouse