Leave me alone…I’m ‘tyred’

The Internet is indeed a blessing and a curse. I love the fact that I can do all my research online prior to decision-making. I’ve used it to decide on which Blackberry model to buy, which airline ticket to reserve, and even which blogging site would be a breeze for a crazy Nigerian like me to use. You would therefore think that I would exercise the same dexterity by browsing for news and reviews on the best type of tyres to buy for my car, right? Let’s see…

Tyres are no cheap investment. Replacing one tyre is expensive enough but changing all four can set you back quite a bit. The cheapest price I’ve come across for a brand new tyre in Lagos is N12,000 ($80/£48) – but I paid N13, 500 cash (cost of one tyre) to my supplier and gave him a promissory note to pay the balance for the remaining three tyres at the end of February. He gladly accepted my offer (Don’t you just love when you can defer payments?) Anyway, I was patting myself on the back for striking such a good deal, especially since my supplier came quite a long distance to deliver the tyres to my workplace. I told one of the company drivers to help replace all my old tyres with the new ones and then I went back into the office. About an hour later I decided to check on the driver’s progress and I was impressed to see that my car was sitting on a set of new wheels whilst my old tyres were in a pile by the gutter. However my driver made a comment that made my heart sink, “Oga (which means ‘Boss’), I prefer the old tyres to these ones you bought…”

Could this man be serious? Did he know how much money I’d (technically) spent on these tyres? He went on to ask me if he could take my old tyres to sell off. I didn’t see any reason to refuse but he did get me thinking about whether I had made the right choice. I bought Kenda tyres (Kenda Komet SPT 1 KR10 to be precise). My old ones were Khumo. By the time I started doing my research my heart was having palpitations. Below is a table of tyre brands by grade. See where my new tyres fall into:


 Premium Brand Tyres

Bridgestone Continental Dunlop
Goodyear Michelin Pirelli

Mid Range Brand Tyres

Avon BFGoodrich Cooper
Falken Firestone General
Hankook Kumho Marangoni
Nokian Toyo Uniroyal
Vredestein Yokohama

Economy Brand Tyres

Accelera Admiral Barum
Federal Fulda Goodride
GT Radial Infinity *Kenda*
Kleber Marshal Matador
Maxxis Nankang Neuton
Nexen Sava Semperit
Silverstone Sunew Sunny
Wanli Zeetex



As if that wasn’t bad enough the same source revealed just how risky my choice was. Below you can see how bad the Wet Grip rating is. Does it mean at the slightest occurrence of damp my car would be sent flying off the highway?  
Dry Grip 80%
Wet Grip 40%
Road Feedback 80%
Progressiveness 70%
Wear 100%
Comfort 90%
Buy again 70%
I had come this far with my research and I couldn’t help just making myself feel worse by digging up more dirt on my Kenda tyres. ScoobyNet reviews were less than kind:
“These are really bad tyres … plenty of write ups about them.”
“The nastiest tyres I have ever had the misfortune of driving on. With a directional tread, and acceptable dry grip, they lure you into a false sense of security. However, at the first glimpse of damp, they lose the little traction they had and you may as well be driving on bald tyres. Uncomfortable, noisy, no feedback, and annoyingly hard-wearing. A budget tyre to avoid at all costs.”
“There are budget tyres and there are BUDGET tyres if you know what i mean .
falken . maxxis. topend
kenda, westlake , chenshan. bottomend”
“Probably made in the Peoples Republic of Botswana out of sun-dried elephants foreskins!”

At this point I was holding backing the tears. My heart was now in my mouth. Just before I spilled my insides all over the keyboard I picked up my Blackberry to have a stern word with my tyre supplier. For some strange reason I changed my mind. I thought to myself, ‘Why not give them a try?’ I gave it the 100km/hr test on the Lekki expressway later that evening – so far so good. But as I curved with the bend just before the toll gate my car started gliding to towards the gutter…to which I screamed an unexpected new swear word…


Sources: ScoobyNet.com, Tyrereviews.co.uk