while driving a
(185/60 R15) on
a combination of roads
My fifth consecutive winter on this set of tyres, and the Kleber are often competitive performers in their own right in smaller sizes and higher profiles. Decent feedback throughout the operating spectrum, I've always sensed the limits and never felt I don't know what's going on. Dry cornering grip swiftly washes out in higher temperatures -- it is a winter tyre after all (a few comments on this at the end). Otherwise, in its operating range it is utterly predictable in normal driving and progressive in its tendency to understeer. In the wet, well tested this winter, it's agile and grippy, resisting aquaplaning very well particularly in corners. A question mark over straight line performance in big puddles as it has worn, more cautious. Braking - well in all the above, as I don't seem to have tested its limits so far, thankfully. Not even one ABS shudder. Snow, mainly fresh or slushy, very good grip and handling. Less experience of durably packed sub-zero snow over these years, even at higher altitude.
This brings me to my comment. My natural environment for the past three decades has largely been subalpine, and within a handful of kms in all directions winter tyres are compulsory. And yes, in practice they have been a must. Even with the noticeable impact of changing climate a grippier tyre in winter remains essential because of the risk of a sudden if short-lived return of snowfall just when you're out there. Firstly, this tyre has been my faithful and robust workhorse, coping with the associated crud like mud streams, fallen branches, rocks and stones, and holes that are now more frequently found on 'warmer' but wet alpine roads, and without warning. It's kept me and my car safe.
Secondly, I'll be moving shortly but will still be around these parts in winter. I'm wondering if my winter swap won't be to an all-seasons tyre (I value summer tyres in summer). I'd like to see more testing of all tyres at or beyond the upper extremes of their temperature ranges (eg. 10-17°C and 32-45°C - these have been my realities for the last decade).
No comment on wear - difficult to judge through the low mileage Covid years, plus tyres make immense progress in the time that I keep a set. One final comment: in general, I've had better experiences with smaller cars on winter tyres.