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How does your car handle? (and tyre recommendations)

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Sidhu88, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Sidhu88
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    Sidhu88 Active Member

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    Hello everyone, my names Jay, new here.

    Recently picked up an 06 S-line PD170 sportback and as much as i love the car i have some worries about it. We have two cars within the household and until buying the audi the car i always drove was a 2007 1.6 ford focus, since buying the audi my brother now drives the focus everyday and i barely use it, but the two times i have driven it i've been reminded of how good of a car it is to drive, it feels solid, much more feel through the steering wheel and happily takes whatever i throw at it. I feel a hell of a lot more confident in that car than i do in the audi.

    I understand the audi is a heavier car, the wheelbase is probably slightly longer being a sportback, but this car scares me a little. At what i wouldn't even consider to be pushing it i've had understeer, i almost hit a kerb the other day doing 30ish around a bend (not under heavy or even mild acceleration) that the focus would easily eat up with no problems. Even though conditions haven't been great lately alot of the time its just been damp and the tyres just dont seem to grip at all. It almost went sideways going round a tight bend in wet conditions, ESP kicked in, i slammed the brakes and stopped straight away, it was as if someone had yanked the handbrake, it slipped that violently. Was probably doing 20 at best, its a slow corner.

    The car has factory fitted BBS CH's, the fronts are wrapped in pilot sports with a fair amount of tread and the rears in budgets (all 4 are going to be replaced soon) they're all 225 40 18.

    I dont know what to say really, i expected alot more from this car, fords not exactly in the same league as audi but i'd happily say my focus would take a steaming hot pee pee over the audi in terms of handling. So my question is this, does anyone else share similar experience with the handling of their cars? (except for quattro owners)

    Aside from that, i love it, going from a petrol to a diesel with this sorta power is always gonna be fun (apart from having no traction until 3rd) the cars a beaut!

    I was also wondering if anyone could recommend a good set of replacement tyres? I've had a read into some previous threads, Falken FK452s seem to be a popular mid-range tyre, im not convinced by the pilot sports, conti sport contact 5's seem to be a good premium option but wear rates seem to be an issue (and will be an issue with all the torque through the front) aside from that im stumped. I want to get them changed soonish, and im hoping this will help with the understeer.
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  2. MACCAA
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    MACCAA New Member

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    "fronts are wrapped in Pilot sports and the rears are budgets"
    Says it all really.
    Not a car problem.
    #2
  3. Hendo
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    Hendo Member

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    Don't go for falken i've got them on my 19" CKs and there not great. I had new Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2's fitted to my A3 TDI 170 sportback when the standard Continental Sport Contact 2's were down to 2mm and what a difference.

    Get good tyres and get your tracking and camber checked.
    #3
  4. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll be honest Jay:

    1) Fords seem to handle handle a bit better than Audi's in the main, with far less understeer and not suffering such over servoed steering
    2) a diesel has a heavier front end than the 1.6 petrol

    The mix of tyres won't help, but I would say I really rate Michelin Pilot Sports tyres (particularly the 2). Might be worth trying Conti 5's or Goodyear Assymetric 2's, but I would go further and get the geometry checked (full 4 wheel - about £80), as I don't think the car should be quite as bad as your description unless something isn't 100%. Get them to check bushes / suspension whilst they're there for wear.

    Diesel will have so much power over the 1.6 that if you drive it like you would the 1.6 you'll end up lighting up the front wheels and have very little steering control. Input the power progressively and build up the speed as FWD can only grip so much!
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
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  5. box500
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    box500 Member

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    What make are the budgets on the rear ?

    As already stated the pilot sports are one of the best tyres around but mixing them with el crappo's on the back will not be good for anyone's health..
    #5
  6. MACCAA
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    MACCAA New Member

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    Doesn't matter how good a car's suspension is,the final bit is those four patches of rubber between you and the road.
    That tyre combination has disaster written all over it.
    I've done enough tyre testing and Driver training to know the effects of mis-matched tyres,especially in the wet-potentially lethal.
    If the front Pilot sports have plenty of tread,why not just buy another two?
    They're a good quality tyre and you could do a lot worse.
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  7. Ads
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    Ads License to drive

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    Gotta agree with maccaa here. I had mitchelins on the front and budgets at the back and my car felt almost undriveable. It was so unpredictable.
    In a lot of ways I think I would've been better off having budget tyres all around because that way the front and rear would've both been shocking and at least I would've known what to expect
    But having grip at the front and none at the back was an accident waiting to happen. It felt like trying to walk with one long leg and one short one.

    I don't really understand how you are experiencing understeer with your current setup though. Having grippy tyres at the front and budgets at the rear should be giving you oversteer, if anything.

    But if you really do have to have two premium tyres and two budget tyres, I'd have the better tyres on the back. Reason... its better to end up in a bush than spinning around and ending up in the front seat of the car behind you.
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  8. AidenUK
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    AidenUK Well-Known Member

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    Brilliant now it's got four brand new decent tyres on, the difference from the old ones and the new ones is like night and day!
    #8
  9. jb0o
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    jb0o North East Forum Moderator Regional Rep Site Sponsor

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    I've got Maxxis tyres on mine, not the best I must say... though Maxxis are known to make Bike tyres rather than car tyres :lmfao:
    #9
  10. AidenUK
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    AidenUK Well-Known Member

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    #10
  11. jb0o
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    jb0o North East Forum Moderator Regional Rep Site Sponsor

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    I've heard the Uniroyals are unbelievable in the wet, are they just as good in the dry? I had some Contact 2's on my 1.6FSI which were amazing in the dry.
    #11
  12. jb0o
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    jb0o North East Forum Moderator Regional Rep Site Sponsor

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  13. AidenUK
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    AidenUK Well-Known Member

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    They are very good all around mate, well pleased with them. A lad i know works at kwikfit, they retail at £153 apparently (inflated kwikfit pricing), i got them supplied and fitted for £100 per corner.

    Camskill sell them for £91 each so i didn't think i got a bad deal from my mate.
    #13
  14. Sidhu88
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    Sidhu88 Active Member

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    Im not disagreeing with that but the understeer wouldn't be caused from the rear tyres being budgets. The instability in the other circumstances is definately down to this but even with previous cars i've owned that have from time to time been run on budgets the cars never gripped that badly. The focus is currently on budgets (due to my brother being an idiot) the difference from the michelins previously on the car was massive but even on the budgets it still grips really well.

    Yup i've learnt to control the amount of power, i'm alot more reserved in this car, partly down to the current lack of confidence. I'm not saying im the best driver but i have a fairly good idea of how to control a FWD, but still plenty more to learn.

    Am i also right in saying boost is limited in 1st? With some good clutch control i've managed to squeeze what feels like full boost in first, but sometimes when i come off the clutch early with my foot down its very reserved. Im also assuming this is more prominent when the engines cold too? or is that just down to the engine not being upto temp? (for what its worth i do let the engine warm up reasonably well before putting my foot down)

    Thanks for the input people, much appreciated. Looks like conti sport contact 5's will be on soon. Full laser alignment is a must, also considering lowering springs however i was parked alongside a standard a3 (8P2 aswell) and using the mirrors as a guideline i was definately sitting lower. I'm assuming the s-line came with a different suspension set up?
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  15. MACCAA
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    MACCAA New Member

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  16. munchkincoupe
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    munchkincoupe Member

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    Personally I like and am using the Continental Sport Contact 3 and can't fault them. Also like Vredstein Ultrac Sessanta on my previous Jap cars (S2000, Integra DC2+5, civic typeR).

    May also be worth considering getting tracking done or even a geometry reset?
    #16
  17. Sheikh
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    Sheikh Member

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    I use Sport Contact 2's and I hate them. Maybe I just drive to hard, but I get a ridiculous amount of understeer and in the wet i find them to be quite unpredictable.

    Gonna hopefully change to Michelin's or Goodyears next!
    #17
  18. Sidhu88
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    Sidhu88 Active Member

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  19. monster_munch
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    monster_munch Member

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    Just my two pence worth, but to those people that often feel understeer, had decent tyres on front and cheapies on the rear and felt their car was undriveable etc., what speeds are you driving at?!

    About 2 weeks ago I had some new Pilot Sport 3's fitted to the front as the Dunlops needed replacing. There is still some budgets on the back that the garage fitted when I got the car that will possibly get replaced this year.

    I have a 2.0 TDI 140, I drive at the speed limits and appropriate to the road conditions, and I dont experience anything wrong with my car at all. In the snow and ice, rain or on dry roads, having performance tyres on the front and cheapies on the rear has no ill effects on the handling and stability of my car.

    I say this coming from years of motorcycling, on road and track, where tyre choice is one of the most important factors.

    Also, to the suggestion of putting the cheap tyres on the front, and the expensive tyres on the rear, surely it would make sense to have the expensive performance tyres at the end of the car where all the weight is, on the wheels that have to do the accelerating, steering and braking?!

    I would say rather than blaming cheap tyres for the car being so unpredictable, maybe you should look at your driving technique?
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  20. Sidhu88
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    Sidhu88 Active Member

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    I'm heavy footed, i get excited, and i'm a very spirited driver within limits. I know when i've caused said issues through my own doing, but its the times when i don't expect it, during moderate driving in reasonable conditions that gets me. I'm not blaming the cheap tyres for anything, i just wanted to know if anyone else had similar experiences that's all.

    I'm just used to the stability and predictability of the focus, and expected similar from the audi.
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  21. Ads
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    Ads License to drive

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    When you are going around a roundabout at 10-15mph and you can feel the rear of your car skipping out then that's purely down to the cheap rubbish rubber you've got on the back wheels. Nothing to do with technique.

    But you rely on technique, and i'll rely on good tyres! ;)
    There's good reason that some tyres cost £50 and some cost £150.
    #21
  22. Farhan
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    Farhan Active Member

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    Do you feel the car is just a bit .....electronic. Unpredictable?

    If so i do to, It handles adequately but you dont get that feedback you would expect. I think the electric feel of everything has alot to do with it....Power delivery also.

    When i drive some japanese hot hatches which are FWD they just feel alot more involving and predictable....You kind of know when its going to let go so you back off.

    In the audi it feels smooth and everything but suddenly you realise woah....its about to topple over LOL
    #22
  23. Ads
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    Ads License to drive

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    Trust me, it's better to lose grip at the front and continue forward in a straight line for a bit than to lose grip at the rear and have the back of your car overtake the front of it.

    Understeer is a lot easier to control (and a lot less scary) than oversteer.
    #23
  24. monster_munch
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    monster_munch Member

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    I do 100% agree that there is a difference between cheap tyres compared to more expensive ones, thats why I had Pilot Sport 3's fitted to my Audi a few weeks ago and not sunews or fullruns etc.

    I still dont agree about the good tyres going on the back due to it being more favourable losing the front end. If you have the expensive performance tyres at the front, surely you are much less likely to lose grip in the first place? Prevention is better than cure.
    #24
  25. pinterovski
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    pinterovski Member

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    With my previous car A3 170Hp Q i put on some Kumho's Ecsta Ku31 (235/35/19)
    and tyres were absulutely amazing when dry and still very good in the wet
    and i really like to drive hard and fast!
    #25
  26. Sidhu88
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    Sidhu88 Active Member

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    couldn't of put it better myself. As much as i like the audi, i'd much rather have heavier steering that tells u everything thats going on through the front wheels, the focus does this perfectly and i love it for that reason. I was lucky enough to drive an 8P2 remapped S3, and the steering on that has no feel whatsoever, its scary not knowing what the cars doing when you've got that much power available, how are you supposed to judge whats going on midway through a corner and make any corrections to what you're doing.

    Do you find the steering gets really heavy when you're up to speed (on the motorway)? If it electronically adjusts itself dependant on speed then there must be a way to make it heavier all the time?
    #26
  27. Sidhu88
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    Sidhu88 Active Member

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    p.s. Ads, your sig pic makes me wish i had a silver a3. I've had nothing but silver cars before and loved every one. The audis dolphin grey, but im still a fiend for silver. Silver and black theme all day long!
    #27
  28. Ads
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    Ads License to drive

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    I think you're looking at it in the wrong way. If you drive within all of your tyre's limits at all times then it might be ok or even best to have you best tyres at the front, but let's face it, most (if not all) of us find ourselves in driving situations where we unavoidably have to brake hard, turn sharp, etc etc... and that's when its potentially a lot more dangerous having bad tyres or your worst grip tyres at the rear instead of having them at the front. Especially in the wet.

    If your front loses traction before your rear then your car tends to just carry on in the same direction, but if your rear tyres lose traction before your front tyres then the car tends to want to spin.... and most people will find it a lot harder to correct a spinning slide than a straight line slide.

    Google it or speak to most tyre fitters and you'll find that the advice is to always put your best tyres on the back.

    To be honest mate, that pic makes it look better than it is, thanks to farhan's nifty camera work! :laugh:

    But yeah I've always loved silver cars too, doubt I'd go for one again for a while though. Think I'll be going darker next time.
    #28
  29. monster_munch
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    monster_munch Member

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    I find this topic very interesting, Ive done a google search, and I think it comes up with a mix of interesting results, about equeal for the argument of new tyres on front vs. rear.
    I can see your point about new tyres on the rear, but I still think its reccomended fitting them to the front for the same reason as mentioned before, the front tyres deal with the heavy end of the car, the acceleration, steering and most of the braking forces.
    As for the rear sliding out on a wet corner, isnt this what ESP is supposed to tackle? I thought when the speed of a wheel becomes inconsistent with the rest of the wheels, ESP would apply braking force to that individual wheel?
    I still think it comes down to driving technique. Ive always lived by 'dont driver faster than you can see', anticipate what everyone else is doing and dont take the p*ss, and Ive never had a rear wheel slide or instability yet.

    Your car does look very nice in the picture, I like silver cars too, and would like an s line over my sport!
    #29
  30. Sidhu88
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    Sidhu88 Active Member

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    #30
  31. Roundwood-garage
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    Roundwood-garage New Member

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    Both ways are correct. Cars without ESP or similar should have new tyres fitted to the rear, (this reduces the risk of oversteer) irrespective of which is the drive axle. Cars with ESP can have tyres fitted to the drive axle, the ESP will manage any stability issues whilst driving.
    #31
  32. pinterovski
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    pinterovski Member

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    I ordered some new Yokohama S Drive in 225/35/19 for my S3.
    I know some people who drive them and push them to the limit!
    #32
  33. Jonny-Smith
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    Jonny-Smith Member

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    Agreed. I love these tyres!
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  34. Brodster
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    Brodster Shark Performance In Scotland Regional Rep Site Sponsor

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    I just had a blow out on the front of my S3 the other day so had to go and get some tyres. Had arranged to buy Spin140's Contis off him but had to buy something to get her back on the road. Ended up getting x4 Kumho KU39's and all I can say is........WOW. Bloody marvellous if you ask me. All 4 fitted for £390 and it gave me a chance to detail my wheels too. I had Michelin Contact Sport 3 on before and these feel way better especially in the wet. Have a look at the reviews the tyre is getting and then go get some....you will NOT be disappointed.
    #34
  35. crunchie
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    crunchie Member

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    Its one of these "you get what you pay for" situations.
    Tyretest.com results are pretty poor!

    Test reports for car summer tyres Kumho - KU39
    #35
  36. pinterovski
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    pinterovski Member

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    #36
  37. crunchie
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    crunchie Member

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    I do agree that this is possibly not the most conclusive test in the world haha.

    A little over £100 extra and you could have a set of Conti SC5s.

    Why have a re-mapped S3 then put sub standard tyres on it?

    I just don't scrimp on tyres, never will. It's an expensive obsession tho!
    #37
  38. tcardio
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    tcardio Active Member

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    My tire of choice 4 years running. The harder I push them, the harder they grip
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  39. Hendo
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    Hendo Member

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    Just had all 4 225/35/19's changed from Flaken 452's to The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 and I'd never go back!

    They are amazing on my TDI 170 bluefin'd to 200 bhp.
    #39
  40. lil_coz
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    lil_coz Active Member

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    Back in the day when I had a 1.2 Corsa, I put on a set of the Yoko AVS Sport's on it. The thing was on RAILS! Both dry and wet weather handling was awesome. I remember having a mate in it one time and I came off the Coventry Ring Road at a fair rate of knots. He simply couldn't believe the speed that we went round the long sweeping bend. And we weren't even on the limit. I rate Yoko's very highly.
    #40
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