Skip directly to content

Elise Tyre - Bridgestone Potenza RE040

on Tue, 05/03/2013 - 17:00

Bridgestone Tyre
I've been using the same set of Bridgestone Potenza RE040's since I first bought the Elise second hand back in 2006. There was quite a thorough pack of past bills and documentation but no record of new tyres being fitted, so I can only assume it is still wearing the same rubber it rolled out of the factory on almost 11 years ago. The Bridgestone’s were standard fitment at the time and Lotus engineers worked with the manufacturer, to produce a version of the ‘Potenza’ tyre specifically for the ‘Mk.2’ Elise with the aim of optimising performance on both road and track.

The RE040's have always provided me plenty of grip in pretty much all weather conditions. They are best on a warm day, obviously, but equally capable in the wet. They carve a path through standing water fairly well and I've never felt unsafe in the winter months unless the rain has been truly torrential or there is snow/ice about. You can feel them go a fraction sticky on a hot day providing an extra level of grip that allows more spirited driving. If you get a rare really hot day then the stickiness increases and the tyres will track the road more closely, causing the Elise to follow undulations and skip about a little at higher speeds - in a reassuring rather than uncontrolled way. I’ve always run them at the recommended pressures of 1.8 bar (26lb/in) at the front and 1.9 bar (27.5lb/in) at the rear - finding this to be firm but comfortable.

Bridgestone Tyre
It shouldn't matter but the Bridgestone's do look the part on the Elise, they don't have a particularly sporty tread but equally it isn't pedestrian. The wider rears naturally help the aesthetic - although this is not a quality unique to the Bridgestones.

Sadly, after a good run the rears have now almost worn down to their safe legal limit meaning I will need to have them replaced at the upcoming service. Hairline cracks have been appearing around the tread blocks for a while but are now becoming more pronounced (see photo). The side walls however, in most part due to their bi-annual Auto Glym tyre blacking, are still in pretty good condition.

Being the only tyre I've used on the Elise I have no basis for comparison at this stage but I've generally been very happy with the Bridgestone Potenza RE040's. It's a shame they are no longer manufactured but if you can get hold of a set I'd generally recommend them. I'll be trying something new in the next few weeks so watch this space for an update.

Fronts: RE040 175/55R16
Rears: RE040 225/45R17