Dunlop SP8000 tires

[11/3/2001] Reviewed by: Tom Yoder -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 '99 + 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

205/55/15 on my '99 Miata

I purchased these tires as an upgrade from my stock 14" (I upgraded my wheels too) They perform moderately well, though if I could do it over, I'd probably get the SP-9000s instead. They have held up very well, traction wet and dry is good, though they loose traction a bit sooner than my old Toyos, the tires loose their grip smoothly and predictably, which the toyos did not. The ride is smooth and fairly quiet. Had the 65 MPH shake for the first 50 miles or so, but that is now gone.

Overall an improvement over stock tires. I suspect the 15" (as opposed to the 14")is why they do not feel "squishy" I am pleased with them, and would purchase them again without feeling bad about it.

Not an installed item

[9/1/2001] Reviewed by: Paul Bojesen -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Dunlop SP8000 195/55/14 Z-rated tires on 2000 Miata alloys

When I purchased these tires, I thought the wider the better, right? Well since these are the only 195/55/14 tires I could find, it narrowed down my options. These tires are very quiet and offer a smooth ride, but lets face it, that's not what a Miata owner should be concerned with when buying tires! These tires make the car very unstable. It's almost like I'm not driving a Miata anymore. When taking sweeping on ramps at the same speed as I did with my bald stock Toyos it felt as if the sidewall was going to tuck itself under the wheel! The sidewalls are far too soft. Likewise, during transitions (slalom) it is incredibly sloppy. These tires are very ill suited for the Miata and much worse than either the stock Bridgestones or Toyos. Buy something else

Not an installed item

[1/3/2001] Reviewed by: Jay Victor -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Dunlop SP-8000 195 55 14 tires

Vast improvement over the stock tires. Soft sidewalls, but inflating to 32 psi works well. Slight rubbery or spongy feel to handling, as others have mentioned, but I do not consider this overly objectionable. The car sticks like glue on dry and wet roads. Softer ride than other tires, and the soft side walls definitely minimize the 65 MPH shake. These are great tires, but steering effort might be negatively affected with wider than stock wheels.

I waited until I wore mine out to write this review, so I think I have a good handle on these tires. I got 25,000 miles out of them, & rotated with every oil change. They wore very evenly at 32 psi. I drive very aggressively, and it was no effort throwing the car around corners. Even though this is a soft tire, it does not seem to negatively affect the nimble handling of the car. I like them.

Not an installed item

[11/20/2000] Reviewed by: Alan Dahl - 

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Dunlop SP-8000 tires 195/55-HR14


I would like to echo Tim Burn's comments about the poor directional stability of the SP-8000. I previously used the Yokohama AVS Intermediate tires which I was happy with but switched to the SP-8000s on the recommendation of the Tire Rack.The SP-8000 is better at wet traction and is quieter than the AVS-I but in all other aspects it is far poorer.

The two big problem areas are cold traction and directional stability. When the weather is below freezing the tires seem to have far less grip than when it is warmer and less also than the AVS-I at the same temperature. The directional stability problem is the big problem however. At speeds over 45 mph, especially on rutted highways they have a big tendency to dart one way or the other. Raising the pressure to 33psi helped some but IMHO they are still sub-standard and could be considered unsafe in the hands of an inexperienced driver. Compared to the cheaper AVS-I the SP-8000 is nowhere near as good. I plan on replacing mine immediately.

Not an installed item

[11/17/2000] Reviewed by Allen Phapornchai -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Dunlop SP8000 HP tires 195/55Z14.


I've had these tires for a little over two weeks now and have found them to be a big improvement over the previous tire (Mich MVX). They are simply great! Much quieter than the old Mich MVXs. The grip is fantastic and my car no longer makes annoying squeals when cornering. For what I paid for them ($70 each) they are a steal.

Not an installed item

[7/23/2000] Reviewed by Dennis F. Otto -

Applicable to '99 + 1.8 liter

Dunlop SP8000s (14") on Borbet type H wheels


Very good handling response and good ride characteristics; car has base suspension. They do "track" a little on grooved freeways, but overall the grip and steering response really helps make a otherwise stock Miata feel even more delightful. Compared to a new 2000 with stock tires and wheels, that I drove, my '99 with the Dunlops is a vast improvement. On twisty back roads the car communicates well and really carves the curves. Best 4 wheeler I've had since my 912 with A 008Rs! However, with the Dunlops I'm not "afraid" of rain covered roads, unlike the 008Rs. Seem to have pretty good wear given the grip, but for Winter I think I will probably put Blizzaks on.

Not an installed item

[7/13/2000] Reviewed by Tim Burns -

Applicable to '99 +

Dunlop SP-8000 "Jell-O" Tires

If you own a 1999 or newer Miata, DO NOT BUY THESE TIRES! The only positive thing that can be said about them is that they are quiet. What's negative

1. The poorest strait line stability I have ever experienced in any tire, ever. These tires seek out every crack and imperfection in the highway and follow it. Going in a strait line becomes very labor intensive since it is an exercise in constant correction. The factory installed Pilot's would go straight and true.

2. Setting up the car for a corner has become dangerous. The sidewalls of the SP-8000's feel like they are made of Jell-O! Again, my benchmark was the Michelin Pilot, which made my Miata feel as if it was on rails. I have easily lost 50% of my cornering ability.

These SP-8000's feel like half inflated Pilots! If you own a 1999 or newer Miata do yourself a big favor, spend the extra money and either put Michelin Pilots back on or get the Toyo T1's. You've been forewarned.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[5/28/2000] Reviewed by Anthony Church -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Dunlop High Performance SP8000 tires

I bought these tires to replace the aging Dunlop SP89s and upgraded to 195/50R15 at the same time. I could not believe the difference these tires gave, and it actually rides quieter and smoother than my previous set.

I certainly recommend this tire (as I have about 4000 miles on them now) and recommend going to 15" as well. The only downside is that the car follows the tread of the road a bit (like many performance tires) and needs a little more attention to keep yourself in a straight line.

I will buy them again seeing how inexpensive they are now.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[11/11/99] Reviewed by: Andre Golubic -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

SP8000 195/55/14 - quiet and smooth (despite lower profile than stock tires). Although they feel a touch spongier than the performance Michelins that were on the car, the bottom line grip is significantly better.

I bough my car used with stock sized Michelins on factory alloy wheels. Although the tread was pretty worn, stepping up to the SP8000 195/55/14 has not only made a noticeable difference, but a down right ear to ear grin on my face. The off ramp on the way to work is where I play my daily autocross game. I took the ramp at over 70 in fourth gear with room to turn even more sharply (to reach 60 on this particular turn was challenging with the old tires).

I bought these tires for a mere $70/ at TireRack (a big 'thumbs up' on the service too). Finally, Gran Tourismo of Atlanta mounted the tires and on-the-car balanced (at 65mph)- the 65mph shake is all but gone.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Anonymous

Ultra High Performance Tire

Far superior to stock. Excellent wet and dry handling/traction. Park it in the snow. Somewhat harsh ride due to low profile (195/55). They look "thin" in the wheel well. Increased steering effort. Flat spots may form overnight in cold weather. Good/great longevity (wear rating of 200- I got 24K miles and several autocrosses out of them--but they were toast when they were finally removed- see Toyo Proxes RA1 review). Tend to follow pavement irregularities (with a stock alignment) Despite these negatives, overall, I would have to highly recommended them, especially considering that they are now relatively inexpensive.

Reviewed by: Jeff Barlow -

195/50ZR15 size high performance tires

I've had them on for a week now - wow! They ride great, are not noisy for HP tires, and the grip is fantastic - wet and dry! The steering response of the car is much quicker, and with that comes a little more road feel. Not by an objectionable amount, but the steering wheel is definitely more active. The roll angle of the car is also improved - not nearly as much lean as before. I'm getting ready to put Koni shocks on as well - I can't wait to see what the car's like then!

Highly recommended. The price on these tires has come down a bit since Dunlop introduced the SP9000. NO unwelcome vibrations and a 40,000 mile treadwear warranty. Here in Raleigh, NC I paid $430 installed.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Jim Creer -

These are the the directional "ultra performance" tires, 205/50/15 mounted on old and heavy (22 lb) Cobra rims. Tires also contain a small red dot on one side to indicate the high spot. Tires were purchased through the Miata Net Auction. Is first experience with this type of tire, and did the mount, balance, and alignment at home.

First impression was on how quiet they were. The embarrassing tire squeak from aggressive cornering and launches is gone. First time on autox, came within 1 second of FTD. Did break the car loose a few times, but was very easy to recover. The tires seem to handle exceptionally well even in wet weather. Don't think I am going to get the same tread life as previous tires. After 2,000 miles, have only slightly more than 9/16" of tread remaining.

This the the 4th set of tires on the car. Went thru the stock Bridgestones, set of Falkens, and the Hoosier GTs. The latter had 32K miles on them, and the lowest point still had 6/32" tread left. Had to replace the tires due to vandalism. Waiting for the SP8000 to arrive, borrowed some D 60 A2 to run one autox, as well as an assortment of misc tires on VW rims for others. None of the tires used had near the traction provided by the SP8000.

The red dot. Called Dunlop Dave about that after the tires were mounted. He advised it was to indicate the high spot on the tire, or where the belts overlapped. Supposed to match this dot against the lowest point on the rim, which is usually located where the valve stem hole is drilled. Removed the tires and spun the rims against a piece of chalk attached to a small tripod. After some work, did identify the lowest points. Remounted and rebalanced tires. Low points were not at valve stem holes. It was a long process but wanted optimal balance and wear. I brought this up at two of my accounts that sell tires. No one there knew that either. Suggest that if you are having the tires installed, to advise the mechanic. An equipped tire shop will have better methods to locate the lowest spots on the rims.

Reviewed by: Mike Bolton -

Aftermarket tire, "Z" rated 205/50/15.

Purchased from Tire Rack in South Bend. Since I live close, I picked them up myself. Also purchased wheel at the same time (Borbet H). Tires ride harsher than stock which was expected. With stock set up it is just slightly rougher. With suspension changes that I did after installing the tires they are about 50% again as harsh. Some of that could be the condition of the roads also since we are just coming out of winter. Tires handle GREAT! They are great in the dry and in the rain. Tread pattern is very aggressive and the shed water very well. Autocrossed with them and the stock tires don't even hold a candle to them. I was within 2 seconds of 5.0L Z-28 running B.F. autocross tires on a twisty course with one slalom of about 100 yards where his torque could be used. I feel they performed well for a street tire. I have lowered my car about 1.25" and have no rubbing problems. "Z" rating might have been unnecessary, but due to other engine mods to the car I'd rather err to the safe side. My Miata had the dreaded 65 MPH shakes with the stock tires. Since installing these and the wheels it has vanished and is smooth all the way past 100 MPH. They do tend to sing a bit on dry pavement, but it's not that noticeable. I highly recommend both the tire and Tire Rack.

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17 November, 2001