Bridgestone Potenza tires have long been regarded amongst the best treads in the performance department, and RE980AS is the latest in the collection. A lot of happy buyers prefer them simply because they are cheaper than other big brands, and then discover that these aren’t any worse than Michelins or Continentals.
And this latest addition is simply outstanding. It is an all-season and ultra-performance model, meaning they are bound to give you a good time on tarmac. Moreover, they’ve thrown some good technology into these, which made them pleasant around the corners, gripping even on ice and generally very sticky.
But let’s go over the features one by one.
How are they made?
In their core, these tires contain two high-durability steel components, and the casing is made out of polyester: two plies on the tread side, three on each sidewall – for strength. Bridgestone cared very much about making RE980AS virtually impossible to rip if driven properly.
In the process, the sidewalls have become pretty stiff. That fact also benefits the general idea – the sidewalls are now hard to distort (and overstress, as a consequence), and handling improved significantly.
The grip is very good overall and there are several reasons why, besides the already mentioned ones.
Look at the tread and you’ll see that it’s riddled with many grooves, sipes and void space in general. That has several positive consequences.
Now, the treads are supposed to behave well on dry, wet, snow and ice. On dry and wet, the tires behave extremely well in part thanks to the tread pattern. It’s asymmetrical – together with the general stiffness of these tires, they handle well in all common situations.
But then, look at the sipes. They are full-depth (so, akin to grooves) and help with slippery surfaces. In general, their key purpose is to decrease slipping on wet and snowy ground, but the way Bridgestone included them into the pattern also increases the handling around the corners, as well as general stability, all thanks to the sipes.
Now, in terms of hydroplaning, Bridgestone has a solution even for that. The big circumferential and smaller lateral grooves are interconnected. Furthermore, the shoulders are also given some void space in the shape of open slots. Their primary goal is to help evacuate the water.
They do it well – the water passes through big grooves, travels between them through lateral cavities and then escapes through shoulders. As a result, there’s almost no hydroplaning at all.
However, this shoulder composition improves the contact with the road, as well. Thanks to these slots, there’s more control not just in the central parts, but also on the fringes.
In the end, RE980AS retains its superb grip regardless of the temperature and frequently even regardless of elements in front. Thanks to this excellent tread type, the tires handle well in virtually any situations.
The only place where you absolutely shouldn’t be is off-road. These are sturdy tires, but, owing to their stickiness, they are going to collect much more mud and sand than necessary, which results in premature tire death.
These treads are stiffer than most, even in the all-season category. This usually leads to discomfort while driving, but Bridgestone made sure their tires are more refined than that. The tread pattern is balanced in such a way, that tires feel extremely soft on the road.
But in order to squeeze the most out of them, you need to either use a sports car or a sedan, as Bridgestone themselves suggested. For other vehicles, this Potenza model is simply overkill. Less powerful cars simply don’t need that much traction and control.
Potenza RE980AS is excellent everywhere and in every season, except for off-road. Moreover, they last for at least 50,000 miles, as Bridgestone’s warranty suggests. That amounts to 4-5 years of constant use. Remember that Bridgestone tires are actually much cheaper than their colleagues who release the tires of similar quality.
Yes, they might worse than some specifically summer-designed treads, but RE980AS is much more versatile and has awesome traction. If you have need for them – by all means, go ahead and buy.