Home / Social media / News / Vintage, modern and future tyres in a head to head test on a Mazda Miata MX5


Car tyres have had to evolve along with the cars they’re fitted to, which makes sense really. The way they were made back in the day compared to the products and technologies we have now can hardly be compared to each other, but leave it to the Donut Media team to do just that. Cars from a hundred years ago had the performance of a horse on MDMA at best, and that meant there wasn’t really any attention paid to how they were made or what was required of them. These days a tyre needs to be able to afford a car with good handling and good braking in the wet and the dry, as well as longevity. Back in the day, all tyres needed to do was cover the wheels so that it wasn’t a harsh, noisy ride. With classic cars still being popular there are some companies that still manufacture tyres in the old way so that these old cars can still putter along to car shows, and so the Donut team sourced some of these new old tyres to see how they would fare during a bunch of tests we use today. This wasn’t an easy thing to do because the team used their trusty Mazda Miata / MX5 for the test, and the old tyres could only be fitted to Ford Model A rims that are 5.5 inches wide with a massive 30-inch diameter. Some clever engineering was needed, the result being some totally unsafe wheel spacers. Luckily they could also be used to test the future tyres that also come in a weird size.

The testing is as you’d expect, the old stuff is rather terrible. We knew this but the testing is fun to watch anyway. We were keener to see how the future tyres fared in these tests because if airless tyres really are the future, we want to be prepared. Michelin produces airless tyres called Uptis (Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System), and they look as odd as you’d expect, they’ve been around for a couple of years now and so there has to be a reason that they’re not being seen out and about. Firstly, the sizing is strange and it won’t work on a fancy new set of Rotiforms, and people like their cars to look good. They would suit a Jeep or other 4x4 though. Then there’s the price, around a grand US for one. On the plus side, they’re expected to last up to three times as long as conventional tyres. They’re also immune to punctures, so there’s that. So far they’re available in 17 inches and 20 inches, but the odd profile means they won’t fit on a normal 17-inch wheel. Finally thanks to Donut Media, we have more of an idea as to how they perform in a real-world environment.

Take a look at the YouTube video where the crazy crew from Donut Media outfit their Mazda Miata / MX5 with three different sets of tyres in an attempt to show how far tyre technology has come, and if the future will be full of weird airless tyres that look like they're from a sci-fi movie - testing includes acceleration, handling and braking as well as an unhealthy amount of wheel spacers: We Put Future Tires on our Miata | Donut Media

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