Nineteen inch Radials for the MG TC: Bridgestone Ecopia 500 series – 155/70/19R

Some years ago in the US, I spotted a new small car with skinny 19” wheels. It turned out to be a BMW i3 electric car. On return to Australia I did some research, to find the tyres were 155/70/19”R. Over subsequent months and years, whenever I located these tyres there was always only one available in the whole country.

Meanwhile, my Dunlop B5s were rapidly wearing thin, then we got the news that no more were to be made, and my experience with the several copies available has not been good. I don’t mind 16” wheels on my Café Racer but not on my 600,000+ mile TC which, apart from a few sojourns across Australia and back has always been on 19” wheels in the 62 years I have owned and driven it.

This led to a renewal of interest in the BMW tyres known to me as Bridgestone Ecopia 500 155/70/19R. My local Bridgestone outlet (on Canning Hwy Victoria Park) was most helpful in finding some 23 of these tyres in South Australia. Armed with this information I bit the bullet and ordered one to try. Off came the old Dunlop B5 and on went the 19” radial, an easy fit. It looked the business although the diameter was a bit smaller and it did look a bit modern, but overall, I liked it and ordered the other 3. A week later they arrived and all 4 went on to TC/9491. The tyre itself was soft and compliant and needed the minimum of balancing weights. Spinning them up on the front of the jacked-up car was the first revelation – they were round!  A tentative brisk run around the block and a brief run down the freeway had me convinced they were going to be good.

A Club run followed on the weekend involving a spirited 60 miles or so over undulating, twisty roads. Running with 30psi front and 32 rear, I could not believe the difference: It was like riding on air, the car felt like it was on rails (to coin a phrase), more stable than I’ve ever experienced, and pulled the car up beautifully when a panic stop presented itself. I’ve yet to try them in the wet, but I bet they are going to perform better than anything in my Dunlop past.  

Michael Sherrell.

Editor’s note: I Google’d the BMW i3 electric car and sure enough there it was, standing on its 19 inch wheels and skinny tyres. I tuned in to one of the video reviews where it was said that the car “has big 19 inch or 20 inch wheels and super thin tyres to give the car a lower contact road resistance”. The car was launched in 2013. I think the 19 inch wheels were on the early models and the 20 inch came later.

6 thoughts on “Nineteen inch Radials for the MG TC: Bridgestone Ecopia 500 series – 155/70/19R

  1. chrisjw says:

    Hi These seem to be available in the UK. I assume you are running theses with tubes? Are the tubes a problem, I recall running radials with tubes on my Land Rover years ago and I was continually bugged with punctures, I was told that the structure of the radial tyre caused friction between the tube and the tyre which in turn caused the puncture. Of course this may be total tosh, what’s your long term experience?

    • fflintstone99 says:

      Hi, I never had a prob with tubes on 15″ radials on my Saab 99. It was common to fix punctures back then by fitting a tube in the tubeless tyre. Rally cars used them too in order to slow down loss of air with punctures as standard fitment.

  2. Roger Bateman says:

    Presumably these are tubeless tyres but in this case tubes have been fitted?
    I would be interested to know of the experience of others who have tried these tyres in the UK.

  3. Chris Parkhurst says:

    Interesting article I seem to get through a set of tyres Blockley or Longstone in about 8k miles plus cracks often appear in the walls of the tyres.
    I think I will bite on these as I still drive like a 19 year old due to me being “” as sharp as a razor and faster than a bullet”” !!

  4. Peter Ware says:

    I too run a Land Rover with radials and inner tubes. My experience doing about 17,000 km / year is about 1 puncture per year per wheel due to tyre/tube friction, funnily enough it is only the front wheels that seem to be affected, presumably because of the additional stress due to steering.

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