• Nov 5th 2008 at 7:01AM
  • 21
Click above to enlarge, though they don't get much bigger than that

How low can you go? That's the big question in the tire-making industry, where profile sizes keep getting lower and lower. Sooner or later they're going to be spraying layers of rubber on a wheel with a pocket of air injected underneath. But in the meantime, Kumho has upped the ante (or lowered it, as the case may be) with its new 15 series tires, the lowest profile rubber on the market.

Wait, who? Okay, Kumho may not be as well known as Goodyear or Pirelli, but they've got an established history of innovation in tire technology – to varying degrees of usefulness – like scented, colored smoke and X-rated rubber. And while those may sound more like the stock list for the local "intimate apparel" store, it's things like that which have put Kumho on the map. The tires are being initially offered as upgrades for supercars like the Ferrari F430, Dodge Viper and Corvette Z06, and offer partial run-flat capability. Check out the press release after the jump and the images in the gallery below for more.

[Source: Kumho]



Ever the innovator, Kumho is launching the world's first ultra low profile 15 Series tyre at the 2008 SEMA (Speciality Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas this week (November 4-7).

The 385/15ZR22 size ECSTA SPT KU31 has been developed as a conversion option for such exotic sports cars as the Ferrari F430, Dodge Viper, and Corvette Z06.

The company has used cutting-edge computer simulation technology to optimise the sidewall structure, thereby preventing the formation of standing waves or ripples in the contact patch – a problem that can occur with the build up of heat at high speeds.

The new tyre also benefits from a semi run flat capability, ensuring it remains firmly fixed to the rim even after a puncture or general loss of pressure.

"The world's first 15 Series tyre is a perfect example of what we have achieved through our ongoing commitment to research and development," said Sae-chul Oh, Kumho's President and CEO. "This is one of many innovations by our company which include aroma, coloured smoke and X-speed tyres. We will maintain our position at the cutting edge of tyre technology as we race towards our goal of becoming one of the world's top five tyre makers."

For more information on Kumho and its products, log onto www.kumhotyre.co.uk

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I put Kumho's on my Civic Si awhile back and they have been ridiculously solid for the money. I think I paid $65/each for them and they're the best tires I've ever driven on.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sidwall height (in this case 15) is the percentage of the overall width of the tire. Judging by how wide the tire is, I really don't see why this is so amazing. The sidewall is not smaller than 25% or 30% sidewall on smaller tires. For example:

      This tire looks to me like a 385
      385 x 15% = 57.75mm sidewall height
      230 x 25% = 57.50mm sidewall height
      195 x 30% = 58.50mm sidewall height

      So depending on the width, the sidewall height really hasn't changed. Thanks for reading.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The next shortest sidewall height I could find, though, was 225/30 at 67.5mm, so it's possible that this has the lowest aspect ratio AND sidewall height.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The aspect ratio is still a common way that people compare tires to each other. It's not as though everyone out there is saying that this tire has 2" of sidewall while this one has 3", instead we speak in aspect ratio terms.

        For that reason, this 15-series tire seems to be quite unique since there are no other 15-series tires available that I know of, of any width.

        That said, I doubt that the 385 is the only tire that will be available with a 15-series sidewall. I bet it will manage to work its way down to tire sizes that us mere mortals would happen to use. I don't see it beign a terribly practical tire, but it's there if people want it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love Kumho. Both times I've needed new tires for my Mustang I've tried other brands but they don't have the road feel and quick turn-in that the Kumho's have. I've driven two blocks down the road on the other brands I've tried and I return to the tire place and ask them to remove them and get me some Kumhos. Plus they ain't any more money than the others. Certainly cheaper than Goodyear and
      • 6 Years Ago
      a no-profile tyre/tire
        • 6 Years Ago
        R U stupid or what? No profile tyre??? Kumho has been supplying its UHP tires for Mercedes Benz or other German Luxury marques for years! And Kumho is a platinum sponsor of Manchester United football club, one of the world's top brands!

        See: http://www.autoebid.com/autoenews/newsAEBSingle.php?artID=607
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dear God you're an idiot. Tires with short sidewalls are called low profile tires. He called it a no-profile tire to emphasize that there's practically no sidewall on this, not to say that no one knows what Kumho is.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The minuscule amounts of air in that tyre obviously make it a "partial run-flat" no matter what.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Haha, love it. I can't wait for someone to try to stuff these into an E46 M3. Car porn at its finest.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Not Ideal for tire-swings.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Seriously, AB? Readers here know who Kumho is. They make some of the stickiest track tires out there with the Victoracer/Ecsta V700 series, along with plenty of good street tires.
      • 6 Years Ago
      R U stupid or what? No profile tyre??? Kumho has been supplying its UHP tires for Mercedes Benz or other German Luxury marques for years! And Kumho is a platinum sponsor of Manchester United football club, one of the world's top brands!

      See: http://www.autoebid.com/autoenews/newsAEBSingle.php?artID=607
        • 6 Years Ago
        Alright, three posts spamming your link and beating your chest about Kumho was plenty, thanks.

        I do agree that I was pretty surprised by the "wait, who?" comment. I'm pretty sure that anybody who can grasp how insane a 385/15 tire is has heard of Kumho.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Holy sh... that's huge.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Kumho delivers tires for ONE low level Mercedes model and they deliver NO tires for any other German brand...

      Audi use Bridgstone, Pirelli, Michelin and Conti
      BMW use Bridgstone, Michelin,
      Porsche use Michelin
      Mercedes perfromance models carry mainly Pirelli
        • 6 Years Ago
        lol as much as you like...

        Kumho isn´t even in the near of the top...

        BTW your list is pure rubbish

        1. Michelin (Michelin, Kleber, BF Goodrich, Stomil, Taurus)
        2. Bridgstone (Bridgstone/Firestone)
        3. Goodyear (Goodyear, Fulda, Dunlop, Falken, Pneumat, Debica, Sava)
        4. Pirelli (Pirelli, Metzler, Ceat)
        5. Continental (Continental, Semperit, Uniroyal, Barum, Euzkadi, Gislaved, General Tire, Sime, Viking, Mabor, Sportiva, TeamStar)
        6. Yokohama

        world wide Kumho plans to get to 8. place by end of 2009... globaly they are a small player
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