Falken Azenis FK520 vs FK510

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The siblings, Falken Azenis FK520 and Falken FK510 may seem similar, but in reality, they offer distinct pros and cons. So its best I discuss their unique attributes and functionalities in this detailed comparison, which would give you a comprehensive understanding of both.

Falken Tires
Falken Azenis FK520 looks awesome in low profile sizes.

When deciding between the Falken Azenis FK520 and FK510, consider your priorities. The FK520 stands out for its possibly superior wet handling, excellent dry handling, and better resistance to aquaplaning, alongside notable noise reduction and improved fuel economy and tread life. In contrast, the FK510 excels in both wet and dry braking, presenting a more budget-friendly choice. Your choice would depend on whether you prioritize comprehensive performance with the FK520 or focused braking abilities and cost-effectiveness with the FK510.

Tread Design

Falken Azenis FK520 is a really nicely updated asymmetric tread design.

Falken Azenis 520
Falken Azenis 520 offers a more straight forward tread design in comparison.

The tire offers a 5 rib desing, where the middle 3 ribs provide you with 4 longitudinal channels.

(Note how the left rib makes narrower circumferential groove with the shoulders).

All these 3 ribs are very similar in terms of features though.

I mean they are all continuous running, which allows the tire to have a great stopping efficacy on dry roads.

And with lateral and slanted cuts/sipes, you also get wet traction with that.

These cuts are more prominent on the shoulder blocks, which give the tire very aggressive looks.

Moving towards the odler tire, the Azenis FK510 of course also features an asymmetric tread.

Falken Azenis FK510
Falken Azenis FK510 has more siping angles.

Here although you also get a 5 rib design, with 3 ribs in the middle forming similar circumferential grooves, they have different tread features.

Let’s start things form the left most.

So the shoulder blocks here have separating thick slits, with a combination of siping that extend towards the following rib as well.

And the central most rib has prominent interlocking sipes (these are helpful as they bite in all directions, predominately on wet roads).

The rib next to it (towards right, before shoulders), have slanted lateral siping, which allow for additional variety in angles.

And the shoulder blocks come equipped with similar (to the other shoulder rib) features as well.

Vibrations Dampening

The quality of a ride, to a large extent, is defined by a tire’s adeptness at mitigating road irregularities and its ability to keep handling stable. This capability is dependent on two things.

One, the tire’s internal and outer construction. And two, it’s steering response times.

Now here, you get different results for both tires.

I mean where the Azenis FK520 shows up with a superior under and over steering balance, and with that ride stability, it’s not able to dampen down the road imperfections that well, which is mostly due to its relatively stiffer rubber compound.

On the other hand, the Falken FK510 gets to be more flexible, mainly due to the separating cuts/siping on all the ribs. These basically allow the lugs to have slightly more freedom, so the ride does not feel that jittery.

Performance on Wet Surfaces

On wet roads, the most important thing a tire can do is keeping its tread dry. And it does that by sipes and grooves.

Grooves work at a bigger scale, clearing water off by channeling it through (to avoid hydroplaning), while sipes soak up the remaining water particles coming right under the tread.

To elaborate further, basically sipes throw away the air (in them), creating a suction, which absorbs water particles, so that the tread’s rubber can grip on a relatively dried up surface (to avoid slippage).

Now considering all these factors we have some mixed results, but let me cut down to the chase.

The Falken FK510 stands out particularly for its resistance to hydroplaning and longitudinal traction (where its more abundant siping in the middle account for slightly better wet braking, and its wider channels resist hydroplaning better).

On the other hand, the Azenis FK520 offers better wet handling, with its more optimized shoulder blocks.

Tread Life

When dissecting the lifespan of a tire’s tread, it’s crucial to take into account factors such as rolling resistance, the depth of the tread, and the material composition of the tire.

Now to put things simply, a deeper tread depth can be associated with a longer wear time, as it offers more material to undergo wear and tear.

Conversely, a tire composed of stiffer material stands tougher against a more rapid degradation of the tread, prolonging its life significantly.

In this scenario, the Falken Azenis FK520 surpasses its predecessor, which although has the same average tread depth, comes with greater durability.

In other words, the tire’s rubber isn’t that prone to burning down faster.

Moreover, unlike the FK510, which has the problem of uneven wear, the FK520 distributes its weight across the tread much more uniformly, fixing that problem.

Check out: How to improve tread life of your tires?

Tread Noise

A significant portion of the noise generated can be attributed to the interaction of air particles with the tire’s surface.

Basically air comes in mostly through shoulder voids and hit the tread walls, where the impact of which creates noise. And yes that noise is further amplified with in-groove resonance (or echoing of the sound waves).

In this context, the Falken Azenis FK520 clearly takes the lead with its thoughtfully designed shoulders.

If you consider the tread design you’d note that these shoulders don’t make proper blocks, or in other words, they sit on a continuous running rib.

So with that, air particles don’t really have a way in (though that does not mean they can’t enter in at all).

But the little air that does come in, is handled by the tire’s advanced pitch sequencing technology.

Essentially, this innovation (technology) basically offers a scenario where the air particles striking the wall of the tread do so in a manner that they generate varying tones at disparate sections of the lugs.

And so with varying frequencies, sound waves aren’t amplified, and the in-groove resonance is minimized.

Fuel Consumption

Fuel efficiency and rolling resistance maintain a direct and proportional relationship, where in essence, a higher rolling resistance, mainly induced by increased weight and a softer tread composition, tends to escalate fuel consumption levels.

Now with the newer tire model, you not only get a more streamlined tread, with a stiffer rubber compound, but also a lighter overall structure.

So it’s lugs aren’t forced that much to bend against the road, as less weight pressure is applied on them, and as they resist flexing with stiffer composition.

But how that helps?

Well, with lug bending/flexing, the energy is wasted in to the reshaping of the tread and that energy could be utilized instead in to the rolling of the tire.

Dry Traction

We need to closely examine aspects like traction, steering, and cornering abilities to fully comprehend these tires’ dry performance.

So let’s dissect these pivotal aspects one by one.

Dry Handling

The proficiency in handling and lateral traction during cornering is primarily dictated by the structural integrity and composition of shoulders (for the most part).

This is because during turns, this region comes under the maximum weight pressure, thereby playing a pivotal role in determining the stability and control of the vehicle.

That’s why it makes sense why out of both tires, the Falken Azenis FK520 emerges as a superior choice in this domain.

Like already explained the tire comes with a stiffer rubber composition and a lighter weight, and due to which its lugs face smaller amount of overall bending.

In other words, you get to face less under and over steering with these tires, which results in a more direct steering response and with it faster handling (lap) times.

Moreover with continuous running ribs, you also get greater rubber to road contact too, which further improves the lateral traction.

Directional Grip

Just as the lateral grip of a tire depends on its shoulder blocks, the directional grip depends, predominately, on the central region of the tread.

This is because its the grip of a tire while rolling straight (like on highways), where central ribs get to have the most weight pressure on themselves.

Now, this is the area, where you are going to see maximum/notable performance difference between the two tires.

I mean two tests were conducted here, i.e. braking efficacy, and acceleration and in both the Falken Azenis Fk520 took the lead by a lot of margin.

It stopped almost 2 feet quicker in comparison, and accelerated to 60 mph (from 0) significantly faster (under same conditions).

And it makes sense looking at its more streamlined tread design having a lighter weight, which also makes greater rubber to road contact (due to minimal tread features).

To Summarize

So drawing from a detailed analysis, it appears that the Falken Azenis FK520 edges out its predecessor, the FK510 in several critical domains.

The FK520 showcases better noise reduction, where its innovative shoulder design and advanced pitch sequencing technology significantly dampen down the noise levels.

Moreover, its updated asymmetric tread design not only promises an aggressive look but also delivers excellent stopping power on dry roads and enhanced wet traction due to more pronounced lateral and slanted sipes.

Though it still lacks to its predecessor when it comes to hydroplaning and offering better wet braking.

And yes, as for the comfort, the FK520 might have a slight disadvantage with its stiffer compound, which doesn’t absorb road imperfections as smoothly as the FK510. Yet, it does offer more stability with its direct steering.

And lastly, with a lighter construction, the newer model gets to offer a more promising fuel economy and longer tread life.

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