Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate vs Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+

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Both the Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate and the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ fall within the Ultra High Performance All-Season class, tailored for sports cars, sporty coupes, and performance sedans. Both tires are well crafted to deliver outstanding wet, dry, and snow handling and braking performance. But which of these reigns supreme? Well, you’re about to find out.

Eagle Exhilarate on Corvette
Eagle Exhilarate looks pretty cool on Corvette.

Main Highlights

So overall, the Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate is better at:

  • Dry Braking: Due to its well-optimized contact patch and lateral biting elements.
  • Noise Dampening: With its effective pitch sequencing and tread design.
  • Fuel Efficiency and Wear Resistance: Due to its lighter construction and stiffer rubber composition.

Whereas the Potenza RE980AS+ tire excels in:

  • Overall Handling: Providing improved steering responsiveness and balance in handling.
  • Wet Performance: With its efficient siping and groove design for enhanced water evacuation.
  • Winter Performance: Excelling in snow and ice traction, incorporating features typical of dedicated winter tires.

Tread Features

Alright, let’s dive into this, starting with the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+. This tire rocks an asymmetric tread design which is actually pretty cool looking (in my personal opinion).

Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+
Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ features more sipes.

So, this tire is built with 5 block columns, or “ribs” as they’re known in tire lingo.

Each of these ribs sits on a secondary rubber layer, giving them a solid base.

Plus, they’re all linked up longitudinally, meaning you get awesome grip when it’s dry.

And as you may already noticed, the tire comes with a ton of wave-like sipes, providing superb wet and winter performance.

Next, let’s talk about the shoulders of the tire.

Here, blocks come with snow vices (sharp toothed edge on blocks), and a mix of thick and thin siping slits.

Basically this combo provide this tire with superb ice handling, predominately.

Moving towards the Goodyear’s tire…

Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate
Eagle Exhilarate looks cool with black rims.

The Eagle Exhilarate too has an asymmetric tread pattern with five distinct ribs.

Focusing on the outer shoulder ribs, they’re pretty similar to each other, despite the asymmetric design.

Here on each side, the lugs have linear slits and angled longitudinal sipes.

Moving to the middle, the central-most rib has these cool lateral notches that spread out on both sides, connected by sipes to form square-shaped patterns.

And the ribs next to this central one are also distinctive.

One mirrors the central rib’s design, while the other, though less siped, still shows a similar pattern, including small laterally aligned notches pointing towards the shoulders.

A quick piece of advice: Before you make any decisions, be sure to check out my main all-season tire page for guidance you can trust.

Info on Sizes

The Goodyear Eagle comes in 17 to 22 inches rims. And these sizes have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: W and Y.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″.
  • Weight: 20 to 34 lbs.
  • UTQG: 500 AA A.
  • Treadwear warranty: 45k miles.
  • Internal construction: Two-ply polyester cord casing, twin steel belts, and two polyamide cap plies.

Review Eagle Exhilarate in greater details:

On the other hand, the Bridgestone tire comes with 16 to 20 inches rims, having following specs.

  • Speed ratings: W on all.
  • Load ratings: SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10/32″ on all.
  • Weight range: 24 to 38 lbs.
  • Treadwear warranty: 50k miles.
  • UTQG rating: 500 AA A.
  • Internally, it offers 2-ply polyester casing, with twin steel belts and spirally wrapped nylon cap ply.

Review Potenza RE980AS+ in greater details:

Dry-Road Performance

To gauge the tire’s traction and steering response accurately, one must consider its dry performance. It’s beneficial to scrutinize both factors separately.

Linear Grip

In the tire industry, the term dry grip is used to describe a tire’s competence in maintaining a straight line grip, and its mostly measured with braking efficacy.

And during straight rolling, as tires have most of the weight concentration is the middle, it makes sense why central lugs are so significant here.

In light of this, the Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate comes out slightly better, due to its well optimized contact patch, and a lot more “laterally” arranged biting elements providing the tire with greater stopping abilities.

The Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ on the other hand, basically is well optimized for winter performance, with it’s greater tread voids, relatively narrower section width, though these elements also lessen the amount of rubber that comes into contact with the road.

Moreover, the tire’s greater weight (which again helps the tire on snow, as you’ll see in the winter section), increasing the momentum inertia, which makes it less easier to stop, lowering tire’s directional grip.

Overall Handling

The effectiveness of dry handling in tires largely hinges on the performance of the shoulders, specifically their ability to maintain a solid connection with the road.

I mean, for optimal handling, it’s essential that the tire shoulders not only establish a robust rubber-to-road bond but also minimize flexing.

In this context, the Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate again is standing out. It excels in providing a larger contact patch and a lighter weight, which reduces the susceptibility of its lugs to excessive flexing and bending.

This design results in enhanced steering responsiveness, striking a delicate balance between understeering and oversteering.

Why? Well, the reason behind this is that when the lugs bend, they need time to return to their original shape. This recovery time translates into a delay between the steering input and the actual movement of the wheels.

In contrast, the Potenza RE980AS+ faces challenges due to its heavier weight and a thermally adaptive rubber composition that is inherently softer.

Needless to say, its composition increases the likelihood of its lugs bending, potentially affecting steering precision and response times.

A side note here: It’s worth mentioning that both tires have earned a spot on my list of top ultra high performance all-season tires, which is quite interesting. See the list here:

Wet-Road Performance

In wet scenarios, maintaining grip and avoiding hydroplaning are essential, and both hinge on successful water clearance.

Let’s assess each aspect in detail.

Resistance to Hydroplaning

Water, being incompressible, must be efficiently channeled away from the tire to prevent hydroplaning, which occurs when water gets trapped between the tire tread and the road surface, causing the tire to lose traction and “float” on the water.

So in a way, floating here can easily be a synonym for hydroplaning.

Now, in this scenario, the design and effectiveness of the tire grooves play a crucial role, as they take out most of the water.

Having said that, it makes sense why the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ delivers better overall performance (as seen by its curved and straight float speeds).

It basically provides a better interconnected circumferential grooves, allowing tire to efficiently evacuate more water out, allowing for faster (float) speeds.

And since its grooves are more effective in water evacuation, they reduce the workload on the sipes, which are key to maintaining wet traction. (See below).

Wet Traction

Wet traction in tires is significantly influenced by sipes, which are small slits on the tire’s surface. Their role is to absorb any remaining water particles that the main grooves couldn’t evacuate.

Here’s how it works: the residual moisture that remains between the lugs and the road gets squeezed into these sipes under the weight of the tire pressing against the road. And then they spray that moisture out, when the tire is back in the air.

Now, here, Bridgestone’s tire, which offers a greater number of sipes, unsurprisingly leads in wet traction.

The Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate isn’t too shabby either, but it’s just a tad behind the Potenza. Why? Well because its doesn’t have those fancy interlocking sipes (Potenza offers), and a softer rubber mix.

This combo keeps the sipes flexy, so they can grab and toss water under the tire like pros.

That’s why the RE980AS+ nails it in wet braking, cornering grip, and steering feel.

Winter Traction

Winter driving, with its unique challenges, requires tires that excel in snow braking, handling, and acceleration.

In this context, the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+ emerges as a standout performer, especially in the ultra high-performance all-season category. This is based on my own testing and poking around.

The key to its effectiveness in snowy conditions lies in its ability to create snow-to-snow contact. This is a crucial aspect, because snow sticks to snow better than rubber sticks to snow, giving you more grip.

This ability to engage with the snow directly, while simultaneously expelling excess snow, significantly enhances traction.

Additionally, the Potenza RE980AS+ incorporates several features you’d normally see on dedicated winter tires.

These include, interlocking sipes that run deep, big grooves on the edges, and even these neat little things called snow vices.

Together, they amp up the grip in every direction, making this tire a solid buddy for winter driving.

For Your Info: For folks prioritizing winter driving, the Nokian WRG4 (review) is the ultimate ultra high performance all-season tire.

Ride Quality

“I believe that the smoothness of riding is greatly influenced by the tire’s steadiness, its proficiency in handling road irregularities, and its noise reduction qualities. We will section this topic into two segments.

Noise Dampening

In assessing acoustic performance, the overall tread design of the tread is a big deal.

This is because tire noise is primarily caused by air particles entering through shoulder voids and striking the tread walls.

And here the Eagle Exhilarate is standing out exceptionally. It’s not just better than the Bridgestone tire in this aspect, it’s actually one of the champs here in its ultra high-performance all-season (UHPAS) category.

Why’s that? Well, it’s all thanks to its clever pitch sequencing.

The tire has different lug shapes that make air hit at varied angles, creating a mix of sounds. These sounds sort of cancel each other out, resulting in a quieter ride.

The Potenza here, on the other hand, lacks mainly because of its winter-focused siping (those water-ejecting slits we talked about earlier) making a growlier noise, leading to a louder tire overall. This results in a higher decibel level, as indicated in averaged test results.

Vibrations Comfort

When it comes to how smooth a ride feels, it’s all about how the tire deals with bumps and lumps on the road. And this boils down to the tire’s design and the stuff it’s made of.

That’s why Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+, with its thermally adaptive rubber compound, which is designed to enhance winter traction, offers a more seamless ride in comparison.

The properties of its rubber basically allow for better absorption and adaptation to varying road conditions, contributing to a smoother, more comfortable driving experience.

Wear Resistance

In terms of wear resistance both tires here are pretty tough cookies, where they both last a good while, but if we’re splitting hairs, the Eagle Exhilarate nudges ahead in some sizes.

This is mainly because the tire is relatively lighter in weight, so each part of the tire (or tread) doesn’t press down as hard against the road, and so it doesn’t wear out as quickly.

So in the long run, this gives the Goodyear’s tire a bit of an advantage in mileage, even though both tires come with similar treadwear promises.

MPG Efficiency

Now, when it comes to fuel efficiency, it’s all about how hard the tire has to work to roll (rolling resistance). And here, stuff like grip, how heavy the tire is, and what the rubber is made of all play the main part.

In this aspect, the Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate outperforms slightly in terms of fuel efficiency. This is attributable to two main factors:

Lighter Construction: Since it’s lighter, it doesn’t have to work as hard to roll, which means less resistance and better fuel efficiency.

Stiffer Rubber Composition: A stiffer rubber composition prevents the lugs from bending excessively. This reduced flexing wastes less energy (mainly in the form of heat), thereby enhancing fuel economy.

Put these two factors together, and the Eagle Exhilarate strikes a sweet balance between giving you a good grip on the road and not guzzling too much gas, compared to the less fuel-firendly Bridgestone Potenza.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, both of these tires demonstrate distinct strengths and weaknesses in their performance.

The Eagle Exhilarate excels in linear grip, but lacks to Bridgestone’s tire in terms of handling.

Similarly, while the Goodyear provides you with a quieter ride, it lacks to its counterpart in mitigating road impacts.

But yes it offers better fuel economy and tread life for sure.

The Potenza RE980AS+ on the other hand, shines in wet and winter performance, providing you with superior grip, handling, and resistance to hydroplaning.

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