August 01, 2007

Horse 787 - New Boots

When you have worn a set of boots for a long time, the the insides start to conform to the shape of your feet. Wearing a pair of old boots is a familiar sort of warm experience; kinda like returning to an old friend. Driving a motor car is also largely about feel. From the way that different people cut the clutch plates to the overall ergonomics of the car itself, the way the gear knob comes to hand and the general layout across the instrument panel.

In the words of James Allen, I had a "new set of boots" fitted to my Ka. Whilst tyres are the most critical safety item you can fit (because they are the only point at which the car makes contact with the road) when tyres get old, they don't feel that much different to a brand new set at all. What changes isn't so much as how the car feels but the level of confidence one has in chucking it through corners and traffic.

In a very small car, this is even more marked. A big car doesn't easily communicate its attitude on the road, but as people will attest who have sat in my Ka, you quite literally feel everything.

Interestingly what I feel the most about new tyres, was having a walletendectomy. At $126 a corner, I felt that immediately because the surgeons knife cut deep... into the lettuce.

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