I have to admit that I had some apprehensions regarding Windforce tires. This is one of the lesser known Chinese brands that are truly designed and manufactured in China, unlike other sub-brands that are designed in a different part of the world and are made in a rather discreet factory in Shandong or Zhejiang.
Speaking of Shandong, this Chinese province is home to around 300 different tire makers and is also home to the Windforce brand. Considering the fact that there are more than 500 tire makers in China, even the government is not sure about the exact number of tire companies that exist in the country. Fascinating, right?
However, I know that you have certain apprehensions on products with a Chinese-brand name or those that are made in China. Honestly, I can’t blame you. But when it comes to tires, will you entrust the safety, comfort, and security of your loved ones to a lesser known tire brand?
I am hoping to answer that question in this 2017 Windforce tires review. I am sure that there are plus factors that come with purchasing a Chinese tire, but there will also be some minor demerits along the way. I have reviewed other Chinese tire brands such as Winrun and Lion Sport and I find them to be cheap yet decent for the price.
Of course, as with all products in the consumer world, the price is usually an indication of quality, durability, and performance. There is a reason why Michelin and Bridgestone tires have a premium price and it has nothing to do with the name alone.
But there is no denying the fact that cheap tires have reached a wide market not only in Northern America but in other parts of the globe. Not all people can afford a brand new iPhone X, and the same can be said for premium brand tires. In this 2017 Windforce tires review, I want to find out if cheap means cheerful in this crazy world of Chinese branded tires.
Why Choose Windforce Tires?
There was a time when premium tire brands were the only choices you had when it’s time to buy a new set of rollers.
I remember the time when I was back in college and had to purchase a new set of low-profile tires for my Japanese sports coupe. The tire dealer offered me two choices: Bridgestone Potenza RE-01 or West Lake tires. The West Lake tires were more than half the price of the Bridgestones. I chose the West Lakes due to my exhausted student budget, but I had to take them back less than 30 minutes after driving my car because the steering wheel was pulling to the left.
As it turns out, the tires were too wide for my car (225/40/R17) so I settled for the Bridgestones instead, but not after calling my parents for some much-needed financial assistance. The West Lakes was clearly not at fault here, because the dealer insisted on putting wider tires on my ride since it will make it look more aggressive (I agree). I ended up using the Bridgestone tires for four years with no problems whatsoever, except for a few punctures that were easily patched up.
The story is proof of the fact that there is a solid market for cheaper tires such as Windforce. In fact, you can buy a set of four 19-inch Windforce high-performance tires for less than $400. How’s that for value?
Windforce offers a lot of tire choices for any car, truck, or SUV. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to test them all, but I was able to test some of their more popular offerings in this review.
Windforce Tires Review
Windforce All-Season Passenger Tires Review
Windforce Catchgre GP100
The Windforce Catchgre GP100 is an all-season tire designed for passenger cars and small crossovers. It is available in a wide array of sizes starting from 13-inches to 16-inches and is the entry-level tire in the Windforce staple.
This tire is equipped with four wide circumferential grooves and continuous tread blocks on the shoulders to offer better stability, precise handling, and responsive steering in all types of weather. The solid center ribs and lateral tread blocks are also designed to improve the stability of the tire at high speeds.
My test car is a 2005 Honda CR-V in a pleasantly mint condition. It is fitted with stock 16-inch wheels and Windforce Catchgre GP100 tires.
The finicky owner of the CR-V is a colleague of a friend and is a pleasant fellow who drives a lot of miles. He was swayed into buying Windforce GP100 tires due to the low price. But as I was driving the CR-V, I found out that there is more to this tire than just the price.
Traction and grip on dry roads were acceptable. No, it was actually good, and the same holds true in the wet. The tires were comfy and silent in the city but have a tendency to emit more noise as you approach silly speeds, which for me is an indication to slightly lift the gas pedal.
I asked the owner of the CR-V regarding the tread wear, and he found it to be acceptable given the price. He bought the tires about 3 months ago and there was evidence of mild tread wear but nothing too serious or too bad to merit concern.
In my opinion, the Windforce Catchgre GP100 is a good choice if you’re really low on cash.
Barring the silly name, the Windforce Catchpower is a performance tire designed for sedans, crossovers, and SUVs. It is available in sizes from 15-inches all the way to 24-inches and is an affordable choice for plus-sized applications.
The Windforce Catchpower is equipped with four wide circumferential tread grooves with lateral grooves to enhance performance on wet pavements. The shoulders have a continuous block pattern to assist high-speed cornering and lateral stability. The design of the rib segment is engineered to enhance and evenly distribute the road contact area of the tire to offer better handling and control.
I drove a 2014 Nissan Sentra fitted with 17-inch aftermarket wheels and Windforce Catchpower tires.
The ride was decently smooth and quiet but similar to the Windforce GP 100 tires, there was a bit more road noise upon reaching higher speeds on the highway. Traction and grip on dry road surfaces were acceptable, but I noticed that the tires are a bit slippery when used in the wet, particularly if you are traveling at higher than average speeds.
The owner of the Sentra bought the wheels and the tires as a set. He’s been using the tires for approximately 3,500 miles with minimal tread wear. Mind you, the tires were not as fresh as a daisy but was wearing on the faster side of the equation.
I am assuming that Windforce is marketing the Catchpower as a high-performance tire for sports cars and fast sedans, but I don’t exactly agree with this.
If you have a stock subcompact or subcompact and you do most of your driving on tight city streets, I can see nothing wrong with the Windforce Catchpower.
It’s a different story if you happen to be the proud owner of a BMW M3 or Cadillac CTS-V.
Nexen Ultra High-Performance Tires
The Windforce Performax is a highway terrain tire designed for light trucks and sport-utility vehicles. This tire is also good for small crossovers. It is available in sizes from 16-inches to 18-inches to fulfill the needs of modern crossovers and sporty SUVs.
This Windforce Performax is equipped with high-density sipes and special rubber compound designed to improve the handling of your vehicle on wet or dry roads. Featuring four wide circumferential tread grooves to offer better stability, this tire also has a variable pitch pattern on the treads to reduce road noise at speed.
I was handed the keys to a 2014 Chevrolet Equinox fitted with OEM 17-inch wheels and Windforce Performax tires. I was a bit surprised because the tires were really smooth and quiet on the highway, further enhancing the refinement of the Equinox. Provided that you drive within the speed limits, the tires remained quiet and composed. The ride was also good as the tires were able to cope with rough concrete expansion joints.
There was no time for me to test the tires in the wet, although traction and grip on dry roads were pretty decent as long as you don’t make abrupt maneuvers and steering inputs at speed. I was expecting the tread wear to be good since this is essentially a touring tire, but the owner of the Equinox noticed a lot of wear on the treads considering the tires were only 3,000-miles old.
But then again, I find the demerits acceptable for the price.
However, I wish these tires (and all Windforce tires) are backed by a warranty to give me added peace of mind.
Windforce Catchfors A/T
The main selling point of the Windforce Catchfors A/T is the price, but it also aims to excel in all-terrain traction and durability. This tire is ideal for light trucks and SUVs who do a lot of off-road trailing including ice and snow.
The Windforce Catchfors A/T is constructed using a joint-less nylon band in the carcass to enhance strength and durability. The tread block design with multiple sipes is designed to enhance traction in all kinds of terrain while the open shoulder grooves are designed to evacuate water from the tread for better handling and response in the wet.
My test vehicle is a 2013 Ford Explorer with the 3.5-liter V6 motor. The SUV is fitted with smaller than stock 18-inch aftermarket off-road wheels and chunky Windforce Catchfors A/T tires. Right off the bat, the tires were a bit noisier at highway speeds.
They were also a bit busy on city streets but dry traction is good. I took the Explorer for some light trailing and the tires were able to cope with loose gravel, soil, and a bit of mud.
I’m not totally sure about the durability of these tires in the off-road environment.
The owner of the Explorer hasn’t encountered any problems thus far, except for the accelerated tire wear. He is planning to upgrade to a set of highway terrain tires before moving back to the city, but he’s quite pleased with the off-road performance of the Windofrce Catchfors A/T.
Windforce Mud-Terrain Tires Review
Windforce Catchfors M/T
The Windforce Catchfors M/T is the extreme version of the Catchfors A/T. This is a true mud-terrain tire designed for extreme off-road applications. This tire is perfect for pickup trucks and SUVs equipped with lift kits, off-road wheels, and rugged suspension systems.
The Windforce Catchfors is equipped with three main zigzag grooves and an aggressive tread design to improve traction and grip on the most demanding off-road terrain. The open shoulder blocks have a high void ratio is designed to self-clean the tire while improving grip and control on wet and muddy conditions. This tire is constructed using a joint-less nylon band design to improve the overall durability and strength of the tire.
I was not able to secure a test vehicle equipped with Windforce Catchfors M/T tires. The tire dealer only knows one thing about these tires: the low price. A set of four 16-inch Windforce Catchfors M/T tires will only cost around $750.
I have mixed feelings regarding the Windforce brand. On one hand, the tires were comfortable and offered good traction on dry roads. On the other hand, they were a bit noisy at higher speeds and the tread wear can be classified as average. These were the common complaints in this 2017 Windforce tires review.
In my humble opinion, there are better tires for almost the same low price. I’ve said this before and I will say it again: if you do most of your driving in the city and you don’t expect too much from your tires, you can go ahead and take the plunge.