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GT Radial Champiro UHP1 tyre review

Continues to make progress in closing on mainstream, but economy and grip in deep water still need work.

Continues to make progress in closing on mainstream, but economy and grip in deep water still need work.

Chinese tyres have come a long way from the worryingly poor examples that propped up the results tables in our tests a few years ago. Even though the GT Radial still finished last, the gap to the best has been massively reduced, while still managing a useful price advantage over the top brands. It demonstrated that improvement in our 17-inch tyre test last year, and it’s closed the gap further here.

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The Champiro UHP1 is at its most comfortable in the dry thanks to those big tread blocks, which give a sporty feel. Sharp turn-in and good grip through the long corners ensured it was the only tyre to lap in under 68 seconds. And those stiff blocks meant it finished third in the dry braking test, a little over half a metre behind the winning Dunlop.

Its troubles started in the wet tests and got worse the deeper the water. The GT trailed in our aquaplaning tests – only the Pirelli was worse in the curved test. It was happier in the shallower water of the cornering and braking tests: it took more than a metre longer to stop than the winning Dunlop on the braking strip, but was nearer the pace in the closely matched circle. On the wet handling track it lacked bite and seemed to be floating over the surface in places. You need plenty of lock, plus care when the front does bite as the rear slides quickly.

Unusually, this lack of wet grip didn’t translate into a top rolling resistance result, as it was a long way off the pace of the winning Goodyear, which would use around seven per cent less fuel.

Price£50.02 
Dry handling100%1st
Dry braking98.70%3rd
Wet handling98.60%=8th
Wet braking96.50%5th
Wet cornering99.00%=5th
Straight aqua91.00%10th
Curved aqua89.70%9th
Rolling resistance63.50%9th
Cabin noise99.10%=5th
Overall96.20%10th
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