I my opinion, the transition issue could certainly be one of the culprits. By reading your post stating that the tire has a "pretty good" chicken strips leads me to believe that the strips are quite wide. Could it be that possibly the previous owner was a burnout king (or queen!) that could only go straight and not corner and that situation has magnified the transition issue you raised?So we picked up a used M696 for my wife with 4,000 miles on it. The factory rear Bridgestone has a pretty good chicken strip and I suspect that the transition from flat spot onto the edge of the tire is the culprit. Am I on the right track?