For every season
Halfway through the year, summer tires are not the only ones to enjoy the spotlight. There is a lot of buzz around winter and multi-seasonal tires, equally divided into all segments of professional transport: from vans to large trucks and trailers to buses.
How strange! Spring is supposed to produce a great quantity of news on summer tires, yet for many it is also an opportunity to unveil multi-season or winter tires. This year’s novelties were equally divided between warm and cold weather products, commercial and industrial vehicles, completely new models and range expansions. Here is what the market is offering, sector by sector.
Brand new all-round tires
The Dunlop SP346+ (3PMSF marked) steering tire is a multi-role tire that offers high grip in wet conditions, high mileage and low rolling resistance, so much so that it also able to meets the requirements of electric vehicles. Designed for all-round working vehicles used in urban, regional and long-distance travelling, the SP346+ boasts a new tread with reinforcing links in the ribs (reducing loss of grip in frequent steering) that guarantee resistance, a uniform pressure at the footprint and low wear even on aggressive surfaces. The dense siping with a zig-zag profile improve traction even on difficult terrain and makes its debut in size 315/70 R22.5, while the 315/60 is expected by the end of the year. The SP346+ is the ideal complement for vehicles equipped with SP446 tractor tires and SP246 trailer tires. Giti tire, on the other hand, introduced its multi-position and multi-season 3PMSF Gam 831, available in sizes 315/80 and 13R 22.5. Completely renewed to improve durability (increased by 15%) and retreadability, while decreasing rolling resistance. The Hanover research centre of the Indonesian giant developed a tire that shows remarkable improvements in wet braking. The footprint has been optimized by revising the belt construction and the new compound guarantees significant mileage. Likewise, the Falken BI 856 is also a tire designed for regional transport; thanks to its 3D sipes the BI 856 offers robustness and high traction even in difficult weather conditions and comes in size 295/60 R22.5. The GI 378, winter steering and trailer tire, is dedicated to mixed on/off road operations typical of construction sites and short-haul transport; it is listed as 385/65, 425/65 and 445/65 R22.5. The GI 388 (size 13R 22.5) is a traction tire for all-wheel-drive quarry-site vehicles, the GI368 offered as 385/65 R22.5 is dedicated to steering axles and trailers. For city buses, Bridgestone launches the successor of the highly appreciated U-AP 001: called, quite predictably, U-AP 002 it improves wear resistance by 9% thanks to a new high-silica compound and reduces rolling resistance (and therefore fuel consumption) by offering a Class B label for energy efficiency. The increased load (200 kg) also makes it suitable for electric buses; 3PMSF marking on the sidewall and is on sale from April 2021.
Heavy duty tire ranges are often launched with the most common sizes, and then expanded as time goes on with less popular applications until the offer is complete. In the last few months three new sizes have been added to the Michelin X Multi Energy range, designed for medium and short distance transport, regroovable and retreadable: a multi-position and a 315/80 R22.5 traction tire. Throughout the range low rolling resistance reduce fuel consumption by up to 1.1 litre per 100 km and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2.84 kg. Michelin technologies by the handful such as Infinicoil, a continuous steel cable that wraps around the structure of the tire, Regenion tread, which reveals new tread designs as the tire wears, Powercoil high strength steel cables and the new high quality nylon Duracoil in the lower area of the tire. Fulda, on the other hand, focused on trailers with an extension of the Regiotonn 3 range dedicated to a great variety of uses, in particular with unpredictable weather patterns (or outright bad weather thanks to 3PMSF marking) and difficult uneven asphalt: long-distance, regional and urban transport. The range stands out for its excellent quality/price ratio. In addition to a casing with good retreadability and high mileage potential, the Regiotonn 3 features a design with five or six ribs, depending on the model, and deep sipes. The tread compound has been revised with new polymers designed to reduce rolling resistance and wear and guarantee high resistance to lateral damages. The three new sizes are 435/50 R19.5, 385/65 and /55 R22.5 and boast a B for fuel economy and wet grip. Not to be outdone, Falken extended its offer for buses with the RI128 and RI151 in the new 17.5 and 22.5" sizes, and Continental launched the third-generation of extreme winter tires, the Conti Scandinavia, which use a higher percentage of natural rubber for greater flexibility. The new sizes all relate to the 22.5" sizing of the tread. The HD3 traction tire is also available as 295/80, 315/80, 315/70, 385/65 and 385/55; the HS3 steer tire (which improves mileage by 10 percent and decreases fuel consumption by 5 compared to Generation 2) comes in sizes 295/80, 315/80 and 315/70; the HT3 trailer tire, instead, will be available from June 2021 as 385/55 and /55.
When the going gets…easy
Technologically closer to car tires than their industrial counterparts, tires for commercial vehicles prove a very dynamic segment and possibly easier to tackle. The Goodyear EfficientGrip Cargo 2 is the summer tire that replaces the first generation of the same model, focusing on improved wet grip (reducing braking distance by 8% thanks to a new high-grip resin used in the tread) and longer tread life, which increases by as much as 38%. Especially designed for vehicles used in last-mile deliveries, a fast-growing sector since the start of the pandemic. The offer consists of 23 sizes ranging from 14 to 17", which are also compatible with the requirements of electric vans. Many sizes are already on sale; the remainder will be on the market by fall. The first Giti tire with a European AA label, equips in the 215/55 R17 size the fifth generation of the VW Caddy. In the Indonesian company's range, the Synergy 2 replaces the Synergy E1 and Premium H1, which were Giti’s mainstay in Europe since the launch of the Giti brand. Designed in Hannover and tested in England and Spain, Synergy 2 takes advantage of the AdvanZtech technological platform. Compound and tread pattern have been totally renewed compared to the first generation with significant improvements in road grip and resistance to aquaplaning. Finally, Yokohama offers a multi-seasonal tire (still not so widespread in this segment), the BlueEarth Van Allseason RY61, which guarantees low rolling resistance and a consistent tread wear. Performance in winter is guaranteed by the design of the external sipes identical to those found on winter tires, while the large tread blocks in the central area guarantee more than adequate stability.