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From Crossgrip for maintenance utility vehicles to the latest version of BF Goodrich’s Mud-Terrain, new Michelin tires thrive in snow, mud and tough working conditions

Massimo Condolo

As white as snow but loves getting dirty. Bibendum, or the Michelin man as some enjoy calling it, has long accustomed us to extreme use in snow, mud and rocks thanks to multi-seasonal and specialized applications for quarries, construction sites and other heavy duty tasks. The two brands of the group, Michelin and BF Goodrich, have recently unveiled extreme tires designed for heavy and light off-road vehicles respectively.


Handy for road works

Crossgrip is a product clearly dedicated to road maintenance professionals (small road works, municipal services, snow clearance, airport and park maintenance), who often find themselves working at reduced speed in tough off-road conditions. The low annual mileage of these vehicles favours the use of a flexible multi-seasonal tire. The answer is a tire with 196 large tread-blocks, which guarantees more than enough high-grip edges, and an optimal full / empty ratio. The tread can thus penetrate snow or mud ensuring superior traction and grip. Marked M + S, as one would expect, thanks to its flexible and sturdy structure it can sustain inflation pressures ranging from 1.60 to 4.40 bar, with the lowest pressure suitable for protecting the turf. Depending on the size, inflation pressure and the speed one wants to reach (65 km/h the maximum), Crossgrip guarantee a tire load that can vary from 655 to 7.950 kg, which, for static use, can go as high as 10.640 kg, a superb feature for tool carriers, such as those carrying large cranes, and work with very heavy loads when stationary. Available sizes are 250/80 R16, 400/80 and 440/80 R24 and 440/80 R26.


For off-road racing and tough work

The MudTerrain T/A KM3 by BF Goodrich, the first version dates way back in 1980, is designed for off-road racers at home on rocky and muddy slopes as well as vehicles working very far from any road (for example power lines maintenance pick-ups). Compared to the KM2, soon to be replaced, the KM3 improves traction on mud by 15% and 8% on rocky terrain. The massive tread-blocks guarantee great traction with any angle of approach, while the high side protection does a great job of preventing cuts, puncture and other damages: resistance to damage has improved by 27% compared to the older KM2 thanks to a structure that stems from the T/A KR3 Desert Racing, at ease in the gruelling American Baja competitions. Thanks to the Flex Zone, an area that guarantees excellent adaptability to the ground without damaging the casing, the KM3 can be safely used even with low pressure. Despite these extreme characteristics, it proves comfortable and surprisingly silent on normal roads. Out of the 42 sizes available, 21 are completely new and cover 75% of the needs in Europe.



Born in 1898 at the Lyon International Exposition, when Edouard Michelin, looking at a pile of tires of various sizes, noticed a humanoid shape. Four years later, French designer O'Galop turned the idea into a puppet, which made its debut in the famous poster with a quote from the odes of Horace, "Nunc est bibendum", "Now is the time to drink", meaning that Michelin tires literally "drank", or overcame, any obstacle without serious damages. From there Bibendum became its name, and the nice and good-humoured Michelin Man began a long evolutionary journey: in 1901 his legs appeared (up to that point a bust is all there was), then he lost many of the distinguishing features of the aristocratic motorist of the early twentieth century, like the cigar and the monocle. In the 1920s the number of tires that make up its body was defined; over the years he underwent a weight loss treatment and in 2000, when the Financial Times chose it as the best logo of all times, it went 3D . In 2017 Bibendum returned to the amusing two-dimensional comics character, and it is in this form that we know it today.

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