Modern Tire Dealer

FEB 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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21 w w w . M o d e r n T i r e D e a l e r . c o m 2. Performance tires generally encom- passed 60-, 65- and 70-series tires with S, T and H speed ratings (a few tires in this category were non-speed rated.) e Dunlop GT Qualifier and BFG Radial T/A were two examples. 3. High performance tires were generally defined as 60- and 65-series, H- and V-rated tires. Examples included the Armstrong Formula Road & Trac H, Continental CV51, Firestone Firehawk GT, Goodyear Eagle GT HR, Michelin MXV and Nitto NT-255. 4. Ultra-high performance tires were the smallest niche in the overall performance seg- ment. If a tire was at least V-rated (at the time designed for vehicles that could travel more than 130 mph) with a 55-series aspect ratio or lower, it fell into this segment. Examples of UHP tires included the Bridgestone RE71 Potenza, General XP 2000V, BFGoodrich Comp T/A, Goodyear Eagle VR, Pirelli 700 and Yokohama A008G. At least in the 1980s and 1990s, speed ratings became synonymous with high and ultra-high performance tires. As the performance capabilities of vehicles increased, tire technology improved and the maximum Z rating — for speeds over 149 mph — had to be more narrowly defined. Today, V-rated tires have a maximum speed of 149 mph, while W-rated tires have a maximum speed of 168 mph. ere are two Y-rated designations: Y, which indicates a tire has a maximum speed of 186 mph; and (Y), which represents speed in excess of 186 mph. NEW CATEGORIES Sometimes UHP tires are referred to as sum- mer tires, but the two are not interchangeable. Woody Rogers, product information specialist at e Tire Rack Inc., says any tire without an M&S rating is considered a dedicated summer tire. For example, a long-wearing touring tire without an M&S rating is a summer tire, but may not be a UHP tire. Rogers says Tire Rack breaks down "performance-oriented" summer tires into four categories: extreme performance, max performance, ultra-high performance and high performance. "We look at its intended purpose, but also other factors. How long does it last? How important is ride quality? How does it scale handling and ultimate traction in wet or dry?" Speed ratings help with the definition, but as Rogers says, a speed rating is not a performance rating. "It merely indicates how fast it can go in an endurance test, which is in a laboratory." Does an M&S designation keep a tire from being a high or ultra-high performance tire? No. Tire Rack also has categories for UHP all-season and high performance all-season tires. HIGH PERFORMANCE ATTRIBUTES Here's an example of how a high or ultra- high performance tire sale might have gone down in 1962. A couple of guys riding around in a Corvette stop at a tire dealership and tell the dealer they need new tires. When asked what kind, the driver says, "Nylon premiums, the best." e dealer replies, "at'll run you $45 apiece." Unconcerned, the driver agrees to the sales price. More than 50 years later, the definition of "performance tire" continues to evolve. "More than ever before, new cars today, even mainstream four-door sedans, come in trim levels requiring tires leaning more toward the high performance end of the performance attribute continuum and emphasizing handling capabilities that surpass 'high performance' vehicles from the past," says Toth. "Generally, high performance tires con- tinue to get better, standard passenger car tires continue to get better — with more performance-oriented attributes — and the capabilities of entry-level performance/tour- ing tires from yesterday have slowly evolved to become today's standard passenger car tires. "High performance tires are still those tires that are specifically designed to empha- size high performance attributes like steering precision, cornering power, dry traction and responsive handling, oen at the expense of things like long wear, cold weather traction, so ride and/or low noise." ■ Goodyear is marketing its new Eagle Exhilarate as a UHP all-season tire. It will be available in 36 W- or Y-rated sizes. Evolution of Speed Ratings and the Performance Tire Market "Today, even long-wearing, soft-riding passenger car tires have H- and V-speed ratings, meaning speed rating only indicates the tire's high speed capability, and does not directly relate to any other performance attribute," says Goodyear's Bob Toth. "However, it is still true that most high and ultra-high performance tires do have H- or higher speed ratings." SOURCE: MODERN TIRE DEALER AND BOB TOTH/GOODYEAR

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