Bridgestone introduces two new tires

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Bridgestone Firestone will launch two new tires – and place a renewed emphasis on an existing one – according to talks with dealers at Bizcon 11, held recently in San Francisco.

The company said it will be promoting its M860, replacement to the R296, for refuse (and some dump) applications. The new tire has a wider tread which will contribute to a slower wear rate, said Guy Walenga, director of engineering, commercial products and technology. The new tire offers an extra 1/32″ of tread depth over its predecessor, bringing the tread depth to 24/32″.

Most importantly, the M860 is rated to 65 mph at 10,000 lbs – provided you have 9-inch wheels, Walenga pointed out. The new tire has sidewall protectors and an improved casing and bead, he added. The new casing width is 270 mm.

Matt Hare, district fleet manager for Bridgestone Firestone in Tennessee, says the company is regaining market share in the refuse market in his region, and other parts of the US as well. He said the M860 will help continue that trend while also appealing to dump applications, especially those that run a lot of highway miles.

Also introduced to dealers at Bizcon was the R250ED (extra-duty) tire with extra chip and scrub resistance. This tire is targeted towards applications such as logging, timber, gravel and other jobs with high-scrub susceptibility. It’s available in 11R22.5 and 11R24.5 sizes.

The new offering has already proven to be popular in oilfield applications as well, said one Oklahoma-based dealer.

Bridgestone Firestone also demonstrated a renewed interest in the wide-base tire concept at Bizcon. Noting that 150,000 ‘fat’ tires were sold in the US last year, Bridgestone Firestone officials urged dealers to market their Greatec tire more aggressively. Wide-base tires have seen limited success in Canada due to load restrictions in many regions. However, the wide-base tire concept is catching on in the US, and Bridgestone is convinced it has a product that can challenge any other super-single in the market.

“We have not pushed this tire the way we should have,” admitted Hare.

However, company officials were quick to point out that super singles are still a niche product with a limited market. They strongly refuted claims the tires should be embraced as a fuel economy solution, instead suggesting they are only viable in applications that gross out before they cube out.

“Is it the be-all and end-all for fuel efficiency? No, absolutely not,” stressed Hare. However, he said fleets that can take the weight savings offered by super singles and convert that into increased payload will benefit from the transition. Beverage haulers, bulk fuel haulers, and some flatdeck haulers would be most likely to benefit from switching to wide-base tires, Hare pointed out.

A tractor-trailer can save 1,200 lbs by switching from steel wheels and dualies to wide-base tires on aluminum rims, Walenga said. If a company that grosses out before cubing out can turn that into extra payload, it stands to benefit from wide-base tires, he added. For instance, a fuel hauler could potentially carry 200 extra gallons of gasoline per load, making wide-base tires a no-brainer. But Bridgestone Firestone officials warned any fuel economy claims with wide-base tires may have been grossly exaggerated. The company’s value proposition is based primarily on payload.

Walenga emphasized customers will only realize savings by switching to wide-base tires if they can capitalize on the increased payload that can be achieved – and also retread the casings. The cost-per-mile of super-singles is prohibitive if they are not retreaded, he stressed.

“The niche market for this technology is among fleets that can gain significant benefits by converting weight savings into revenue-producing payload,” concluded Hare.

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