There is nothing controversial south of the border when it comes to the often locally debated super single truck tire. Wide base equipment has been in fairly heavy rotation and in use there for quite ...
There is nothing controversial south of the border when it comes to the often locally debated super single truck tire. Wide base equipment has been in fairly heavy rotation and in use there for quite some time, with some manufacturers and retreaders alike firmly on the bandwagon. However, north of the border, the reception has been mercurial at best, with inter-provincial legislation hamstringing their proliferation. In short, Canadian provinces can’t seem to agree on what kind of weight limitations should be acceptable for the new wider tires, resulting in several different threshold numbers from coast to coast. Needless to say, this can and has made East/West transport on super-singles impossible, as fleets are subject to steep penalties for exceeding weight limits in different provinces. While several manufacturers have and are continuing to take a wait-and- see approach, others like Michelin are leading the charge with a sizeable amount of time and money being committed to changing the views of provincial parliamentarians across the country.
Ralph Beaveridge speaks passionately about his company’s commitment to wide-base tires in Canada, and also about the bureaucratic challenges they face. “Michelin is committed to the concept because we believe that wide base tires are more than an evolution in the industry, but rather a revolution,” he says. “But the biggest handicap we have to overcome is the legacy of the old single tires, which did three times the damage to roads. So, put yourself in the government’s position, where they are trying to protect their infrastructure,” he adds. When it comes to the super-single case, it certainly does appear as though Michelin and the other manufacturers face something of an uphill battle. “We’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars proving that our product is damage neutral on all kinds of road variations, but it feels like we have to prove our own innocence,” Beaveridge says. With that being said, in the recent past, there have been some encouraging signs on the wide base front, as Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have virtually signed on, and New Brunswick is rumoured to be close. However, given the gaps that still exist across our nation, super-singles will likely remain behind the proverbial eight-ball, something Beaveridge in particular hopes can be changed soon, given the potential fuel savings of converting 18-wheelers, into 10-wheelers. “We’ve proven that we’re on the right track,” he says. “We need to start pulling our heads out of the sand, because the socio-economic cost of not making the switch is huge, and we’ll all pay the price.”
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