A tyre is one of those universal objects that no matter where you are around the world or what language you speak – it’s something almost everyone can easily recognise and identify. Plus, from even the youngest age, most children know what a tyre is and what it’s used for — whether it’s on their family car, bicycle, their neighbour’s motorcycle, a bus or tractor.
Yet the fact is, while at a glance it seems like a “no brainer” that a tyre’s a tyre — there’s quite a bit more to it than just being that round bit of black rubber making the world (and a vehicle) go round!
If we take a closer look, a tyre can be described as a dynamic, flexible pressure vessel that surrounds the vehicle’s rim which flexes and deflects on every rotation, while also importantly it is the principal point of contact the vehicle has with the road surface — so it plays a very vital role!
Tyres are manufactured for a wide range of applications and industries, with their precise specifications, sizing and the materials used in their construction varying accordingly. However, regardless of its intended application or the type of vehicle it will be fitted to, all tyres have some fundamental operating requirements in order to perform their range of tasks. Let’s take a bit of a look at these requirements and why they are so important…
First up, as the tyres are the only point of contact a vehicle has with the road, they need to be able to adequately carry the load of the vehicle without malfunctioning. This means they must ensure a load carrying capacity that meets the requirements of their intended use. For example, there’s no point a 4×4 mud tyre tread looking aggressively magnificent and having all the traction in the world, if the tyre isn’t able to withstand (and function appropriately) with the weight of the vehicle and its load.
Another vital operating requirement of all tyres which is carefully factored into their design and construction by global manufacturers and their R&D teams, is that they must be able to successfully transmit driving and braking torque. As mentioned earlier, because tyres are the only component of the vehicle making contact with the road, they have the important task of transmitting the torque (or driving force) generated from the engine through to the road, to force the vehicle into motion — while also working very closely with the braking system.
Similarly, tyres need to provide steering response and cornering force. Much like the driving torque, the steering and cornering force from the vehicle is transmitted into motion through the tyres. Tyres therefore need to be specially designed to ensure they correctly transmit the steering force through to the road, so the vehicle moves swiftly in the right direction.
Tyres also need to have cushioning ability, which is a vital element of driver comfort. Modern tyres have come a long way in providing driver comfort, and are now built to absorb minor indents and irregularities in the road surface. Even heavy-duty tyres for industrial and agricultural machinery are designed to deliver optimal comfort for drivers in harsh, uneven terrains during a day’s work.
Low noise levels are another key operating requirement for today’s tyres, with consumers actively looking and expecting “quiet” tyres with little noise being generated or heard inside the vehicle.
When tyres rotate fast over long distances, noise is typically caused by grooves in the tyre tread patterns causing a ‘drumming noise’ which can cause discomfort for the driver and passengers of the vehicle. Tyres need to be specially designed to overcome this issue – especially for car tyres and tyres which travel at high speeds over long distances.
Tyres must also provide flotation characteristics relevant to their use or application. For example, a tyre on soft sand or one that’s fitted to a machine operating on a manicured golf course or lawn, needs to be able to move without sinking or upsetting the turf (respectively).
Given the sheer weight of the vehicle, it is possible for the ground contact points (i.e. the tyres), to sink into soft surfaces or to cause damage to others. Tyres need to be specially designed to accommodate these types of terrain, so the vehicle can remain in motion on soft surfaces (sand) and not get stuck – while on others (such as lawn) the vehicle doesn’t cause damage to the turf!
The capability to resist abrasion is yet another vital tyre operating characteristic! Being the primary contact patch the vehicle has with the road, the tyres must be able to offer resistance to objects and irregular surfaces which could damage them. Tyres need to be designed to withstand these abrasive influences, resisting damage from these environments and surfaces.
Having low rolling resistance is another necessity for well-performing, modern tyres! Rolling resistance is the force which creates friction (or resists) the rolling motion of an object. Constantly overcoming rolling resistance can be very detrimental and draw a lot of power from the vehicle (and in turn, drain the fuel). Tyres need to be specially designed to ensure only LOW rolling resistance, in order to maintain a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
Finally, as tyres need to be durable and safe – it’s important to note that not all tyres are created equal. As one of the world’s renowned global manufacturers, Maxxis is one brand you can be sure of when it comes to quality and the safety. Investing significant resources on an ongoing basis into the design, manufacture, research and testing of its tyres, Maxxis tyres perform to very high standards as well as offering the best possible safety and peace of mind for drivers.