By Denna Bowman
Bridgestone has received an enormous boost to its commitment to manufacture and supply run flat tyres, despite repeated criticism that they deliver inferior comfort.
In their latest combined test, the German and Austrian automobile clubs ADAC and ÖAMTC1 compared various summer and winter Bridgestone Run-Flat Technology (RFT) tyres with the corresponding conventional tyre models from Bridgestone2.
The results highlight that the run flat tyres have achieved considerable gains in areas of comfort and fuel efficiency.
The tests were carried out on a BMW 1-series with tyre size 205/55 R16 H and V/W3, and a Golf VI with tyre size 225/45 R17 W4. Test criteria included braking and handling on dry and wet surfaces, mechanical comfort, fuel consumption and breakdown run ability; in the case of winter tyres, this also included braking and traction on snow and ice as well as handling on snow.
Experts considered that Bridgestone RFT tyres can now match conventional Bridgestone tyres completely in all areas.
According to the report: “The tested Bridgestone models show considerable improvements in comfort and rolling resistance, particularly in comparison to previous generations [in the ADAC Test 2002]. In these areas, there is not a lot of difference anymore with conventional tyre models without reinforced sidewalls.”
Far from having any significant disadvantages, in some cases, run flat tyres demonstrated signs of advantages in comparison to conventional tyres on wet surfaces.
Annually in Germany, there are more than 2000 accidents – some of them fatal – due to tyre-related issues. According to Bridgestone, with RFT tyre-equipped cars, that figure would drastically go down.
On top of that, RFT tyres also offer “peace of mind” over cars supplied with out a spare and only a puncture repair kit.
Bridgestone RFT tyres have emergency features which allow them to retain their function even in the event of a puncture so that it is possible to continue driving safely, at a prescribed speed, allowing the motorist to reach home or a safe destination.
In addition to safety, vehicle owners can then shop around for the best deals before ordering a replacement tyre.
José Enrique Gonzalez, Director Consumer Marketing, Bridgestone Europe, describes the importance of RFT tyres for the company as follows: “Tyres with Run-Flat Technology are very important for the company but even more so for the end-user.
“These ADAC and ÖAMTC tests clearly show that enormous progress has been made versus the original RFT tyres from the late nineties: not only in terms of comfort but almost in all performance areas.
Consequently, our latest tyre with Run-Flat Technology performs as well as a conventional tyre.
“This was also translated in an increase in sales, both in the original equipment and replacement markets.
“In original equipment BMW and Mercedes are the main car manufacturers who apply RFT tyres with our latest technology.
“Regarding the replacement market, this tyre concept has become increasingly popular which translates in a sales increase of 39% over the last 3 years (2009 to 2012). We believe that for the next 5 years, the market for tyres with Run-Flat Technology will continue to grow by 23%.”
etyres supply and fit a wide range of run flat tyres and customers can have them fitted at their home or work.