By Denna Bowman
Falken tyres has announced the development of a new compound that provides improved wet weather grip and better fuel efficiency for vehicles.
The Japanese tyres manufacturer claims that the new ZIEX ZE914 reduces excess heat generation and therefore, rolling resistance which results in a 3.8 per cent fuel saving compared with a non-optimised tyre.
The strain characteristics of silica have the additional effect of increasing the contact area and grip for the same tyre diameter. Enlarging the contact area also provides car drivers with an additional benefit. By reducing the contact pressure, the tyre’s operating life is also extended, a handy advantage for the vehicle’s running costs.
Falken’s engineers also looked closely at using the tread pattern to get better wet weather performance. The answer was a total of four wide tread grooves in the tyre cap design to allow for efficient water deflection and achieve superb hydroplaning resistance.
Additionally, the staggered sipes integrated into the first tread block at the shoulder break up the water film more effectively than conventional tread patterns.
Like its predecessor ZIEX ZE912, the new ZIEX ZE914 comes with tread wear indicators to precisely monitor tyre wear.
The Falken “Special Eyes” indicators change shape with increasing wear letting drivers know when it is time to rotate the tyres to maximise tyre life further. The “Special Eyes” change shape twice: from round to square and ultimately to a smooth surface.
The ZIEX ZE914 will be available in ten sizes with speed ratings of V, W and H at launch, offering a replacement for cars such as the VW Golf or Ford Mondeo. By 2013, Falken will expand the range to include 70 versions.
The ZIEX ZE914 is the third tyre launched in Europe by Falken in as many months and aims to compliment the significant growth the firm achieved in Europe in 2011.