Tires and wheels: icebreakers
Presented for comparison studded tires Blizzak Spike-02 confidently kept on the ice and showed parity in wet snow and slush
Bridgestone has a leading position in the current winter tire market, and according to the Japanese, due to local regulations, to better manage their non-studded models. To prove it once again, we were invited to the Austrian Alps to test the new Blizzac ice
It seems that in February the weather discouraged the organizers a little – instead of blizzards and cold Alps, it met with a truly generous sun, melting snow and icy paths. But perhaps this is for the best, we just need to imagine that the climate model of the near future. It’s no secret that global warming has been moving in recent times at about 2.5 times faster than in other parts of the world, and modern winter tires often have to contend not only with snow and ice, but with a "cocktail" of slush, ice and, often, chemicals. Many tire manufacturers have already caught the trend and made adjustments to the design of the tire and rubber compound, so the behavior of the novelty in such conditions is understandable interest.
"We’ve met before," I mean, I’m the new Ice Blizzak. After all, the details of its asymmetric tread pattern are clearly reminiscent of the friction flagship predecessor called Blizzac Raw Materials, Industry and Energy. And this is not surprising: two years earlier, the Japanese novelty on the market fell under a similar VRX2 index, but in a number of countries they received their sonorous “ice" name. However, should consider Blizzack ice ‘deep upgrade’ of the previous model? Perhaps not, because the overall concept of drawing has many significant differences and innovations.
Take proprietary rubber compound multi-section active compound II, a basic principle that has remained unchanged over the years: the porous structure of the rubber with a miniature slippery micro-cavity absorbs water generated by the friction of the tire on ice, and thus increases traction on winter surfaces. In the new mix number two, these micro-bubbles became more pronounced ordered structure, optimized at the same time the composition of the rubber compound increased the proportion of silicon dioxide (silica) and improved distribution of the components. All this, however, improved the absorbent properties of the sponge, making it dense and durable.
I remember the previous Blizzak model of raw materials, industry and energy is well combined with powerful premium cars, it firmly clung to deep and dense snow, did not lose its way on smooth ice, but … it somehow “do not care everything”, leaves a little more concentration to be desired and unrest. Perhaps the developers of Blizzak Ice heard this wish, and their work can be read in the tread pattern even on a stationary bus.
The fit of the blocks is visually tighter, there are more usametformin elements, an impressive number of grip edges have been preserved, formed by many broken sipes and grooves, while the parts made of steel blocks are heavier and wider. Now, in combination with a rigid rubber compound, with longitudinal and transverse loads, these blocks are less deformed and better retain the supporting surface. Moreover, the smaller the block of folds, like an eraser, the less it wears out: according to factory measurements, the wear resistance of the tire is increased by a noticeable 22%.
Who will win?
The sudden warming did not have time to melt winter treatments, and the test site is a colorful combination of snow, melted ice "mirrors", deep puddles and slush. On the launch pad fun and evil Hum nimble Audi S3, I want to put new "shoes" for the test. And the carousel will spin the necessary circles, “snakes”, acceleration and braking of the tire … Blizzak ice in Japanese diligently and methodically hammer wet snow, do not slip on ice and do not “slide” in puddles. But even in tandem with friendly electronic support, they require attention and a firm hand – with a good margin of safety and traction, these tires do not like obvious errors in speed and trajectory selection.
And just to remind you how I go "exemplary" studded tires, the organizers provided us with a full garage of premium cars, including an SUV, "dressed" in Blizzack’s "toothy" flagship Spike-02. We have repeatedly mentioned in our rubric, but here they are of interest as reference samples for comparison.
A mix of wet snow, slush and water, where the studs are of little use and the tread plays the main role, the company’s two top models turned out to be almost parity, but on the expected wet ice the studs took revenge. However, not devastating, given that in this discipline, non-studded tires have become significantly tougher, in particular, the braking distance on the ice of Blizzak ice is 10% shorter than its predecessor. On dry, warm pavement, the studded Spike Blizzak-02 feels quite confident even in the loops of winding mountain roads, especially if they are combined with a chassis and “smart” electronics, for example, the Porsche Macan crossover, Blizzak Ice, and the reaction is noticeably quieter. And not only because of the lack of clip-clatter of spikes, but due to the special distribution of air flow in the tread channels.
In general, the new Blizzac ice left a very positive impression, although it is difficult for me to single out something specific in its character, which, from the point of view of Japanese developers, is probably … good. An evenly balanced character should appeal to a variety of customer categories, especially since the wide range of sizes covers cars from the compact class to the executive.