I was invited to test out the latest generation run flat tyre. Bridgestone have created an everyday usable run flat tyre that when punctured is capable of doing 50 miles distance up to 50 mph. But how good is this tyre?
What Are The Benefits Of Run Flat Tyres?
Typically tyres are pressurised which force the tread of the tyre to the road. But once punctured they are instantly ineffective. And you are unable to drive any distance on them. However, with run flat tyres once punctured the structure of the tyre maintains itself meaning that you are able to continue your journey up to 50 miles.
Some of you might be thinking well changing to the spare wheel is no problem whatsoever. However that is not always the case for those that are in a hurry, those that have children in the car and maybe even those with certain disabilities. The Bridgestone DriveGuard tyre gives you peace of mind against punctures.
Take a look at the below picture which compares a DriveGuard tyre to a typical pressurised tyre. The top cross segment of the tyre is the DriveGuard tyre and the lower one is a standard tyre. Notice that the DriveGuard tyre has significantly thicker walls that are stiffer given the timely ability to maintain its structure even after it has been depressurised. If you look at this picture you can tell the lowest tyre would easily bend once the air was removed from inside. It is an incredible comparison to see it this in across-section. Bridgestone state that the technology used in the sidewall is one of the most innovative around and does not compromise the ride quality of the car.
Does It Really Work?
To put the tyre to the test we had the chance to test out the tyre both fully inflated and then drive a car with one tyre deflated. We had several laps where we could throw as much abuse at the tyres as you chose. Straightaway I was impressed just by looking at the tyre under load. You can see the picture below, from a distance you probably wouldn’t notice that it was deflated.
But behind the wheel on the course the car was very drivable. The only noticeable tell tale was the tyre pressure monitoring system on the dashboard and the additional tyre noise from greater surface area of the tyre touching the road.
I got the opportunity to test multiple emergency stops of the car and amazingly it stops the same as you would expect on standard fully inflated tyres.
There is huge amounts of research and development that goes into creating a tyre that is as capable as this one. When you really think about it, the supportive sidewalls have to take the full weight of your car but not affect the ride comfort at the same time.
To qualify to be a run flat tyre it must be able to travel 50 miles at up to 50 mph and there are lots of complications that go into meeting this target. The main one being that when running a deflated tire for so long at 50mph you get additional friction against the road surface which is then converted into additional heat in the tyre. Bridgestone have combated this using their own patented high-tech cooling fin design system which you can see on the tyre below. This is designed to help dissipate the heat from the tyre and enables it to maintain a safe temperature.
Putting all the technology aside and focusing on the tyre as a whole it also performs really well with regards to grip. More specifically it achieves the highest rating in wet grip performance with short braking distances. So in England this is certainly an optimal choice for tyres when you consider our typical weather conditions.
The DriveGuard tyre is designed mostly for the consumer market and includes a vast majority of the car segments including cars such as the Audi A3, Citroen C4, and Ford Focus. But it does not include larger vehicles such as SUVs, minivans, large crossover/utility vehicles. It is also worth noting that your car must have a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System installed for these tyres to be used safely.
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