Mid-market all-season street tires must meet many conflicting objectives: Excellent wet and dry traction is key, but durability, a quiet and comfortable ride, low rolling resistance, crisp steering response and even an aggressively sporty look are all in the mix too.
The Advantage T/A Sport simplifies BF Goodrich’s tire lineup, replacing the Advantage T/A and g-Force Super Sport tires with a single high-performance passenger vehicle tire.BF Goodrich recently introduced a new tire to provide what it calls “everyday performance” across a wide range of vehicles – from sporty coupes to family sedans, minivans to CUVs. The Advantage T/A Sport simplifies BF Goodrich’s tire lineup, replacing the Advantage T/A and g-Force Super Sport tires with a single high-performance passenger vehicle tire. To help spread the word about the new tire, BF Goodrich invited tire retailers and journalists to test it on the track against a top competitor.
In a twist on the usual formula, which sees the tire manufacturer select the challenger, for this test BF Goodrich asked the participating tire retailers which tire they wanted to compare against, and the retailers selected the popular Yokohama AVID Ascend, a tire that uses orange oil compounds to better bind the its rubber compounds together, allowing improved tread life and lower rolling resistance. (For an ultra high-performance tire test we carried out earlier in the day, the retailers chose to pit BF Goodrich’s g-Force COMP-2 A/S against the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06.)
Before letting the assembled tire experts and auto journalists loose on the track, professional race car driver Andrew Comrie-Picard outlined the key features of the new tire. The T/A name goes back a long way, and BF Goodrich goes back even further: it pioneered the production of pneumatic tires in North America, and provided the tires for the first-ever coast-to-coast drive across the US back in 1903. It became the first US tire manufacturer to make radial passenger tires back in 1965, and won Watkins Glen in 1970 running Radial T/A street tires on a race-prepared Pontiac “Tirebird”.
In the new Advantage T/A Sport, BF Goodrich has brought to bear innovations developed both on the street and the race course. These include the company’s advanced tread formulations, Next Generation ETEC (Equal TEnsion Containment) system that keeps the tire footprint stable and optimized around corners and at high speed, g-Wedge sidewall stabilizer that resists lateral sidewall flex during aggressive cornering while maintaining a comfortable straight-line ride, and locking 3-D Active Sipe Technology. This last innovation features a wavy sipe cross-section that’s trickier to mould than a straight sipe, but which locks together to prevent tread distortion when cornering. (Fun fact: sipes are originally a shoe technology, familiar to boaters in the soles of their deck shoes. But sipes weren’t invented for anything as enjoyable as yachting. Instead, they were first created by a slaughterhouse worker named John Sipe, who cut slits into the soles of his shoes so he wouldn’t slip when there was blood on the floor.)
The “Eco” Comparison: Continental TrueContact vs Bridgestone Ecopia Tires
Following Comrie-Picard’s tire technology talk we headed out for some laps around the advanced driving facility at B.C.’s Pitt Meadows Regional Airport. The test was set up to include wet pavement braking and dry pavement cornering, with tanker trucks providing the “rain” on a beautiful sunny day. And this wasn’t a gentle parade around the pylons – we were encouraged to push the cars up to and past the limits of adhesion so that we could feel how the tires behaved at the edge. “Every driver is a performance driver once in a while,” explained Comrie-Picard, “even if it’s just that one time that a car suddenly pulls out in front of you, or a child darts into the road chasing a ball. It’s on those occasions that you really need your tires to perform.”