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The radial tire, developed by Michelin, revolutionized the world of tires when it was invented in 1946, and put the company ahead of the competition.
One of the most significant differences between radial tires and bias tires is that the former has steel belts that are at a 90-degree angle to the tread line. This is a crucial design element in radial tires since it makes it possible for both the tread and the sidewall of these tires to function independently.
Instead of the belts overlapping, as is the case with the bias tires, in radial tires, the belts cross each other, as in, run perpendicular to the tire. Another factor that sets the radial tires apart is that their design also features another steel belt located under the tread. This design feature means better contact with the road and less sidewall flex as the tires move in a forward motion. In this way, radial tires are much better at maintaining road grip, regardless of the condition of the road.
The term “bias ply” refers to the tire’s construction. Basically, under the bias ply tire’s external tread are many layers of construction materials, which also includes “plies,” which serve as the structural foundation for this type of tire.
In bias tires, also known as bias-ply tires, there is a nylon belt that runs with the tread line at a 45-degree angle. However, that may also vary to 30 or 35-degree angles, depending on the brand or manufacturer of the bias-ply tire. What connects the tread and the sidewall of the bias ply tire are the several rubber plies that overlap each other rather than being in a crossed design as in radial tires.
According to many experts, one of the main design flaws of the bias-ply tires is that they only use nylon belts in their construction. Because of that, the tires are not as flexible, and the sidewall and tread are interdependent, which limits function. That being said, since bias-ply tires are far more flexible, they can be used off-road. This is actually where the sidewall flex proves to be quite beneficial.
Also, since the bias tires normally have a stiff internal design, this results in less contact with the road. Another issue that is worth mentioning about the bias-ply tires is that the stiff internal construction of these tires also increases the chances of overheating as well.
Benefits of Radial Tires
The following are some of the advantages of radial tires:
One of the areas where radial tires excelled when they were first introduced is that they drastically minimized the severity of the road bumps one felt while driving with bias-ply tires. Since the plies used in a radial tire do not extend down and across the entire length of the tire, the tire sidewall is more flexible, which increases the tire’s ability to absorb any impact. Radial tires can achieve this level of absorbance independently without any need to transfer the impact through the other areas of the tire.
Lower Tread Wear
Another major highlight of using radial tires as opposed to the bias ply variety is that radial tires have been designed to lengthen tire tread life thanks to their superior tread management. Since bias-ply tires are known to heat up when under stress, they are more likely to show signs of wear and tear a lot quicker than radial tires.
Lowered Rolling Resistance
Also, these tires make it easier for vehicles to be able give the driver better fuel economy. This is all thanks to the tire’s unique design, which encourages lower resistance while rolling.
Benefits of Bias Ply Tires
We’re not trying to be biased here, so the following are some of the major benefits of bias tires:
Tougher Side Walls
The design of the bias-ply tires, as in their crosshatch construction, gives them tougher sidewalls, resulting in better durability.
Smoother Ride on Rough Surface
The unique construction of the bias-ply tires makes them the ideal choice for off-road vehicles. Those who use bias-ply tires as opposed to radial tires also get to experience a smoother ride while traveling on rough terrain, which is another added advantage of the bias tires.
Of course, the cost of the tires you buy for your vehicle will always be one of the leading factors to consider in the decision-making process. Bias-ply tires are considered a more cost-effective option when compared to the more expensive radial tires. If you are looking for tires that need to endure tough off-road conditions, then bias-ply tires are certainly the way to go.
So, there you have it. Now that you know the difference and the advantages of both the radial and the bias-ply tires, you can make a more informed decision when it’s time to choose a set of tires for your vehicle.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding