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Tyre test: Knock-off v. premium

2013-07-17 11:11

A CRASH WATING TO HAPPEN: Knock-off tyres might be affordable but you’re putting your life at risk due to its inferior quality. Image: Newspress

If you’re in the market for new tyres you might have come across imported tyres that cost less than premium or even budget brands. Some have near identical tread patterns to premium tyres.

While good quality budget tyres are produced by premium manufacturers, these are less recognisable and are sold at a more affordable price.


Then there are budget tyres that are cheap to purchase but are sometimes knock-offs. It’s important to differentiate between good quality budget offerings and cheap tyres that while offered at a lower price are inferior quality.
So why should you buy premium or budget, when you can purchase these really cheap tyres?

Marketing executive of Tiger Wheel & Tyre, Joe du Plooy, said: “The difference between premium, budget and cheap tyres lies not in what you can see but in what you can’t. So while some of these cheap tyres may have the identical tread pattern to a premium or budget tyre, to reinforce the notion that the tyres are identical, they really aren’t.

“The differences essentially come down to the polymer of the rubber compounds that are used in the tyre and the complex design and construction elements that are not visible to the naked eye.
“Tyre manufacturers can easily copy a premium tyre’s tread pattern but without the benefit of the extensive research and development, testing and engineering that premium tyre brands invest in tyre construction, you can bet the cheap tyre’s performance is far from equivalent.

“The true test will always be a direct comparison between the two.”

Continental Tyres ran such a comparison using one of its premium tyres and a cheap tyre that had been artfully designed to appear identical.

Continental took the tyres to a test facility with a banked oval track in Hanover, Germany. It fitted each set of tyres, in turn, to the same vehicle and ran tests at 112.6 km/h to compare stopping distance, while a control system ensured a  1mm spread of water across the track surface at all times.
Each tyre was tested seven times for control purposes and stopping distance was measured by the vehicle’s GPS system. 

According to Continental: “The results were frankly alarming. On average, at the point where the Continental tyre had come to a complete stop, the vehicle with cheap tyres was still doing (49.9 km/h and took an extra 14m to stop.

"It’s a chilling fact that a pedestrian hit at that speed only has a 27% chance of survival.”
Du Plooy said: “While some low-cost brands are better than others, in general you can expect a vast difference in performance between premium, budget and cheap tyres.

“Premium tyres usually have shorter stopping distances and offer better lateral grip when cornering– all critical differences and sometimes life-saving factors that absolutely justify the extra expense.”

Read more on:    continental  |  tyres

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