Radical radials

Test driving motorcycle tire

Radical radials

Innovative technologies are helping create a new high-performance motorcycle tire that has unrivaled characteristics.

Trelleborg’s tire operation in Kranj, Slovenia, develops advanced technologies for the manufacture of highspeed radial tires for high-performance motorcycles. The tires are sold under the Mitas brand.

“As far as tire driving characteristics and quality are concerned, our tires achieve one of the highest performances on the market,” says Boštjan Gubanc, Head of R&D at the Kranj facility. “Our basic goal is to be the best.”

Radial sport tire Sport Force+ has been part of the Mitas range for some time. Since April 2016 a new radial maxi enduro tire, Terra Force-R, has also been available. Now concentrated preparations are under way to penetrate the radial sport touring tire segment with a new concept in radial tires.

The new sport touring tire is designed to be installed on heavier sport motorcycles, which can carry two people and luggage over longer distances. “Because of higher mileage, such tires must exhibit unrivaled characteristics,” says Gubanc. “With the technology we are developing now, we will be able to meet customer requirements. The outstanding performance incorporated in the existing tire will be maintained, but enhanced to achieve longer mileage.

“It is essential that the tire’s performance is in sync with the motorcycle, or else handling could deteriorate,” Gubanc continues. Trelleborg’s technology provides a platform for the development of high-performance tires with a long service life. “Synergies arise when our innovations are integrated into a product along with our advanced technology,” he explains. “This is why the technology itself, not only the final product, is of major significance.”

The Mitas radial motorcycle tire uses a new combination of materials that ensures the best possible tire handling during cornering and cambering as well as gripping
under various weather conditions. In addition, the tire has been field-tested at speeds of more than 300 kilometers per hour.

Tire development makes use of both virtual and conventional processes. Gubanc explains: “A virtual tire is developed in a computer-aided environment. It has the actual structure and shape of the tire, with the actual properties of the materials that are used in the tires. Material properties are measured in a laboratory.

We simulate reality. Before developing and producing any physical curing tools to manufacture tires, a virtual tire in a computer-aided environment has already been developed by testing different variants of virtual prototypes under different service conditions. The best one is then chosen. At this stage, opportunities for improvements are determined for implementation in conventional tire development. This way, the final product is incomparably better than it would have been without using virtual development.

“We collaborate with our associates within Trelleborg, among them, Dr. Boris Kuselj, Head of Virtual Development at Radial Moto Tyre,” Gubanc continues. “I deeply respect working with him.”

Field-testing tires is a crucial factor in the conventional development of both high-performance motorcycle tires and scooter tires. Much of this development is performed on roads, training ranges and race circuits, where prototype tires are tested at the highest speeds.

Homologated tires are tested on roads, whereas nonhomologated tires are tested on training ranges and different race circuits. “Field tests can be very complex,” says Gubanc. “Factory test riders as well as amateur riders test different combinations of new tires. Amateur riders mainly test basic tire properties along with service life. Test riders are not made familiar with the test tires, as the tires are code-marked. During test rides, riders have to determine which tires perform best under certain riding conditions. The desired properties are defined beforehand, and we cooperate with acknowledged experts in the field. I am glad to say that our drivers have never let us down.”

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This is an article has been reproduced from Trelleborg's T-Time magazine. To download the latest edition, go to: www.trelleborg.com/t-time 

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