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A Radial tyre is a type of vehicle tyre design in which the cord plies are settled at 90 degrees to the travel direction. In other words, the cord plies are arranged radially from the center. The plies of cord provide the needed strength to the tyre and are made up of steel, polyester and some types of textile materials with many layers of rubber.
Radial tyres were first made and patented by a tyre manufacturer, Arthur W. Savage in 1915 in San Diego, USA. However, the patent expired in 1949. Thereafter, Michelin developed, patented and sold it during the 1940s and 50s. The company developed this brand of tyre in 1946 and using it in Citroen 2CV models, gave it the needed boost. Soon, in 1942, Michelin made the first radial truck tyres too.
Most of the radial tyres used today are one-directional in nature. To find it out, you can locate the asymmetrical or V-shaped tread that is there to resist hydroplaning. Unidirectional tyres are designed to roll in one direction only and so, they must be there on the same side of a vehicle. Radial tyres must be rotated from side to side to balance out the wear and tear on its treads. While rotating, you can simply swap the front and back side tyres.
All season radial tyres are built to handle different types of road conditions like dry roads, wet roads or even light snowy conditions. They offer multiple biting edges for achieving superb traction in dry, wet and snowy weather. There is wide tread groove for improved wet traction against slush and water. The improved tread pattern also helps in getting reduced road noise for a quieter drive.
Drag radial tyres are mostly used for drag racing applications and they usually come with a robust sidewall for a comfortable ride and helpful cornering. They have comparatively less rolling resistance than regular bias-ply tyres. They require less burnout and this is also the reason why a set of this type can last between 4,800 to 8,000 kilometers. However, drag radials are not the best for riding in wet weather conditions.
Radial tyres have separate plies for treads and sidewalls that effectively means that more area of the tread is in direct contact with the road at all times. Some other advantages of radial tyres are as follows.
Better Protection - These are made with plies laid radially that helps in protecting the interior and provide a better grip on the road.
Better Mileage - Improved fuel consumption due to less rolling resistance.
Highly Rigid - Steel belts provide added rigidity to the tread. Hence, sidewall stress of a radial tyre has very less bearing on the tread condition.
Optimal Power Transfer - Better transfer of power from machine to the ground because sidewall tread is not transmitted.
Long lasting - Better resistance from tread-related damage helps to get extended life for the tyre.
Riding Comfort - The spiral layer helps in better maneuverability and extended durability leading to superior riding comfort.
Less Noise - Less noise and vibration in radial tyres due to better traction on road.
Damage Protection - Less damage and ground compaction can be achieved.
Protection Against Shocks - Availability of thick shoulder for protection from shocks and damages.
Minimal Heat Generation - Less heat generation and softer ride due to stable road contact.
Radial tyres also have a few downsides, some of which are discussed here for understanding.
Poor transport handling - There is very low lateral stiffness and as the speed of a vehicle increases, the tyre sway tends to increase considerably.
Increased vulnerability - Radial tyres sidewalls have a bulging tendency that may lead to puncture or damage easily.
Wheel track following chances - Due to its ply layout, the chances of following a wheel track is greater compared to a bias ply tyre.
Cost - Radial tyres are comparatively costlier than normal tyres.
Radial car tyre price in India starts from Rs. 2,600 onwards, although the cost may vary according to the make and model of a vehicle. MRF Radial tyre price may be the cheapest of the lot. However, between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 5,000, you can get some of the most desirous radial tyres in the market. Truck and bus radial tyres may be costlier and the starting price can be from Rs. 18,000 onwards. Depending upon the make and configuration, the price can be fixed accordingly.
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