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radial tyres on old vehicles


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There is no doubt that radials are a more modern tyre and can have a higher speed rating and longevity. The ability to stop and steer in the rain is down to the tread compound so it is quite possible for a (say,Chinese) radial to be inferior to rags in this regard. The feel of steering is down to experimentation and I know of one case where a truck owner has put rags on the steer axle of his (older) truck. The difference in looks is hardly noticeable with 20" tyres but in the smaller sizes it certainly is as it is hard to get a radial with the 100% profile of rags.

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To put it very simply, radial tyres give superior grip compared to crossplies (particularly when cornering) due to their ability to keep more of the tread in contact with the road, in theory a good thing.

That said, proceed with caution: leaving aside the practicalities of finding radials of a suitable size and profile for older vehicles, there can be a safety issue in that the steering and suspension of some vehicles was not designed to cope with the increased loads imposed by the extra grip. Apart from the possibility that something might break, you could potentially encounter undesirable changes in suspension geometry when steering or braking, as well as an increased tendency to roll over.

My advice would be to leave things as they are, unless you can find someone who has already tried it successfully with your type of vehicle.

Edited by mtskull
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Modern manuf. tyres - it is all in the compound , winter tyres have all sorts of chemicals added to the basic carbon black to give a stickier rubber , hence winter tyres and in some countries , mandatory in winter.


The reason bar NBC types have poor grip (other than such as mud) is that by design the 'footprint' will always have dirty great chunks devoid of rubber , all down to friction , most tread patterns (other than bar types) , lower the pressure and you can increase the footprint , by design a radial size for size (in comparison to a X ply) has a bigger footprint because it does not have the sidewall stiffness and the steel belt is designed for this feature . Hence the caterpillar track type operation of a radial ,,

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