Responding to the explosive growth in urban and regional transport demand seen in recent years, BFGoodrich just took the wraps off a pair of steer and drive tires designed for that market. Route Control S (steer) and Route Control D (drive) tires were designed for traction, long life and durability.
The company says the Route Control tire line features advanced compounding for better performance in demanding, high-scrub regional environments; enhanced sidewall construction to resist curb impact and withstands shocks; and excellent retreadability.
BFGoodrich launches the Route Control tine line as it celebrates the 150th anniversary of the brand. Among the milestones recorded in the company's storied past, BFGoodrich was responsible for the first U.S.-built pneumatic tire, selected by Henry Ford as original equipment for the Model A. It produced the first tubeless tires for American passenger cars in 1947, and it developed the first run-flet tire in 1967. Now, 150 years later, we the legacy continues with a new offering for the burgeoning regional market.
Steer/All-Position Tire Built for Urban Environment
The SmartWay-verified BFGoodrich Route Control S (steer/all-position) tire replaces the previous ST 230 model. It is engineered to provide long tread life and even-wear. The tire comes with a wider tread-width than its predecessor for increased stability and optimized micro-siping technology fights the onset of irregular wear across the tread. Zigzag, flow-through tread grooves provide outstanding water evacuation and grip, says BFGoodrich.
"The Route Control S is built on a very durable casing so it can withstand the harsh urban environment of curbs and potholes," said Adam Murphy, vice president of B2B marketing for Michelin North America in a press briefing. "In terms of casing durability, we are proud to back the casing of the Route Control with a five-year casing guarantee."
BFGoodrich said its Work Hard guarantee is essentially a six-month road test. "If the customer is not completely satisfied with the Route Control S within the first six months of use, or before 50% of its useable tread life, we will reimburse them 50% of the acquisition price," Murphy said.
The Route Control S is available now in sizes 11R22.5, 11R24.5, 275/80R22.5 and 285/75R24.5. A 255/70R22.5 Load Range H version will be on the market in the fall. The 245/70R19.5 urban size was released earlier. The 225/70R19.5 size will also be available in the fall.
Route Control Drive Tire Optimized for Traction
BFGoodrich's newest regional offering, the Route Control D tire, offers the traction and long-wearing tread necessary in regional applications, the company says. The design was optimized for grip and traction in all weather conditions. It features 26/32 tread depth and uses advanced compounding and block-bridges allow for open-shoulder traction while helping to minimize irregular wear.
"The tire has 10% better stopping traction than a leading competitor," Murphy told reporters. "It also boasts 10% better starting grip and 13% better snow than the leading competitor. It's what we call our 'red light/green light' advantage. And it is three-peak mountain snowflake rated."
The tire is backed by the same Work Hard guarantee, along with a five-year, two-retread manufacturer limited casing guarantee.
The drive tire has an open-shoulder, directional tread pattern to deliver maximum all-weather traction. This model is available in sizes 11R22.5 and11R24.5 (Load Range H) and 275/80R22.5 (Load Range G). It is also available for medium duty trucks in size 245/70R19.5. A 225/70R19.5 (Load Range H) will arrive in the fall, too.
The company says the Route Control D is not SmartWay verified. "Drive tires in the urban segment are not required to be SmartWay Verified," said Mike Pullman, product marketing manager for the urban market segment. "We do have other more highway-focused offerings that are SmartWay verified where the need is particularly acute."
The Growth of Urban and Regional Haul
The time is right for the Route Control tires, Murphy says. "Even during the pandemic, many of the market segments these tires will serve have experienced significant growth, and that's driving consumer demand for faster delivery times.
"According to Merrill Lynch Bank of America, credit card spending statistics up until the end of May, online spending for electronics was up 111% compared to the same period last year," Murphy noted. "Retail spending was up 82%, home improvement spending up 27% and grocery spending was up 10%, to name just a few of the indicators that show the regional transportation and last-mile segments are booming.
"These are exactly the types of jobs fleets operating in these sectors of the market are performing. Their customers are getting more and more demanding of them, so uptime is more important than ever, and that usually comes down to traction and durability. That's why we are now introducing the Route Control steer and drive tires."