Radial vs Bias Tyres

The choice of right tyre plays a key role in offering smooth ride and little performance issues. Tyres are engineered differently to fit a specific purpose and application while boosting performance of the vehicle.

While some tyres are typically designed for family cars and safe driving, others are more suited to heavy-duty vehicles used for carriages.

Therefore, it is important understand the difference between Radial and Bias-ply tyres.

So, let's take a look at major differences between radial and bias-play tyres.

Construction

Radial tyres feature steel belts running at a 90 degree angle of the tread centre line. These tyres are constructed in two parts allowing the sidewall and the tread to function independently.

The belts of the radial tyres are combination of several rubber-coated steel piles which are very tough and cut resistant. The steel piles are placed under the tread to stabilize the crown.

The bias-ply tyres, on the other hand, are made out of a single working unit. They are built with nylon belts which are made out of layers of rubber-coated, criss-crossed piles of nylon, running at around 30-45 degree angle of the tread centre line. Owing to this unique construction method, their sidewalls are very tough.

Puncture and Cut Resistance

Due to their unique construction process, most radial tyres are resistant to penetrations and cuts, especially in the tread area. In fact, in case of any damage, only a small portion of the radial tyre will be affected.

On the other hand, bias-ply tyres are cut-resistant in the sidewall area. However, if there is any cut in tread area, it can affect up to 35 percent of the tyre.

Traction

The radial tyres have a stiffer tread and they distribute weight evenly. This results in a steady and consistent contact patch and greater traction, meaning the tyres wear less and enjoy longer tread life.

On the contrary, the sidewall and crown in base-ply tyres are interdependent. This essentially means the middle of the tread lifts up when the sidewalls deflect. This leads to erosion of the tread and therefore, shorter tyre life.

Ride Quality

The radial tyres offer better ride quality due to greater traction. Hence, they are usually preferred for SUVs.

While bias-play tyres don't offer as much smoothness in terms of riding quality, their strong and stable sidewalls more than make up for it, especially in heavy-duty carriage trucks.

Therefore, bias-ply tyres can be commonly used in trucks and buses. Besides, many consider these tyres to be more productive as well.

Heat Tolerance

Each tyre is built to operate within a given temperature, technically known as vulcanization temperature. During the course of its use, if the tyre is heated past the vulcanization temperature, it begins to wear gradually.

As a rule of thumb, the air pressure build-up during operation should not exceed 25% of the initial cold pressure Therefore, you should check the heat build-up by monitoring the air pressure after operation.

Based on this theory, radial tyres have an advantage over bias-ply tyres in terms of reducing heat better as they are constructed from single steel body and have a rigid tread. This enables the radial tyres to travel at higher speeds and for longer distance.

Should I Buy Radial Tyres or Bias-ply Tyres?

Bias-ply or cross-ply tyres are relatively older design. In fact, most of the vehicles use radial tyres these days for the advantages they offer over bias-ply tyres. In fact, tyre manufactures, these days, have started manufacturing different types of radial tyres based on their specific applications.

Although radial tyres are more expensive than bias-ply tyres, they are in demand because of their long-term value and lower life-cycle cost.

In order to determine the true cost of a tyre, one needs to consider the life-cycle costs of a tyre which factors in riding comfort, durability, productivity fuel consumption, greater handling and better traction.

Moreover, the choice of tyre also depends on the specific use and application. If you can match the right tyre to your application, you're more likely get a higher return on investment down the road.