Bridgestone, has launched a new truck drive tyre, the M866, which it says has been designed and engineered specifically for local conditions. and which will bolster the capability and versatility of its truck tyre range.
Bridgestone says that in developing the M866, it set out to rationalise its drive tyre line up with a tyre to match the on-road performance of its previous M766 with the off-road capability of its M722 and to succeed both products.
The M866 was developed over six years, and Bridgestone claims is a highly versatile and durable tyre suitable for linehaul and outback routes, and proven through 13-million kilometres of local testing.
Bridgestone says that the M866 marks another step forward for the company, claiming it is ‘resetting the benchmark for operating life with the new tyre providing a benefit of up to 10 per cent wear life over the already renowned M766 drive tyre, and 20 per cent more life than its nearest competitor’.
According to Bridgestone Australia’s sales director, Heath Barclay, the introduction of the M866 highlights the significance of the Australian market for the global tyre company.
“The M866 is an exciting product for Bridgestone because of the ambitious development objectives we set, and more importantly, achieved. It has a wider range of applications, improving customer benefit with its with great on-road performance and exceptional off-road results,” Heath Barclay said.
“Australia is infamous for having the harshest conditions for truck tyres. We run the heaviest loads, the biggest combinations, face some of the hottest temperatures, and have some of the worst highway conditions – both sealed an unsealed. That’s why Bridgestone is committed to ensuring that the truck tyres we offer to Australian customers are designed, engineered, and tested in these demanding conditions.
“We’re proud that our research and development for Australia’s truck tyres involves direct input from our own local Technical Field Services team, and we rely on collaboration with the industry to ensure we are meeting the demands of Australian conditions.”
The M866 is the second major Bridgestone product release in the past two years, following the launch of the flagship R154 steer tyre, complementing the launch of a completely new Firestone range that saw the introduction of the FS401 steer, FD664 drive, and FT469 trailer tyres.
Bridgestone claims its development focus saw it reject two prototypes in the process, only signing off on the development once it had met strict off-road criteria including traction, stone ejection, and durability, as well as the on-road wear-life targets.
The company says that over the past two years, the M866 was put to the test across every conceivable application including linehaul, regional, urban and metropolitan use, mild to medium on/off use, and through off-road outback routes, with 10 of Bridgestone’s customers involved in the evaluation program covering every corner of mainland Australia.
Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand’s group technical field services manager, Garth Middleton, says compromise was not an option in the development of M866, and the collaborative approach with the industry is key to the tyre’s success.
“The M866’s predecessors both had class-leading reputations, so it was imperative that we didn’t sign off until we had met all our critical attributes for Bridgestone’s new flagship drive product,” Garth Middleton said.
“This meant rejecting some of the initial prototypes, which in their own right excelled in various areas, but it wasn’t until we were satisfied that we had Australia’s most durable and versatile drive tyre that M866 was approved.
“We know that this tyre meets the needs of our customers because it was their input that set the criteria, and we used Bridgestone customers from a range of applications to prove its suitability in real-world conditions. It’s this true industry collaboration that assists us in providing value to our customers.”
The design of the M866 tread pattern took learnings and insight from both the M766 and M722 to achieve longer wear life, without compromising on the ruggedness and durability of the M722.
The company says that the M866 is essentially a hybrid pattern, combining the sturdy central rib shape of the M722 with the shoulder design of the M766. At 235mm wide, the new pattern is 15 and 11 per cent wider than the M722 and M766 respectively, with a tread depth of 22.2mm.
The 15mm wide grooves making up M866’s distinctive pattern and surrounding the tread blocks results in 75 per cent less stone retention than the M766, while the block design aids its traction for off-road applications and through creek crossings in line with the characteristics of the M722.
The combination of tread pattern design and the compound utilised in the M866 has also seen more even wear across almost every application, and as well as being wider, M866 also features a load index increase over its predecessors from 146/143L to 148/145L.
After proving its off-road capabilities, M866 also had to demonstrate class-leading performance on-road. The results of wear-life testing even astounded Bridgestone’s own engineers, with multiple instances of M866 pairs surpassing 300,000km, still with usable tread remaining.
“We were genuinely impressed by the results of M866’s wear life testing. Based on the success of the M766, we expected a strong result – but an additional five to ten per cent exceeded these expectations,” Mr Middleton added.
“This also tells us that through a Total Tyre Management approach, utilising best practice rotations, pressure checks and using data to influence maintenance schedules, Bridgestone has even more opportunities to extract additional milage from the M866, and create further value for our fleet customers,” he said.
Bridgestone says the M866 drive tyre is available at truck equipped Bridgestone Select and Bridgestone Service Centre stores throughout Australia, as well as through its national network of affiliate truck locations.