Bridgestone shows its ‘crossest’ rubber yet



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Singapore debut of Bridgestone’s new Alenza SUV-centric tyre to meet evolving market demands

SINGAPORE – Bridgestone Singapore took the covers off its latest passenger car tyre, and it’s a major debut for 2017.

The Japanese tyre maker, which is still the world’s biggest producer of tyres, showed off the new Alenza 001 tyre model. It’s specially-designed for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossovers, and replaces the current Dueler H/P Sport model.

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Bridgestone says the new tyre is aimed at owners of premium SUV models, no surprise since the Alenza 001 sees the same ‘001’ labelling as the top-drawer Potenza S001 sports tyre. The target vehicle audience is from a range of sizes in the luxury sector, naming the Audi Q5 and Q7, BMW X4,  X5 and X6, Lexus RX, Porsche Macan and Cayenne, Range Rover Sport, Mercedes-Benz GLC.

No surprise since the Dueler H/P Sport was the top model of the Dueler Range, and came as OE fitment to the Mercedes-Benz GLC

“According to LTA data, 31 percent of the newly registered vehicle population here are SUVs, and Alenza exemplifies Bridgestone’s commitment in creating a better driving experience for SUV drivers,” said Michael Tan, the managing director of Bridgestone Tyre Sales Singapore at the launch event.
alenza 001

The SUV trend is undeniable, having been burgeoning since 2014 and going big in 2016, causing us to ponder the possible death of sedans too.

Naturally, the new Alenza 001 boasts significant performance boosts over its predecessor, with Bridgestone saying the key qualities of the tyre are “a dynamic driving experience beyond expectations, enhanced safety on wet and dry roads and (being) engineered to last.”

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MRB triple central rib with the 3D-M sipes are clearly visible in this photo 

A new tread pattern with Bridgestone’s Multi-Round Block (MRB) triple central rib structure claims to enhance wet performance, straight line stability and improve steering response, while chamfered, asymmetrical outer shoulders improve braking performance. The ‘3D-M’ shaped central sipes on the triple ribs reduce movement of the tyre tread and improve tyre longevity.

Curiously most of the benefits are attributed to novel tyre tread patterning but no mention is made of compound or construction changes as yet. The Alenza Japanese website does mention Nanopro Tech, which helps blend silica into the latex at a molecular level, improving wet grip and fuel efficiency.
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Chamfered, asymmetrical shoulder pattern is new on the Alenza 

Like the latest S21 high-performance motorcycle tyre we recently tested in Singapore, the Alenza was developed using Bridgestone’s new Ultimate Eye testing facility (its proprietary rolling road and simulator).

The Alenza is available in a spectrum of sizes, with 44 to choose from ranging from wheel size 16 to 22, aspect 35 to 70 and section width of 215 to 315, so it should fit most SUVs and even smaller crossovers. Pricing information will be available soon.

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The event, held as Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa on Sunday, April 10, also saw the culmination of Bridgestone’s CSR efforts with Singapore’s Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF). 2016 saw the launch of the Bridgestone Pink Valve Cap donation drive, aimed at raising funds and awareness for the BCF. It raised almost $26,000 for the foundation, and the cheque was presented to Ms Angelina Ong, executive committee member of the BCF (above photo, left).

 

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Derryn Wong