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All-Season Tires 2.0

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Bridgestone equipped identical vehicles with three different sets of tires. Photo Jack Kazmierski

Bridgestone debuts the next generation of all-season tires.

More than 120 tire retailers from the Greater Toronto Area registered to attend Bridgestone’s latest Drive & Learn event, which took place at The International Centre in Toronto, Ontario on August 24 & 25.

This was Bridgestone’s first such event in many years. Following a long hiatus, due to restrictions imposed during the pandemic, Bridgestone’s 2022 Drive & Learn tour debuted in mid-August in Texas, with eight stops planned throughout North America. The Toronto event was the only Canadian stop on the 2022 tour.

In-class education

The in-class portion of the Drive & Learn event brought tire retailers up-to-date on some of Bridgestone’s newest tires, including the Alenza AS Ultra, DriveGuard Plus, Potenza RE-980 AS+, and Potenza Sport. The star of the show, however, was their newest all-season tire, the WeatherPeak.

While the WeatherPeak is being marketed as an “all-season” tire, it does come with “3 Peak Mountain Snowflake” certification (3PMSF), which technically puts it in the “all-weather” category of tires. In fact, when Bridgestone released news about the WeatherPeak back in June of this year, the company explained that the “WeatherPeak is the Bridgestone brand’s first touring tire with all-weather capability.”

This means some Canadian consumers will be able to avoid the bi-annual tire swap (from all-season tires to winter tires, and vice versa) because all-weather tires are 3PMSF-certified, which means they can handle winter conditions. That said, for maximum traction in the winter, a dedicated winter tire might still be the right choice for some consumers.

“The Bridgestone WeatherPeak tire leverages our latest technology innovations to push the all-season category to new heights,” said Ian McKenney, Senior Product Manager, Consumer Replacement Tire Sales and Marketing, Bridgestone Americas earlier this year when the WeatherPeak tire was introduced to the market. “Drivers are increasingly looking for safe, yet practical tires that provide confident control for any season, weather or journey.”

The new WeathePeak tire boasts true all-season performance. Photo Jack Kazmierski

Target customer

During the Toronto event, Jason Alterman, Education Specialist with Bridgestone Americas echoed the idea that the WeatherPeak is for drivers who are “looking for safe, yet practical tires.” Alterman explained that the primary customer for the new WeatherPeak tire is someone who is “practical and safety-minded.” In other words, this is the customer who might mention that they use their vehicle to take their kids to school and other activities. They’re also practical consumers, in that they want a quality product, but they don’t want to overspend, Alterman added.

Another key identifier, Alterman said, is that these consumers “play hard and work hard.” He added,” These are the folks that no matter what’s falling from the sky, no matter what temperature it is outside, they have to be where they have to be, and they have to get there at a certain time.”

No compromises

Alterman referred to the WeatherPeak tire as “the next generation of all-season tires.” He explained that traditionally, “when you prioritize winter traction, you have to make compromises, and usually you’re compromising longevity or wet and dry traction.” The WeatherPeak tire, he added, does not make those compromises.

In order for all in attendance at this year’s Drive & Learn event to put these claims to the test, Bridgestone prepared a closed track in the parking lot of the venue, where three identical vehicles (BMW 3-Series) were equipped with sets of three different tires: Bridgestone’s WeatherPeak, Bridgestone’s Ecopia 422 Plus, and Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady.

Comparing the WeatherPeak with the other two tires makes sense because the WeatherPeak replaces the Ecopia 422 Plus in Bridgestone’s touring tire lineup, while Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady (also an all-season tire with 3PMSF) is seen as a direct competitor to the new WeatherPeak tire.

After wetting down the track with the help of a water truck, participants were given the opportunity to push all three tires to the limits, under the watchful eye of driving instructors who came along for the ride in order to offer advice and make sure no one got carried away behind the wheel.

The new WeatherPeak tires compete head-to-head with Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady. Photo Jack Kazmierski

The difference between the Ecopia 422 Plus and the WeatherPeak tires was dramatic. While the Ecopia struggled in tight turns to maintain traction (especially with the rear-wheel drive BMWs), the WeatherPeak held onto the wet road with impressive grip.

Alterman had mentioned during the in-class part of the program that Bridgestone’s touring tire technologies have come a long way, and the big difference between the Ecopia and the WeatherPeak proves that Bridgestone’s engineering efforts have paid off.

The WeatherPeak tire also seemed to edge out the performance of Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady tire, but the difference between the two tires was not as dramatic. The BMWs with the WeatherPeak tires seemed to be more surefooted, especially in tight turns, but only marginally so. In either case, the WeatherPeak tire is certainly ready to shine in the touring tire spotlight and take on the competition. This is a big leap forward for Bridgestone.

The new WeatherPeak tire comes with a 110,000 km warranty and is available in 56 sizes to fit 87% of the sedans, minivans and crossovers on the road today.

 

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