Tyre noise

Wheels (Australia) - - 2017 Wheels Tyre Test -

If you take the ex­tremes of road tyres avail­able, it’s easy to come to the con­clu­sion that high-per­for­mance tyres are noisy. Af­ter all, semi-slicks drone like bas­tards (as well as throw­ing lots of road grit loudly into the wheel arches), while one of the ways lowrolling re­sis­tance eco-tyres save fuel is by turn­ing com­par­a­tively lit­tle of their ki­netic en­ergy into road roar. Yet these ex­am­ples don’t nec­es­sar­ily paint the whole pic­ture, as our tyre noise test il­lus­trates. Tak­ing the sound pres­sure level (SPL) re­sults in deci­bels (db) and hold­ing them up against the han­dling cir­cuit re­sults brings ex­am­ples of tyres that grip hard and are noisy, a few with mod­est grip and a hushed vol­ume, and plenty that grip well and de­liver shush, too. So, in­stead of re­ly­ing on rules of thumb, you re­ally need to noise-test tyres. For­tu­nately, this is eas­ily done, us­ing an SPL meter to store a peak db fig­ure over a straight sec­tion of coarse chip road – we did this at 60km/h. Given the un­pre­dictable noise/grip re­la­tion­ship, the noise test el­e­ment pro­vides the op­por­tu­nity for a hushed tyre that’s fallen down else­where to gain some ground. The noise score is weighted at half that of the four dy­namic dis­ci­plines. Too much? Not enough? Grab your cal­cu­la­tor and ap­ply your own weight­ing to tyre noise – just as you can with any of the dis­ci­plines – to ar­rive at your own win­ner.

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