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.