Michelin recently introduced its latest multi-purpose tyre, the LTX Force, to Malaysia. Made for SUVs and 4x4s, Michelin reduced the compromise of all-terrain tyres with the LTX Force boasting of the comfort and quietness of on-road tyres and the toughness and grip of off-road ones. Compared to some rival tyres in its category, Michelin claims that the LTX Force has a shorter average braking distance of 2 metres as well as up to 35-per cent higher durability.
The off-road advantage comes from Michelin’s experience in the World Rally Championship (WRC), borrowing from the technology of the LTX Force H4 and S5 tyres used in the rallies, such as CompacTread, BitingShoulder and RallyForce. CompacTread has a wider footprint to increase traction and braking capabilities. It also features a squared shoulder and shoulder tread for better grip. The upright sidewall also reduces exposure to damage. Compared to the previous generation tyre, this improves braking distance by 0.8 metre and extends tyre life by 18,000 kilometres. The BitingShoulder feature provides more traction with its deep and open design. RallyForce is the rubber compound Michelin uses in the WRC that provides high wear resistance in off-road use.
In addition, Michelin has included its BevelTread and CushionGuard designs to reduce road noise and absorb road imperfections. Together, these provide for a quieter and more comfortable ride on the road.
All these features were put to the test in on- and off-road courses to prove that they were not just marketing hype. For the off-road course, we drove Toyota Fortuner SUVs, one shod with the LTX Force and the other with the more extreme BFGoodrich AT T/A KO2 off-road tyre for comparison. The KO2 has tougher sidewall rubber, a thicker shoulder and advanced deflection design to resist damage. Its tread has stone ejectors built within to prevent stone retention and an interlocking design to provide tread stability for a more even wear. The side biter lugs and serrated shoulder design further ensure good traction in soft terrain like mud, sand and snow.
Needless to say, the KO2 tyres took to the mud and sand, ruts and steep ascents and descents with ease. But it was quite a surprise to find the performance of the LTX Force tyre not far behind. It had to work slightly harder in some of the more extreme parts of the course but the performance difference was quite marginal.
On the tarmac course, we put the LTX Force through a slalom section, braking test and comfort and noise test against a rival brand’s latest tyre. Both tyre brands were installed on similar Toyota Hilux pickup trucks. Immediately after putting the rival tyre through the slalom course, the LTX Force showed higher responsiveness and grip levels, with less steering input needed for the quick direction changes around the cones. Without a heavy load on the flatbed, the rear of the Hilux with the rival tyre had a tendency to slip thus making your hands busier with the steering wheel.
On the comfort and noise test, the Hilux with LTX Force tyres had a more muted cabin noise intrusion as well as less bounce over the strips. As for the wet and dry braking test performance, the LTX Force consistently performed better, with shorter braking distances. The distances were measured by GPS.
“Off-road technologies behind the Michelin LTX Force are derived from the World Rally Championship in the world’s most demanding rallies – thus, providing another example of Michelin’s ‘From Track To Street’ philosophy. At the same time, on-road technologies improve braking performance on both wet and dry roads as well as increase durability,” said Pascal Nouvellon, Managing Director of Michelin Malaysia.
The Michelin LTX Force comes in sizes between 15 and 18 inches and is available at Tyreplus service outlets, Michelin Expert Centres and authorised dealers nationwide.
近日，米其林在马来西亚推出它最新的LTX Force多用途轮胎。米其林此款专为休旅车 （SUV）和四驱车设计的LTX Force，兼具公路轮胎的安静与舒适性和越野轮胎的强悍与抓地力。相较于同级的竞争轮胎品牌，米其林宣称LTX Force的制动距离缩短了2米，耐磨性也提高了35%。
该越野轮胎的优势源自米其林的世界拉力锦标赛（WRC）经验，借用了运用于拉力赛的LTX Force H4 和S5轮胎技术，如结实胎面胶（CompacTread）、带细齿花纹胎肩（BitingShoulder）及非凡拉力（RallyForce）技术。 CompacTread较宽的压面设计，可提高牵引和制动力。它的方形胎肩与胎肩花纹设计带来更好的抓地力，直立的胎壁可降低受损。它的制动距离比上一代缩短0.8米，使用寿命则延长至18，000公里。BitingShoulder深且开放性的设计，提供更多的牵引力。RallyForce是米其林用于WRC的独特橡胶配方，呈现强悍的越野耐磨性能。
了证明上述种种特质，并非只是行销炒作，米其林主办了一个道路和越野测试。以。我们开着丰田Fortuner 休旅车进行越野测试 ，一辆安装上 LTX Force，对比另一辆安装上较极端的百路驰AT T/A KO2 越野轮胎。KO2 胎壁的橡胶较强悍，胎肩也比较厚，并拥有抗损伤的先进偏转设计。它具有排石功能的胎纹，防止小石子卡在沟纹里。互锁设计使胎面胶更具稳定性，磨耗也更均匀。带细齿的胎侧块状花纹和锯齿形胎肩设计，进一步确保该轮胎在柔软地形如泥泞、沙地和雪地拥有良好的牵引力。
我们在柏油路绕锥测试（Slalom），比较LTX Force与竞争品牌在制动、舒适及噪音方面的表现。这两种不同品牌的轮胎被分别安装在丰田Hilux皮卡上。与安装上竞争轮胎品牌的皮卡比较，我们发现LTX Force的反应更灵活，抓地力也更好。在绕锥时，驾驶员只需轻转方向盘就可迅速改变方向。安装上竞争品牌的Hilux则因平板上没有重荷，后车轮出现打滑倾向，致使我们忙于操控方向盘。
在舒适与噪音测试方面，安装上LTX Force轮胎的Hilux驾驶室噪音较少，而且在路经预先设置在测试道上的条纹时反弹也较小。LTX Force的湿地和干地性能表现优越，制动距离也比较短。这些距离是以全球定位系统来测量的。
“米其林LTX Force轮胎背后的技术源自世界最苛刻的拉力赛–世界拉力锦标赛，是米其林实现从‘赛道到街道’理念的另一个例子。与此同时，其道路技术改善了湿地和干地的制动性能，提升耐磨性。”米其林马来西亚董事经理努韦隆（Pascal Nouvellon）表示。
米其林LTX Force供应从15至18 寸四种尺寸，全马的Tyreplus服务中心和米其林专业中心及授权代理都有销售。