As we start to enter the winter months here in the northern hemisphere, drivers in many countries are currently swapping the tyres on their vehicles for winter tyres. And when it comes to winter driving in Europe, safety on the road often depends on the safety of the tyres. According to a recent survey over 60 % of drivers in Central Europe said specialised winter tyres are the most important car safety equipment during winter. According to the same survey, for 70% of respondents, the most valued quality for these tyres is grip and handling in winter conditions. The second most valued characteristic is safety in extreme situations like on a snowy road, with 47 % of respondents agreeing.
The wet European winters are also visible in the survey answers: the third most valued winter tyre characteristic is grip on slushy roads, which is followed closely by grip on wet roads. And one of the most feared conditions for European drivers is slushy roads. The combination of melting snow, the water cushion at the road surface, and potential ice is dangerous even for an experienced driver.
Nokian Tyres is recognised internationally for the superior quality of its winter tyres which perform very well in all of the above types of road conditions and It is a well-known fact, internationally, that this Finnish company was the first to invent the winter tyre amongst many other significant innovations. It is also interesting to note that Nokian Tyres has more winter tyre patents than any other manufacturer in the world. In addition, Nokian Tyres was the first tyre manufacturer with its own permanent winter tyre testing facility and has the largest of any such facilities which is located on a 700 hectares state of the art testing centre in Ivalo in Finnish Lapland.
The team at TURAS are delighted to announce that we have teamed up with Nokian Tyres as a key brand partner with the TURAS Camping and 4WD Touring Magazine. We have always admired how Nokian Tyres has taken sustainable manufacturing very seriously by producing not only some of the best tyres on the planet but also some of the most environmentally friendly products. This is a company that makes tyres for people who value both safety and sustainability.
The company traces its history to a groundwood pulp mill established in 1898. Car tyre production began in 1932 by Suomen Gummitehdas Oy (Finnish Rubber Works Ltd) and around this time Nokian Tyres developed the “Kelirengas”, (which translates directly to ‘weather tyre’ ) which was effectively the first tyre that offered a rough tread that could climb up the snowiest of tracks and roads in Finland. Introduced in 1934, this first winter tyre was a game-changer for Nordic inhabitants who experience harsh Scandinavian winters. The Kelirengas was initially developed for trucks allowing them to travel in thick snow. The revolutionary transverse tread pattern of the tyre dug into the snow like a track, which made climbing snowy uphills a lot easier. Two years later, the company manufactured the first Hakkapeliitta winter tyre, which opened the door for growth and the international market. Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta has since been the leading winter tyre brand for over 80 years.
Although the first winter tyre, the ‘Kelirengas’ was a unique product for its time, it is only a winter tyre by modern standards in terms of its tread pattern. The Kelirengas used a similar, very rigid rubber compound as the summer tyres, which means that the grip solely depended on the grooves. Nowadays, rubber compounds that have been specially tailored for the tread provide a substantial part of the grip. And whereas over one hundred raw materials are used in the manufacturing of a modern non-studded winter tyre, the Kelirengas only used one-third of them.
Nowadays, non-studded winter tyres use both natural and synthetic rubber. Natural rubber works stably along a wide temperature range, allowing the tread compound to remain flexible and maintain a good grip. The proportion of carbon black in the tyre has been replaced by silica, which significantly improves the fuel efficiency and wet grip of the tyre. Nokian Tyres continues to evolve its research in the design and constitution of its winter tyres and remains the market leader and most prominent innovator in this field.
Nokian Tyres products are now sold in over sixty countries for passenger cars, SUVs, agricultural vehicles, vans and 4WD vehicles. The company concentrates on the consumer car and vehicle tyre replacement and premium snow tyre markets; they do not supply automobile manufacturers tyres for new car production.
4WD Touring and Overlanding
A couple of notable Nokian Tyres’ products that are particularly suitable for use in 4WD Touring and overlanding, and which should be of interest to our readers are the Nokian Rotiiva All-Terrain and the Nokian Rockproof tyres.
The Rotiiva AT (All-Terrain) is a summer tyre that performs excellently on asphalt, but it can also be used for light off-road driving, and it is durable and hard-wearing even on heavier vehicles.The sidewall compound used in the tyre is exceptionally durable and puncture-resistant and contains extremely strong aramid fibres. The same material is utilised by the aerospace and defence industries. The aramid fibre strengthens the sidewall rubber to withstand external impacts and pressing against the wheel flange. Additionally, stabilisers on the centre rib stiffen the tyre on road contact, allowing it to perform more smoothly and fluently. We currently have these tyres on the TURAS vehicles and we are enjoying the ride. We will be taking a closer look at these tyres in upcoming issues.
The Nokian Tyres Rockproof is a relatively new product from Nokian Tyres, this rugged-looking tyre offers extreme durability for professional driving and for off-road enthusiasts. The new cut-resistant Nokian Rockproof Hybrid tread compound and aggressive tread pattern provide the tyre with excellent resistance even in rough off-road conditions. The Nokian Rockproof was designed for light trucks, SUVs and off-road use. It was developed in cooperation with Nokian Heavy Tyres and tested by professionals at mines and quarries in Europe and North America, we will also be having a closer look at the eye-catching Rockproofs in future issues of the magazine.
As we mentioned above we are delighted to welcome such a progressive, sustainable and important company as Nokian Tyres to our magazine as a brand partner. We look forward to becoming even more familiar with Nokian Tyres the company, and its range of tyres over the coming months, and we look forward to sharing our adventures driving with these great tyres.