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Watch the tires perform during a Ice storm.  Click Here

 

Download Apple QuickTime viewer here.  Watch the tires perform during a Ice storm.  Click Here

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Testing done November 2005 to March 2006.

Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1 Z  M+S   225/60 R 16  on 2005 Mercedes S500

When winter approaches most European drivers make the switch to a different set of tires; winter tires.  The importance of tires cannot be overemphasized.  There are only four patches of rubber connecting you and your car to the road, and these four patches should be looked after like you look after a newborn baby.  Making the switch to winter tires is one of the most important safety tips we could offer.  Why leave this single most important item to chance?

The original Blizzak by Bridgestone was developed in 1988 for Japan which was one of the first markets to ban studded tires.  The studdless Blizzak was made to cater to this market, offering more grip in icy winter conditions than any conventional tire.  Today the Blizzak brings together many technologies, offering precise handling, reduced noise, smooth ride, and comfort.  Bridgestone calls these high tech tires UNI-T for Ultimate Network of Intelligent Tire Technologies.

The Blizzak Revo1 tire tested here is a dual compound (cap and base) tire.  The cap features a Multicell compound, and the base is comprised of a winter compound, allowing use as a basic winter tire.  The Multicell compound that makes up the Blizzak contains thousands of microscopic cells, or pores, which resemble the consistency of Swiss cheese when examined through a microscope.  As the Blizzak wears, the pores are exposed and create thousands of biting edges that grip the road.  In addition to the biting action, the pores remove the thin layer of surface water, which often develops on top of icy roads, allowing the biting edges to adhere to the surface with less interference.  The result is enhanced resistance to hydroplaning and greater driving and braking force on ice- and snow-covered surface.  When the Blizzak is 50 percent worn, a tread depth indicator on the tire tread lets the motorist know that only ten percent of the remaining tread is the Multicell compound.

In our tests the Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1 performed well, extending the limits of where you can drive and under what conditions you should drive.  Driving around on dry roads revealed a very quiet tire with road feel best as temperatures got colder and colder.  The Revo1 compound feels firmer at freezing temperatures whereas above 40 degrees they feel more like a sponge.  The feeling of riding on air is enhanced from the base feeling in our air suspension equipped car. 

In about 3 inches of snow, the Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1s allow for controlled acceleration, even when accelerating quickly, thus performing well in our rear wheel drive test vehicle, a Mercedes S500.  In more than 6 inches of snow, the Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1s have a hard time getting a solid grip in our heavy rear wheel drive car.  While they can move on a flat even surface, packing and gripping the snow along the way, as soon as we encountered a slight grade, the car did begin to slip.

Braking in packed snow is controlled and stable with the rear wheel drive vehicle able to stop in short distances.  The ABS system does come into effect when stopping from 30 to 40 mph and this is quite normal as it allows you to turn during the stop.  The Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1s always kept a solid grip and provided controlled feedback. 

On icy conditions we found the tires to work well when momentum was not at play.  As you can see in the video that was taken in an ice storm, the car handles well and is able to turn while accelerating slowly and accurately.  This is where the Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1s truly show their usefulness.  Below 30 degrees the Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1s maintain good grip and do not feel slushy to the driver as they do in temperatures above 40 degrees.  The colder it gets the better the Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1s work.  Coming to a full stop on ice is controlled with hardly any use of the ABS system.  We were easily able to move around obstacles stopping from 30 mph.

Where the weakness lies in the Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1 is when temperatures rise to above 40 degrees during the winter.  The soft compound turns into mush, and driving is kind of like driving on a sponge.  Perhaps it was the large sidewall of our tires in our test car that made them feel especially spongy on days where temperatures rose to 50 and even higher this winter.  Stopping distances are increased greatly and taking fast turns becomes impossible.  We would not recommend the Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1 unless you are sure the temperature will remain below 40 degrees during the times that you will be using the tire.  This probably applies to states like northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, and all of Alaska.  How the tire reacts in smaller sidewall sizes is unknown but we think that it should be better. 

The Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1 on a four wheel drive car would greatly improve your ability to conquer ice and snow.  We found that more than a tire, having a four wheel drive vehicle helps much more in conquering deep snow.  Obviously having both a four wheel drive vehicle and these tires is the ultimate winter tool.  With many states outlawing studded tires, the studless Blizzak is a perfect choice.  We hope that more American drivers will start using two sets of tires on their vehicles.  The benefits far outweigh the risks and the fun you can have with tires to match road conditions is by far the best benefit.  Use your vehicle to its maximum. 

Tire Markings demystified:

In a example of a tire size such as : P195/60R15 87S :
The 195 represents the tire width, the 60 represents the sidewall height or thickness, and the 15 represents the wheel size this tire will fit on, the 87 represents the tire's load rating and the S represents the tire speed rating. 

Load IndexPoundsKilograms
Load IndexPoundsKilograms
71761345911356615
72783355921389630
73805365931433650
74827375941477670
75853387951521690
76882400961565710
77908412971609730
78937425981653750
79963437991709775
809924501001764800
8110194621011819825
8210474751021874850
8310744871031929875
8411025001041984900
8511355151052039925
8611685301062094950
8712015451072149975
88123556010822051000
89127958010922711030
90132360011023371060

Speed ratings and load ratings can be written in different ways such as this:

225/50SR16225/50SR16 89S 225/50R16 89S

Here is a table of speed ratings, tires are safe to a maximum of a set speed.

M81 mph130 km/h
N87 mph140km/h
P93 mph150 km/h
Q99 mph160 km/h
R106 mph170 km/h
S112 mph180 km/h
T118 mph190 km/h
U124 mph200 km/h
H130 mph210 km/h
V149 mph240 km/h
W168 mph270 km/h
Y186 mph300 km/h
Z150 mph +  240 km/h +
Some tires say they are Z rated and tested to a speed up to 168mph or 186 mph these have a second letter such as:
225/50ZR16in excess of 149 mph, 240 km/h
205/45ZR17 88W168 mph, 270 km/h
285/35ZR19 99Y186 mph, 300 km/h
If a tire has been tested at a speed in excess of 186mph, the it is shown in parenthesis such as :
285/35ZR19 (99Y) in excess of 186 mph, 300 km/h

 

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