Wet, Wet, Wet

Just outside Giant supermarket in One Utama, a corner of the large parking lot is set for the launch of the new Falken tyre. The new flagship tyre for the brand, the launch of the Falken 452 was attended by media and key personnel from Stamford Tyres Ltd and Sumitomo Rubber Asia Pte Ltd.

The genesis of the tyre began in the conceptualisation of the tyre. Broken down into three key areas, it includes: excellent handling stability at high speed and smooth driving in wet conditions; sophisticated tread design and modern appearance with tuned car; and availability in a wide variety of sizes for success in global markets. As a result, the new tyre ranges from 16 to 22 inch in the 25 to 55 series.

A study of the groove pattern reveals five main linear ribs running around the tyre to provide good directional integrity. The blocks are concisely rounded and cut for precise handling. Wet performance is enhanced by the multi-angled grooves and new silica compound, while the quietness of ride is attributed to the phase-shifted random pitch variation.

Dual tread compound, jointless cap ply layered with nylon and aramid twisted cord, high stiffness wide steel belts, high tension carcass, hard apex and reinforced steel bead filler enhance the stability of the tyre.

With wet handling in mind, the groove pattern plays a crucial part in the effectiveness of the FK452 in displacing water. These features include central twin grooves and a specifically cut block design that captures and displaces water quickly. Benefits of a new silica compound include a better contact point between rubber arid road via new micro particle carbon and polymer bonding.

An asymmetric phase-shifted pattern design reduces pattern noise to a large extent. Compared to the FK451 that the FK452 supersedes, wet braking, aquaplaning and wear have been improved by five per cent. While irregular wear and noise have been improved by more that five per cent, dry handling has been improved by Less than five per cent and comfort is the same as the older tyre.

A makeshift slalom and short obstacle course was designed to show the level of control and quietness the tyres are capable of, and while the demonstration was very impressive, a lot of the credit had to go to the professional and semi-professional drivers behind the wheels of Mitsubishis, Subaru, Honda and Perodua machines.

White we did get our hands sweaty by having a go at the course, it was too short a run to produce any conclusive results. Nevertheless, the FK452 performed remarkably well during the limited time we had. It was relatively silent and the grip was up to mark. Even going sideways in the car shod with the tyres proved to be a fun and controlled experience. If first impressions are anything to go by, this tyre will make a strong case for itself, and against more well-known brands from other countries.