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TESTED - Surprising traction differences between R4 \\ R14 \\ Bar-Turf

Tags :  bar-turf-tires  |  r14-tires  |  r4-tires  |  tires  |  tractor-tires  | 

Neil from Messick's here today out on a beautiful spring day to do some tire testing for you. We're going to bring down three of Kubota's B Series tractors, one with R4 tires, one with the new R14 and one with this hybrid zig-zag pattern I've had for a while, hook them up to the load cell and measure exactly what the tractive difference is between these tire options. 


In order to do this test, I have a load cell hooked to the tractor's drawbar. Now, this load cell is a 3,000-pound cell. In order to test just the back tires, I'm going to do this only in two-wheel drive. This tractor has a three-range transmission, which is unique in this class between competitors. I'm going to be using the medium range for this, that's going to give me enough traction in order to break these tires loose but not so much like the low range does it's going to overload my load cell. 


In order to really get a good bite from the get-go, I am going to engage the diff lock here with my heel when I go with this the first time. We're going to get both these tires turning together and put that power to the ground as well as we can. 


[engine revving] 


This is our bar-turf pattern here and you can see as soon as these tires broke loose, they brought up all the dirt with it here. Interesting here that we did have some rain here a day or two ago. You can feel this that the soil is a little bit moist here, and probably fairly easy for these tires to break loose. You could very clearly see that the bar-turf tire did get plenty of traction and engage the ground there, it brought it all up with it. 


This tire is supposed to be a bit of a hybrid between say, an R4 industrial tire, and a turf tire, where our other options here today are going to be the hybrid between the R4 tire and the R1 AG tire, hopefully being a little bit more aggressive. 


Our next test is going to be the R4 industrial tire. Now, R4s for us are by far the most popular tire option. These are sold on probably about 90% of the tractors that we sell and that generally is for their good combination of both durability and traction. Today we'll come up here to the load cell and see what it does. 


[engine revving] 


Our third and final test is going to be on the new R14 tire. As we said before, the R14 is supposed to be the hybrid between an R4, your middle of the line aggressiveness, and an R1, the really aggressive tire. It should sit somewhere in the middle there, being a little bit more friendly on turf but still giving us that traction. Let's give this a pull here and see how it performs. 


[engine revving] 


The R14's coming in at 841 pounds, right about the same place as what the are the R4 tire did. We're going to go back here and hook up the bar-turf tire here again because these results are coming in a lot differently than what I expected. We got a really oddly high number out of that less aggressive tire compared to our more aggressive ones. Let's hook her back up here just verify our numbers again. 


[engine revving] 


Sure enough, our test, again, comes back and shows that our best-pulling performance on this day today, on relatively soft grass is with the bar-turf tire. That's a little counter to what we would typically expect. You normally would look at a more aggressive tire and expect that it's going to get better traction, but in these conditions here today, that does not look like that's the case. 


The reasoning for that may come back to the same results that we got what we did this earlier in the snow. It could be because when you're in really soft conditions, you're actually probably going to get the best performance out of the tire that has the biggest contact patch. Because of all the zigzags on this bar and the number of places they're able to contact the ground, that's giving better performance. 


If we sum that up, more than likely I would say that from the testing that we've done with load cells behind tractors like this, by and large, we probably underestimate the capability of the less aggressive tires. They're not in the kind of environments tractively that are going to benefit from the aggressiveness of the tire. 


Those are the somewhat surprising results of our test today with these three tire options. Again, R4 bar-turf and R14. I'm always surprised when we do testing like this because oftentimes the results don't come out in the way that I expect, and today was absolutely one of those days. Our expectations are always that the more aggressive tire patterns are actually going to give us more pull and in this application today it did not, the least aggressive of them, the bar turf was the winner. 


There are two other tire options in this series, this small B series has five different options on them. You'd also have an R1 AG tread tire being yet more aggressive and also an R3 turf tire being less aggressive. I'd be really curious how these would fall under the family here as well. I don't have them all out here to be able to do them side-by-side but we have always heard really good things from guys about these bar-turf tires. Again, depending on what your application is, if you're in more of those turf-type environments it might be worth considering. 


Like I said before, it just shows to me that I think maybe our expectations about tire aggressiveness might be a little bit upside down. This is the second test now where we've come out showing that a turf tire can perform as well or better than more aggressive tires at times. If you're going through the buying process on a piece of equipment that we can help, give us a call at Messick's. We're available at 800-222-3373 or online at 

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