AKRON-Goodyear has added a version of its popular Aquatred wet-weather tire to its Eagle line of performance radials. However, unlike its broad-market namesake, the Eagle Aquatred has two aquachannels instead of a single central groove, and somewhat resembles three narrow tires fused together.
``The Aquatred and the Eagle Aquatred are two completely different tires, but we hope that sharing names and using aquachannels will convey Aquatred's wet-traction message to performance tire buyers...,'' said Barry Robbins, Goodyear's vice president of marketing.
The company debuted the Eagle Aquatred Jan. 3 and said it would be available to dealers in April in 11 H-rated sizes, with aspect ratios from 55 to 65.
The new tire will replace H-rated sizes of the Eagle GT+4, Goodyear's first all-season high performance radial, a spokesman said. The GT+4 will continue to be available in T- and U-rated sizes.
Compared with the GT+4, the Eagle Aquatred delivers 10 percent better wet traction and handling and nearly 20 percent better snow traction, and stops as much as 14 percent sooner on wet pavement, according to Beale Robinson, chief engineer of high performance tires.
At 65 mph, each Eagle Aquatred-with its wide, directional tread, angled cross-grooves and dual aquachannels-pumps more than 1.5 gallons per second of water from in front of the tire and out its sides and rear, Mr. Robinson said.
Such water displacement is especially important for high performance tires, whose wide, short contact patch can make them more susceptible to losing contact in wet conditions than narrower family-car tires, added Bob Toth, marketing manager for high performance tires.
Goodyear began development of the Eagle Aquatred about two years ago at its technical center in Luxembourg, Mr. Toth said, about the same time the company was introducing the Aquatred in North America.
The HP version was then refined by Goodyear engineers in Akron ``to match customer interests and expectations'' in the U.S. market, he said.
Goodyear said the design of the Eagle Aquatred also adapted technology from the rain version of the tire maker's Formula 1 racing tire.
A spokesman said the new tires are expected to retail for between $160 and $220, compared to the original Aquatred, which sells for $93 to $120.