Bridgestone Blizzak LM001: a winter tyre aiming for excellence
To launch its new Blizzak LM001 winter tyre, tyre manufacturer Bridgestone invited us to its Nordic test centre at Vidsel in Sweden: the Swedish Proving Ground. Through several workshops, we discovered this new high performance tyre that aims to become a benchmark in the winter tyres category.
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Bridgestone’s development centre, situated close to the Arctic Circle, is no stranger to us. Indeed, we have already used these tracks to test different winter tyre products and prototypes.
The Blizzak LM001: a 'no compromise' tyre
On the technological side, this new arrival has an original tread design with wide "grooves" known as horn lugs. These horn lugs widen as they reach the shoulder area to provide, amongst other things, a better evacuation of water and slush while giving better road contact. These wide grooves significantly improve traction on snowy surfaces.
For water evacuation, the meticulous work of Bridgestone engineers has gone as far as rounding the corners of tread blocks at the junction with grooves. Sharp angles create turbulence in terms of water flow thus preventing the efficient evacuation of water (see diagrams shown opposite). According to Bridgestone engineers, this slight change in appearance will bring significant improvements.
This tyre also features 3D sipes, frequently found on winter tyres. These sipes improve handling and traction. Bridgestone even announce a higher resistance to tyre wear.
The Blizzak LM001 try-out on the Swedish Proving Ground
To test the performance of its new tyre, Bridgestone prepared several workshops on the “ground”. In each workshop, the LM001 was compared with the Continental ContiWinterContact TS 850. The Japanese manufacturer’s choice can be explained by the fact that the German tyre manufacturer is one of the key references for winter tyres and has won numerous tests conducted by European test organisations. Bridgestone therefore decided to confront a serious rival, and consequently, assume the position of outsider in the proposed tests.
Please take a look at the computer graphics (available soon) of the performance between these two tyres, based on figures provided by Bridgestone.
The general impression is good. The LM001 is immediately appealing through its precision and responsiveness on all of the test track surfaces. On snow covered surfaces, the tyre gives an excellent feeling that inspires confidence thanks to a good interaction with driving aids (EPS and ABS). We had the opportunity to test and compare it with its Continental rival in different conditions: braking, accelerating, hill starts, slalom, handling in winter and Nordic conditions only. The two tyres are very similar, which when looking at Continental’s track record, is a real compliment for Bridgestone. The “fresh” arrival on the market features the brand’s latest technological advances and reaps the benefits of several years of development on the Swedish tracks. In particular, it stands apart from Continental with its traction and handling on snow covered surfaces.
Bridgestone of course, provided the figures and allowed us to evaluate and compare these tyres. However, it is not possible to provide a general ranking since for a comparison to be objective, it must be complete and all tyre performances must be compared: wear, longevity, noise, dry grip, wet grip...
After our test on the Swedish Proving Ground, there is no doubt that the Blizzak LM001 will appear among the top tyres in European tests. These tests will also give an overall appreciation of the tyre, particularly with regards its wet and dry performances that we were unable to test.
Also, take a look at the video which gives a sneak peek of our test day, and the Swedish Proving Ground in its privileged setting.
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