German taboo: comeback for studded winter tires?

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Comeback for studded winter tires?

German taboo: comeback for studded winter tires?-comeback

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Matti Morri, Head of Customer Service at Nokian Tires, shows the studded tires on the Porsche Cayenne.

Source: Nokian Tires

German taboo: comeback for studded winter tires?-winter

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They protrude one and a half to two millimeters…

Source: Nokian Tires

German taboo: comeback for studded winter tires?-taboo

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…and can be completely lowered again at the push of a button.

Source: Nokian Tires

German taboo: comeback for studded winter tires?-studded

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The Finnish manufacturer is a pioneer when it comes to winter tires.

Source: Nokian Tires

German taboo: comeback for studded winter tires?-taboo

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This is what the first winter tire produced 80 years ago looked like.

Source: Nokian Tires

Spike tires have been banned in Germany for almost 40 years because they destroy the asphalt. The ingenious invention of a Finnish manufacturer could revolutionize winter tire technology.

D.he Finnish winter tire specialist Nokian Tires is re-introducing the topic of spike tires, which is a taboo subject in Germany. With this type of tire, steel or hard metal pins vulcanized into a winter tire protrude one and a half to two millimeters from the tread.

On a Porsche Cayenne, the developers at Nokian Tires tested conventional, factory-made winter tires with 150 steel pins per tire. The special feature of this prototype: At the push of a button, the hard metal pins in the middle of the spike body, which remains firmly in the tire, move in and out again.

With this, Nokian Tires could eliminate the biggest flaw of the spike tire: its destructive effect on dry asphalt roads. This is one of the reasons why they have been banned in Germany since 1975 (Section 36 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, exception are emergency vehicles). The benefit, however, is undisputed: grip improves dramatically on slippery ice.

First winter tire 80 years ago

The cool Finns do not yet want to reveal which technology they use to extend and retract the spikes. But the series development and a permit in Germany are attractive: "This unique spike concept may actually become a reality one day," believes Matti Morri, Head of Customer Service at Nokian Tires. "As pioneers in the world of winter tires, we are showing that it is possible to combine the advantages of a spiked winter tire with the advantages of a spike-free winter tire." According to experts, it would be years before such a tire was approved for road use for the first time pass away.

Nokian Tires, headquartered in the southern Finnish city of Nokia, is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the world’s first winter tire next week. It was initially developed for trucks in 1934 under the name Nokian Kelirengas.

But just two years later, an improved version for cars followed. Nokian-Schnee-Hakkapeliitta is what the Finns call their new development, which can be very beneficial in the harsh Scandinavian winter.

The Hakkapeliitta tire, which was soon to be exported worldwide, acquired a legendary reputation at the particularly snow and ice-rich Monte Carlo Rally in 1963.

Approved in Austria and Switzerland

Because both the legendary Swede Erik Carlsson with his Saab 96 and the Finns Pauli Toivonen (Citroen DS 19) and Rauno Aaltonen (Mini Cooper) enjoyed decisive traction advantages thanks to Nokians studded with large studded spikes for the first time.

In Germany, spike tires are banned because they damaged the road surface and, above all, hollowed out deep ruts on motorways, which then quickly led to the notorious aquaplaning when it rained. At the same time, they offer far less grip on dry roads and draw attention to themselves with their significantly higher rolling noise.

Variable spikes could be the solution, but regulating the weather conditions under which spikes can be deployed and when not should be the sticking point.

The legal situation is different in the Alpine countries: In Austria, spike tires are allowed from October to May for motor vehicles on country roads up to a speed of 80 km / h, on motorways up to 100 km / h. The same applies to Switzerland: Here, the spikes, which can be heard from afar due to clacking noises, are allowed between November and April and up to a speed of 80 km / h. The only exceptions are the motorways.

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