With its new ContiFlexStud technology, Continental has made substantial progress in terms of the active safety and performance of studded winter tires. The innovative studs are now being produced exclusively for the new IceContact 3 winter tire in sizes from 17-inch upwards. Tires of this size are normally found on larger, heavier vehicles that require higher levels of extra grip in Nordic winters.
Over the tire’s full service life, the new stud technology delivers greater comfort and a marked reduction in road wear. “Conventional studs were never able to fully penetrate the ice on the road surface, because their rigid aluminum jacket prevented this happening,” explains Marco Gellings, Head of Winter Tire Development at Continental. “Our rubber-jacketed ContiFlexStuds enable the carbide pins to bite deeper into the ice. As a result, each of these new studs delivers around seven percent more grip on ice – which means a major gain in active safety.” In addition, the studs are vulcanized into the tire at the production stage, virtually excluding any subsequent stud loss. Winter tires with these studs inserted deliver much higher safe mileage than in the past. And the more flexible studs generate tire/road noise that is much more pleasant than with conventional aluminum-jacket studs.
The road surface itself also benefits from the new ContiFlexStuds: The new studs can adapt more flexibly to the rough road surface, leading to 20 percent less road wear than with conventional studs. And as rubber is far more resistant to wear in contact with the road than aluminum, the wear of the studs themselves is reduced, leading to a further improvement in durability. This also brings benefits in terms of comfort: As the rubber body of the studs flexes on contact with the pavement, tire/road noise is far quieter and easier on the ear.