TECH – Understanding Tyres – ADB July 2007

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007


Welcome to MOTOZ, an Australian tyre company that has recently launched its range of unique off-road tyres into the marketplace.

Eight Years in the making, Motoz is the brainchild of Rick Atkinson. There were two main reasons for starting the project. Firstly, there has never been a tyre made specifically for Australian conditions, and secondly, Rick had a mate in Thailand with a tyre manufacturing company. Handy.

As Atkinson looked deeper in tyre manufacture, he quickly realized that design left room for improvement: “Most companies design a section of the tyre in 2D, then send the drawing off to the mould-maker and wait for the result. Initially, I did the same and had varying success,” he says. “We couldn’t get the results we wanted using 2D design methods, so we decided to go 3D.”

Sounds simple, but it took nearly 18-months working full time with a top 3D software engineer to develop the software needed.

“We can now look at every block of rubber, at every angle and predict just how it will react under any given condition,” Atkinson explains.

Just looking at the Motoz tread pattern, it’s clear that it’s break from the norm. There’s not a square block in sight, and more angles than a blind man playing snooker with a cucumber. But are the different just to be different?

“No, every angle is there for a reason,” says Atkinson.

Another difference is the use of natural rubber, when the big companies have moved to synthetic-rubber over the last decade.

“There are advantages and disadvantages with both products. Natural rubber grips better in dry/hard terrain, has more elasticity and is more durable, but is also heavier, more expensive, less stable and not as tactile in the wet,” he adds. “But for drought-stricken Australia, where the tyres get shredded, the advantages win. And we can counter some of the known disadvantages with improved tread design.”

Another difference is the crown radius. This is the tread profile of the tyre and differs on every different size of Motoz tyre. “This is because a smaller-capacity bike lays down power and corners differently to a big-bore monster and the riding style is usually different. The bigger tyres get a flatter centre section the help deal with the larger bike’s torque, while the smaller tyre gets a more rounded shoulder radius to help with flickability.”

If proof is needed that Motoz is forward thinking, it’s this. When they submitted the designs for E (Europe) markings, they were told that their 3D designs were invalid because they’re too advanced and ‘Could they send the plainer 2D ones instead?’ Let’s just hope the carrier pigeon has delivered the 2D plans safely…

Scans of the full article: