Heidenau – German tyres for road and track
The name Heidenau may be new to some Tyres & Accessories readers, yet the firm behind the name has produced motorcycle tyres for more than 60 years. Today Heidenau produces a broad range of tyres for various motorcycle and scooter segments – the company manufactures around 400,000 motorcycle tyres per annum in total – and the company claims a very good European dealer network, with sales in most European countries. In the past five years Heidenau has also taken on a more international flavour and now boasts strong partners in the US, South Africa and Australia. Last year it also began with a new Canadian partner and intends to further develop new markets.
The German company started life in 1946 as a producer of moulded rubber products before moving into car and motorcycle tyres four years later. Over time the motorcycle sector’s importance to Heidenau grew and the firm specialised in moto tyre production. Indeed, before German reunification Heidenau was East Germany’s main supplier of two-wheeler tyres, manufacturing these products under the ‘Pneumant’ brand name (the entire East German tyre industry was amalgamated under the Pneumant name in 1968). In 1993 the company became an independent entity with the formation of Reifenwerk Heidenau GmbH & Co. KG. Starting with 35 tyre sizes, Heidenau built up its portfolio and today it includes 550 tyre designs for many diverse applications.
During the past year Heidenau has introduced a number of additions to its range: The K60 Scout is a new all-round enduro tyre suitable for bikes such as the BMW 1200 GS, Yamaha XT1200Z and Honda XL700V. The manufacturer says the K60 Scout has been optimised for on and off road use through testing under the toughest conditions. The tyre is available in seven M+S rated sizes, two of which are recent introductions. For on-road users in the supermoto category, Heidenau has launched the K80. This performance tyre is said to be designed for greater cornering precision and better contact with the road surface; Heidenau says the K80 combines maximum grip and a high durability thanks to its use of the latest elastomer technology, and thus offers excellent driving characteristics under all conditions. The K80 is available in two sizes.
For Scooter riders, Heidenau offers the K66. Four new sizes have been added to the broad K66 range, which includes a number of M+S fitments. The manufacturer says the new tyres fit scooters such as the Piaggio Carnaby, Honda SH300i and Honda Innova. According to Heidenau, the K66 combines the “best properties” of tyres designed for wet and dry weather conditions and the tread pattern’s open design offers a high margin of safety. This, combined with the tyre’s optimised compound, means the K66 offers the “best grip under all conditions performance on dry and wet roads.” Riders of classic motorcycles and sidecars have not been forgotten by Heidenau; the German tyre maker has recently introduced the K40 tyre for classic bikes and the K28 for sidecars. The K40 features a ribbed pattern and is available in two sizes – one for racing and one for street use. The K28 is specifically designed to deal with conditions unique to sidecars; drive and steering forces are distributed over a large contact patch by the tyre’s angular contour. This and the stable longitudinal profile in the centre of the tyre is said to reduce wear and increase mileage. Heidenau says a high level of wet grip has been achieved through the use of new additives mixture and a special tread design.
Heidenau also offers an assortment of racing motorcycle tyres. Scooter racers can choose from a range of slicks, racing soft warm, racing soft cool and rain tyres, while classic cycle racers have 19 racing soft warm tyres at their disposal. For super moto racing, Heidenau offers soft compound tyres for small displacement bikes and use on a range of surfaces; the manufacturer notes that these are designed for long tyre life and use in all weather conditions. It also offers slick tyres in super moto soft and super moto medium soft compounds plus rain tyres with rain soft compound and RKM compound for intermediate use. The tyres in Heidenau’s moto cross range all feature the RCH compound, a hard compound intended to optimise resistance to block cracking. Heidenau reports it designed these tyres in close collaboration with moto cross teams.