Nokian targets grip and durability with Hakkapeliitta LT2
Nokian Tyres has introduced a new winter range for larger 4×4 vehicles, light trucks and vans. Known as the Hakkapeliitta LT2, the tyre employs the same innovations and technical solutions used in the Hakkapeliitta 7 passenger car tyre, however the Finnish tyre maker says the LT2 has been designed for heavy-duty use and this “combines uncompromised grip and exceptional durability.”
According to Nokian, in addition to possessing the “superior grip that is typical of Hakkapeliittas,” the new tyre “stands out from its predecessors thanks to its excellent wear resistance and unique driving stability.” The manufacturer claims the LT2 can “safely and effortlessly” move on slippery icy roads and snow-covered worksites. Nokian describes the Hakkapeliitta LT2’s grip as being reassuring even under extreme conditions and assures that it maintains its precision and stability even in the most challenging conditions.
The tyre’s construction has been optimised for the large wheel and heavy axle loads of 4x4s, pick-up type light trucks and vans alike, Nokian says, adding that the LT2’s steel belt package has been especially reinforced in the shoulder area; the steel belt package also has more than 60 per cent more steel than that used in standard passenger car tyres. This under the skin durability is said to be complemented by an extremely tear and cut-resistant tread compound and sidewall abrasion protection.
The tyre’s claimed handling and grip qualities are attributed to the centre tread pattern; Nokian product development manager Juha Pirhoen calls this an “aggressive” pattern and adds that its accentuated siping improves grip on snow while the wide grooving removes water and slush from between the tyre and road surface. The tread blocks that extend from the side to the centre are intended to improve handling and stability on unsealed roads. The large number of tread blocks with sharp edges also improves the snow grip of the tyre, the tyre maker states. To guarantee safe driving under rapidly changing conditions, Nokian says the tread of the LT2 contains sipe activators that activate the functionality of the sipes.
The LT2 is a studded tyre and these of course play their part in delivering grip. Nokian says the tyre’s unique winter grip and soft road contact” are ensured by the oriented steel studs together with the droplet-shaped “Air Claw Technology” air shock absorbers on the front edges of the tread blocks. “This innovation is much like the heel cushions on good running shoes,” Nokian explains: the air holes on the tyre soften and dampen the impact of the stud on the road, which also reduces the stud’s vibration during road contact. The air cushion technology is also said to reduce road wear and tyre noise and improve stud durability.
Longitudinal and lateral grip is maximised by the eight rows of studs in the shoulder areas, the tyre maker states. The studs have several edges for maximising the area of contact, in turn improving the grip of the studs on slippery surfaces. The studs are surrounded by a running-in indicator that disappears once a tyre has been run in; this feature is present as Nokian says careful driving that avoids power acceleration, braking, and sudden steering movements is needed for the tyre’s first 500 kilometres.
Both the Driving Safety Indicator (DSI) and the snowflake symbol (WSI) can be found on the sidewall of the LT2. The Driving Safety Indicator is standard equipment on all Nokian tyres; the percentages on the tyre’s centre surface show in plain terms how much of the main groove depth remains on the tread. The numbers wear out as the tyre wears down. The snowflake symbol remains visible until groove depth reaches 40 per cent of a brand new tyre’s depth. Nokian says that once the snowflake has worn out, new winter tyres should be purchased to ensure sufficient safety.
The Hakkapeliitta LT2 initially covers 12 dimensions for 16 to 18-inch rim diameters. Retail sales of this new product begins immediately in Nokian Tyres’ core markets.