Bias Tires Vs. Radial Tires

Should you choose bias or radial tires for your farm machinery? Both types are round and hold air, but their construction is very different. Radials allow the sidewall and tread to function as two independent features of the tire. Bias tires have multiple rubber plies, or layers overlapping each other. Puncture resistance is better in bias, but radials have better traction.

Matt Frank is a brand manager with Firestone Ag. He says they still produce bias tires and tires with innertubes, but most of their production is moving toward radials.

"They last longer, they give you a smoother ride which is not a small thing, right? They are better able to handle the larger equipment that is being produced today because it’s able to handle heavier loads, it has a wider foot print, so it reduces compaction, just provides better yield for the farmer," says Frank. "So, we’re encouraging farmers to try radials as much as possible. The market today is still 60% bias so there’s still a lot of opportunity out there for people to try that."

Bias tires will work fine on older or smaller equipment. For the big guns, radials are the better choice.

"The sprayers, the combines, the tractors, the things that carry the load absolutely have to have radial tires on them. Even the IF/VF version of radial, which is the technology that allows you to carry heavier loads with reduced inflation pressure," he says. "So, the bias foot print’s going to be grooved, it’s going to cause great deal of compaction. The radial’s going to be a little bit wider, IF/VF is going to be even wider than that. The bigger the footprint, the more you’re able to spread your weight around."

Radial tires cost more but depending on usage they should last around 10-years and bias tires six-to-seven-years.