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Re: Michelin XZX

On 20 Mar 2001, at 19:37, Tim Dapper wrote:

> I believe Michelin invented the radial tire in 1947, but did not have
> a US presence.  When the patents ran out, Michelin went after the US
> market, and started in the late 1960's at, of all places, Sears.  So
> the first branded radial tires in the US were Allstate, made by
> Michelin.  The Michelin 'X' was a fantastic tire, and the only model
> they had for a very long time.  I do not think their current offerings
> are as good.

While it is certainly true that Sears sold them under their own 
name, I'm pretty sure I bought my first Michelin radials before that 
started. Soon after, when Sears started carrying them, the only 
Sears/Michelin X 165-15 available was a tube type tire because 
this was most commonly used on some British sports cars that 
had spoked wheels and would require tubes anyway.

I don't know about when radials were invented, but I also thought it 
was a Michelin invention. But if it was Michelin's invention, I don't 
see why they would need to wait for the patent to run out.

The father of a good friend of mine worked for Firestone in the 60s 
(when Firestone was still a respected brand.) He told me that one 
of the things he did for them was run a research program where 
they bought up bunches of Michelin X radials and tested them. The 
idea was to get a measure of the quality and construction of the 
tire so they could duplicate it. I know that they worked on this for 
YEARS and still dispared of ever making tires that good.

They checked their raw balance, drove them, tore them apart, 
inspected the internal construction, and analyzed the rubber 
compounds. At the same time they were trying to develop tire 
making techniques which could make such tires. Simple things 
like being able to make a tire that had good balance in the raw 
state were really hard in those days, but Michelin did it.

It was in the process of this testing that they discovered that a 
freshly mounted tubeless tire could be forced to rotate on the rim if 
driven hard right after mounting. They found that new tires could 
rotate as much as 1/2 revolution on the rims within the first month 
of ownership. For this reason, I like to keep spare rims around and 
replace tires onto fresh rims before I need them. I then just store 
them on the rims for a couple of months before swapping them 
onto the car.

Jim Adney
Madison, WI 53711-3054

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