Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 and Firestone Winterforce 2 are both winter tiers whose tread remains flexible and functional even below freezing temperatures. Winterforce is an affordable option with mediocre performance in cold temperatures on snow and ice due to its open tread pattern.
On the other hand, Blizzak uses its optimized tread design and composition to offer supreme traction on an icy road and rolls smoothly out through snow-packed areas.
Let’s dive in, starting with the tread design of both tires.
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Comparing WS90 with Firestone WinterForce 2
The distinct tread of Blizzak WS90 characterizes a symmetrical pattern with a central, crisscross rib which continues circumferentially without any lateral void, two central grooves, and two disjointed grooves formed by notching of large shoulder lugs and multidirectional, 3D zigzag sipes over the blocks. Comparatively, a reduced number of narrow grooves leads to increment of the contact patch and causes the tread to grip firmly on the road. Large shoulders offer smooth handling as the vehicle steers along a corner and make its overall dry traction superior to its competitor. 3D zigzag sipes are marked along with the full depth of tread and are oriented multi-directionally to assist the grooves in wiping the water away from the tread and account for better traction on a slippery surface like icy or wet road.
Winterforce 2 has an open tread pattern that consists of five grooves of different widths among its tread ribs and zigzag siping over the blocks. Its dry traction on road is lesser in comparison as a high void ratio minimizes the surface area of tread in contact with the road, leading to reduced grip on the road. Traction over the wet and icy path is dependable because its sipes and grooves wipe away water and resist hydroplaning yet the competitor takes the lead in this respect. On snow-covered paths, its voids offer satisfactory snow evacuation, however, it stands below comparatively as its tread rubber delivers lesser traction in snow as compared with the tread composition of its competitor.
Road Grip Comparison
Blizzak WS90 has superior dry traction (even when compared to Michelin tires).
Central, crisscross rib and relatively lesser number of narrow grooves make its contact patch relatively greater, leading to a strong grip of tread over the dry road. Its grooves and full-depth, multidirectional, zigzag sipes account for efficient water removal and provide supreme hydroplaning resistivity which leads to superior traction on a wet or icy road. On a snow-packed lane, its Multicell tread compound which has microscopic bite particles and hydrophilic coating increases the biting ability of deep grooves over soft snow and slush, resulting in snow traction superior to its competitor.
Winterforce 2 shows decreased grip on dry paved surface in comparison due to its high void ratio. Five deep grooves with varying broadness make its contact patch relatively lower, as a result, its tread holds on the surface less firmly than the competitor. Over the wet or icy surface, slip resistance is offered by grooves and zigzag sipes as water moves out through these spaces yet its ratings for hydroplaning resistivity are lower than its competitor because it has relatively less number of sipes. Its snow traction is better than its ice traction as its high void ratio provides good evacuation of snow but its tread composition lacks specialized compounds to enhance biting ability over snow, so, it loses from the competitor in this respect.
While taking turns over the dry road, WS90 shows a more controlled steer response than its competitor as its large shoulders maintain firm traction while moving along the corners. Biting ability provided by traction notches along with shoulder lugs further improves steer handling on the dry surface. Deep lateral grooves and full-depth, zigzag sipes over shoulder blocks efficiently wipe away water and support stable handling on turns over the wet or icy roads.
Shoulder lugs of Winterforce 2 are not only smaller in size but also lack textures like notches or scoops to increase dry traction which proves to be a demerit and accounts for comparatively less command and stability in handling as the vehicle turns along the corner over the dry road. Steer handling on a wet and icy road is supported by lateral grooves and sipes, however, its performance is lesser than the competitor as it has only a few sipes over the shoulder lugs.
Comparison of Hydroplaning Resistance
WS90 provides efficient resistance against hydroplaning due to its deep grooves and full-depth, zigzag, 3D sipes which are oriented multi-directionally and provide enough room for the removal of water over the wet or icy surface. Increased number of sipes and wiper-like action of crisscross, central rib makes it win from the competitor in this respect.
Although, Winterforce 2 offers good hydroplaning resistivity owing to its deep grooves and zigzag sipes yet its resistance against aquaplaning is a bit lower when compared with its competitor due to a relatively lesser extent of siping over its blocks.
Comparison of Rolling Resistance
Continuous, central rib, large shoulder lugs, and relatively less narrow grooves in Blizzak result in a large contact patch of tread which faces more resistance while it rolls over the road. As it requires more energy to overcome this high rolling resistance, hence, it consumes more fuel comparatively.
Winterforce has a minimal contact patch of tread due to the high void ratio and less hysteresis (energy loss) is produced when it moves on paved road, resulting in lower values of rolling resistance. Reduced energy requirement makes its fuel average better than its competitor.
Comfort and Noise Comparison
WS90 offers more comfort both in terms of tire noise as well as on-road traction due to its low void ratio and increased contact patch. A lesser number of grooves provide less space for movement and collision of air particles and cause low sound production. More surface area in contact with the road provides superior traction and more comfortable driving on road.
The high void ratio makes Winterforce 2 relatively uncomfortable on road. Open channels of its tread offer more space for wind resonation, making a lot of noise and lesser on-road traction due to reduced contact patch provides less comfort while driving.
Durability and tread wear
WS90 shows superior durability over its competitor as its tread composition is based on dual compound structuring which gives it strength and traction on the icy or snowy path. The Upper 55% of its tread is built of NanoPro tech Multicell compound which contains microscopic bite particles, silica enhancements, and hydrophilic coating to provide enhanced traction on ice and snow while the remaining 45% is Bridgestone’s standard winter compound. After 55% wear, a built-in indicator tells the owner that tread is now reaching its end.
Winterforce 2 wears faster than its competitor as its tread composition lacks specialized enhancements to make soft winter tire compound more sturdy, however, it is quite durable among most winter tires.
Concerning the price, WS90 lies on the premium side of the spectrum, however, its superior tread built and improved traction capabilities over ice and snow justify its higher cost. On the other side, Winterforce 2 is a fairly reliable winter tire to consider when low on budget.
- Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 and Firestone Winterforce 2 are both winter tiers.
- Blizzak offers a better grip while rolling on the dry, wet, and icy road.
- In terms of traction on snow-covered tracks, WS90 is favored by its unique design and composition.
- Winterforce faces less rolling resistance and has better fuel efficiency.
- WS90 makes less noise and gives more comfort on road.
- WS90 is a more durable tire.
- Winterforce 2 is priced lesser than its competitor.