Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Gastonia, NC - Born & raised in Connecticut - 31 years
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Here is my opinion and what I recall, but that was a long time ago, so others should chime in on this.
I know bias ply tires make a better smokey burn-out! I remember when the radial was just hitting the market - I was a kid driving then. I remember they were really expensive and there were rumors that the steel belts could break or slip within the tire, but with all things, improvements followed.
Radials lasted longer and did handle & grip better under most conditions - due to a thinner sidewall that puts more tread down on the road as it flexes. I remember that although radials gripped better, in a "take it to the limits" high speed corner, they would not give much warning when they were on the verge of breaking loose. Once you heard tire squeal, you got ready for the car to get a little sideways -and I don't think they recovered as well at that point of breaking loose. Bias tires seemed to squeal to give you a warning and could be pushed a little more until the tires actually broke traction.
Bias tires always seem to offer more "squeal", lots more smoke, and a nice black (or two if posi-traction) strip of rubber on the pavement that can last for months in a good long burnout. Done right, you can engulf your entire car in a cloud of tire smoke and impress your buddies! Radials "squawk" or "chirp" and then spin, don't throw off much smoke, and seem to leave a faint black burnout strip of rubber as you're melting the hides. And that's what I miss about bias tires.
If you do a search on the differences, they are explained. Bias tires have thicker side walls and less flex, they hold heat more, and are less fuel efficient. They also have a different side wall height that radials don't (especially these newer metric designated tires).
They came on the cars originally. I drove bunches of cars with them to include my old GTO's and other cars. Never had any problems and I did not baby my cars and always pushed them and would light up the tires whenever the mood hit - which was often.
Yep, you may find yourself having to "drive" the car a little more. If you get them, I would just pay attention to how the driving and handling will change a bit from what the radials offer, and adjust to it. Might try some hard cornering in a safe place where no damage to car/driver/others will occur just to get a feel of it. I would also pull a couple hard accelerations to experience the tires breaking traction as well as hard braking. Once you get a feel for it, then adjust your driving to know what to expect.
If you do switch to the Bias-ply, it would be neat for you to come back and write your experiences as to the differences you noticed before and after.