When Bridgestone announced its flagship brand's entry into the agricultural tyre business in Europe in 2014, the range it introduced was one featuring the latest innovations, such as the Very High Flexion (VF) technology seen in the Bridgestone VT-Tractor. Standard agricultural tyres remained the preserve of the company's Firestone brand, however this is no longer the case – at this year's Agritechnica fair in Germany, the tyre maker unveiled the first standard segment agricultural tyre for Europe to wear the Bridgestone name.
The Bridgestone VX-Tractor made it to Agritechnica by the skin of its teeth. Pointing to the size 710/70 R42 example positioned directly in front of Bridgestone's show stand, sales manager Thomas Fuhr confirmed it was the very first VX-Tractor tyre ever, produced in Bridgestone's Bilbao plant in Spain (where all European market Bridgestone and Firestone agricultural tyres are made) only two weeks before the start of Agritechnica. Fuhr quipped that the tyre was so fresh it was still warm to touch. Customer deliveries aren't scheduled to begin until July next year.
Bridgestone introduced the VX-Tractor, Fuhr explains, as it "wanted a premium, Bridgestone-branded product featuring standard technology." When using the word standard, Fuhr refers to the casing construction selected for the VX-Tractor and the absence of VF and IF (Improved Flexion) technologies in the tyre sidewall. The development team's priority was to produce a tyre capable of delivering long wear life, and therefore the VX-Tractor has both longer and deeper lugs than many standard segment competitors. Thomas Fuhr shares that the Bridgestone tyre not only features a different lug design to its Firestone siblings, it also contains more rubber in total.
The VX-Tractor is intended for use on tractors from around 100HP upwards and will be available in 38- and 42-inch rear sizes and 24- to 34-inch front wheel sizes. According to Thomas Fuhr, the order in which the 15 proposed rear wheel fitments and 34 front wheel sizes come to market depends upon respective demand.
Discussions with OEMs are currently being held, however Fuhr was not in a position to comment on which tractor manufacturers are interested in approving the Bridgestone VX-Tractor as original equipment.