R-1W or R-1 Ag Tires? Which is Best for You?

Posted by Jim Enyart on Mar 13, 2019 12:58:14 PM

We get a lot of questions about the R-1W vs. R-1, which we address in this latest blog post for CEAT Specialty Tires.

First, a little background:

In the ag industry, tread depth for traction tires uses the nomenclature R-1, R-1W. This industry standard allows tire manufacturers to work within standardized classifications so original equipment manufacturers and farmers can properly compare tires.

The difference between the R-1 and R-1W is the tread depth. The “W” designation stands for “Wet” and has approximately 25% deeper tread depth. Remember this is an approximate! The reality is that when comparing tread depths between different product lines from the same manufacturer or from different manufacturers, there are most likely other design differences than just the depth of the tread. These differences should be a primary concern in the buying or selling process. Tread depth should be a secondary concern.

Your goal -- the best product for the application

The primary objective should be to identify the best product for the application, period! Making the best choice can only be achieved by identifying the application as well as the features and benefits that are needed or required. Does the specific application require increased load carrying capacities, high speed capabilities, maximized traction, flotation . . . or does it just need to hold air for the application? The application and features required should drive you to the best product. The answers may lead you to bias, radial, high speed, flotation, row crop, IF, VF or even IF CFO product lines, among others.

In the majority of cases, multiple tread depths are unlikely to be a factor in making the purchasing decision.

Comparing the various options based on a cost per 32nd of tread depth helps with cost comparisons. The R-1’s will cost less due to reduced tread depths which translates to less rubber in the tire. Don’t get caught pricing a “tire” against another “tire” without the details or you may get caught appearing to be out of the market price-wise!

Tread depths can enter in the buying decision where the equipment is only CEAT FARMAX R85 frontoperating in dry conditions or is not utilized in applications requiring maximum power to the ground, or other high-performance features.

No farmer plans to operate their equipment in wet, muddy conditions but when they have to, they would be better served with R-1W’s, such as the FARMAX R85 (pictured to the right), over R-1’s due to the additional traction the deeper lugs can provide.

Dry conditions either stay dry or go to wet and wet conditions only stay the same or go towards the dry side with time. Amazing! It’s much better to be prepared with the deeper tread depth radial tires for wet conditions because down time during harvest season can really hurt the bottom line.

-- If you are comparing costs of an R-1 vs an R-1W, you should see at least a 25% price gap to seriously consider the R1 --

The R-1W has about 25% more tread depth and in the majority of applications. The increased tread depths will deliver a longer service life that will correspond with the increased tread depth percentage. Keep in mind when you start with an R-1W you can run the tires for quite some time and with the right amount of tread removal, you will then have your R-1.

If pricing is the only consideration, then the cheaper the better. But the cheapest tire may end up being the most expensive in the long run. We tend to get what we pay for.

So what is the best buy?

It is very simple . . . the correct tire for the application and operation. The tire that provides the performance and trouble-free service life that fits the farmer’s needs is by far the best option.

Just keep in mind . . . a deeper treaded R-1W might provide a bit of insurance against wet conditions when it is needed the most!

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Topics: Ag tire advice