New steer tire from Cooper’s commercial vehicle brand focuses on even wear for higher mileage

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Cooper Tire’s Roadmaster brand has bolstered its commercial long-haul line-up with the RM832 EM steer tire. The SmartWay-verified newcomer replaces the outgoing RM180+ EM and makes gains with more miles to removal, an improved tread design, and a new compound.

Gary Schroeder, executive director of Cooper’s global truck and bus tire business tells Tire Technology International that with the Roadmaster brand, customers will get, “Tier 2 performance at Tier 3 pricing. We believe this is why we continue to win with owner-operators, small fleets, and with trailer OEMs. We also continue to grow the number of OEs we’re working with, which shows added confidence in our brand.”

For the new RM832, the combination of a revised footprint and “unique” tread design spreads weight and provides more contact with the road. “Overall, it provides more uniform wear – and overall more miles to removal – than the prior tire, and that’s an important selling point for our dealers,” says Schroeder.

“In addition, we have a new decoupling groove that further enhances even wear by minimizing shoulder wear, in particular,” he continues. “The RM832 includes a new stone protector ledge in the center grooves, which stops stones from lodging in the groove and eventually drilling into the casing.

“As for the tread depth, it’s the same on the RM832 as it was on our previous model (14.4mm (18/32in)), and it’s one of the deeper treads on the market for steer tires. With our wider footprint spreading out weight, coupled with new compounding, the wear per 32nd is reduced, giving our customers more miles to removal.”

Cooper is giving little away on that new compounding, saying only that the RM832 benefits from “second-generation Energy Max compounding, which results in excellent fuel economy”. It’s known to provide lower rolling resistance while improving tread durability, enabling the new tire to “well exceed the requirements for SmartWay verification”.

As one might expect, engineers benchmarked the RM832’s performance against the outgoing RM180, as well as against the leading competitors in its segment. Schroeder adds that Cooper also benchmarked the retreadability and warranties offered by others, with a goal to be best in class in that area. The result is a six-year, two-retread warranty.

“One area that often gets overlooked is the casing on commercial tires, especially for those who buy solely on price,” Schroeder explains.” Typically, the less you pay for a tire, the less engineering that goes into the tire, and fewer – if any – retreads. We know that for our Roadmaster brand, as well as Cooper brand commercial tires, that the casing is the foundation for the tire. It’s why we engineered a four-belt, high-tensile steel casing, which separates the RM832 EM from other tires at its price point. Like all of our Roadmaster tires, the ultimate value is long miles to removal coupled with retreadability, and that’s where our highly engineered casings come into play.”

After the conclusion of the digital design and track testing for the new steer tire, the development team sent the new Roadmaster into the field with “top-level fleets” to see how the prototypes tires performed predecessor tires, competitive tires the fleets may run, and others. 

Says Schroeder, “We really know we’ve hit the mark when the test fleets ask: ‘When can we buy these tires?’”

The RM832 is on sale now at dealers in North America and is available in seven sizes. Cooper is targeting owner operators and smaller fleets who are looking for “great performance at a reasonable price”, according to Schroeder. “Often, these customers won’t retread tires, but they get extra value with the Roadmaster brand since tire dealers and retreaders pay a premium compared to other brands at their price point, for the casings.”

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Based in Calgary, Alberta, Graham is a former editor of Tire Technology International. Now working freelance, his other outlets include Autocar, Professional Motorsport World, TractionLife.com and Autosphere.ca. He’s a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), the Guild of Motoring Writers and the Motor Press Guild.

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