What is the difference between radial tyres and diagonal tyres?

'Radial tyres' and 'diagonal tyres' are 2 terms that also apply to earth-moving tyres. The two tyre types are distinguished via their respective structures.

Radial tyresRadial tyres
Radial tyres were developed in 1946 by Michelin. There was a need for more flexible tyres, which were able to adsorb shocks generated by road surfaces. These tyres are also stronger, which means machines can be operated at higher capacities.

In radial tyres, steel cord plies are placed on the heel of the tyre, and a belt is placed across the carcase. Because cord plies are placed directly on top of each other, the side walls of radial tyres remain very flexible. The image clearly shows the various layers featured in a radial tyre. The bottom layer features steel cord plies and gives the tyre its most important properties.

Advantages of radial tyres:

  • Good steering and better road contact
  • Improved driving comfort thanks to flexible side wall
  • Little heat generated in tyre at high speeds
  • Higher resistance against tread-related damage

Disadvantages of radial tyres:

  • The tyre generates more noise due to its harder tread
  • The soft side walls are susceptible when, for example, vehicles collide with curbstones
  • Minor bumps on road surfaces are dealt with less effectively because radial tyres feature a steel belt

Diagonal tyres


Diagonal tyres
Diagonal tyres have been used instead of full rubber tyres since 1898. They were a standard feature in the car industry before radial tyres were introduced.

Diagonal tyres consist of carcase layers made from nylon cord. They are placed diagonally across each other in the tread and the side walls, at an angle of 55 degrees. Diagonal tyres are used, for example, to perform activities in ports (straddle carrier). The image shows how the various layers are placed diagonally on top of each other.

Advantages of diagonal tyres:

  • Improved vehicle stability
  • Self-cleaning capacity on muddy surfaces
  • Higher resistance against side wall damage

Disadvantages of diagonal tyres:

  • High road resistance, thus rolling resistance, which causes the tyre to heat up quickly
  • Reduced comfort due to the tyre's rigidity