Silverline 4x4 is one of the most respected performance wheel and tyre experts in the UK, with performance owners and 4x4 enthusiasts making tracks to Warwickshire for bespoke tyre and wheel packages.
Antony Barnsley set up Silverline 4x4 more than 35 years ago. He sold his business to Bridgestone recently and his wealth of knowledge and experience has been retained as he continues in the purchasing and wholesale role.
(Silverline 4x4 branch manager Simon Mepstead (left) and founder Antony Barnsley are forging an impressive reputation amongst 4x4 owners and off-road enthusiasts)
For the last year he has also been mentoring the new branch manager, Simon Mepstead, and they are both seen as huge assets with unrivalled knowledge in the 4x4 and performance sector. In this feature, Simon speaks about the increasingly buoyant off road / 4x4 market and gives an outlook to the future, which he feels can be a bright one.
What to look for when buying?
We always ask open questions at the outset to find out exactly what each customer is looking for, as no two enthusiasts are the same.
Customers really need to be factoring in how much all-terrain driving they are doing and how much is mud related.
For example, the Bridgestone Dueler M/T 674 tyre is a rugged new product which is mud-focussed, but drives really nicely too. It’s a great all-round performer, so if the split between all-terrain and mud outings is around 50/50, this could be a perfect tyre.
But if enthusiasts are spending 95% off-road, then we would be likely to recommend something else.
What the different types do?
Different 4x4 products offer different features and benefits. We have a customer who runs an eco-camp site but needs his 4x4 to deliver logs and for general maintenance. We can recommend a tyre that operates on low pressures with a smaller footprint that won’t churn up his land and reduce ground compaction.
Other customers predominantly drive on-road, so there are tyres that offer tread-wear balance for increased life and excellent wet-braking performance.
So, while each tyre might look similar, they do offer different features and benefits and it is our job to understand what product suits the bespoke needs of each customer.
Hard or soft rubber?
We don’t tend to delve too deep here, because the silica composition of modern 4x4 tyres are excellent. They are all fit for purpose and offer all-round benefits to each motorist. Modern 4x4 tyres have many targets to achieve, whether that be noise (both pass-by and internal), weight, wet & dry grip, aquaplaning, to name but a few. With advances in compound technology (silica / Nanopro Tech) and mixing (tandem mixing), tyre manufacturers are advancing their individual technologies.
Where to buy - online or retailer?
Retail every day! At Silverline 4x4, we are 4x4 specialists with unrivalled knowledge in the sector.
Our customer base stretches across the UK and there is no job or vehicle that we can’t provide a solution for, or provide advice on. This is where we come into our own.
We spend up to 60% of our time correcting online purchases that weren’t suitable for the customers’ vehicle, or products that have been fitted incorrectly.
What's a good allrounder for offroading and motorways?
The Bridgestone Dueler M/T 674 tyre is very impressive. It has been designed to meet the hardcore demands of off-road driving - even through heavy mud - and incorporates revolutionary 3D technology to offer superior durability and off-road performance, providing maximum traction and control in the process. It boasts incredible mud traction and grip, outstanding off-road stability in all conditions, improved tread-wear balance for increased life and excellent braking performance.
The Dueler M/T 674 really is an incredible tyre and we’re thrilled to stock the product. We know a good tyre when we see one and having driven on it, we can’t recommend it highly enough. Dueler M/T 674 wheel packages are now available, in 235/85R16, 245/75R16,245/70R17 and 265/70R17 sizes.
What to avoid/watch out for?
Wheel spacers can sometimes be products to watch out for. They are an aftermarket part designed to move wheels farther away from the vehicle’s body. They’re a common and inexpensive upgrade with a lot to offer both street-focused cars and off-roaders.
But they do come with problems, especially if fitted incorrectly. The worst case scenario is the wheel coming off the hub, because the car is trying to do something that the wheel doesn’t want to do, essentially.
This underlines the need to come and speak to an expert or pick up the phone. We’re here to help! We never sell on price, but just advise on the right solution for each vehicle we see. Our services aren’t like conventional automotive centres in so far as our products aren’t viewed as distress purchases, so price isn’t the overriding factor as the specific solution is the main requirement.
To use a cricketing or golfing analogy, if you play the sports because they’re a hobby that you love, then you will spend time researching the best bat or the set of clubs that suit your swing. It might well be the case that you have a professional who is your go-to expert who can tailor the right equipment to make you play better.
We do the same, but for 4x4 lovers. Just like a cricketer might want a bat with a lower sweet-spot, a better pick-up or something less ‘bottom heavy’, 4x4 enthusiasts want the right wheels and tyres to allow them to enjoy their vehicles which is their passion.
Brands obviously play their part and some customers are more brand loyal, but as a rule, it is a bespoke solution and the correct advice, coupled with the recommended wheel and tyre package which meets their vision and requirements. This allows the owner to enjoy their driving ownership experience to the full.
Call us on 01926 490002 for more.
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