When it comes to choosing tires, drivers are mainly divided into 2 categories. The first category is the one that is ready to give all the money in the world just to buy the most reputable tires. The second category includes drivers for whom the budget is the priority selection criterion. The 2 camps are always in debate.
The first category vehemently claims that cheap tires cannot deliver the performance that the expensive ones bring. While they are true to a certain extent, there is a certain category of brands that combine the low price and the decent performance required for a safe drive in various conditions.
The Hercules tire brand is one of them. It offers a price segment so low that drivers question the performance of the tires. I thought it would be useful to take a look at Hercules tires to demystify everything that is wrongly said about it.
I think this article will be useful to drivers, especially since the Internet does not offer much reliable information about it. The fact is that this tire maker is not as popular as Hankook, Pirelli, or even Bridgestone. But are its tires worthy of the drivers' attention or not? This is exactly what I propose to reveal in this article.
Are Hercules Tires Worthy Of Drivers' Choice?
Before writing this article, I had the opportunity to test some models from the brand's catalog. I made some conclusions that I want to present here. No tire brand would satisfy absolutely everyone. Every driver looks for certain criteria in his tires. For this reason, an optimal tire for some might not be optimal for others.
As for the Hercules brand, I can say that its primary target audience is the buyer for whom the reasonable price matters a lot. Namely, those who are not ready to pay hundreds of bucks for a tire are the ones who will look for Hercules tires. However, few know that apart from the advantageous price, Hercules has several other benefits that would motivate drivers to consider its tires. I have identified at least 3 aspects that I think you should know about Hercules.
1: Hercules Brand Reputation
Hercules has been operating in this industry since 1952. It is a subsidiary of American Tire Distributors Inc. and has the official name of Hercules Tire and Rubber Company. It operates from Ohio and focuses on the production of quality tires that it sells mostly in North America. The brand does not have strong marketing - the reason why it is not very popular compared to its competitors. However, the quality of the tires is very decent and provides more than the minimum required performance and safety.
2: Reasonable Price
You already know that this tire maker is from the low-price class compared to the more popular brands. What is important to understand is that low price is not necessarily associated with lower quality. Simply, the Hercules philosophy is predominantly based on the "word of mouth" advertising strategy rather than on mega-expensive marketing tools. As such, the price of the Hercules tire consists of its materials and labor, excluding the additional millions for advertising.
3: Attractive Design
I never evaluate tire performance only by its aesthetics. So this aspect is not one of the most relevant. But I can't not mention Hercules' talent to produce really good-looking tires. Once you mount them on the vehicle, it looks imposing and temperamental. Even if it's not a big deal, I think we all like to receive compliments for the attractive aesthetics of our car.
At the end of the day, I can only add that Hercules tires will not impress those who are used to driving with Pirelli or Bridgestone tires. However, they will surely impress those who have tested other cheap manufacturers with dubious reputations. Hercules tires provide decent performance for a reasonable price. So, those who prioritize the budget should keep an eye on this tire manufacturer.
Hercules Tire Review
Lucky me I have plenty of friends who love the theme of tires as much as I do. So, it wasn't difficult for me to find some tires from this manufacturer to do some test rides. My friends, of course, joined the process. To be sure of the transparency of the testing process, know that my friends are not just amateurs, but mechanics, racers, and experts in the automotive field.
Hercules All-Season Tires
Hercules/Ironman IMOVE Gen 2 AS
I will start with this UHP all-season tire that was able to change my initial perception that I had about Hercules. I have to admit that my expectations were low until I got to test them. Hercules designed this tire to serve various purposes and conditions for those who drive a sports sedan or other similar passenger vehicle. In short, I discovered decent grip, very precise and agile steering, as well as very promising traction.
Architecturally, this iMovie Gen 2 AS tire features an asymmetric design incorporating an advanced tread compound. Massive tire shoulders along with the five ribs enhance the force distribution. Thanks to its modern design, the tire establishes closer contact with the road. The brand has used quite a few technologies in this tire to marry together the sporty nature with decent comfort.
In wet conditions, the tire performed very well. It expels the water like a pro thanks to its longitudinal grooves and blade-shaped lateral grooves. Consequently, the tire feels confident in water conditions, controlling the risk of hydroplaning very effectively. As if that were not enough, the tire maker has incorporated an advanced block geometry into the sidewall construction. This significantly increases the degree of safety as well as optimizes all-season traction.
Last but not least, the tire looks very solid on the vehicle. This brings an aesthetic pleasure rarely found among affordable tires. This line is available in diameters from 14" to 22". So any vehicle compatible with such a wheel diameter can benefit from the advantages of Hercules/Ironman IMOVE Gen 2 AS.
Hercules All-Season Tour 4.0 Plus
Here you have one of the most sought-after tires from the Hercules portfolio. This All-season Tour 4.0 Plus has been available in the brand's catalog for years and has hardly been beaten by any other alternative. Look at the design from the image below. I don't know how you find it, but I find it spectacular. But let's see its performance profile better.
Structurally, the tire has an asymmetric design. It is compatible with a wide variety of vehicles from sports coupes to small crossovers.
During testing, I admired its dry traction. It was agile, with slightly delayed acceleration at the beginning, but it recovered quickly. Also, I admired the comfort provided. While driving on urban roads, it seemed a little noisy. But I think this is more due to the lack of wheel alignment that the car owner forgot to do in time. On the other hand, the tires are quite silent on highways. Check the quietest tires for a refined driving experience.
Turns out that the tire copes quite well with light snow conditions. I could not confirm this, but the owner of the tires told me that he had no deficiencies in traction during his winter travels. However, we are talking about a thin layer of snow here. If the weather conditions worsen, the Tour 4.0 Plus should be replaced with a specialized winter tire.
As for the performance during testing, I don't have much to complain about. Pretty acceptable wet handling, great dry traction, and nice noise control. So, I had to ask the owner about the possible shortcomings. Well, the owner told me what is specific for most affordable tires: the treadwear leaves much to be desired. As I don't know any affordable tire that boasts a long tread wear warranty, this news didn't sound surprising to me.
Hercules Truck and SUV Tires
Hercules/Ironman Radial A/P
As you can see, this tire is meant for slightly larger vehicles. It has a five-rib pattern architecture, which makes it a good tire for off-road conditions. I tested it including in highway conditions and it was able to maintain decent comfort and an acceptable ride quietness. However, I see it as more suitable for more challenging terrains.
What I liked about the Ironman Radial A/P was its ability to inhibit potholes and small craters on the roads. This somehow adapts to uneven surfaces, making the ride very comfortable and smooth. I have to give credit to the refinement I felt driving the truck with these tires. I had already forgotten how to drive a truck comfortably and smoothly.
It keeps its traction along the entire ride. This is specific both on even surfaces and those that abound in loose soil, debris, and small rocks. Everything is due to the multi-ply construction and the deep tread that ensures superb traction in various conditions. In the same context, I must note the tire grip which never gave me the impression that it would lose contact with the road. I assume that the special tire sipes are responsible for the tight contact. Last but not least, I see this tire as very trustworthy when you need a decent ally in light off-road terrain.
According to the manufacturer, the Ironman Radial A/P tire incorporates a series of technologies to optimize rolling resistance. This is especially gratifying for those who care about environmental protection. Thanks to the special tread compound, the tire brakes quickly and firmly regardless of road or weather conditions. My opinion is that this tire is a trustworthy one and can cope with dignity in most road conditions.
Hercules/Ironman IMOVE Gen 2 SUV
This tire solves what the previous tire did not. While the Ironman Radial A/P is more suitable for uneven all-terrain surfaces, the Ironman IMOVE Gen 2 SUV is exactly what you need for highway conditions.
Looking at the design of the tire, I immediately realized that it has a sporty nature for SUVs. And I was right. The asymmetric pattern ensures stable traction and prevents loss of grip both in wet and dry conditions.
The testing took place on a Subaru Forester, which is an imposing, powerful, and safe vehicle. All I can say is that the IMOVE Gen 2 SUV tires completely matched the performance of the vehicle like a glove.
So, the advantages of the tire are superb dry and wet traction. Another highlight worth mentioning is comfort and quietness. I want to mention that low-budget tires usually sacrifice comfort. However, it seems that Hercules wanted to go the extra mile and bring the benefit of a smooth and silent ride for those who cannot afford expensive tires. On the whole, the tire is very suitable for its price tag. This was confirmed by the owner of the car as well as by the test team.
Hercules All-Terrain Tires
Hercules Terra Trac A/T II
Hercules seems to have put a lot of effort into the Terra Trac A/T II model. That's because, compared to previous all-terrain models, the Terra Trac A/T II has almost 30% more siping and almost 15% more lateral grooves. As you can see, tackling extreme terrain does not present much for this tire.
Like the previous models, this model contains a special silica compound whose function is to ensure grip and decent traction in various conditions. And the tire does. During my testing, the Terra Trac A/T II performed splendidly on wet and dry all-terrain surfaces.
An unexpected aspect for me was the ride noise suppression properties when driving on highways. I was convinced that a chunky all-terrain tire is not able to control the noise on such roads, especially for its price. However, the Terra Trac A/T II superbly inhibited noisy frequencies and waves when counteracting wind while rolling.
This tire is just as reliable when it comes to light snow conditions. Due to its aggressive structure, it effectively bites through the snow layer delivering constant and firm traction. Handling in deep mud, on the other hand, is much of a disadvantage. Those who are often in muddy conditions should consider mud-terrain specialized tires for better performance.
I have tested many low-price tires in my life. I understood that some brands do not compromise on quality even if the tires cost relatively little. Such brands are very few and Hercules is one of them. Our entire test team was left with pleasant impressions about these tires. Yes, some aspects need improvement. But these are in the minority and in no way put the driver's safety at risk.
The price of Hercules tires is very attractive. But this should not scare you as "that's too good to be true". The tests confirm that the tires are quite reliable in various conditions. The biggest shortcoming of Hercules tires is their relatively short tread life. But in the end, the low price must bring some sacrifices. For the rest, I don't see Hercules tires being significantly inferior to mid-range tires. Drive Safe!