Safety and durability are paramount when selecting tyres to carry such precious cargo. In a typical season, the Liverpool FC team bus can rack up 100,000km, travelling as far as Barcelona, Munich, Paris and Porto, as well as the domestic games that see the coach heading up and down the country. The possibility of a breakdown or turning up late for the match would be a red card for any fleet engineer, not least one for a company that has carried the Liverpool team since the 60s.
Founded in the 1920s by the current director's grandfather, St Helens-based coach operator Ellisons has a reputation for quality and service. Its 12.9l Irizar I8 used by Liverpool FC players is rigorously maintained and shod in Falken tyres, with the manufacturer’s RI151 pattern fitted by Protyre and supplied in the UK by Micheldever Tyre Services.
The tyre’s compliant sidewall offers a more comfortable ride for players post-match and also makes life easier for the fitters, according to Falken. Protyre engineer Dave Radford says: “We find the Falken tyres some of the easiest to mount; so much so that one of our older operators is still able to mount Falkens with ease in his late 50s. With the polished rims and TPMS found on these luxury coaches, having a tyre that is simple to mount is one less thing to worry about.”
Andreas Giese, senior manager, corporate and product planning at Falken Tyre Europe, explains some of the tyre’s benefits: “Our RI151 tyre offers excellent directional stability, stable braking on wet, dry or snow-covered roads, as well as high traction.”
It’s been almost three years since Falken tyres were first fitted to the Liverpool FC coach, which is one of Ellisons’ growing fleet of 39 coaches, including 11 serving Premier League teams alongside 50 luxury Mercedes MPVs and cars. During this time, it has experienced no tyre failures.
“This is a longer bus and weighing nearly 20 tonnes, it’s heavy, particularly at the rear, but it always feels stable,” adds Ellisons’ Mike Ludden, one of two drivers entrusted with piloting the LFC coach. “We’ve had no issues with the Falkens. So much so we’ve also now also opted for Falken’s all season van tyre for some of our fleet of Mercedes Vianos.”