Camber, expressed in degrees, is how far a tire/wheel slants away from vertical when viewed directly from the front or back of a vehicle. Camber angle impacts the handling qualities of a vehicle.
Negative camber is when the top of the tire/wheel tilts inward toward the center of the vehicle. Positive camber is when the top leans away from the center of the vehicle.
Negative camber improves a vehicle's handling and response because it maximizes the tire's contact patch area with the road surface when loaded in a turn, producing more grip when cornering for better stability.
Vehicle manufacturers typically build a certain amount of negative camber into their suspensions, which is always a compromise consideration between performance and acceptable tire wear, says John Scott, inventor and the founder of Cambertire Group, a company that develops new tire technologies focused on improving handling, braking performance, safety and fuel efficiency (www.Cambertire.com). However, negative camber has some adverse effects, including increased tire wear.
The company's Cambertire, in most cases, removes the need for toe-in front and rear, which removes the associated scrub, rolling resistance and heat generation that it creates, Scott says.
He designed the Cambertire with a larger circumference on the outer sidewall than the inner sidewall. This allows the suspension to be adjusted with plenty of negative camber while maintaining the contact patch of the tire, resulting in substantially improved handling and braking compared to a standard tire, he says.
The narrower tire is able to achieve the same amounts of performance as a wider, heavier standard tire without losing any performance and actually gaining in the areas of overall control and ride quality characteristics, and improved hydroplane resistance, notes Scott. Plus, a narrower tire has many improved fuel efficiency inherent characteristics, such as reduced rotating weight, which also improves ride quality; reduced wind profile/wind resistance, which also reduces noise; and reduced rolling resistance through a narrower contact patch, which also reduces noise and improves hydroplaning.
MORE IMPACT ADSOPRTION
With the longer outer sidewall and shorter inner sidewall, Cambertires take cracks/potholes/bumps in a unique way that lessens stress on the tire, lessens operating temperatures and improves driver control, directional stability and emergency maneuvering capability when compared to standard tires, Scott says.
When a Cambertire hits a crack, for example, the longer outer sidewall takes the hit first, he explains. The longer sidewall can absorb more impact due to its longer length. The impact then travels along the tread surface until it hits the inner sidewall which takes it out of phase.
A standard tire, on the other hand, takes the hit all at once and gives a much harder and more immediate impact, he says.
Cambertires require no special mounting practices and can be used on standard rims.
Scott said his company has additional technologies that will improve overall tire wear, safety, handling and fuel economy. These include rockers - which allow more width when in a turn under tire swing and distortion; Active Morphing Variable Tread Depth Technology - which gives rubber where it is needed most, allowing the tires to wear into what the vehicle "wants" without shortening the life of the tire; and Asymmetrical Helical Tread and Void Technology - a tread design that gives more void on the inside to more effectively evacuate water, plus reduce tread squirm/distortion under side loading and in the outer region of the tire where loads are greatest in a turn.