The tire market today is absolutely flooded with models from manufacturers that I, and probably you, have never heard of. That’s because, like most things, the market is open for everyone with enough cash to start a business.
However, tires are no joke. They are the single most important part of a car when it comes to safety. You can buy a bad smartphone, and it will disappoint you, but it won’t hurt you in any way. Electronics are pretty much safe nowadays.
It’s different for tires, though. For instance, if you take the best-handling car and put lousy tires on it, it will become unsafe for daily driving. Take a cheap car and put quality tires on it, and you’ll have a usable daily driver.
But what about Hercules? At first, you might think that Hercules is a company similar to other low-cost options, but a quick look at the pricing will tell you that the company’s story is different. Its tires are still priced lower than the premium competition, but not as low as products from Douglas or Lionhart.
Fortunately, you arrived just at the right place to learn everything there is to know about Hercules tires. In this detailed guide, I’ll cover the company’s most popular products, and give you my opinion on them. Furthermore, we’ll have a look at Hercules as a whole, and where it competes in the market.
So, without further ado, let’s delve deeper into Hercules’ tire lineup.
- Where does Hercules Produce its Tires?
- Tire Portfolio
- Top 5 Best Hercules Tires of 2021
- Hercules Tires Review: Buying Guide
Where does Hercules Produce its Tires?
Hercules produces most of its products in the US since it operates under the umbrella of American Tire Distribution. The company actually partners with Cooper Tire, which borrows its manufacturing capacities to Hercules.
However, the tiremaker does produce some tires outside of the US. For instance, some models come from China. If that bothers you, I recommend checking with your dealer or simply check on the sidewalls.
With that said, I think the quality between its US-made and China-made tires is similar. The company designs and develops its tires in both cases, and they only use various plants to manufacture the tires. While I can’t confirm that 100%, the quality should be the same.
Unlike other value brands, Hercules had a detailed tire portfolio. In its lineup, every driver in the US can find a suitable tire. For starters, Hercules has a large number of tires for passenger cars, minivans, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks, both on-road and off-road.
Then, the company offers tires for commercial applications, including medium trucks, commercial light truck and van tires, trailer tires, lawn mower tires, and even heavy-duty industrial tires.
With all those products, Hercules satisfies the needs of smaller and larger companies, manufacturing plants, transportation companies, and even regular consumers.
In this article, I’ll focus mostly on Hercules’ consumer tire portfolio since that’s what our readers are most interested in. Nonetheless, you can use some statements and extrapolate them to the company’s commercial products.
Top 5 Best Hercules Tires of 2021
1. Hercules Roadtour 655 MRE
My pick of Hercules’ range is the Roadtour 655 MRE. It’s a premium touring all-season tire designed for owners of compact cars, sedans, minivans, and even some coupes. Hercules offers this tire in 14-inch to 18-inch wheel diameter sizes, covering most passenger cars in the US, both older and newer.
The MRE is an improved model, featuring 33% narrower siping than before. According to Hercules, this gives the tire better overall traction and handling while also improving comfort, fuel efficiency, and longevity.
In the real world, the Roadtour 655 MRE performs quite well. On dry roads, it provides the driver with very good grip and traction and short stopping distances. Wet conditions also don’t pose an issue – the tire handles well in the rain. The tire is also quiet and comfortable.
However, some owners complain that as the tire wears down, the wet traction quickly diminishes. Performance in snowy conditions is also far from stellar and not reliable enough.
On a more positive note, the Roadtour 655 MRE comes with a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty for T-rated sizes and 60,000-mile for V- and -T-rated sizes, both outstanding for the price.
2. Hercules Raptis R-T5
The Raptis R-T5 is Hercules’ most performance-oriented tire, although it still utilizes an all-season tread compound. As a result, it competes with ultra-high-performance all-season tires from Cooper, General, Kumho, and Hankook.
Thanks to the high-silica tread compound, the Raptis R-T5 grips the road quite nicely. There is enough cornering grip for more spirited driving, and the braking distances aren’t too long. Furthermore, wet traction doesn’t disappoint as well – the driver has full control at all times, while the hydroplaning resistance is excellent.
Hercules also employed a technology it calls CoolCourse here, which optimizes performance in various temperatures. The technology helps for driving in freezing conditions, but only on dry surfaces. Snow and ice can pose an issue for the tire, especially under braking.
Although designed for performance, the Raptis R-T5 isn’t too loud or uncomfortable. It also comes with a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is among the best in its price range. Overall, an excellent performer.
3. Hercules Terra Trac Cross-V
The Terra Trac Cross-V is a specially-designed tire for crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. It’s one of the best cheap tires for these vehicles, providing the driver with good overall performance.
Hercules designed this tire primarily to be comfortable and quiet, and it delivers in that area. It also handles well on dry surfaces, with reasonable responsiveness and good cornering grip. Performance in wet conditions is also very good for the price.
Snow traction is there but is still not as reliable as on premium all-season tires. Fortunately, the Terra Trac Cross-V will last you for a very long time – it comes with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on CUV/SUV sizes and 65,000-miles on truck sizes.
4. Hercules Terra Trac AT II
For owners of SUVs and trucks that want better off-road traction, Hercules offers the Terra Trac AT II. It’s an all-terrain tire with a fairly aggressive tread compound, which elevates traction on slippery surfaces.
However, in my testing, the AT II only works on hardpacked surfaces, such as dirt and gravel. Deeper mud and large rocks can still be an issue for the tire, more so than the established competition.
Still, on-road performance is good, especially for the price. On dry and wet roads, the tire is stable and grippy, although not on the level of the best in the category. Snow traction and braking are surprisingly good, though – this is genuinely a good winter tire.
That said, it can also become noisy at higher speeds, although the ride quality is good. Hercules provides a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is outstanding for the price and category.
5. Hercules Terra Trac M/T
If you can live with the noisy tread growl, the Terra Trac M/T can be a good companion for demanding off-road surfaces. It works on hardpacked surfaces, deep mud, and you can even rock-crawl with this beauty. For off-roading, it’s one of the best in its price category.
On the road, it doesn’t perform as well, though. It’s stable and safe but still not directly comparable to the best. Thanks to the sipes, at least it works miracles on snow, although ice can still be an issue.
Hercules Tires Review: Buying Guide
1. Hercules Tires Positive Aspects
- Very good overall performance
Hercules sells tires that work as advertised, something that I can’t say about other value brands. Its products are safe for driving on most surfaces, a very important trait that some value brands completely miss.
- Comfortable and refined
Most Hercules tires are comfortable and quiet, other than the most extreme off-road options. Your family won’t protest on longer road trips, that’s for sure.
- Extremely durable for the price
Hercules builds tires that will last the test of time. The company also provides very competitive treadwear warranties, often higher than the closest competition.
2. Hercules Tires Negative Aspects
It still lags behind premium tires. Although Hercules’ are excellent tires overall, they still can’t compare with the class-leading options. Purchasing Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, or Pirelli will always give you better overall results.
Unlike super-cheap brands like Lionhart and Douglas, Hercules produces safe and durable tires. In other words, you can trust these tires to give you reliable traction on dry and wet surfaces, and there will also be no hidden costs. With other cheap tires, you may pay less in the start, but they wear quickly and become more expensive in the long run.
Thus, I recommend Hercules tires to people with slightly older vehicles or anyone on a budget. You won’t get Michelin-level performance, but at least the tires will be safe for you, your family, and other traffic participants.