Originally Posted by One Double Six
Has it ever been considered that quality control might be one area where budget tyre manufacturers make savings in production costs. It wouldn't take a massive variation in rubber compound to make one batch of tyres "crap" and another batch "very impressive". It doesn't even need to be a quality issue, just a wider tolerance in hardness or whatever it is they test.
Even tyres made by the major brands will vary from batch to batch. A few years ago a mate of mine raced in (& won!) the Aprilia Mille Challenge. They raced on "control" tyres, Dunlop D208GP if I remember correctly. He was very sirprised, when buying a new rear tyre, to be asked if he wanted a "hard" or a "soft" one, as they were all supposed to be identical. The tyre supplier explained that there was a variation between batches & that they could identify which were the harder or softer tyres from the batch number. In that instance I suspect that only a racer who was using the tyre to the limits of its performance would be able to tell the difference; however, cheaper tyres with less rigorous process control would probably exhibit bigger, more noticeable variations.
Tyres are a big bundle of compromises - grip, life, noise, feel, etc. I think one of the areas where cheap tyres fall short is in the R & D necessary to minimise the compromises. For example, it's a well-known truism that "soft" tyres grip, "hard" tyres last longer; the "premium" manufacturers, notably Michelin, have spent a lot of money developing tread compounds which go a long way (pun intended!) towards meeting both of these conflicting requirements.
Cheap tyres can, of course, benefit from lower labour costs, which is why even the premium tyre brands are tending to shift production to low-wage countries - tyre manufacture is a labour-intensive, relatively low-skilled operation.
As for whether tyre "A" is better than tyre "B", unless you've driven the same car for the full life of the tyres on each brand any opinion offered is subjective - still valid as an opinion, but not an objective test.