Founder: Bata Shoes
Headquarters: Otrokovice, Czech Republic
Barum is a Czech brand, and one of the most prominent in the Eastern Europe as a whole. Back in Czechoslovakia, they were the main tire enterprise in the country. Now they are a subsidiary of German Continental, as well as a brand with a somewhat questionable reputation.
Who makes Barum tires? The bulk of Barum’s industrial might is located in their home town of Otrokovice. Naturally, they also use Continental’s resources and sites, but to a fairly limited degree.
Barum tires are problematic. It’s not too easy to understand when these tires start to misbehave, although they are good on the regular dry roads. On wet, they may suffer (although there isn’t a lot of hydroplaning, reportedly). On snow and ice, they aren’t too good.
Bottom-line: it’s better to use the summer tires, or winter if you expect mild winters ahead.
The good thing about them is their durability. The mileage can be different, owing to their generally uneven wear. However, they are generally very sturdy and can live for quite a long time if you don’t jam them into obstacles. In these cases, they can die very soon.
They are soft. It does contribute to their flimsiness on the sides, but, contrary to expectations, doesn’t mean the drive will be all too comfortable. The tires are pretty noisy, you see. In fact, it’s one of the main disadvantages noted by most people. Unless you don’t mind a bit of extra sound, refrain from buying them.
The pricing can differ, but they are all in the ‘affordable’ category. The costlier (i.e. ‘not cheapest’) tires are somewhat better, and their grip problems aren’t as prominent in these. It doesn’t mean you need to overpay – you just have to pay a bit more than a token price.
In terms of cost-effectiveness of these better costlier tires, they are worse than even some Chinese brands. It’s a matter of what region you trust, which isn’t really rational. You essentially pay more simply because the tires are made in Europe, that’s all.
You can do better than that, but if you can’t find anything suitable (or if you don’t trust/bother looking into the Chinese tires), they’ll do fine. Just be extra careful if you drive Barum rubbers. They can be dangerous under harsh conditions.