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"Four Wheel", March 1, 2013

FRESH TREADS, NEW RIMS

HOTTEST TIRES FOR 4X4 SEASON

BY Tom Morr

PHOTOGRAPHY ATTURO TIRE AND TOM MORR

EVERY YEAR, THE AFTERMARKET attempts to reinvent the wheel. It also tries to re-tread the tire in different patterns with different compounds for different purposes. We found a few new designs that should interest wheelers.

ATTURO TRAIL BLADE M/T

The new Atturo mud-terrain’s tread was codeveloped with the Mantis Knife Company. The Trail Blade is designed to cut through mud like a knife. The tire, which touts performance and aesthetics, comes in 33- and 35-inch flotation sizes. INFORMATION: Atturo Tire, 847.348.3455, www.atturo.com.

DICK CEPEK HYBRID FUN COUNTRY

The soon-to-be-released Fun Country is engineered with a hybrid tread that lives in the void between an all-terrain and a mud-terrain. The rubber compound is dense for improved cut and chip protection. The grooves improve self-cleaning and prolong wear. Sizes haven’t been announced at press time. INFORMATION: Dick Cepek (Mickey Thompson), 800.222.9092, www.mickeythompsontires.com.

CENTENNIAL TERRA COMMANDER

The Terra Commander from Greenball is scheduled for an early 2013 release. It is a budget all-terrain, an all-season cousin to the Kanati Mud Hog M/T. INFORMATION: Greenball Corp., 800.946.9412, greenball.com.

MASTERCRAFT COURSER AXT

The Mastercraft Courser AXT is a new all-terrain design manufactured by Cooper. It’s intended for all-season traction both on and off the road. Cooper will also release a next-generation Discovered H/T in 2013. Details haven’t been leaked at press time. INFORMATION: Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., 419.423.1321, us.coopertire.com.

M/T BAJA ATZ P3

A sibling to the new Dick Cepek Fun Country, the Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ P3 also has a hybrid all-/mud-terrain pattern. Sidewalls have the famous Sidebiter tread, which combines with three-ply construction in some applications to maximize puncture protection. Sizes will be announced soon. INFORMATION: Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, 800.222.9092, mickeythompsontires.com.

PRO COMP XTREME MT2

Pro Comp’s new mud-terrain features tri-ply sidewall construction for optimal puncture resistance. The tread compound includes silica to improve performance in muddy and wet conditions. Rock Rejection Ribs in the tread help void debris to improve traction. Sizes range from 31 to 37 inches in 15- to 20-inch wheel fitments. Load ranges span from C to E. INFORMATION: Pro Comp USA, 800.776.0767, www.procompusa.com.

NITTO TRAIL GRAPPLER M/T

Nitto’s “tweener” is the Trail Grappler M/T, which splits the difference between the Mud Grappler and Terra Grappler. It’s designed to be both aggressive and quiet. A thick three-ply sidewall resists punctures. Tread blocks are laterally stable for road manners while having aggressive grooves for off-road traction. A DOT 40x13.50R17 will be released in the second quarter of 2013, possibly followed by other 40-inch sizes currently available for the Mud Grappler. INFORMATION: Nitto Tire USA Inc., 714.252.0007, www.nittotire.com.

TOYO OPEN COUNTRY A/T LI

Early tests describe Toyo’s next-gen all-terrain as even quieter than the original Open Country A/T, which was Toyo’s best-selling model in America. A reformulated tread compound yields up to a 65,000-mile treadwear warranty on some sizes. Certain fitments get an Xtreme tread, which features deeper sipes and more aggressive shoulders. So-called Tuff Duty sizes have reinforced belts for E-load ratings. Initial sizes go up to 35x12.50 or LT325/50R22. INFORMATION: Toyo Tire USA Corp., 800.442.8696, toyotires.com.

WHEELS

AMERICAN FORCE LIBERTY

Liberty is one of American Force’s new dualie offerings. It is made of forged 6061 aluminum and comes in 19x6.75 and 19.5x6.75 (shown) sizes. Packages include four aluminum outer wheels and a pair of inner steel wheels. Available finishes are black and polished. INFORMATION: American Force, 786.345.6301, www.americanforcewheels.com.

B.A.D. EKLIPSE 17 BEADLOCK

Possibly the most innovative wheel of 2013 is the Bead Assist Device (B.A.D.). This one-piece design has a DOT-compliant internal locking device. Mechanical clamping reportedly maintains tire/wheel contact at even 0 psi. Available in a 17x10 size rated at 3,500 pounds (for up to 42-inch tires), the Eklipse offers dual stem holes and comes in popular bolt patterns. INFORMATION: B.A.D. Wheels Inc., 864.491.0438, badwheelsinc.com.

BLACK ROCK CURRIE EDITION

The Casey Currie Series 960 Flushcut 6 is a one-piece cast aluminum replica of the wheel Currie runs on his Pro Lite truck. It is a 20x9 in five- and six-lug patterns. Finishes are satin matte black, tungsten silver, and Casey Currie Competition White. Center caps are included. INFORMATION: Black Rock, 909.947.1831, www.blackrockwheels.com.

DICK CEPEK GUNMETAL TORQUE

This new style from Dick Cepek has a gunmetal finish with machined accents. It is targeted to later-model trucks and SUVs that have high backspacing. Available diameters are 16 and 17 inches. Finish is a glossy clearcoat, and painted center caps are included. INFORMATION: Dick Cepek (Mickey Thompson), 800.222.9092, mickeythompsontires.com.

PRO COMP SERIES 29

JK mania continues to fuel the 4x4 aftermarket. Pro Comp plans to capitalize on this by offering its Series 29 wheel in blue, red, green, and orange finishes that match the most popular JK factory bodies. The La Paz version of this wheel comes in a choice of machined or satin black. Sizes are 16x8 and 17x8.5 in five-, six- and eight-lug patterns. INFORMATION: Pro Comp USA, 800.776.0767, www.procompusa.com.

INTERCO BIRDDOG JSE

Introduced a few months ago, the innovative Interco Birddog has several trail-engineered features. The ready-for-release JSE (Jeep Special Edition) model offers all the Birddog benefits in popular five-lug patterns with Jeep-friendly offsets (no spacers needed). Features include drop centers for easier cleaning and better socket access to lug nuts. Dual valve stems facilitate airing up and down, and bead retention ribs help keep the tire and wheel coupled at low pressures. INFORMATION: Interco Tire Corp., 337.334.3814, intercotire.com.

MICKEY THOMPSON METAL

Mickey Metal is a new series of affordable steel wheels that feature “tattooed” Mickey Thompson logos stamped into the thick metal face, under flat black powdercoating. Sizes are 15, 16, and 17 inches. The two styles are eight-hole MT-28 and D-window MT-88 (shown). INFORMATION: Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, 800.222.9092, mickeythompsontires.com.

MOPAR BEADLOCKS

Mopar showed exploratory prototype eight-lug beadlocks based on Power Wagon forged 17-inch wheels. These hardcore five-spoke wheels capped off Mopar portal axles. The beadlocks are finished in matte black powdercoat with machined-in Mopar “M” logos. The wheel hasn’t been approved for consumer consumption — yet. INFORMATION: Mopar, www.mopar.com.

RAPTOR BEADLOCKS

Ford Racing released a patent-pending kit to convert the 2013 forged-aluminum Raptor wheel to an off-road–only beadlock. The OE wheel’s decorative ring is unbolted, then the tire and wheel are remounted using the Ford Racing beadlock ring kit. INFORMATION: Ford Racing, 800.FORD.788, racing.ford.com.

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