September 14, 2010

Two sets of tyres?
Makes my back ache just thinking about it

"Hang on, I'll just change the tyres."
Wasting time in a tyre shop today, I overheard a conversation between the salesman and a customer who wanted a set of mud tyres and rims for when he went off-roading. I'd be the last person to sink a possible sale, but I felt like dropping my brochure and screaming, "no, don't … whatever else you do, don't buy a second set of tyres!" While it seems like a really good idea, there are three things wrong, and I  speak with knowledge and authority, having been down this very track.

• The first is that you will always have the wrong set of tyres on the vehicle. If you reckon the track will be a quagmire, it will in fact be surprisingly dry and perfectly suitable for the all-terrains. If you head off on the all-terrains because it's a beautiful sunny day, there will be a massive downpour just before reaching the track and you'll be sliding all over the place. There is no meteorological or climatic reason for this, it is entirely due to the act of changing your five tyres.

• The second reason not to do it is the physical effort involved. It might be okay for your Jimny running 26s on alloys, but have you lifted a 35 on a steel or even alloy rim, then tried to place it on the little studs? Five Times? Weightlifters and well toned athletes may have less of a problem, but after lifting the fifth and final wheel onto the spare carrier, I'm buggered – and you might be, too. Remember, as you take an inventory of your aches and grazed knuckles, you'll probably want/need to replace them with the street rubber once home. Or give up and just leave them on. You also have to find somewhere to store the second set. Until that time arrives, you'll not believe how much space they take up.

• The third thing wrong is the cost although, if you have heaps of money, ignore this objection. The guy in the tyre shop was going to be up for more than $3500 for steel rims and a set of decent mudders. I think this might have dampened his enthusiasm; you could tell by the body language as he left.

No, no, no, don't buy extra rims and tyres unless you're planning to do winch challenges or something. Just buy the road-friendliest set of mud tyres you can find, and leave it at that. About 13 years ago, I gave up on multiple sets and formed a long and happy relationship with the BFG Mud Terrain, which was good off-road and better than it had any right to be on the road. They also seemed almost impossible to wear out. There are other good mud tyres that ride, handle and stop well on the road; don't think I'm trying to steer you to a BFG outlet. I'm happy with my asymmetric Goodyear Wrangler MT/Rs and other road friendly mud tyres I've watched over the years and know something about include offerings from Cooper, Kumho and, more recently, Mickey Thompson.

8 comments:

  1. U R full of BULLSHIT!!!!!!

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  2. Thanks for your thoughtful analysis, Anonymous. Hope the brain's not aching too much.

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  3. I think anonymous is the one full of bullshit. I have two sets of wheels (still a set of BFG A/T's and BFG KM muds)but find I no longer swap instead leaving the muds on all the time.

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  4. Another vote for your point of view, Phil. Multi sets of tyres/rims really suck.

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  5. You overstate the case. I have three sets, 33s and 35s, and while I agree it takes a bit of time and isn't exactly easy on the arms and back it isn't onerous work and is easy when you do it often enough. I don't want to get stuck off road and my 35 inch Centipedes make sure I don't when I'm likely to experience mud. Unlike you, I almost always end up with the right set of tyres.

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  6. The best solution is two trucks with one set of tyres on each! The off road truck is a rough one that you can dent and not worry about it.

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  7. I like Wicked Walter's solution, but for most of us it's owning just one 4x4 and in that case I'm for one set of tyres, in my case Cooper mud treads.

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  8. If U have hassles with changing a set of 35s U need to be in a walking frame, not a 4x4

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