Podcast 38: Principles of Tires and Wheels
Principles of Overlanding: Tires and Wheels
Summary: Matt and Scott review the different considerations for tire selection, including tread pattern, compound, and size. For wheels, they review the critical attribute of backspacing, along with the pros and cons of steel vs aluminum.
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Billet is heated and pressurized
Better structural integrity (less porosity or inclusions)
Often more weight
Liquid aluminum is poured into the wheels form
Wider allow makeup
More complex shapes
Less strength (typically) and the possibility of inclusions and porosity)
Easier to weld in the field
Less attractive to thieves
- outer bead
Wheel size and offset and additional thoughts
Critical handling with offset
Advantage of OEM wheels
How many spares
Some of our favorite wheels
Tread type and tread face
Limitations of tread life
Noise canceling (tires do not need to be noisy)
Why tall and narrow?
Rotating and reciprocating mass
Tread on trail (flats)
Wheelwell size for compression
Bigger is almost always better off-road
The more compressed the tread pattern, better in sand (HP as a displacement factor)
Tread face crown and abruptness of shoulder
Void size and void taper
Size for surface pressure
Cost to MPG
Noise and driver fatigue
Limit handling and wet/ice conditions
Are they the future?
[00:00:00] Scott Brady: Hello and welcome to the Overland journal podcast. I am your host, Scott Brady, and I am here with my co host, with his very coiffed-do. And I'm also-
Matt Scott: I don't know what that word means.
Scott Brady: You're well, coiffed. I am not well coiffed. Matt Scott.
Matt Scott: Hi, I'm here. Today we're talking about what size tire and lift. Actually, we're not talking about that. Do not message us asking what size tire and lift we have. We will send you inappropriate pictures of my dog. Not inappropriate, just very appropriate.
Scott Brady: Lots of pictures of your dog.
Matt Scott: Just pictures of my dog. Anyway, I think one of the most contentious arguments I think people get into in the Overland space in the four wheel [00:01:00] drive space is tire size, tire width, tire preference, all-terrain, mud terrain. We have these kind of new hybrids, you know, I call them hybrid all-terrain tires. You know, what size wheels? There's, there's a lot of,-
Scott Brady: What type of wheels?
Matt Scott: What type of wheels? Yeah, there's a lot going on, I guess, with this subject. Admittedly Scott is better at the absolute technical details. I mean, if you want somebody that's like a scientist of the mechanics of all this stuff, Scott's definitely gonna be the best person for that. So I guess I'm just here for the ride and to interject opinions.
Scott Brady: No but you've also had so many sets of tires, because you've had so many vehicles that naturally means that you're going to. Yeah, so today's topic is going to be the principles of overlanding tires and wheels.
Matt Scott: Basically we're just going to tell you to go with one size tire less than you think you want. Yeah well, that's the podcast for today. Um, have [00:02:00] fun.
Scott Brady: Well maybe we get started with some of the more broad kinds of sweeping topics and I think that one of the things that's most important that we always reiterate in these podcasts is you don't really need to do anything. Even a stock Tacoma with a swag in the back and a couple bags and stock tires and wheels and everything else like that. It's going to take you around the world. So always default to "Can I spend this money on fuel to go someplace interesting?", as opposed to at the end of this conversation, you feel like you've got to change your tires, because you're much better off just wearing those out, doing a bunch of fun stuff and then maybe reconsider for later. But one of the things that we do talk about a lot and has been a subject bantered about in the forums for decades is tall and narrow versus tall and wide. And there really are two ways to think about it [00:03:00] and on that whole science topic is we have to understand the coefficient of friction. It removes this whole idea that wider is better or narrower is better. The coefficient of friction basically means as the tire gets wider, it has more adhesion. As the tire gets narrower, it has more vertical load pressure. So they basically cancel each other out. So on a glass surface, like a perfectly smooth surface, tall is the same as wide because...
Matt Scott: Fascinating.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So it actually-
Matt Scott: That's an excellent way of putting that.
Scott Brady: It actually doesn't matter. Now there are, once you get off of that perfectly smooth surface, then you absolutely have influences that start to change should I go with a wide tire or should I go with a narrow tire?
Matt Scott: Yeah, I mean and I guess to add to that, I feel like this kind of goes to the you know, the, the steel versus aluminum wheels. I remember like 10, 15 years ago, [00:04:00] where if you had aluminum wheels, you were a poser. If you had leather in your Land Rover, it was a really, really bad thing. I think that's kind of the same thing. I mean, one thing, and this is just an interjecting opinion, but I feel like everything's just gone relatively wide. Vehicles have better brakes, better suspension, better dampening , more appropriate gearing. I feel like people are actually finally starting to gear their vehicles for that additional rotating mass and loss of leverage. I don't know. I mean, what's your thing? You've kind of always been a tall and skinny guy.
Scott Brady: Yes. Not myself personally have been a tall and wide guy. Your tires-
Matt Scott: You're the wide guy that's into the skinny and I'm the skinny that's into the, I don't really have a preference. I'm an equal opportunity tire employer.
Scott Brady: Yeah so I have always chosen to go with more of a narrow tire and I'll explain why that's been my approach. There are [00:05:00] some just thoughtful considerations around that. Most of the time you're better off going about the same with the tire that would be the widest tire available from the factory and then simply add aspect ratio. So if it's a 2 65 70, then go to a 2 65 75, and the reason for that is the wheel well is designed for a specific width of tire. So if you go much wider, it either gets outside of the wheel-well or it won't talk fully up into the wheel. Well, so then you end up with additional rubbing that also affects the sweep of the tire. So a wider tire will have a wider sweep, which again, results in more rubbing on the vehicle. So if you start off with a little bit narrower of a tire that's just taller, it will fit up in the same compression on the wheel-well. The other thing to consider too is a narrower tire has less rotating and reciprocating mass. So it's easier to accelerate. It's easier to stop [00:06:00] and it's easier to control with the suspension cause there's less weight. The other thing that a lot of times people don't think about is you gain fuel economy by not going wider. That's frontal resistance as far as airflow, and it's rolling resistance on the tire as well. So that's another thing that you have to really consider and then one of the main reasons why you see locals in Africa will use narrower tires is that it keeps everybody in the same track. So you have less tire on the road, which means you have less surface area that's going to pick up a thorn or a glass bottle or a piece of sharp metal. There's actually less tire. So statistically, the narrower you go. The lower the likelihood is that you're gonna end up with a flat. So those are all things to consider. Now there are absolutely reasons to go with wider tires. You, you start to run into the mechanical limits of adhesion with a narrow tire. The reason why sports cars don't come with narrow tires anymore is [00:07:00] because there's so much power that rotating torque starts to limit the adhesion. You actually tear the tire away. So you burn rubber. That's actually what happens as opposed to the rubber continuing to stick and the vehicle launching. So there are advantages around mechanical King and adhesion. We'll talk about those in a few minutes. So those are definitely things to consider when you look at a wide versus narrow tire.
Matt Scott: Yeah and I think another thing for travelers is actually figure out if you can get those tires. You know, for example, on my land cruiser, I have what I think is a relatively ideal size tire. It's a Falcon eighty-three W I like it because it's a winter rated tire. I don't necessarily want to be limited as to where I can go, especially with some States that require a winter Stoweflake rating. But I'm not going to find a 34 inch by 11 by 17. I mean, I can't even get that in Prescott. Like I have to special order that. So maybe this doesn't actually just apply to global guys, but I couldn't get [00:08:00] that tire size in Moab, granted I do carry a spare, but then obviously you don't have a spare if you use that one. So I think it's important to consider where you're going, how you're using the vehicle. You know there's something to be said for common size tires. It's way easier these days to find a 17 inch tire. Then it is a 16 or even a 15, because think about it. I mean basically whatever size tire, a lifted Jeep runs, you're always going to be able to find that you'll always be able to find a 33 10 50 17. I'm just going to drop the wheel size, but you'll always be able to find a 33. You'll always be able to find the 35 and these days you'll pretty much always be able to find a 37. They're just so common between the JK's jails, Gladiators, Raptors, a lot of things. So that, I guess that's my little tidbit of advice. It's a little less technical.
Scott Brady: No, that's, that's super valid and it's the reason why when you go to Africa, you typically see a 7.5 or 16 [00:09:00] on a Nissan patrol and on a G Wagon and on a Defender and on the 70 series is that everybody runs those tires and you can find them in Maun, in the middle of Botswana. They actually have those tires there. But it's also not a reason to buy that size. Modern tires are so much better. I've had so few flats.
Matt Scott: You've had one flat and I've had one flat driving my mom's Lexus when she came to visit you in Colorado.
Scott Brady: Yeah, I do. You just don't get flats as often anymore. And if you pay attention to the road as you're driving, the reason why I got a flat is I was screwing with the GPS. And as a result, I hit a rock and opened up a sidewall on a tire, but it's fairly rare to get catastrophic flats anymore. Most of them you can patch and repair. You can plug, you can just get you back to the road. So it really isn't that you've got to go with this ubiquitous [00:10:00] size, but we do want to pick... we don't want to do something really weird. Like an 18 international is going to be hard to find.
Matt Scott: Any tire that comes on a modern Land Rover is going to be.
Scott Brady: Yeah or a modern Land Cruiser. It's going to be available. Oh, you mean? Yeah right?
Matt Scott: No I'm saying that it's weird... I mean, you can't even... like Lander it seems to come with a lot of 19 inch wheel sizes as king of the smallest that you can go and I think there's one Goodyear dirt track that isn't even sold in the United States and you have to get it from the UK.
Scott Brady: Yeah, you're right.
Matt Scott: Don't use that tire that is going to end up in a bad time.
Scott Brady: Yeah and that is such a challenge. It's you wonder... I mean, I think they try to solve all these engineering problems and they don't think about the end use case. So if it's bigger than an 18, it's typically not going to work.
Matt Scott: Hot take. They really think about the end use case because the people buying those cars want twenties. They want big cars? Or big tires.
Scott Brady: Big wheels.
Matt Scott: That's controversial and let's move on.
[00:11:00] Scott Brady: Yeah, exactly. So, and then another thought that we always have is bigger tires always better? In most cases they actually are and that is somewhat contrarian to the way that I viewed tires even 15 years ago, but once I started going to Iceland and I started experiencing the benefit of truly massive tires.
Matt Scott: Yeah but think 15 years ago when we were building discovery ones and that kinda stuff, you couldn't put on a 37. Like I felt dirty putting a 37 on my Gladiator, which is my main travel vehicle, but anything smaller would have kind been awkward, like it only has a... like if a two inch lift, you know, and it fits a 37 inch tire because. In a relatively short amount of time, the axle strength being a broad structure, the axle strength doubled, the horsepower doubled, the amount of available gears in the transmission doubled, you know that performance of traction control doubled. There's a [00:12:00] lot of things that have happened,
Scott Brady: That really does facilitate a much larger tire.
Matt Scott: Even five years ago, I would have said, Oh well, this is my usual thing, needs versus wants. Right? You don't need 37 inch tires for almost anything in the Overland space, unless you're, you know...
Scott Brady: Really need flotation or tons of ground clearance.
Matt Scott: Yeah. But boy, they are nice. Cause there's really no downside to it. I'll get 50, 60,000 miles out of those tires where again, the tire that I feel like the length of, you know, how many miles you can get from the tires has doubled.
Scott Brady: And a larger diameter tire will give you much better wear because it's a larger diameter. So it's spinning less, you know, rotations to cover the same distance. And that's certainly a consideration. And there's a lot of ride quality benefits to a larger tire too. When you air them down, they're much more comfortable, a lot more deformation of the carcass. There's a lot more leverage off road, so it's that much easier to get up and over ledges, [00:13:00] every corrugation is smaller. So there are really big benefits to big tires. And if you look at an AEV Dodge Ram, for example, I know we use that as an example often, which that's just incidental, but you know, they fit those things with 40 inch tall tires and they actually work really well with that tire on there.
Matt Scott: I mean think, again you talk a lot about flotation, a 7,000 pound Fore Runner on a 32 inch tire versus a 8,500 pound truck on 40 inch tires. Think of the footprint the ground doesn't really know much difference. Maybe the Ram is actually lighter. I don't know.
Scott Brady: Yeah it's pretty amazing to drive on a highway with a tire like a 40 or a 44 inch tall tire. I think about the Arctic trucks that I've used in mixed terrain in [00:14:00] Iceland, you can encounter everything from rock to really PD areas, to deep mud and glaciers and everything else and it is shocking how well those vehicles work. It's effortless.
Matt Scott: Cause they run for to eight PSI?
Scott Brady: At the most. I mean when you're on the trail, you run about eight PSI and then when you're climbing a glacier, when you need maximum traction, you can be down to two or three PSI.
Matt Scott: That's crazy.
Scott Brady: Yeah. It's incredible how well they work.
Matt Scott: And we're talking a lot about traction and larger tires and stuff. Just as a brief overview, as you air those tires down, which you should always do when you're off road it has a myriad of benefits, but you're actually mainly increasing the footprint in terms of length.
Scott Brady: That's correct.
Matt Scott: Not as much as you would think in terms of width. There's a great Instagram account, Dirt Sunrise, Kelsey and Tim Kelsey used to work here. They actually, these guys are really, really knowledgeable. They're traveled all over. And they actually took the time on, [00:15:00] I want to say they did a video or an Instagram post about like putting ink on the tire and then Jacking the vehicle up putting ink on the tire and saying "Here's what this tire looks like at 60 PSI" all the way down to almost nothing, and it's crazy how I want to say they had 35 inch tires on their land cruiser. It turns into a little mini tank track.
Scott Brady: They really do and you get 80% of the improvement in flotation from the increased length of the tread. So only about 20% of it comes. Now that varies upon construction so an E rated tire will perform slightly differently, but for this example you get about 80% of the increased flotation from the length of the tread, which is actually really a huge benefit because then you're not again introducing all of this frontal resistance from a wider tire. So going tall and narrow. That's the advantage. You create those mini tank tracks.
Matt Scott: Which is great.
Scott Brady: Yeah, totally. Yeah, absolutely. So when it comes to tall and [00:16:00] narrow, default that direction, unless the conditions demand it, which would be something like I'm climbing a glacier. So there's ways to do that. And then bigger is, we always have to remember, off-road bigger is almost always better. There are of course limitations to that and we could spend three hours talking about that. But if you have a Gladiator and you can fit 37s on it easily, like Matt has just described that's going to provide a bunch of benefits in that regard there are certainly downsides, you know, there's the falsifiability of all of these suggestions, but we do need to you know, reinforce that that's an advantage when it comes to that. And then I guess we could probably talk more kind of just more of the general stuff too. Like siping is a great example of a technology.
Matt Scott: I've never shipped my tires, but it is something that you can do that drastically improves the traction of that tire.
Scott Brady: True. Although you mentioned that you use a snowflake tire.
Matt Scott: Which has additional sipe
Scott Brady: They will typically have siping from the [00:17:00] factory. That's one of the reasons why I also really like snowflakes or snow rated tires because they will have much more siping and these are these very fine cuts in the tire. You can add them after the fact, some people will sipe a mud tire, for example or they will come factory siped. And what happens is those very thin cuts when you start to put rotational force in it, either you're accelerating or braking, it slightly opens up that gap and it introduces this very sharp edge to the surface which makes a huge improvement in wet weather, icy conditions. And it also makes a huge difference... it makes a huge difference on rocks and everything else. The only time you start to notice some downside is you'll get some stone retention, some pebble retention in those sipes, and then it also can result in the lug integrity problems of chunking and tearing. So that's just something to be aware of if you have a heavy right foot [00:18:00] siping will typically result in a lot of damage to the tire so...
Matt Scott: Yeah, but heavy right foots are generally fun.
Scott Brady: It can be for sure. Yeah, totally. So siping is a consideration. I also think that people spend too much time focusing on tread life in my opinion.
Matt Scott: Because it's so subjective.
Scott Brady: It is!
Matt Scott: Depending on what you're driving, for example, like I do a lot of gravel Baja, Arizona, West coast, a lot of forest service roads. I would say of the off highway miles I do, 90% of them are on gravel. And gravel really chews tires up.
Scott Brady: It does.
Matt Scott: You know, so finding a tire that works for the conditions that you're actually in. You know, I talked to my buddy, Adam overland history on Instagram and he just moved out from the East coast and the tires he has on his truck now, are really appropriate for the East coast. But out here, I mean, like in my [00:19:00] personal experience, every time I've put mud terrain tires on a vehicle for how I travel. They chunk their issues. And most of that is all just gravel related.
Scott Brady: Yeah, that totally makes sense, and if you look at it like a typical tire used in Australia and Africa, you'll see them most often with either a hybrid or an all-terrain because they do hold up a lot better. There's a lot more lug integrity because of the connection between the lugs, but when it comes to tread life, people will say, "Oh, I'm going to buy this tire because it has a 60,000 mile tread warranty". That's a positive in that it has a long tread life in a long warranty. Here's the downside that really makes a difference. When you get a tire that lasts that long, it has to be made to last that long, which means that it is going to have a very hard durometer. Which is going to directly affect adhesion and micro keying off-road. So there's a reason why most of the best off-road tires have a [00:20:00] very soft rubber compound is because they work better on hard rock, on granite, on slick rock, because you have much better adhesion. There's a reason why race cars have very soft tires.
Matt Scott: You don't want Fisher-Price hot wheels. Well, there's the example of the power wheel that I had when I was quite young, very young, like, I don't know, two or three.
Scott Brady: How often did you buy and sell hot wheels? I'm just trying to get a frame of reference. Did you trade hot wheel cars and did you buy?
Matt Scott: I bought and sold Pokemon cards, at like age eight something. I had the distinct advantage of my grandpa's company at the time. They put the wrapping over the Pokemon cards.
Scott Brady: Wow. This is a huge advantage.
Matt Scott: I was wiping my behind with charizards. That will make no sense to anybody over 35. I'm sorry, but anyway. No, but like the whole concept of like that power real thing, you know, you hear them, you hear the kids out [00:21:00] driving around and it's like you know, they're loud. They're hard. They don't get grip. You don't want that.
Scott Brady: You really don't. Unless your only goal is to make the tires last as physically, as long as possible.
Matt Scott: Which I think there is, there is a use case.
Scott Brady: For sure.
Matt Scott: Buddy of mine David Priddis, who's driven all over the world in a Defender uses Michelin tires. Because they wear so long because he knows he doesn't necessarily have a problem, "Oh, if I get stuck I'll winch out, I have max tracks or..." whatever. And you know, they just last a really long time and for a traveler that's on a budget and is considering those things. Maybe that is a valid point, but you may not get the same level of performance.
Scott Brady: Yeah. What a great example, Matt, and it's so important to talk about things like that, because tires are expensive. So if long tread life or accessibility to tires in Africa or some location that it may be difficult. You may want something that lasts a lot longer. But usually, you know, [00:22:00] the difference is maybe 10 to 15,000 miles. So it's not, it's not a big difference, but that is totally valid. Yeah.
Matt Scott: Yeah... I dunno.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So I think tread life is something to like, don't use that as the reason to buy the tires or as some great advantage for an off-road tire, they also can tear more often because they're harder compounds. They can chunk and tear more readily because again, they're a much harder compound, so that's something to consider as well. Another thing that you see a lot on these tires is these bead protectors and they kind of...
Matt Scott: Protrude out from the rim.
Scott Brady: Yeah. I've never actually seen them protect anything other than get torn and kind of shredded and then you see them hanging.
Matt Scott: Yeah then they get those fine cuts because they don't actually have any... There's no fibers or anything to actually hold that rubber in. I don't mind the concept nor do I mind the concept of having, you know, like kind of that shoulder armor on the-
Scott Brady: Yeah, that I like.
Matt Scott: You know, in fact if you go back, [00:23:00] I'll use the BF Goodrich KO2. I think that's KO, I should say the BF Goodrich alternated KO, which had kind of two different iterations. And you had to KO2 and you go back and you're like, "Wow that sidewall looks really naked". And you know, that's definitely, in my opinion, that was an area where I would always see failures on the trail was like, guys that at the time, maybe 10 years ago, had older style tires that didn't have that. That shoulder armor, I don't think it's necessarily the end all be all.
Scott Brady: No, I think you're right. Absolutely. That's been my experience too. Is that when the shoulder lugs wrap around to the side of the carcass, it does provide some flat protection. It actually provides some additional traction. If you're in a rut or you're climbing up using just the part of the sidewall of the tire. There's definitely some advantages, particularly when you're airing down. So I think you're right. I think that some of them can look ridiculous. I [00:24:00] think there was one that looked like some bullets or something. They're so stupid.
Matt Scott: There's the bullet one. And then there's the flame one.
Scott Brady: Which all look so ridiculous,
Matt Scott: And they're all sold by like... I'm going to stop myself there. Anyway, but don't get a gimmicky tire is what I'm trying to say.
Scott Brady: But I do think you're right. I think that those shoulder lugs have merit. They do add weight and they add some additional chunking possibilities. But I think the, the upside far outweighs the downside
Matt Scott: It's a little bit more weight, but vehicles these days.
Scott Brady: Yeah they're heavy.
Matt Scott: They're heavy. They can handle it.
Scott Brady: Yeah it's probably marginal on the weight, but it's definitely something to consider. You know the bead protector thing, don't use it as a reason to buy the tire. I've just seen those things just get torn and they can kind of hang like little flaps off the side of the tire. So they don't seem to perform a great function in that regard. Well, now let's talk about the different types of tires. [00:25:00] So you tend to favor the all-terrain, Matt, and kind of talk about why you use an all-terrain. What do you look for in an all-terrain?
Matt Scott: You know, number one thing I look for is a winter rating. You know, being a millennial, I have to have a snowflake rating I'm told. You know, so you know, that snowflake rating is super important. I can't drive without it.
Scott Brady: Matt is snowflake rated.
Matt Scott: I'm snowflake rated. No, but that, that is a really big thing. I mean, I want to say Washington, Oregon, passes in Colorado. A lot of places it's snowflake rated tires, which is a snow tire winter tire. That is kind of the accepted standard that is used. So that's really important.
Scott Brady: I agree. And I find that it's a big upside for other performance attributes too. They tend to have more siping and they tend to be a softer durometer. And they tend to have a little bit more carbon black in there, which improves ice and wet condition performance. So, they're good stuff.
Matt Scott: You know, for me that kind of has, in my history of overlanding, has [00:26:00] brought me to two tires has brought me to kind of a BFG all-terrain and I had run that forever, but I always had problems with chipping and chunking and gravel. I chased the Rebelle Rally as media and once it was the first one, it would have been like 2016. Had a brand new set of 35 inch BF Goodrich KO2s. Great tire. I think they perform really well, but I completely roasted them after one trip. And I'm like, egh, that wasn't good. And then I switched to these Falkens and that was when I learned differences in rubber can make a huge difference for how you're actually using the tire. I think probably the BF Goodrich has a higher performing tire and probably has better limit handling. That's why I kept them on my Raptor, but. They've got to work on gravel for me. Most of my cars generally I'll fit lockers or they come with walkers so I can overcome most of the things I find on an Overland style trip just through that.
Scott Brady: Yeah, [00:27:00] that first-generation of Falken ATS was like magic on hard rock. They actually used a racing car compound to make those ATS. I never had any chunking or tearing and they were insane on hard rock.
Matt Scott: I guess I always bring up Falken a lot, but it's because I was so impressed I thought they were kind of a discount cheap tire brand and I've never, I don't want to say I haven't associated with those brands, but I was never naturally drawn to them. And BF Goodrich has like the storied history in Baja. But then you really start to look at it and they're Sumitomo rubber. They're Dunlop. They're one of the world's largest tire companies. They just don't own Dunlop in the United States. You know, they make every tire that leaves a Toyota factory in Japan. Those tires are on them.
Scott Brady: No, they're really good quality.
Matt Scott: But yeah, so anyways, I guess I'm on a little bit of a tangent you know, snowflake rating. You know, they've got to work in gravel for me, which I guess is just something you kind of have to test [00:28:00] and try and ask trusted friends yourself. You know, those are my two biggest things, and I don't encounter a lot of mud. When I look at the places that I go, it's the West coast of the United States. It's rock , shale, sand. An all-terrain tire, while it may always seem better to have. You know, larger siping, a higher void tire is what I should have actually said, a higher void tire. That's not always the case. It's not always better.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Especially in sand a perfectly bald tire just about, or like a factory tread tire is going to work excellent in sand because you want to maximize the flotation and you want to minimize the disruption of the silica. So the fact that you have a low void, you actually get much better flotation and you're less likely to dig it whole.
Matt Scott: When you go to, if you ever get the chance to do kind of, the sand deserts and the golf peninsula, arabian peninsula I should say. You know they run these [00:29:00] nylon belted tires, which I want to say aren't even street legal, but they'll put them on land cruisers and they kind of have this texture to them that's fascinating. And they'll have this lip where, kind of on the shoulder of the tire just to provide additional flotation, and they rock and it would be the last thing that you would look at. And you're like, this guy has bald tires. No, it's not. And then again with that nylon you know, B4, help me out here. What's the technical term for that...
Scott Brady: Ribbon carcass?
Matt Scott: Oh, nylon carcass or whatever. They stretch out that length is huge.
Scott Brady: Oh, sure. So they even do better under flotation and those side scallops, that kind of reminds me of that. Remember that Lamborghini SUV?
Matt Scott: That was the first one to do that!
Scott Brady: And it had the little side scallops. Those were awesome!
Matt Scott: When I did the launch for the Lamborghini Urus a while ago, and we were off-road on a [00:30:00] track that later I saw the tractor drag tires over to make it nice and smooth. That was one of the things that they pointed out was like, just like the LM002 we have this little weird shoulder design thing that helps in sand because that's probably where most Lamborghini Urus are being used.
Scott Brady: It would actually be really fun in the sand I bet.
Matt Scott: Yeah it would be a rally car. It'd be really fun for it.
Scott Brady: So when we look at sand, it's easy to think like, "Oh we want these paddle tires, or we want these mud tires so we can scoop the sand". That is absolutely valid when you have huge horsepower and a light load.
Matt Scott: If you're going to Glamis and you have like a Blown or you have an LS9 or something in the back of a tube buggy.
Scott Brady: Yeah so how that works.
Matt Scott: Don't listen to what we just said.
Scott Brady: Yeah. That's how that works with the scallops and with the like the, basically the bald tires with the huge scoops on them or a mud tire, you have to have enough horsepower and enough wheel speed to actually displace. [00:31:00] More sand volume and weight of sand than the resistance of the vehicle. So that's why those sand rails are so light and they're so fast. They can displace the weight of sand.
Matt Scott: They literally get up on plans basically it's like a boat.
Scott Brady: It's like a jet engine. It's like a jet engine of sand coming out the back and if you're, if you're Series One Discovery, can't do that then you're better off going with a much, a much more tame tread pattern.
Matt Scott: So when it comes to tires, I mean, what do you look for? I guess you're kind of an all-terrain tire guy as well.
Scott Brady: I am for sure. Right now on the Defender, I have the classic XLs, which we'll talk about in a little bit which is pure-
Matt Scott: They look right.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Which is just purely because they're the right tire for that vintage of vehicle. But when it comes to all-terrains, I do really tend to use them. I do like the newest version of the BF Goodrich KO because they've improved a lot of that lug integrity and they've reduced a lot of the [00:32:00] chipping. Which I think is a real advantage. I ran the continental terrain contact.
Matt Scott: Oh you've had those on the G wagon for a while.
Scott Brady: Yeah for years and it was an excellent tire for that vehicle. Very smooth going down the road. I got an improvement in fuel economy with triple diff locks you just really don't really run into that much problem.
Matt Scott: Bruce Dorn has those on his now and I think even Laura's parents bought a set of those.
Scott Brady: Yeah, they're really, really great tires. They've very much impressed me. I also like the new Toyo AT3s, I'm impressed with the amount of siping on them. The way that the lugs are configured on the tire. I had it out in the slick rock of Sedona recently in the Lexus and it was incredible how much grip those tires had.
Matt Scott: Hmm. Fascinating.
Scott Brady: Yeah, they were really fast and fascinating and they were... Tell me more.
Matt Scott: Tell me more.
Scott Brady: Yeah, that was, those were really good. So I think the thing [00:33:00] anymore is that so many of the all-terrains were great when Cooper came out with their AT2 or A T3 this is probably close to 10 years ago. It literally was revolutionary. It was so good, and then everybody realized that and they have addressed a lot of that performance.
Matt Scott: I don't actually know a lot of bad tires in the market. Like if I was gonna, you know, we have our preferences and I think it's kind of like tires are like the beer you drink Miller light, bud light, whatever you just kind of seemed to stick with us for particular flavor.
Scott Brady: Orange blossom. Maybe I'm the snowflake. Orange blossom beer. I probably am the snowflake. I just don't know it. I gave you the orange blossom beer. That's true you did bring it in.
Matt Scott: Oh man, where was I going with that? There's a lot of good tires out there these days. I mean, I've been on the trail with a lot of people. I'm like "Ehhh, those things". And then they don't really have any issues. I mean, you know, if I was to offer sweeping advice on all-terrains, Like there are definitely brands out there, [00:34:00] some national chain, four wheel drive stores that are just selling. They go to somebody in the industry, they go to the lower South hall at SEMA, to all the Chinese tire companies and say, "Make me something with flames on it". And then they sell them to people and they suck. Surprisingly there's no actual engineering that goes into a lot of those things. But if you stick to a major tire company these days, like I don't want to say that you can't go wrong, but...
Scott Brady: I think you're right. I think that they've done so much to raise their game. There's a lot of money in aftermarket tire sales. These tire companies really care about that and they also really care about fitment on vehicles like a Jeep Rubicon, like the tire that ends up on a Tacoma or a Jeep Rubicon that says something about the brand. So they really fight for those positions, I think, in the marketplace, and they are really good. But one of the downsides of the cheaper tires is they just don't have access to things like noise canceling [00:35:00] engineering, and really understanding that finite element analysis and all of those modeling around traction profiles. And that's what you get with a better quality tire.
Matt Scott: Let's go into mud terrain tires. I don't really know anything about them. I haven't used them... The last time I used a mud terrain tire was when we had that, that Land Rover Trek discovery.
Scott Brady: Oh yeah, for sure.
Matt Scott: And that had...
Scott Brady: KMs on there.
Matt Scott: KM2s and those tires, while I had a few sets of them over my years, they had see-through. See-through is basically where you can look at the side profile of the tire. They didn't technically have see-through, but they...
Scott Brady: Pretty close.
Matt Scott: Pretty dang close. It's where you can literally see a line through it. Think of a paddle tire. A paddle tire would be the definition of something that had a lot of see-through. Well you're lateral grip and wet or mud or [00:36:00] anything. I parked that thing. And I don't know if I've ever told you this...
Scott Brady: *laughs* You haven't, this is new.
Matt Scott: I parked, I parked this car and cause somebody was stuck on... it was actually on the, it wasn't on the... it might've been on the test track. There some people stuck ahead of me. I just went out like, "Oh, they're snow wheeling and having fun". And I looked back in this car which had been parked for like a minute and is now moving sideways and I was done. That's when I was done with my train tires, but I don't know.
Scott Brady: That's a really important characteristic. Right? So that was a big problem with the KM2. It had very poor side slope holdings. So that would happen in snow, it would happen in mud. So that channel that you said that isn't interrupted, it's an uninterrupted channel. It would just allow for the material just to flow through it and it would slide downhill. And that means it doesn't hold its line. It's more inclined to oversteer. [00:37:00] All kinds of problems. And if you look at the KM3, they've totally addressed that because-
Matt Scott: I haven't used the KM3, but just looking at it looks so much better.
Scott Brady: So much better. And it is so much better. My experience, it's a lot more quiet as well. You know, there's a lot of problems that come up with mud tires. You have a hard time keeping them balanced. They can produce a ton of noise, particularly once they start to wear. So then it just adds to that driver fatigue at the end of the trip, they don't last as long. The tread life is much less on those. So if you need a mud tire though, like if you're traveling, if you live in the Southeast.
Matt Scott: You probably want a mud tire.
Scott Brady: Exactly. The terrain has dictated that you need that particular attribute and then make sure that you have a really great mud tire. But in most cases, outside of the mud, unless you're in, again, extreme rock crawling starts to make a difference. So that's when we start talking about that mechanical King and that is where the lug of the tire starts to interface [00:38:00] with a significant surface irregularity, protrusion, edge of allege, et cetera, where it actually helps to aid with the tire gripping and maintaining keying so that it can climb up the obstacle. That's something where an all-terrain may slip on that. Particular feature of the rock, whereas a mud tire would stay locked on just like a rock climber climbing up the face of a surface.
Matt Scott: Yeah and those high voids too. I think, when you get into the particular design features of a mud terrain tire, how they can clear themselves as a really big, a really big part of that too.
Scott Brady: For sure. In the mud, for sure. So that void. Now let's talk real quickly about some of the void considerations. So if you have a mud tire that has a vertical shoulder on the lug that creates a lot of stiction and where the mud literally stays captive inside that void. So you want to look for a mud tire [00:39:00] that has a tapered lug profile, because that allows when the tire starts to spin up. It allows it to evacuate the mud from that. And then that also aids a lot in lug integrity. So you want something with a little bit of a taper to it. And some of the newest mud tires are really smart where they'll have small scallops on the surface of the lug that again, reduce that stiction of the mud.
Matt Scott: Yeah and BFG is doing crazy things. Like they have these little, like, bars that kind of serve a function to kind of break that stiction or call it that vacuum that's holding that mud in there. And you know, one of the things that they're doing is they have those little rock ejectors too that you're just like... crazy.
Scott Brady: And they work and they really do work. Anyone that's listening that knows much about swords, I don't know anything about swords except for this one particular thing.
Matt Scott: I don't know anything about swords.
Scott Brady: But. If you look at the length of a sword blade, oftentimes they'll have this channel that runs down the flat of the blade.
Matt Scott: Like for the blood [00:40:00] to come out?
Scott Brady: It does the same thing. So when you inhale your enemies, it allows you to pull the sword back out. So it doesn't stay stuck in the victim. So it's the same thing that works with a mud tire. Apologize for that.
Matt Scott: I have only heard that used twice on... once on this podcast and two, probably at lunch in middle school describing.... Check out my sweet katana bro.
Scott Brady: I'm glad to know that I have resigned myself to middle school discussion.
Matt Scott: We're going to get like a katana over here. I'm going to get that for you.
Scott Brady: Oh no my first tattoo. That's hilarious. Okay. Yeah. So then on mud tires you're going to have a significant cost to miles per gallon. There's a lot of rolling resistance that comes from a mud tire. So you need to be aware of that.
Matt Scott: Noise is like the biggest thing. Now these new mud terrain tires I'll particularly use like the... I think the most recent mud tire I had was like the Falken WildPeak MT. I have [00:41:00] been in vehicles that have had the KM3 and they were really quiet. I've never personally owned them. But I like continental MPT 81s. They're 41, 42 inches tall on my Earth Roamer and that is the most fatiguing thing about driving that vehicle is the *annoying car hum* constantly. And I think that's something that travelers or even let's use a more practical case. Bob who lives on the East coast that wants to go to Moab, it's going to be really, really annoying for that drive fatiguing. So that's something to pay attention to. And also note that as the tire wears down, oftentimes it gets louder.
Scott Brady: Yes in most cases that's been my experience. So we're not saying don't use mud tires. If the use case scenario demands it. Or if you're traveling up the length of Africa and you intend to do a bunch of off-road driving.
[00:42:00] Matt Scott: If you're going through the Congo.
Scott Brady: Yeah. You're going to want to have some mud tires. But although locals do it on bald tires all the time, so you have to keep all that stuff in mind, but My experience with mud tires recently has been more positive. But you do need to know that there's, there's a lot of consequences to using a mud tire. I think in most cases. And I would admit this myself personally, in the past, I've used mud tires to look better on the car.
Matt Scott: They do look good. I mean they are a higher performance tire. Like strictly speaking, they're going to be a higher performance tire. Like there's a reason Dave Harrington puts those 41 inch Irocs on his trucks.
Scott Brady: Yeah, that's right. Because they really do work in most off-road conditions. But you know, for travel a lot of times we're driving on the highway to get there. So we have to just keep that in mind. And then there are these new hybrid tires which I think are important to touch base on mostly because we want to continue to encourage manufacturers to make them because they really do... you can like a dura track, which is one of the OG hybrids, it's an [00:43:00] open lug side channel and then it has a lot of siping and a fairly closed pattern down the crown of the tire and those tires work excellent. And they're fairly quiet on the road. They have a lot of grip. They do really well on gravel. So I like the fact that we're seeing a lot more of those hybrid tires.
Matt Scott: Yeah. The Ridge grapplers.
Scott Brady: Have you had one of those?
Matt Scott: I haven't, I've had some friends that have had them and they seem to rave about them. I want to say they like rotationally mold their tires rotationally, and there's some technical advantages to... I could be wrong in the term "rotational molding", but you know, people seem to really like them. I've never... again for me, I mean I would be more likely to run a hybrid tire than I would a mud terrain tire these days. So I'm really curious to see where that goes out. You know, you have the Cooper ST maxx, which is another kind of the OG I've had a lot of driving miles behind in Australia.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Those are great. Really durable
Matt Scott: Good on the beach, really durable, really [00:44:00] great for gravel. Those are a great choice. I want to say Cooper just got bought by Goodyear.
Scott Brady: Oh could be.
Matt Scott: Five squillion, jillion dollars or something. You have the Baja ATZP3, that is the same company as Cooper... Mickey Thompson.
Scott Brady: Are they?
Matt Scott: I want to say, I want to say so Milestar Patagonia is one that actually you brought up.
Scott Brady: I've not tried it, but it's one that's new to the market.
Matt Scott: Yeah and then you have those Yokohomas yeah.
Scott Brady: Those are brand new.
Matt Scott: Geolander X-AT.
Scott Brady: Dan Grech speaks highly of those.
Matt Scott: Yeah, he's put quite a few miles on those things all over africa. I think there's a huge argument. If you're an Overlander that is, "Hey yeah, maybe I'm going to go on some more technical trails. Maybe. I don't necessarily know where I'm going". Think Dan's trip through Africa. That's a great tire for that because he's doing deserts in Namibia and then he's doing...
Scott Brady: Mud in the [00:45:00] Congo coast. Yeah, that's definitely the argument for the hybrids. And I'm just really excited to see what's going to come from that. And I actually plan on trying to spend more time testing those kinds of tires. So that way we can get a pretty good understanding of the performance profile of those. So should we...
Matt Scott: Bust on to wheels.
Scott Brady: Wheels. Yeah.
Matt Scott: If you don't have steelies, you don't go off road.
Scott Brady: We can hammer them out. If you don't have steelies.
Matt Scott: Or you can get a nice wheel that won't need hammering out. Yeah so I guess with, you know, on a broad spectrum, you have alloy wheels and you have steel wheels. I know that there's magnesium wheels, but we're not driving GT3 RSs here.
Scott Brady: Unfortunately, maybe that's another podcast.
Matt Scott: That's a different one specifically with the Weissach package for any Porsche files out there. Yeah. Anyways, so, you know there's forgers cast, there's this new thing called flow forming, which is kind of in between cast and forging.
Scott Brady: Yeah [00:46:00] those are very interesting.
Matt Scott: You know, I guess maybe you're better to get into the scientific specifics of what makes these things what they are, but I have to say for most Overland uses, it seems on Instagram, the new things are going to have these forged wheels. I'm like, no, you're doing that for likes. You don't actually need those things. I've seen the 35 mile an hour you drive with your roof tent. You're not really... need wants.
Scott Brady: Yeah, I don't. When it comes to wheels, I believe the most important thing is a quality manufacturer because the big problem with cast, which is a valid concern is this would be inclusions or it's basically when, as the molten aluminum is being poured into the cast that you can get these inclusions and you can get these little pockets of air that results in. The start or the facilitation of a crack [00:47:00] and damage to the wheel. And I have seen that kind of stuff happen. But so long ago, I don't think that that's an issue anymore. There's a bunch of upsides to cast. They can be made lighter. They can be made more complex. They can be made more easily, so they're less expensive. You know forged wheels can look fantastic too. So there there's advantages to both.
Matt Scott: But there could also probably travel for a month for each wheel.
Scott Brady: There's a big difference in price. So I think the key is to go with a good quality manufacturer. You know...
Matt Scott: And there are certain certifications too. You know...
Scott Brady: DOT, for sure.
Matt Scott: They have to be DOT compliant or particularly for Beadlocks. You know, but there are these one level certifications that you should look for. We'll put those in the show notes cause they're a little bit complicated to just say out, but look for those things. You know there is a lot of junk out there as far as cast wheels go. Do your research, there are [00:48:00] a plethora of quality... you almost can't throw a rock without hitting a quality off-road specific vehicle manufacturer or sorry wheel manufacturer.
Scott Brady: Right. Some great ones out there.
Matt Scott: There are great ones.
Scott Brady: Yeah you know, I think about a new newer one on the scene is 1552 makes great looking wheels, a bunch of different, and they're kind of understated, which I like a method has...
Matt Scott: Yeah I've had a set of methods,
Scott Brady: Every possible configuration of wheel you can imagine. And they've got this new kind of bead grip technology. I need to test that, but in theory...
Matt Scott: I have a set.
Scott Brady: Oh, do you? So we should try that
Matt Scott: Trail series 702s.
Scott Brady: But it does look like that would actually work particularly with a new tire
Matt Scott: The cost benefit between that and a... I've had Beadlocks on Jeeps. I've had this on Jeeps, you know, I air down quite a bit.
I mean, I go down to 15 PSI sometimes when I'm on the beach in Baja just because of the weight of the camper and everything on the back [00:49:00] end. I like to give it a skinny pedal sometimes. And you know generally for me, the Beadlock thing comes into play at high speed, a lot of lateral movement vehicles rotating, and then the bead pops off. You know, so just having a little bit of extra of that lateral stability there from that bead locker, you know...
Scott Brady: I think it makes sense. I mean my experience with the Arctic trucks, even down to two or three PSI I've never lost a bead. They use a compound to help it kind of stick. And then they slightly oversize the wheel. Like, I don't know what the slight is. I don't know what the dimensions are that change, but the wheel is slightly oversized from a 15. So that it's very tight. It's like a very tight, tight fit. And I have never seen one of those... Well, actually I did have one on Eyjafjallajökull glacier that I lost a bead on, but it was easy enough to get that back on.
Matt Scott: I'll give you a beer, [00:50:00] another beer, if you can repeat whatever you just said, that glacier was called.
Scott Brady: Eyjafjallajökull.
Matt Scott: Eyjafjallajökull. I'm going to get hate mail from all three of our Icelandic listeners.
Scott Brady: Let me come
Matt Scott: to your country please.
Scott Brady: They can all speak better English than both of us combined.
Matt Scott: Yeah. And they're better looking and they have better hair.
Scott Brady: They definitely have better hair than me.
Matt Scott: I mean, I don't think mine's bad.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So I think that Beadlocks have their place. There are only a couple DOT approved bead locks.
Matt Scott: Compliant is the technical term there.
Scott Brady: Gotcha. That's a good correction there. So the Hutchinson's are ones that come to mind, and then more recently, AEV came out with their Crestone that it's like, it's a hybrid wheel where you can run it with. No bead lock. You can run it as a Bead lock. You can run it with a trim ring or you can run it with a true Bead lock ring. And they're fairly reasonable too, like in the high two hundreds per wheel.
[00:51:00] Matt Scott: Yeah. I mean, in my opinion, a true Bead lock is something that's like a Hutchinson captures both sides. And the only way they're really able to do that is through this kind of nylon rubber insert that literally, you know, Yeah, it has things that think of it as a 16 inch wheel for a 15 inch tire. So it's a higher profile. You know, the inside is absorbed by this rubber nylon piece and then the front of the wheel is actually bolted on. So it's sandwiched. It can't go anywhere. You know, really, really tall lips. That's a proper, Beadlock like, you'd see in a military style application with an O-ring.
Scott Brady: You can even have those inserts. They run flat too. So they're, you know, Hutchinson's have a lot of advantages on the performance side, the durability side, they're extremely heavy. They're difficult to balance in my experience, they were very difficult to balance.
Matt Scott: I mean, you've had a set in your G I've had a set on [00:52:00] my Wrangler, and then I have a set on the earth roamer and.I have yet found a way to perfectly balance and I've gotten them close. Yeah. I've also experienced a lot of O-ring issues. Now, this isn't necessarily Hutchinson's fault. 90% of the time it's probably going to be, you know, installation error. Right. But you do have to continually torque these wheels and check them and really kind of...
Scott Brady: They are the coolest wheel on the planet though. I mean, the want we talk about wants versus needs. This was a Scotty want for a really long time. And then when I finally got them and just couldn't get them to work right and I just went back to the factory G Wagon wheels, but you know, they're very, very cool.
Matt Scott: You never really have to worry about popping to bread. Like I used to in my JK Rubicon, I would run eight PSI. Why because I could. And it, and it was a magic carpet ride. It was [00:53:00] wonderful.
Scott Brady: But I think those AEV Crestones are a really nice alternative. That's what I put on the Lexus and they work great.
Matt Scott: I find for most people they're gonna push a bead off on a rock. They're going to be at low pressure, and they're going to come across a rock and it's literally just gonna wedge itself in there. You're going to lose pressure. You're going to prevent burping, and burping guys is literally when sidewall gets kind of pushed off of that surface that's actually holding the pressure and then it just farts.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And it just can be for a moment until the tire rotates and it reseals.
Matt Scott: It can mean that you completely lose pressure and then your tire comes off or it's an impact thing. So I think realistically those AEV Crestones are like the...
Scott Brady: They're probably the best option. But in most cases, I don't think that they're necessary. And it wouldn't be something like if I was trying to decide between, can I stay traveling [00:54:00] in Ecuador for another month or buy these more expensive wheels? I would rather travel for another month. There, you know, most OEM wheels are more than sufficient and yeah, just save the money for sure. But there is a place for steaks too.
Matt Scott: I think they just look right on certain cards.
Scott Brady: They do.
Matt Scott: Like on your defender.
Scott Brady: Yeah. That's right.
Matt Scott: It just looks right.
Scott Brady: Yeah. 7.5 XZLs on steals. It looks just right.
Matt Scott: Oh you never talked about, I'm holding you to this, XZLs and why you love them and John Lee loves them and no one else I know loves them. They look Right, but they suck.
Scott Brady: Yeah. They have-
Matt Scott: Admit it. Admit it. Admit it. Admit it.
Scott Brady: They suck.
Matt Scott: Admit it.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So they've killed me, or nearly killed me, excuse me. On many occasions, like anytime you hit the brakes on wet surfaces , and then they simply just look right, but they're terrible in everything but two ways. They do not puncture. I've never seen [00:55:00] one puncture. It doesn't mean that they don't puncture, but I have never seen one get a puncture and then they work great. If it is very shallow mud and you just kind of dig through that surface. So they definitely have their place and they're cool as hell.
Matt Scott: They will outlast you.
Scott Brady: Yeah, totally. They're cool as hell. And they live forever and they look great on classic vehicles. But if you're thinking you're going to get some performance advantage from an XZL. Yeah, look elsewhere.
Matt Scott: That would be a great greeting in some countries. I hope you live longer than an XZL.
Scott Brady: It's so true. They're cool.
Matt Scott: Yeah. Steel wheels. There's just not a lot of people doing them anymore. I mean, I guess the designs are kind of, I'm not going to say limited, but they all are. They have a. D shaped hole or a circle shaped hole.
Scott Brady: Or no hole.
Matt Scott: Or no hole.
Scott Brady: Exactly. Yeah, you'll find them on less expensive vehicles or as like a base [00:56:00] model or as a spare tire. You know, the argument that you can hammer them out is absolutely true, but I've also hammered out aluminum wheels. If you're careful. Anytime I've had to, had to hammer a wheel, it was on a motorcycle and they were all aluminum wheels. And it worked just fine. So there's some advantages around that. The disadvantage is that they are very heavy. So you have that additional rotating and reciprocating mass. So that's a downside, but there's nothing wrong with steel wheels. I think they're super... they look great.
Matt Scott: I think they look cool. Like the new defender has available steel wheels. You know, it's nice. I feel like again, you know, Wheels and tires are something that have changed so much in, well, I mean think 50 years, like I want to say was Michelin or somebody posted. I saw it on some Porsche Instagram page where they posted a 1970 factory fitted Michelin tire to a 911. And then they posted a [00:57:00] picture of a 2020 factory fitted Michelin tire. And it was like...
Scott Brady: Insane.
Matt Scott: It was drastically different, but even going 10, maybe 15 years back. Again, I'll use the discovery or whatever vehicle you want to... a Defender or something. Sure. You know, you're putting, you're putting a 2 35 85 16 on that vehicle, a 32 narrow, you had ample sidewall, but. Not near the sidewall that like my gladiator would have. So I feel like steel wheels definitely have their place, but since we can fit such larger tires with such huge flotation and huge sidewalls, I don't think alloys are really bad anymore.
Scott Brady: No, I think they have a lot of advantages. One of the best reasons to run steel wheels is that when you're traveling internationally, You lower the profile of the vehicle, they're less likely to want to steal them [00:58:00] because they don't look like they're valuable. So that is one of the best advantages of a steel wheel. It's very understated. It doesn't look like something that's flashy and expensive and worth stealing. So, you know, I would definitely look at steel wheels in that advantage personally, I think I gravitate towards them because I like the fact that they are more minimalists, that they are more understated. I find that maybe it just kind of appeals to my practicalities a little more than some performance advantage that people make up just to justify their decisions.
Matt Scott: It's just Need vs want. I mean, I don't really see a huge difference. Like I would suspect a large percentage of drivers, if you swapped steel wheels for aluminum wheels, they would have no idea which was on the car at the current time.
Scott Brady: Yeah. It would be difficult to tell the difference between the two, for sure. Absolutely. One thing that is really important to discuss on wheels that I do want to make sure that we talk about is offset.. [00:59:00] And it is one of the things that I, until I knew it and understood it. It was like a light bulb came on. You'll see a vehicle that'll have these very wide wheels that are pushed out. From the-
Matt Scott: Brodozers. Yeah. Think of a brodozer.
Scott Brady: Yeah. So that means that they even have a negative offset, which means that they're pushed past the centerline of the hub. Those are actually extremely unsafe unless it is demanded for the application, like an Arctic truck. So the reason why vehicles come from the factory with a positive offset, which means that the majority of the wheel is inside. So distal to the surface of the hub is because if the vehicle comes off the crown of the road and it hits a patch of snow or gravel or grass outside of that tire it's going to catch that resistance. It's going to feel that resistance. And if it has a negative offset, it's [01:00:00] going to pull the vehicle into the ditch. Whereas, if it has a positive offset, which means when it encounters that resistance, it actually causes it to either stay neutral or to force the vehicle away from that resistance.
Matt Scott: More leverage.
Scott Brady: That's correct. So it's the leverage point. So when you see somebody that's running these super wide wheels that are stuck way out from the hub surface and they tell you that there's some advantage to that, they're absolutely incorrect. And I used to think that, and I was incorrect. So there's a reason why they have positive offsets. We need to fit positive offset wheels to our vehicles because they are much safer.
Matt Scott: Yeah. And two just reliability. The vehicle, all of that additional leverage has been placed on your wheel bearing to the same reason why
Scott Brady: Steering component's everything.
Matt Scott: Everything, everything you know, I think that there's some vehicles that can get away with it, maybe more than others. But you know, they're also, how do you say it? I would be far more willing to accept a [01:01:00] negative offset wheel on a 3,500 pickup truck than I would a Tacoma. I mean, again, I'm not ragging on the Tacoma. I feel like I really do but...
Scott Brady: A heavier duty vehicle can handle it. But even, even the Arctic trucks that we've used, those are high Lux, which have very similar suspension to the Tacoma. They are very robust. But there's no way around it. They have to use this negative offset. They cannot tuck the tires because they're too big. They're 18 and a half inches wide. But in every other instance, we need to make sure that we're using a positive offset wheel. And we want to stick to about the same offset that the factory has.
Matt Scott: And, you know, moving onto wheel size. I think it has been commonly understood that a smaller wheel is always better for off-road. And I think there's merits to that. The thing that I will say now I learned this with my F [01:02:00] 250 that I had a while ago. I had 17 inch wheels on it. I think they were seventeen for a while. And then I went up to my twenties. Now I went up to twenties with a 37 inch. Tire. So I still had a huge amount of sidewall that the vehicle handled so much better. It didn't push through the sidewall. It steered less, it was more direct. So I think that's also something to consider.
Scott Brady: The reason why sports cars have large diameter wheels and low-profile tires as you have much less deflection of the sidewall, which is going to improve traceability and predictability and line holding the downside is, is that you have a big reduction in flotation and more of the wheel is at risk. So you're much more likely to end up with the-
Matt Scott: But there is a balance there, I guess.
Scott Brady: Which is the seventeen right?
Matt Scott: Yeah. You know, I guess that's all I'm trying to get to is recognize that vehicle speeds are faster than they used to be. Vehicles are significantly more [01:03:00] powerful than they used to be. And kind of keep that in, like, just because you could put a 15 inch wheel on your 8,000 pound full-size truck, it doesn't actually mean that you should. You know, there's going to be that happy compromise, which generally lands at a 17.
Scott Brady: Look at the use case. I mean, kind of in summary, all of these things buy the tire that best meets your needs for the majority of your driving. And then just feel comfortable with that decision. You're going to be so much happier in the long run. You know, avoid using a mud tire. If you live in the desert Southwest, and you don't plan on driving in the mud, because there's gonna be a lot of upsides to having an all-terrain. And then when it comes to the, any of these purchases, like we talked about in the beginning is if you need a new set of tires, then do the research and buy something that's really appropriate for you. But maybe just stick with what stock for a while and use that money to go explore new places. And I think that as we've continued on with this podcast, it's become more and more [01:04:00] apparent to me in the feedback that I get. It is about the travel and that it is the thing that brings Matt and I so much joy. And we know it brings all of you so much joy. We do need to understand how these things work so we can make good decisions and spend our money wisely, but let's spend a lot less of it if we can.
Matt Scott: Yeah and let's not be the people that are just about to build about, you know, the constant changes, the constant modification You know, if you've got it, run with it.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Just run with what you got and then find out where it works and, where it doesn't and then build appropriately, right?
Matt Scott: Well, hopefully this has been enlightening for some of you. I actually learned some things from Scott as I usually do.
Scott Brady: It's such an interesting topic and, and there's so much. To explore tires, entire performance and the way that it improves our travels and give us some insights in the way things work. And that's why we started this principle of overlanding series [01:05:00] is that we really wanted to do the deep dive into things. Like we have talked for an hour and eight minutes on wheels and tires. There's so much that-
Matt Scott: We could've talked for another hour.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And again, I only know 5% of what I wish to learn. And that is what is so fun about the topic of overlanding. There is so much to learn and we're so grateful for you all listening. Please send us your feedback and any questions that you've got.
Matt Scott: Except for what size tires and how much lift. If you ask us that...
Scott Brady: What's the largest tire I can fit on my Tacoma with no lift.
Matt Scott: It's at 27.5. That's the answer you're going to get.
Scott Brady: And a picture of Dack.
Matt Scott: I'm going to send you a link that says, let me Google that for you.
Scott Brady: So where can they reach you, Matt?
Matt Scott: I'm on Instagram at Matt Explorer. And then your Scott.a.brady on Instagram. Right?
Scott Brady: That is me. Please feel free to reach out. We love hearing from those that listened to the podcast. We are working on an ask me anything [01:06:00] episode. So if there are things that you would like to ask us like for example, what hair products that I use, or where does Matt find these beautiful shirts? You can send us whatever questions that you've got and we will do our best to answer them in a future episode. So thank you all for listening and we will talk to you next time.
Matt Scott: Adios!