When we first heard about the new Parnelli Jones Dirt Grip tire, we knew the name and history of the man, but didnt have a clue about the tire. Yeah, Jones raced Baja 30 years ago, but off-road tires? We read the specs and decided to try them out, as they had sizes listed from 31 to 38 inches tall. According to the poop sheet, the tread and sidewall have a special cooler-running compound, and at our lower tire pressures that could be a benefit. Also, 16 and 16.5 inches have a 10-ply rating on the sidewalls, another good feature for toughness. And for street users, these radial tires are factory balanced and checked for roundness before shipping. They say the average tire only takes around 5 ounces to balance.
With info in hand and a test schedule set, a quick call to National Tire & Wheel yielded a set of 36x14.50-15 Dirt Grips on 10-inch Eaton steel wheels, already mounted and balanced with minimal weights. We figured the 36s would fit our test mule since 35-inch Boggers did, but these PJs measure a full 36 inches and then some, causing a bit of sheetmetal reformation. We ended up trying them on a couple of different rigs in different places for a more rounded test, rather than a quick check on a test track like some other mags. That also meant we had to wait for rain, find some snow, and (gasp) try em on the street. Since mileage figures cant be told for quite some time, well give you an update in a later issue.
The tread design is unique. Its a bunch of PJ initials and three different lug patterns on the edges. Tester and Jp Editor John Cappa cracked that there was no way the initials PJ could be the ultimate tread design, and we admit we had our reservations too. But after blasting through the sand and tearing up the rocks, slopping through mud and snow, we were all impressed. These tires are called Dirt Grip, and it is an appropriate name. We called em Mud Grip, Sand Grip, Snow Grip, and Street Grip, because at the appropriate pressure for the vehicle and terrain, they do what it saysgrip. If you want to see these donuts in action, check out our Web site at www.4wheeloffroad.com for a behind-the-scenes video of the test, just like you were there yourself.