The Little Tire Company That Could
A brand-new bias-ply for the trail, brought to you by the Pit Bull Tire Company. Never heard of it? Don't worry, you will-at least if our findings are even close to what these new tires seem to be capable of. Built on a trail-friendly four-ply nylon carcass, the Pit Bull Rocker has a very nicely rounded tread arch, which promised great trail performance. On the other hand, the tread design left us guessing. There are tread blocks the shape of Texas, and darn near the same size, which didn't bode well for our lightweight test vehicle as it could result in less-than-ideal contact pressure-especially with a generous 12-inch tread width. Also, some shoulder lugs were a bit on the large side for being conducive to tread flex, we thought. Well, those things could always be fixed with a grooving iron, we figured, but first we'd have to test the tires as delivered.
When mounting and balancing, the Pit Bulls impressed with only a 23-pound average of Road Force Variation on the Hunter GSP 9700 balancer, with the best tire/wheel combo being just 7 pounds. Considering that the old 15x10 Weld Outback wheels we used are pretty beat-up and not overly round anymore, that's good for a 35.5-inch bias-ply. (At present it's available in 32 sizes ranging from 33x12.50-15 to 39.5x14.5-17, with more sizes on the way.)
Expect a bumpy ride from the four-ply nylon carcass until the tire warms up and the flat spotting goes away, but from then on, enjoy a smooth and stable drive. The Pit Bull Rocker handles very well, at least within the limits of our test vehicle, and is even amazingly quiet for its aggressiveness.
Instantly noticeable was that the Pit Bull flexed very well, whereas many tires require multiple runs at very low pressure to get broken in. Smaller rocks were simply absorbed by the flexible tire, offering a smooth ride.
Having gotten over 24 inches of rain in just over a week, we do know that the Pit Bull Rocker works in mud-partially because of the aggressiveness of the 22/32-inch-deep tread, but also because some tread blocks are stepped, and that there are small ridges between the tread blocks that help expel mud. However, in really sticky stuff, they packed up just like any other tire.
We suspect that the tire construction itself was probably largely responsible for the performance, as even with clogged treads, the 'Bulls would climb hills we thought they couldn't have made with a clean tread.
On wet, moist, or dry dirt, the Pit Bull Rockers continued to impress us. Ultimately, even on dune sand. We've never been fans of aggressive tires for sand use, but apparently the generous tread arch overcame the aggressiveness of the tread, and we managed to crawl (1st gear, low-range) up relatively steep dunes-with up to 4 psi front and 3 psi rear inflation pressures. We've done that with grooved all-terrain treads before, but the sand was now somewhat moist from earlier rains. Still, even in the dry sections the Pit Bulls worked quite well.
Several rock trails failed to inflict any damage to the sidewalls, and the tread doesn't appear to be susceptible to chunking, or even losing the sharpness of the leading edges anytime soon.
Maybe we were just lucky and hit all the right trails at the right time, but it sure seems that the Pit Bull Rocker is a great all-around trail tire for those who want or need an aggressive tread. That it also behaves very well on the street was an unexpected bonus. Either way, the carcass is supremely flexible, offering a comfortable ride and-in good old bias-ply fashion-envelops obstacles very well for great traction.
Tire: Pit Bull Rocker
Load range: C
Max load (lb. @ psi): 2,725 @ 30
Sidewall: Four-ply nylon
Tread: Four-ply nylon
Approved rim width (in.): 10-12
Tread depth (in.): 22/32
Tread width (in.): 12.0
Section width (in.): 15.25
Overall diameter (in.): 35.5
Static loaded radius (in.): N/A
Revs per mile: 600
Weight (lb.): 73
Test vehicle: Jeep CJ, curb weight 3,200 lb.