A Stellar Tread For Tow Rigs
If you are like us, you expect the tires you put on your tow vehicle to do a variety of things well, the most important of which is handle a load. The Maxxis Bravo 771, with its seven-ply tread construction, blurs the lines between a high-capacity over-the-road tractor/trailer tire and a sure-footed all-terrain.
Thanks to five individual tread segments, each featuring multidirectional siping to help the Bravo 771’s individual blocks “breathe” when working, the tires are said to run cooler than others in the same class. The void angles of the outer rib lugs contribute to the cooling effect, as angled openings promote airflow across the pattern from the outside of the tire inward across the trio of interlocking center ribs. Two longitudinal channels separating the three center ribs from the shoulder areas assist in the cooling effort as well. When conditions get wet, the same migratory effect that the design has on airflow also works to channel water away from the three central ribs. The effect is more contact with road surface and a well-cooled tread compound for normal driving conditions. When things get heavy, the outer ribs of the pattern enter the equation to increase footprint and traction ability. However, when unloaded, the center ribs take the brunt of the load. During hard cornering, the outer portions of the pattern twist slightly, and the central voids of the shoulder lugs open up to enhance bite between the longitudinal zigzag sipes and the road surface. Snow and ice are no problem for the Bravo because of the multitude of angles within the sipe configuration.
We tested this tire on a ’05 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup and found its performance to be much better than we expected in almost all categories of performance. The size we tested was a 315/70R17 with a load range E-rated eight-ply carcass. We mounted the tires to a set of Alcoa 17x9 aluminum wheels. The vehicle was used primarily for long road trips and towing exercises. However, we did manage to find some snow, mud and gravel stretches of road along the way. In light mud, the pattern cleaned well for the most part. The only exceptions were the outermost shoulder ribs, which seemed to retain pencil-eraser size pebbles until speed climbed over 25 mph. The mild-mannered sidewall design and a virtually silent on-road performance left us wondering if the tread was ready for serious mud work. As such, we didn’t take on any really deep goo. However, the multitude of long-range towing trips to which we subjected the tread provided us ample assurance that if rotated regularly, the tire would easily see 40,000 to 50,000 miles.
Maxxis claims the Chinese-made Bravo 771 has a stiff, yet comfortable carcass, but we think it’s more of a combination of a stiff carcass and very flexible 17⁄32-inch-deep tread. With a nondirectional tread, the Bravo 771 can be mounted with white or black lettering on the outside, and it’s available in 36 sizes ranging from 15- to 20-inch wheel fitments.
The Bottom Line:
The Bravo 771 proves that even a 7,500-pound pickup truck can have a tire that lasts upwards of 40,000 miles and still return decent traction when the road gets rough.
Tire: Maxxis Bravo 771
Load range: E
Max load (lb): 3,195 (single), 2,910 (dual) @ 50
Sidewall construction: 2-ply polyester
Tread construction: 2-ply nylon, 2-ply steel, 2-ply polyester
Approved rim width: 7.5-9.5
Tread depth (in): 17⁄32
Tread width (in): 12.7
Section width (in): 12.6
Overall diameter (in): 34.4
Static loaded radius (in): N/A
Revolutions per mile: 586
Weight (lb): 66.1