The Ultimate Tire Test
No matter what vehicle you wheel, sooner or later you’re destined to come across an obstacle or situation that can, and often will, devour some seemingly bulletproof part without warning. While we spend countless hours (and dollars) attempting to build our rigs as tough as possible, the one component that is constantly under load (literally) is the tires.
Since we’re always up for evaluating a fresh set of trail cleats, we thought what better way to test a tire’s toughness than on the 1,000-plus-mile thrashfest that is the Ultimate Adventure? The tire we opted to torturer was Interco’s 37x12.50 Irok Radial. Interco’s Super Swamper Irok comes in variety of molds: radial, no-directional, bias, and competition. While each has its own defining characteristics and qualities, we chose the radial version because our rigs see a healthy mix of on- and off-road driving.
With the knobby and aggressive radial Iroks secured onto a set of 17-inch KMC beadlocks and bolted under our V-8–powered ’97 Jeep Wrangler, we headed to the Midwest for some serious tire R&D. Over the course of two weeks we managed to rack up almost 2,000 miles of highway, mud, rocks, loose dirt, and long periods of single-digit air pressure. Given that we’d already run the tires for roughly 3,000 miles before we took off on the Adventure, we felt they were plenty broken in. So did that Iroks hold up or whimper under the abuse? Just read on to find out!
Given that the Midwest has plenty of mud, it didn’t take long for us to see how well the Iroks cleared out the muck. With large tread voids and gracious spacing between the lugs, the directional Iroks cut through the slop with ease. Like most mud-terrain radials, the more wheel speed we had, the better they cleaned out.
We’ve had our Iroks over the massive boulders at the Hammer trails in SoCal, as well as the dirt-covered boulders we faced in the Midwest. Though the more jagged rocks took their toll on the leading edges of the tread, we were extremely impressed with how the Load Range E sidewalls flexed and helped the tires grip onto the rocks.
Versatility is one of the most important things we look for in both a vehicle and a tire. This was one of the Irok’s strong suits. It simply worked everywhere we needed it to. Our only complaint was the heavy weight of the 81-pound, 37-inch-tall tire and its performance on wet pavement. Overall, the Irok Radial (which is available in sizes 33 to 41 inches) is a great all-around trail rig tire, especially for those who see a good mix of loose dirt, rocks, and mud. To secure the tires in place, we ran a set of 17x8 KMC XD Enduro beadlocks. KMC has some of the toughest aluminum beadlocks on the market, and with our exterior bead bolted securely in place we could run single-digit air pressure (generally 8 psi) without worry.
Part of what makes the Irok Radial work so well in the dirt is its wide tread voids. Combined with an aggressive sidewall and gracious sipping, the tires were able to dig and find grip well over almost any terra firma. And while the Irok Radial may look extremely aggressive, the tire’s highway characteristics are much tamer than the knobby footprint would lead you to believe. In terms of noise, our Jeep is pretty loud in general so the extra tire hum didn’t really add up to much.
Tire: Irok Radial
Size: 37x12.50 R17
Tread depth: 21/32
Load Range: E, 3,640 lb
Weight: 81 lb