I love tires, and specifically I love big knobby tires. But if it’s bigger than those little spare tire donuts and knobbier than a warty toad, then that’s better than nothing! It’s obvious that big aggressive rubber is the name of the game when it comes to building any off-road machine. This is proven every time I drive one of my lifted 4x4s down a suburban street and some little tyke points and yells, “Monsta truck! Monsta truck, Mommy!” Big tires are the single most significant upgrade that the layperson sees when we rumble down the street. As such, when I’m describing my job to someone who knows nothing about the off-road world, I simply say, “I write a magazine about all those trucks with big tires you see driving around. Those are my readers, my people.”
This month is our tire issue, and I’m really stoked about some of the new rubber we’re seeing on the market. There are plenty of new all-terrain and mid/tweener-terrain tires coming out, plus rumors of many new aggressive mud- and rock-terrain tires in the works. The fact is I want them all! If I could, I would stack them in my living room or drop a sheet of glass on a half-dozen muddies and call it my dining room table. I once had a guy tell me that tires smell bad and that you wouldn’t want to live in a place with a bunch of tires. That guy apparently had zero taste and no style, or was just a nimrod. Tires smell great and look cool! Especially those found in the ads and on the trucks in this magazine.
Another thing I’ve learned is that for a lot of people, tires are like boots or sneakers (athletic shoes, or whatever you call them in your neck of the woods). Looks are more important than performance for those people, but not for everyone. I love a mean-spirited tire that takes no gruff from a rock or rutted trail when wrapped around a battered old beadlock rim on my trail rig, but I also want that perfect tow rig/daily driver/do-anything tire that gets a gazillion miles, doesn’t drone me to sleep like a double-prop plane, rides smooth as glass, but still looks gnarly so it scares hybrids from wandering into my lane. There really isn’t a perfect all-around tire, but that’s fine because there also isn’t that perfect all around 4x4 or perfect pair of boots, sneakers, flip-flops, or whatever you wear to work, church, school, the gym, and while camping or 4-wheeling.
I say get the tires you want that work in the terrain you like to go, and run them hard until they wear out. Put miles on your 4x4. Go see some distant place you’ve never seen, run an obstacle you’ve always wanted to try, explore a canyon or mountain track that you’ve always wondered where it leads. Don’t worry about your tires. They are expendable, plus they get old, so use ’em, abuse ’em, and know that the tire guys are out there working on new ones.