Interco's Best Sand Tire?
You don't see many go-fast trucks rolling around with Interco tires. While most of the company's offerings are very competition friendly, the famous Super Swamper line it's known for is more for hardcore trail competing or mud racing than something you'd put on a go-fast rig. While it had the ultra-aggressive tire market cornered, Interco saw room for growth and released the TrXus MT, TrXus STS, and the Vortacs—the first being a daily-drivable mud-terrain and the latter two being sold as all-terrain tires.
But the TrXus STS isn't just a normal all-terrain; it doesn't quite fit the mold. It looks more purpose built—definitely not a mud tire with those closely placed tread blocks, but also not a highway-specific tire with the long tread lugs, minimal siping, and lack of a ribbed design in the tread.
What it looked like to us was a sand-and–all-terrain hybrid tire. Good sand tires typically (remember, there are always exceptions) don't have high void space in the tread. Their carcasses allow for sidewall flex and tire bulge to create a larger contact patch on the sand. Too aggressive of a tire and the lugs will just dig in the sand and sink you quickly. Many sand duners swear by worn-out off-road tires, claiming that the lack of tread allows for the best flotation. Staying on top of the sand is key. If there is tread, a paddle-type design seems to be preferred, such as an off-road–only sand paddle (which has no tread, except for the paddles, for best flotation).
To test the STS tires, we ordered a set of the radial (bias-ply also available) versions in a 38x15.50R18 size, mounted them on a set of Black Rhino's Glamis wheels, and asked Austin Lessel to bring out his Dirt Designs 2WD Chevy (cover truck, March 2013). Though it's a heavy diesel-laden Duramax, it's been built for serious sand dune play and should be able to put the tires through their paces.
Make/model: Interco TrXus STS Radials
Mounted on: Black Rhino Glamis 18x9 wheels
Size on tire sidewall: 38x15.50R18
Load range: E
Max load: 4,400 pounds
Tire hardness: 55 at 87.5 degrees F
Tread depth: 20/32
# of plies in sidewall: Three-ply polyester
# of plies in tread: Three-ply polyester, two-ply steel, one-ply nylon
Weight of tire: 98 pounds
Diameter: 38 inches
Width: 15.5 inches
Tread width: 13.5 inches
Tire size range: 29 inches to 39 inches tall for 15- to 22-inch wheels
Wheel size range: 17s,18s, 20s, and 22s