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Dick Cepek’s New Fun Country Tire Review

Posted in Product Reviews on June 1, 2015
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A staple in the Dick Cepek tire lineup for years, the Fun Country has remained a classic go-to all-terrain tire. Over the years, Dick Cepek has continued to revamp the tire in an effort to improve its performance characteristics both on-road and off. This latest refresh has pushed the once-conventional all-terrain tire into the ever-growing middle ground between mud and all-terrain tires. The basic idea behind these tweener tires is to keep the favorable on-road handling and longevity that an all-terrain offers, while increasing its fortitude in an area that most all-terrains falter, mud.

We got our hands on a set of 37x12.50R17 Fun Countrys and immediately went to town breaking them in. Strapping them under our ’01 Jeep Wrangler TJ test rig, we were able to get a few thousand miles logged on the tarmac before getting in the dirt. As the miles progressed, we expected the road noise to increase but were surprised at how quite these tires rolled. Under the lightweight Wrangler, we found it necessary to keep the tires below 20 psi for an even footprint and increased ride quality, but that’s par for the course with most load range D and E tires.

The Fun Countrys are fine for a little mud, but don’t quite have the chops for thick wet clay. Wheel speed played a major role in cleaning out the tread blocks.

Despite the lower psi numbers, the tires actually rolled smoother and with less resistance than a previous set of 37-inch test treads we affixed to this Jeep. We estimated these tires saved us roughly 11⁄2 to 2 mpg over the heavier mud-terrains that were on the Jeep. The lightweight Dick Cepek cast-aluminum wheels were also partially to thank for the decreased drag.

Once we got on the trail, we dropped the tires to 10 psi. Using Gulches Offroad Vehicle Park in Lauren County, South Carolina, as one of our testing spots, we had plenty of terrain variety at our disposal. Seeking out some of the drier and rockier sections of the park, we engaged both lockers and watched how well the tires conformed and grabbed. Designed to support 3,525 pounds each, the tires could have benefited from even lower air pressure numbers. However, the lack of beadlocks kept us out of the single-digit pressure range.

Even with a bit of mud between the treads, the tires did well on the rocks. The large footprint created traction opportunities that paid off. With 10 psi in each tire, the ride quality and traction was greatly increased. The -ply sidewalls were greeted with plenty of abuse, but we had zero failures.

As we’ve discovered over the years, not all tires are true to size. The Fun Country, however, is one of the more honestly labeled 37x12.50 tires, which provided a tremendous footprint in the dirt. The large and staggered tread made for a stable tire that worked very well in loose dirt and over the rocks. The small sipings were definitely noticeable on the street in the rain, but we didn’t find they provided much advantage in the Southeast dirt.

Once we left the drier areas of the park, we upped the challenge tremendously by battling the wet clay. With both axles locked on our long-armed test Jeep, each tire was grabbing for traction, but sometimes it just wasn’t there. To be fair, the wet clay at the Gulches Offroad Park can be challenging for even the most aggressive mud-terrain tire. Wheel speed was a huge factor in keeping the tire tread clear, but it didn’t always work. In a few sections, the red clay was so packed that we were essential riding on slicks!

Dick Cepek used what it had learned over the years, along with modern technology, to design the new tread pattern. Wide tread blocks and gracious sipes spread throughout are familiar to the Fun Country. Integral parts such as the kicker bars, stone ejectors, and tread stagger were all optimized for increased performance, wear, and noise reduction.

To give the tires another shake at the mud, we hit some of our local trails that don’t have as much of the red clay nourishment. Here, the tires worked much better to sling out the wet dirt. Mud-terrain it is not, but its reach is definitely beyond your standard all-terrain tire. For a daily driver that isn’t mud-centric, we say this tire is well worth a look.

Tire Specifications
Make/Model: Dick Cepek Fun Country
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Size Tested: 37x12.50R17
Type: Radial
Load-Range: D
Max Load (lbs): 3,525
Sidewall Construction: 3-ply polyester
Tread Construction: 1-ply nylon, 2-ply steel, 3-ply polyester
Approved Wheel Width (in): 8.5-11
Tread Depth (in): 18.5⁄32
Tread Width (in): 10.4
Section Width (in): 13.1
Overall Diameter (in): 36.9
Weight (lbs): 85

More and More Tires
Here at Jp, we have been putting tires to the test for years now. If you have a question about a certain tire, we may have already answered it in our huge online tire review known as “The Burning Ring of Tire.” If the tire you want to see is not on The Ring, keep your eyes peeled—we are going to review a new tire in every upcoming issue of Jp magazine.

We used 17x8.5 Dick Cepek Torque wheels on our test Jeep. The cast-aluminum wheels weigh in around 25 pounds and are weight rated at 2,500 pounds each. Obviously, we like the look, but we also dig the fact that the wheel has usable off-road attributes, such as the inset valve stem placement that is out of harm’s way.

Sources

Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels
Stow, OH 44224
330-928-9092
www.dickcepek.com
Gulches ORV Park
864-449-5698
http://www.gulchesorvpark.com

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