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Pro Comp A/T Sport Tire Test

Posted in Product Reviews on December 7, 2016
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Worn out tires play heavily on a driver’s mind when inclement weather enters the picture. We’ve been there more than a few times driving rigs with tires that should have been reduced to rubberized playground material years ago. Our most recent adventure was when a well-used fullsize Bronco entered our stable running worn-out all-season tires. Driving it to work early one morning in a heavy rain quickly made it clear they needed to be changed.

We didn’t need noisy, heavy-lug mud tires for our intended use as a commuter/backcountry exploration rig in the Pacific Northwest. Instead, we wanted a tire that was quieter and better suited for year-round use and over a wide variety of on- and off-road driving conditions. An E-rated tire was also important because, like many who own fullsize SUVs, our Bronco will be called upon to tow a trailer loaded down with ATVs or other toys.

Those needs led us to a relative newcomer in the all-terrain segment: the Pro Comp A/T Sport, a light truck tire with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty. Most of the tires we run get about half that mileage, so these would be a bargain if the treadwear is anywhere near that good. So we ditched the cheapo street treads for a set of LT305/70R16 A/T Sports mounted on black Pro Comp Series 89 wheels.

The Pro Comp A/T Sport is a nice do-it-all tire for heavier rigs such as fullsize SUVs and heavy-duty pickups used for work during the week and recreational four-wheeling on the weekends. It’s also a good tire for 4x4 owners facing a lot of driving on gravel roads, wet pavement, or wheeling drier backcountry trails.

Pro Comp’s new A/T Sport is a good tire for those who tend to wheel in drier conditions, or where rocks, sand, and gravel are common driving surfaces. They are also good tires for rigs that do a lot of towing or put on a lot of highway miles.

The tread design of the A/T Sport is engineered to work across that spectrum of driving conditions. The designers put deep sweeping grooves and smaller multi-directional cuts in the tread blocks that do a very good job expelling water to keep the tread blocks in contact with wet road surfaces. Meanwhile, the large, flat lugs across the face provide better traction over rocks and softer terrain than the typical all-season tire. When we looked closely at the tread, it was easy to see how the rubber blocks are actually just four different shapes, staggered and flipped across the face of the tire. There are the V-blocks that make up the center group, flanked by squared-off wedge-shaped blocks on either side. The outer section of the tread face of the A/T Sport is comprised of two different alternating tread blocks: one square and one more rectangular in shape.

One of the first things we noticed about the driving mannerisms of the A/T Sport is that it is on the quieter side of all-terrains when it comes to the amount of road noise it generates on the street and highway. That’s because the alternating tread block shapes and sizes are computer designed to help reduce that whiny, higher-pitched noise on coast-down. Pro Comp calls this technology “Multi Pitch Variation.”

Wide grooves across the tread face help the A/T Sport channel standing water outward so the tire maintains good contact on wet road surfaces. The harder rubber compound and thick tread blocks work quite well driving over gravel and rocky surfaces and aid in the tire’s resistance to chipping and cuts.

Another trait of the A/T Sport is that it’s on the firmer side of all-terrains when it comes to ride quality. The tread rubber compound is what extends the tread life, but the trade-off is that it doesn’t flex quite as much across the tread face as some other LT tires we’ve driven on, which is most likely what contributes to the 60,000-mile treadwear warranty.

Where the A/T Sport shines is on gravel roads, rocky, and desert-type terrain. It doesn’t like mud. The tread packs up easily, especially in mud that is the least bit clay-based. This comes as no surprise, as the A/T Sport is not designed to be a mud tire. We didn’t have the opportunity to test in snow. That said, we think the tire would still be a good choice for contractors and construction workers 4x4s used both for work and recreational pursuits in drier regions of the country.

The A/T Sports we tested were an E-rated tire capable of supporting 3,525 pounds. The A/T Sport’s three-ply sidewall stability evokes driver confidence on the open highway and country roads, especially when a trailer is in tow because the tires respond quickly to cornering inputs while damping unwanted sidewall flex.

With a load range E, the A/T Sport provides a ton of side-stability with a robust three-ply sidewall construction. The trade-off is they don’t flex much when hitting irregularities on the road or on the trail unless air pressure is dropped down to around 20 psi.

We lowered the air pressure from the A/T Sport’s maximum rated trailer-towing 65 psi to 20 psi and found that the tire’s sidewalls flex just enough to allow the thick tread blocks to mold and claw their way over obstacles typically encountered navigating backroads and trails found in the desert, mountains, and backcountry. (We found 35 psi to be a good everyday air pressure for a fullsize SUV.)

The A/T Sport held up well against chipping and cuts, too, as we put them to the test over the sharp-edged basalt rocks that are common in the Pacific Northwest. We also put a lot of miles driving on pavement, gravel country roads and unimproved BLM/Forest Service roads. The Pro Comp A/T Sport works quite well in those driving environments.

As for looks, the black-on-black A/T Sport has just enough of an aggressive style that it adds a level of no-nonsense attitude to any vehicle it is supporting. Of course, that look is magnified by the matte-black Pro Comp Series 89 aluminum alloys our test tires were mounted on.

Matte-black Pro Comp Series 89 aluminum alloy wheels have a lifetime structural warranty and three-year warranty on the finish. They have a lot of offset, too, leaving plenty of brake clearance.

The Series 89 wheel is a sweet choice for four-wheelers on a limited budget who want the Special Ops black-out look. Pro Comp’s Xtreme series alloys have a limited lifetime structural warranty to go along with their aggressive attitude, making them a nice pairing with the A/T Sports.

SPECIFICATIONS (as tested)

Tire: Pro Comp A/T Sport
Size: LT305/70R16
Type: Radial
Load range: E
Max load (lb): 3,525
Sidewall construction: Three-ply polyester
Tread construction: N/A
Approved rim width (in): N/A
Tread depth (in): 16.3/32
Tread width (in): 9.8
Section width (in): 11.9
Overall diameter (in): 32.8
Maximum psi: 65
Weight (lb): 64

Sources

Pro Comp USA
Compton, CA 90220
800-776-0767
http://www.procompusa.com

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