In an attempt to whip these Pit Bulls we tried climbing a 28- to 34-degree slope of freshly graded alluvial dirt. It was mostly deep silt, actually, with some rocks and branches here and there. An initial run with 10 psi in the front and 8 in the rear (our normal street pressure) only got us about 50 feet up the slope, but that's what the Klune Rapid Air Down valves are for-to get lower pressures really fast. At the other extreme, with 2 psi front and 1.5 rear, we managed to crawl (speed obviously didn't work at all in such powdery dirt) to about 140 feet. Not reaching the 250-foot crest was quite disappointing-until we learned that the 700 HLT Deere that had just brushed the slope couldn't make it back up on that portion either. Guess we can't ask for much better than bulldozer traction.
In case somebody doubts the steepness, we later drove around and descended the slope on a dare by the 'dozer operator-only to lose an inner bead on a front tire from the severe weight transfer. Looks like 3 psi might be the minimum for Pit Bulls with Allied aluminum bead-lock rims.
So far we can't fault the Pit Bull tire's pedigree. It's an excellent casing for trail use, amazingly true, and with a choice between three tread patterns. Sometime soon we'll let you know what happened when we tried the third member of the Pit Bull family ... the Mad Dog.
Based on our experiences with the Pit Bull Rocker tires, which didn't always remain on the bead at the pressures we like to run, getting a set of bead-lock wheels for the Growlers kind of made sense. Of course, bead locks are better anyway, right? Well, in our opinion they aren't necessarily any better than a regular rim with good safety beads-at least not on our vehicle-and for a number of reasons. Having to remove or tighten 32 or so bolts while mounting or dismounting a tire is no fun. Not that using Tyrepliers, tire irons, and/or a hammer is that much fun, either, but it's a lot faster. Usually, bead-lock wheels are also impossible to get a Road Force Variation reading on with the Hunter GSP 9700 balancer, which means we can't balance them properly. Plus, and this we think is the biggie, the typical bead lock forces the tire bead into a shape it was never intended to have, and a common side effect is leakage.
Allied's Rock-a-Thon wheels eliminates most of the aforementioned issues by using a ring with a rolled lip that is formed much like the bead of a regular wheel. We've had good luck with the Rock-a-Thon design before, never experiencing any air loss or damage to the tire, so when Allied released the aluminum version, it seemed like a pretty appealing solution.
Overall, we're very happy with these wheels. Especially after finally being done torqueing, retorqueing, and then re-retorqueing the rings. Air stayed in, the tires stayed on, and they were easily balanced (we eventually managed to lose an inner bead, although that doesn't seem to be a wheel problem).
Aluminum wheels help keep the unsprung weight down, but at 35 pounds, these are still quite heavy for an alloy wheel. And, as some thick-centered aluminum wheels do (these centers are a whopping 2 1/4 inches at the wheel hub with 3.5-inch backspacing) they require a really thin 13/16-inch socket for the lug nuts, even when perfectly clean.
A nice surprise was that the Pit Bull tires and Allied wheels seem to be made for each other. The tire centers very easily on the wheel, so there's no need to fight the bead versus the bead-lock ring since the rim guard automatically positions it perfectly. On the flip side, between the Pit Bull tire and the wheel design, it is impossible to use clip-on weights on the inside. While not being huge fans of bead-lock wheels in general, we really do like the Allied Rock-a-Thon approach as that design does away with most of the drawbacks.
Tire: Pit Bull Growler
Type: Bias ply
Load range: C
Max load (lb. @ psi): 2,725 @ 30
Sidewall: Four-ply Nylon
Tread: Four-ply Nylon
Approved rim (in.): 10-12
Tread depth (in.): 22/32
Tread width (in.): 11.40
Section width (in.): 15.07
Overall diameter (in.): 35.50
Static loaded radius (in.): N/A
Revs per mile: N/A
Weight (lb.): 68
Test vehicle/weight (lb.): Jeep CJ, 3,200 pounds
Allied Racing Wheels
Pit Bull Tire Co.