Testing the New Pit Bull All-Terrain on Raceline Wheels

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

Pit Bulls often get stereotyped as overly aggressive. Their defenders say that this is only a function of how their owners use them; it has nothing to do with the breed itself. We are talking about tires, of course. Over the last decade Pit Bull Tires has earned reputation for offering a tire that stands out from the crowd in terms of both aesthetics and performance. We have had great results with Pit Bull tires on dedicated off-road vehicles, but the company’s premiere Rocker tire is more aggressive than we would want to deal with on a daily basis.

Realizing that there are a lot more trucks on the street than in the dirt (or rocks, or mud), Pit Bull recently introduced the PBX A/T Hardcore. If you are the kind of guy who likes your belt to match your shoes, you are going to want to get these tires for your tow rig to complement the Pit Bull tires on your wheeler. That was the situation we envisioned when we mounted up a set of 35x12.5R17 PBX A/Ts and 17x9 Raceline Assault wheels on our 2008 Super Duty. What we learned was that even if you aren’t towing a dedicated trail rig on Pit Bull tires, there are still a lot of compelling reasons to run the PBX A/T Hardcore.

Like the rest of Pit Bull’s tire lineup, the PBX A/T looks unlike anything else on the market, which is refreshing when so many all-terrain tires look alike. This could have something to do with the fact that, unlike many knockoff tires, Pit Bulls are designed and made right here in America. The tread on the PBX A/T tires pushes the envelope for what we consider all-terrain, with larger voids and greater tread depth than most all-terrains. The staggered tread blocks make for a surprisingly quiet tire though, and we can’t wait to test the generous siping results in the rain and snow.

Our first test did not go exactly as expected. We loaded our 7,000-pound F-150 onto our trailer and hooked it up to the back of the Super Duty shod with the Pit Bull PBX tires and Raceline Assault rims. Our plan was simply to test the load rating of the tires and get an idea of how well they tow and how loud they are on the pavement, and check for any rubbing or strange vibrations. Unfortunately things don’t always to go according to plan. Not long after arriving at the sand dunes our wheeling rig was down for the count. We could have packed up and headed home, but what fun would that be? Instead we dropped the trailer and flogged our tow rig in the dunes. We don’t recommend replicating this test with the factory all-season tires!

Most tires have four rows of tread blocks; two outer and two inner. The PBS has six rows for more biting edges. The added voids provide circumferential groove channels to resist hydroplaning on wet roads.

We mounted the PBX tires on a set of Raceline Assault wheels. With a 3,500-pound load rating, the Assaults are a perfect match for the Load Range E Pit Bulls that we mounted on our 3/4-ton tow rig. The Assault is offered in chrome or black in a variety of diameters, offsets, and bolt patterns to fit nearly any application.

The Raceline Assault uses recessed lug nuts and small lug holes that offer a clean look, but required the use of splined lug nuts and a thin-wall socket. This deters thieves though, so it would be considered a worthwhile upgrade even if it weren’t absolutely necessary. The Assaults come with center caps that we used in the rear, but we left them off in the front to access the manual hubs on our Ford.

A sidewall used to just be a place where manufacturers gave information about the tire’s dimensions and capacity. Nowadays sidewalls are a canvas where tire companies set themselves apart from the crowd. The three-ply radial sidewall on the PBX has a 10-ply rating and sidewall tattoos with Hawaiian words, the American flag, and “Honor and Guts” to pay homage to our veterans. And yes, these tires are made in America.

Our giant F-150 is no sand rail, but it does an admirable job in sand, rocks, and mud. Airing down the 41-inch Pit Bull Rocker radials to 6 psi allows them to spread out and keep the 7,000-pound truck from getting stuck. The tires are mounted on TrailReady beadlock rims so we don’t worry about blowing a bead, even at single-digit pressures.

We were having a blast in the sand dunes letting the LA Speed–built 460 engine sing in our old F-150. We should have been paying closer attention to the temp gauge though. We only noticed a problem when our feet started to get hot and we looked down to find that the exhaust had melted the floorboard!

We let the engine cool before limping the truck back to the trailer. Many friendly folks stopped to ask if we needed help when they saw the hood up. Fortunately the coolant did not have any oil in it, so we are optimistic that we did not blow a head gasket or warp the Edelbrock heads on our engine.

The weather was perfect and we still had food in the ice chest, so we were not ready to leave the sand dunes yet. The only reasonable option? Drop the trailer and wheel the tow rig, of course!

We dropped the tire pressure on the Pit Bull PBX tires to 12 psi for the sand. This is not as low as we run in the 41-inch Rockers on the green truck, but there are a few reasons for the higher pressure. The most obvious is the lack of beadlocks. Raceline does offer high-quality beadlock wheels, but they would be overkill for a truck that is mainly used for towing. The weight of our diesel, longbed truck also warranted the higher air pressure we ran in the dunes.

At 12 psi the PBX tires bulged nicely, and we never lost a bead on the Raceline Assault rims. The increased contact patch kept our heavy diesel truck from sinking into the soft sand, and the lower air pressure helped smooth the ride of our 3/4-ton truck.

We definitely turned a few heads when we were carving up dunes in our diesel tow rig! The long wheelbase and wide stance provided excellent stability, and the twin turbos allowed the 6.4L diesel engine to make plenty of power. Even with open differentials we never got stuck, much to our surprise.

The PBX Hardcore has more siping than we have ever encountered on anything short of a dedicated snow tire. The siping is designed to provide more biting edges in low traction situations like ice and snow, but also allows the tire to run cooler in all conditions. A cooler tire is a longer lasting tire.

Pit Bull used 3D, interlocking sipes instead of just straight sipes to resist tread deformation during cornering and keep the lugs from being torn off on the trail. The PBX tire also uses a tear- and chip-resistant tread compound that was borrowed from Pit Bull’s line of sled pulling tires, so you know that it is tough.

After airing the PBX tires back up to 40 psi we hooked the trailer back up and loaded up our F-150. Airing up four 35-inch-tall tires from 12 to 40 psi can take forever with a small electric compressor, but with our Powertank CO2 system we were able to air each tire up in just under a minute. The 10-pound Powertank PT-10 has enough juice to air up 10 tires before we need to refill it.

After pulling the distributor on our old F-150 we found the culprit of our overheating woes. The bronze distributor gear was dragging on our high-volume oil pump, causing the gear teeth to wear prematurely. This allowed the timing to change to the point that it overheated the engine.

Tire Specifications
Make: Pit Bull
Model: PBX A/T
Size Tested: 35x12.50R17
Type: All-Terrain
Load Range: E
Maximum Load (lb @ psi): 3,195 @ 65
Sidewall Construction: 3-ply (10-ply rating)
Approved Rim Width (in): 10
Tread Depth (in): 18/32
Tread Width (in): 10.5
Section Width (in): 12.5
Overall Diameter (in): 35
Weight (lb): 69
Sizes Available: 35x12.50R17, 35x12.50R18, 35x12.50R20 (more sizes coming)

Sizes Soon Available
PB1556RE, 35x1250R17LT/E. Taking orders now.
PB1557RE, 35X1250R18LT/E. Available December 2015.
PB1558RE, 35X1250R20LT/E. Taking orders now.
Many more sizes available 2016. Made in the USA.