High-Tec Retread - High Tech, Low Buck
One-Year Update On The Retreads
Man, when we chose to put a set of High-Tec Retreading's mud terrain retreads on Jp Magazine's Project Hatari! CJ-6, we had no idea it would create such a firestorm of interest. If you build it they will come. If you build it inexpensive, they will come in droves. Or so it seems.
First, to continue the testing we had to call up Collins Bros. Jeep for a set of decent stock Jeep rims. The original CJ-6 rims had wallowed lug holes and were in danger of pulling the lug nuts right through the centers. Collins Bros. selected five good wheels, sandblasted them, and shipped them to us. We sprayed them with some Rustoleum Almond paint and had our retreads remounted.
When you only spend about $50 for one tire, you really can't expect too much. However, I've found the High-Tec retreading tires to be of really good quality. Much of this may be based on the BFG AT carcass they're built on, but the recap seems to be vulcanized to the carcass efficiently. You can see where the cap ends on the sidewall and you can peel it back ever so slightly with your fingernail, but the gap is the same as when the tires were delivered and hasn't grown.
It's relatively rough to gauge street characteristics from an early CJ with stock springs, no swaybar, and no top, but the tires seem to ride quite smoothly on the road. They don't flat-spot, the tread isn't coming off, and there's just a faint hum audible over the sound of the exhaust and the rush of the wind. Hard cornering and panic stopping really can't be tested in this vehicle because attempting either would almost certainly lead to disaster. But the tire tread is relatively soft, and we have to believe that when pushed they would grip well. The tires have only logged about 3,500 to 4,000 street miles, but they're wearing evenly. It looks like you could get at least 25,000 miles out of a set before the tread was worn down.
Off-road, the exceptionally soft tread blocks are a real boon for traction. On the hard, slick granite surfaces of the Rubicon with the tires at 10 psi, the tires gripped and clawed right up there with the big-name brands. We wouldn't call their performance in rock exceptional, but it also wasn't at the back of the pack. They were nicely middle-of-the-road. What little mud we were able to find was handled, but not extremely well. The tires chew and work, but they don't self-clean very efficiently.
The tires seem to be most at home in the alluvial terrain of the desert southwest. The tread reminds us a little of the knobby tires from an '80s BMX bike, and in mildly packed dirt they really shine. Even though High-Tec calls them a mud tire, we consider the tread design more of a bastardized all terrain, so it's little wonder they grip and claw without digging. This helps the vehicle stay on top of the terrain and continue motoring up the obstacle.
While we'd consider their looks pretty ugly on a newer Jeep, we think the tread design fits perfectly for a resto-mod wheeler. It's sort of an old school knobby-meets-NDT look. In truth, we were surprised to find so much performance in such an affordable package. The best part about the tires is the price. If you tear one up, you just buy another and motor on.