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Old 03-14-2013, 12:11 PM   #34 (permalink)
The road not so traveled
TheEnemy's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 680

The Truck - '99 Nissan Frontier xe
90 day: 25.74 mpg (US)

The Ugly Duck - '84 Jeep CJ7 Rock crawler
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Originally Posted by shovel View Post
Being an off-highway/off-pavement driver I often lament the absence of tall narrow tires for rough terrain. There are a couple 33x9.50x15" models out there that perform fantastically (that's a flotation size, it would be like 240/90R15 in metric) - and the closest I can find to fit my own 4wd vehicle is 235/85R16, still not bad in tall skinnies. Off pavement, a tall sidewall and skinny tread presents much less resistance in soft soil/sand/mud and about the same loft at low speeds. They're not popular since most 4x4's are used to show off and look tough, and the common perception is that wide tires = more traction. Wide tires do protect the vehicle body a bit more off-highway, and somewhat widen the line a vehicle can drive on extreme terrain - won't see skinnies on a rock-crawler any time soon. For a vehicle taken camping and on long distance treks where all forms of terrain are expected, refueling stations are far apart and adrenaline isn't on the menu, tall skinnies are the ticket. Less air drag on the highway, too... fuel isn't free and 4wd's tend to expose a lot of tire to the air, fore and aft.

I wouldn't mind at all if tall skinnies became the next trend and widely available.
One thing about wider off road tires is that you can air them down lower, which allows them to conform to the terain better which then gives you more traction. Also at lower pressures wider tires will compact the soil less leading to less erosion. It has also been my expierience that wide tires at low pressures on a light 4X4 will float on top of the deep sand instead of sinking into it meaning less traction is needed. Of course the key here is a difference in trail pressure vs road pressures.
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