Gladiator X-Comp 40” MTs are True 40s
Photography by Rusty Baptist
Building a Tri-Sport trail rig can be a real challenge. The rig must be able to tackle extreme terrain, be sure footed on fire roads and still drive the kids to school. Many elements play a factor in building the right setup. Shocks, sway bars, lockers, rock sliders and the often-overlooked tires. The wrong tire for your application can completely ruin your setup. A trail only rig set up on F rated 40” tires can ruin it. But a moderately built rig with the correct tire package can make a night and day difference in performance and driving comfort.
To set the stage my rig is a 1969 Jeepster Commando with LS1, 1 ton axles, coilover shocks, air lockers and PSC ram assist steering. It comes in at an estimated 6,200lbs. I primarily use it off road but I also like to explore back roads with friends.
Road Worthy/School Drop Off
First I tested these tires as a “Daily” tire. I put 2,500 miles on the street at 35psi. They were harsh on small bumps/square edges and it did track a bit going down the highway. I lowered them down to 20psi and they smoothed out a bit for me and drove much better. “I suggest running your tires at the specified manufacturer PSI”. Tire noise is typically a major factor when selecting a tire. My Jeepster is very loud so I can’t say whether road noise has increased or decreased because I can’t hear the tires anyways. That being said they were not louder than any of the other tires I have used. I give them a 3 out of 5 on the road.
Traction is key here – but not too much. Having a tire that provides a stable contact patch while also being loose enough to have some fun is what you need. I think in this case the E rated sidewall helped me a bit. I was able to slide around when I wanted to, but I still had the traction to drive out of a slide if I needed to. The stiffer sidewall did not roll under when cornering. The dreaded washboard section of every dirt road wasn’t too bad. Running a lower tire pressure was key. I was able to drop under 15psi for this section because I was running Method Bead Grip wheels. We have all feared a tire debead that can ruin a trip or worse. Sliding corners at 15psi you want that tire securely mounted to the wheel. The Bead Grip wheels did their job and I never lost a bead.
Off Road Use
For me this is my main focus. I needed a tire that would perform like a sticky but would still allow me to air up and drive home. The size and shape of the tire made it work well in the rocks. The side lugs grab the rocks and hold on. The sidewall flex at 8psi was good and the Method Bead Grip wheels did their job keeping the bead in place. I was able to crawl some technical trails that my past “40’s” that didn’t measure 40 inches prevented me from doing. The rubber compound is soft but did not seem to chip or chunk off from use. The confidence gained by making it through a few spots was enough to seal the deal for me. I look forward to many more rock trips with these tires.
So now you have read my experiences. It is time for you to pick your next tires. I suggest you take some time and establish what must have features for you and your style of driving.
- Road Noise
- Tread/Sidewall Style
- True Size
- Load Rating
- Tread Type
And many other options. There is a tire out there for you and I, I am glad I found mine at 4WP.
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