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Feature Friday - Zaven O'Bryant Part II

Some builds are so special - we can't help but want to feature them more than once.   Zaven came to our local will call in our production facility six months ago and we couldn't help but notice what a spectacular Jeep we were loading our Claw 35x12.5R17s into.  So enjoy this new content courtesy of Zaven (again) and don't forget to email Tony@Treadwright.com.  

 

 

 

It has been about six months now and I have accumulated about 8,000 more miles on my Treadwright Mud Claw II tires in 35x12.5x17. I can say that their on and off road performance has been stellar!  Since my last review, I have made note of several things that I feel are extremely positive with only minimal detractions. So far, I am pleased with my purchase and continue to be satisfied! I would like to share my latest adventures with you, a little background on why I choose Treadwright, and my latest findings.

 

There are several reasons to consider an aggressive mud terrain tire such as the Mud Claw II. For me, price, quality, and performance were the top three determining factors. Increased ground clearance, traction, and aesthetic appeal rounded out my decision-making process. I regularly drive in high heat, heavy rain, and stop-and-go city traffic, my 2015 Tank Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (since named Julio) is my daily driver. In keeping with the Jeep lifestyle, I also adventure off road in deep and soft sand, solid and loose rocks, gravel roads, small mud pits, sticks, and debris, plus thousands of miles on road trips; your typical trail and overland conditions. I needed tires that could perform all of these activities without compromise. Luckily, I feel I made the right decision. 

 

I have (5) identical tires purchased directly from the warehouse in Houston, TX. When mounted I had them aligned and balanced. I am now on my fourth tire rotation; I also rotate the spare. To date, there are about 16,000 miles on the tires and there has been a minimal increase in hum from the treads. The tires have remained balanced, and still roll smooth even at highway speeds. I have driven on psi's ranging from 40 to 10 and the tires have not complained. As far as wear is concerned, it is utterly amazing! I am just now able to see the bottom of the sipping and there is plenty more rubber left before the sipping is removed. I expect to easily exceed 30,000 miles and anticipate well over 40,000 at this current rate. I have only had two issues during the time between my last review, chunking and a lost bead at low psi. I will go into these points later. Overall, I have not desired anything more from these tires, they're great!

 

Somehow, I convinced my wife to take the Jeepers' "pilgrimage" with me to Moab, UT. I also planned a route that would take us through Southern Colorado, another Mecca of wheeling. The journey would cover over 1,500 miles, one-way! We began from Houston, TX traveling westward to the far-west, arid Permian Basin, and high desert of West Texas before heading north to Santa Fe and Taos, NM. We stopped in Roswell, NM to see the sights, a.k.a. aliens, explored the Old World Spanish Colonial charm that is Santa Fe and the humble mountain town of Taos, NM before reaching Telluride, CO. The landscape along the way was breathtaking however was absolutely majestic deep in the San Juan and Uncompahgre Mountains. Here, we tackled Black Bear pass and Imogene Pass. We asked locals who knew the 4x4 scene and utilized Funtreks (www.funtreks.com) books for more information in Colorado and Utah. Still, in early June the snow pack was too great to complete both Imogene and Black Bear passes. The roads were not cleared. We attempted what we could and I did not even air down. The substrate was rocky and at places slick from cascading water. The switchbacks to Bridal Veils Falls could be treacherous without proper clearance and four-wheel drive low in spots, but are mostly extremely intimidating! I started in two wheel drive with the tires gripping like crazy until four-high was needed, usually in the rough areas. Eventually, due to the steepness four-low had to be engaged. I never lost confidence or grip with the tires and was only really afraid of my driving skills and the perilous drop-offs, at times inches away.  We loved our time in Telluride but it became time to head to Moab.

 

Moab is a Jeeper's dream. Epic trails for a lifetime, beautiful surroundings, all within a fairly small area. Here, we camped off-the-grid in the middle of the dessert alongside a long gravel road that crossed several washouts. Moab tested both tires and suspension. Our first day on the trail we completed Fins N Things and Hell's Revenge. Fins N Things was a great warm up. After airing down to 17 psi,  I challenged myself on only the most difficult obstacles and only struggled once, on a steep craggy ledge climb where I should have used lockers. On the slick rock, our confidence in the tires was readily apparent, we never second guessed the grip on the sandstone spines. The rock, plus the grip of the tires allows you to accomplish climbs that would be impossible elsewhere. Hell's Revenge is the epitome of a difficult and anxiety inducing trail that tests traction both in pitch and roll. Many times I reached my record for both on this trail! As long as you are smooth with the throttle you'll only get a chirp from the tires, then, it's all pull from there! The best trail we experienced was Top of the World. While this trail used to be rated easy, it is now difficult and quite a challenge in places. Sections are ledgy and it is easy to get off chamber; other sections are very steep. Still, the tires gripped without slip. Not worrying about your tires allows you to choose better lines, to be safer, or to so that you can push yourself and machine to the limit confidently. The remoteness of the trail was appreciated but also instilled a sense of caution where you don't want to have a mechanical or tire failure. Everything that I heard about Moab was true. It was an amazing experience that all off-road enthusiasts should make at least once. 

We made the 1,500 trek back home and jumped right back into the dirt again at Hidden Falls Adventure Park, where I first trialed the tires, two weeks later. Now, super confident, I and our group of Jeeps tackled the most difficult trails, WET. When it's wet, momentum and wheel spin are your friends. Here, the limestone mud became slick and the anchored rocks protruded like jagged shards, providing grip but also the capability to shred tires. First, we climbed Green Mile in moderate rain. High revs were necessary to make the climb, everyone had to reverse at least once until a line with traction was found. My tires gripped, cleared pasty mud efficiently, and dug forward. We crawled through Wet and Wild in the peak of the rain. Here, I will say that I did notice a slight amount of lateral slip on wet rocks. After grabbing lunch as things dried out, we went to the most difficult climbs, Loose Rocks, and The Wall, trails with a high roll risk. Words fail to fully express the extreme scenarios we faced. Steep, off-chamber, and loose soil equates to tippy, precarious, and honestly the most concerned I've ever been. Everyone in our group rode three wheels at some point. Loose Rock truly tested the mettle of man and machine. Somehow, these tires churned away at the terrain to maintain progress. These two trails are when I aired down to 10 psi on my non beadlocked Method Racing NV wheels.  The sidewalls held up to cuts and extreme side loading and flattened out over the pebbles and jagged edges.  Driving back to camp we passed The Wall. Two jeeps in our group were outfitted with 40-inch tires decided it was worth a try, at least one the easier of the difficult lines. One Jeep was outfitted with 37's and two more including myself running 35's. One by one each Jeep made it up The Wall, which is literally a 3 to 4-foot vertical rock ledge and about 15 feet more of 45 degree plus ascent. On my attempt, I climbed straight up no stopping, the only person to do so. Proving that 35's and Mud Claw II's are capable indeed. I have never felt more proud or accomplished after completing these trails.

 

Continuing my off road quests, our group ventured to Wolf Caves, LLC in Mason, TX to experience the grip offered by a unique kind of Hill Country Granite. Again, more extreme than the previous weekend, rain made even moderate trails extreme. The balance between grip and slip had to be monitored carefully as to not incur a driveline breakage. Again, these tires hooked up perfectly. The compound used has the right combination of wear and traction. However, it was here that I experienced chunking of the outer lugs on the most extreme attempts at higher wheel spin. I rubbed the sidewalls on huge boulders and did notice some abrasion. I don't think this is a fault of the tire, just a consequence of the situation and throttle application. I believe most tires suffered some cuts, bruising, and chunking. These conditions are ones that are not often faced but could occur in other off-road scenarios. On another blind and steep climb without a spotter, I lost a bead when climbing a boulder at a high angle of attack and at low psi. I rolled back to level ground only a few feet away, jacked the Jeep, and replaced with the spare. Later, I inflated the tire as normal and it reseated properly without any further intervention. There was no visible damage to the tire. I consider an example of how tough the tires are but also how it is possible to lose a bead. If you ever get the chance to wheel Wolf Caves LLC, take advantage and do it! The scenery was great and we tackled all but the most extreme the park had to offer. 

 

As always and with any tires I am very vigilant with proper maintenance and monitor their performance.  I still say that perhaps these tires tend to “walk” a little at highway speeds and grooved or uneven pavement. However, and again, that issue could be due to my own rig’s setup.

 

Overall, I am pleased with my purchase and am glad to share another story! I hope that whatever tires you select for your Jeep or 4x4 you will be happy and confident in your decision.  I can’t wait to continue the journey with my Jeep, "Julio", and see where the road and trail will lead me next!

 

 

2105 JKUR, Tank

35” Treadwright Mud Claw II

3” Daystar Lift

17” Method NV Race Wheels

K&N air filter

Pypes off road high-clearance exhaust

Superchips Trail Dash II

Ace Engineering and Fabrication Stand Alone Tire Carrier

Olympic Front Boa bumper and rear Urban bumper

….Plus more and upgrades to come!

 

*I wrote this as a story of my experience. This not an advertisement or endorsement for Treadwright tires. I was not paid to make these statements. I do not guarantee that you will have the same results as me. I DO hope you enjoyed and found it helpful! 

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