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Unread 03-20-2012, 10:49 PM   #1
mrowaan
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Fat tires vs skinny tires

I'm looking for some technical info about the width and height of tires and how it effects off road performance. Are certain styles better for different types of terrain?


Thanks

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Unread 03-21-2012, 04:29 AM   #2
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This is about as technical as you can possibly get:

http://www.amazon.com/Terramechanics-Off-Road-Vehicle-Engineering-Edition/dp/0750685611/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332322077&sr=1-1

I will sell you my copy.
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Unread 03-21-2012, 09:03 AM   #3
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Skinny tires = easier on steering, less rolling resistance, better in the snow and, provided the mud has a bottom, better in the mud.

Wide tires ... Guess they look good if you like the look.

I've been through stuff where guys with 33x12.5s locked were stuck. 4LO and 1st gear get me through almost anything. If there's not bottom ... my jeep just digs and that's it.
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Unread 03-21-2012, 09:05 AM   #4
Sean H
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like said above, if there is a bottom, narrower tires sometimes work better..... no bottom? wider tires help "float" over sand, mud, etc better... I have had many different sizes over time, IMHO, tread style matters more for the terrain than width without going to extremes obviously.
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Unread 03-22-2012, 03:14 PM   #5
mrowaan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technohead View Post
This is about as technical as you can possibly get:

http://www.amazon.com/Terramechanics...2322077&sr=1-1


I will sell you my copy.
Do you want to give a synopsis?

Thanks for the input guys. I'm curious because I've seen mud bogs where a rig with skinny tires will make it through with more speed then rigs with wide tires. I think tread design is also a key factor, when off roading.
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Last edited by mrowaan; 03-22-2012 at 03:14 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Unread 03-22-2012, 03:22 PM   #6
Jrama
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Wide tires perform better offroad, except in snow. Heavier vehicles may see more of a benefit to skinny tires. Jeeps benefit huge from a wider contact patch. For Me the difference was night and day between a 10.50 and 12.50. I would never go back.

12.50 is king for all around offroad performance, skinny tires definately have their benefits. Why is Airing down important.... to increase contact patch, a wider tire amplifies this effect
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Unread 03-22-2012, 03:38 PM   #7
AKGeo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrama View Post
Wide tires perform better offroad, except in snow. Heavier vehicles may see more of a benefit to skinny tires. Jeeps benefit huge from a wider contact patch. For Me the difference was night and day between a 10.50 and 12.50. I would never go back.

12.50 is king for all around offroad performance, skinny tires definately have their benefits. Why is Airing down important.... to increase contact patch, a wider tire amplifies this effect
These generalizations are false practically all around.

Wide tires do well for light vehicles. Skinny tires are good for heavy vehicles. Aggressive tread is better. All of these are pretty much only true in soft terrain.

Wide tires do poorly on rocks, unless those rocks have enough texture to increase your coefficient of friction. Slick rock needs skinny tires on anything. Slick rocks also need tighter tread. ATs and even street tires do better on slick rocks than aggressive mud tires. Less tread deflection, more contact patch.

Wider tires in anything but really dry sugary snow or frost hoar are king. But if you have a really heavy vehicle, you're likely going to sink regardless, so having a tall skinny tire on a pig of a truck is better. Dig to bottom then get traction on the dirt. Sipes and grooves are key here. It doesn't do you any good to dig your truck to the dirt and find out it's got a ton of ice that you're about to polish with unsiped mud tires.

If you don't believe that wide tires are the king in snow, go to www.4x4offoads.com and have a look.



The snow in that picture is probably 4+ feet deep.
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Unread 03-22-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
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I'm not talking slick rock..... I'd venture to say most people don't always wheel slick rock on a very regular basis

Of course a wide tire makes you float better on sand and deep snow... I'm thinking of icey hills and moderate snow... What most people deal with.

That said....

My comments are based off personal subjective experience combined with research i have read. all i know is that my 12.50 just walk over my 10.50's. There is a reason why most serious offroad tires are a little wider... The overall benefit is greater in MOST common conditions. I'm not talking stupid wide, just wider. Pretty sure the comp guys know what they are doing, how many of them run a 10.50, except in niche circumstances

If your serious about wheelin with a skinny tire in an all purpose rig that you want to push... Your tires will be holding you back
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Unread 03-22-2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrama View Post
I'm not talking slick rock..... I'd venture to say most people don't always wheel slick rock on a very regular basis

Of course a wide tire makes you float better on sand and deep snow... I'm thinking of icey hills and moderate snow... What most people deal with.

That said....

My comments are based off personal subjective experience combined with research i have read. all i know is that my 12.50 just walk over my 10.50's. There is a reason why most serious offroad tires are a little wider... The overall benefit is greater in MOST common conditions. I'm not talking stupid wide, just wider. Pretty sure the comp guys know what they are doing, how many of them run a 10.50, except in niche circumstances

If your serious about wheelin with a skinny tire in an all purpose rig that you want to push... Your tires will be holding you back
People in discussions asking about technical differences need to stop making gross generalizations and assumptions about what MOST PEOPLE do. Talk about what YOU DO, and say what works for YOU, without making generalized statements that such and such tire is better than everything else because "most people do" what you do. And saying that most people don't run slick rock is plain false. Moab. Aetna Mt. Most offroad parks with established rocky trails. Those rocks have been smoothed out and beaten down by decades of four-wheeling, and are now slick. And very very popular.

There's a reason that 42's(designed for rock crawling) are typically skinnier than the same tire in a 40" size (typically designed for general trail driving, snow, or mud).

Wider tires are also used to give the vehicle a more stable stance. Taller skinnier tires suck on side hilling and off-camber crawling due to deflection. Much easier to de-bead a skinny 38" tire than it is to de-bead a wider 38 in the same circumstance.
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Unread 03-22-2012, 04:40 PM   #10
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Valid point about the generalizations, there just isn't going to be a truly fits all answer.

Still your not disagreeing with my middle of the road / specific use of tire width idea. My whole stance was simply if you want a good all round width 12.50 is a great choice, if slick rock is really mostly what you do buy skinny. If you wheel on 4 ft of snow buy obese tires....In my experience with a tj 12.50 kills10.50 take that for what its worth! I am just being the counter weight to all the pro skinny people (of whom i used to be) its a great theory in my experience and thats about it
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Unread 03-22-2012, 07:21 PM   #11
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I'm just going to point one more thing out. I was on a winter snow trail ride a few years back with a bunch of different types of vehicles...I was on 31" BFG ATs. Couple were on 35s, MTR and Dunlop Mudders. A bunch were on 33's, all mudders of different types. There was a tacoma on ATs as well. Most of the rigs were TJs.

Dunlop guy was "breaking trail" and got stuck, keeping everyone behind him up. Including me. He kept getting pulled back so he could try again...got stuck repeatedly. I got tired of this so I hopped up on to the side of the trail (fairly wide brushy frozen trail for all the greenies...I didn't damage anything) and cruised up to the head of the line, pulled in front of him, and blazed trail until we hit a steep hill when the trailboss told me to hang back. Trailboss = dunlops. Nobody else out there was able to bounce off the trail and bypass anything, or they didn't try. My ATs, in 10.5 wide, showed up pretty much everyone else that day. So it's not just about size, it's about the right tire for the job when it comes to tread pattern, size, and the driver's ability to make it all work. Dunlops = not the right tire for snow. Or really anything else for that matter. But when it comes to 10.5 to 12.5, I don't really think it's nearly as important as tread design. I believe that the skinny vs. fat tire debate should be kept between two groups of widths, from 9 to 12" wide (commonly available), and "wide" sizes are 13" or wider (not so common).

I'm personally planning on 16" wide 40s, be it LTBs or Pitbull Rockers. Either way, they're going to make winter wheeling so damn easy for me.
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Unread 03-22-2012, 08:53 PM   #12
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Skinny tires better on slick rock??? Your full of ****. I have never had one problem with 12.50's and any kind of rock.

I had great traction in Moab's slick rock with m/t's, So did 95% of the rest of the wheelers. Few a/t's out there but nothing special. As mentioned, When you air down and get a bigger contact patch a 12.50 is going to give that much more along with more biting edges.

Snow/mud they do just as good on a jeep. Mine weighs more than they run of the mill TJ and i have no problems. If you have skinnys and there is no bottom your stuck, Wider flotation will get you through both just as easy and you have more options other than a skinny that digs to nothing.

It really comes down to what you want, Ill never run a pizza cutter tire on my jeep. Looks like **** and gives no more traction than a wider tire. The one condition they might help a little better in is not worth all the lost traction options you can have elsewhere. To each their own
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Unread 03-22-2012, 09:42 PM   #13
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Anything can do well at Moab. Moab isn't around for the challenge, it's there for the scenery and the "I did that" factor. But take your stocker non-sticky non-grooved MTs to Aetna and see how far you get on the rock slabs and steps. It's either crawling with skinnies, or you need gobs of horsepower and super-grooved and cut tires to grab at anything you can.

But steep slick rock needs pressure and friction. You don't get that with wider tires on a lighter rig. I don't really care how heavy your TJ is.
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Unread 03-22-2012, 10:10 PM   #14
tofuzeppelin
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..............

But searously tho,

I like to hit trails and explore. Any challenges that may arise from that, I want to be able to conquer them be it: Traction, Mud, Snow, Hills, Water, Weight or MPGs, BUT that said I find more good than bad in the skinnys.
A-They come in the same tread patterns mostly,
B-Less strain for the engine to spin them/lighter and easier to grab off the roof if you need to
C-I'd even say a bit better gas too if thats not going to far. When out Exploring I'd rather be limited by traction not go juice...
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Unread 03-23-2012, 02:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by tofuzeppelin View Post
..............

But searously tho,

I like to hit trails and explore. Any challenges that may arise from that, I want to be able to conquer them be it: Traction, Mud, Snow, Hills, Water, Weight or MPGs, BUT that said I find more good than bad in the skinnys.
A-They come in the same tread patterns mostly,
B-Less strain for the engine to spin them/lighter and easier to grab off the roof if you need to
C-I'd even say a bit better gas too if thats not going to far. When out Exploring I'd rather be limited by traction not go juice...
When mpg makes your top concerns when wheelin... Skinny tires are right for you. seriously though skinnies are a good road bias compromise, they will get you by pretty damn well for exploring, skinnies definately have their place.

Skinny's do great on icey hills if there at's too thats all the better. Mt's will pull harder in snow though no question.
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