When you think of a description of a mud tire, the word “smooth” probably doesn’t come to mind. However, that was the first word that popped into our driver’s head when he first tested a machine equipped with STI’s new Outback Max mud tire. This huge tire has an aggressive V-shaped pattern with stepped lugs measuring 1.5 inches tall in the center. From there, the lugs stretch and grow to the outside and end up being a full 2 inches tall. The outer lugs are an angled, cupped design. There is a little side bite, but most of the business on this tire takes place up top.
The eight-ply Max tires come in sizes 30×10-14, 31×10-15 and 32×10-17 for now and weigh approximately 50 pounds each. STI claims these tires measure exactly as stated and are true to size. The manufacturer suggested retail price for the tire ranges from $235 up to $270, but we have seen them priced as low as $195.99 at www.rockymountainatv.com.
We recently tested this tire in the east Texas mud, and it works great in the slop. No matter how deep you are buried, the tires take it upon themselves to grip and grab the surface below without fail. They don’t seem to wander and hunt for traction. Loose mud will fly off the instant you get out of the goop. It seems like the V-shaped pattern was designed just for this.
Even without aggressive side lugs the tires tend to grip in ruts just as good. We never got hung up or high-centered. What was just as impressive was how well the tires worked getting to the mud holes on hardpack. Typically, aggressive mud tires are horrible to drive on hardpacked dirt due to their aggressive lugs. They tend to wobble out of balance and roll rough. These V-shaped meats rolled super smooth and didn’t cause any rattling or shaking in the vehicle. Turning was better than expected, and we didn’t feel any noticeable tire flex or pushing.
There are a lot mud tire options out there, but we think the Outback Max is one of the best. Contact STI at www.stitireandwheel.com or any MTA dealer. If you like the smooth-riding characteristics of a tire like this but don’t need the size and aggressive nature, a standard Outback trail tire is also available for all-terrain situations.