GBC KANATI MONGREL TIRE
Over the years GBC Motorsports has had a successful tire line featuring pretty aggressive tread patterns and unusual names. Labels like H-Bomb, After Burn and Grim Reaper are a small example. Although GBC’s latest tire has a unique name, the tread pattern is not very aggressive in nature. What the Kanati Mongrel has is a full-coverage tread pattern that wraps around the tire in a smooth, rounded profile. The knobbies are less than an inch tall with 1⁄2- to 3⁄4-inch spacing. Back in the 1970s and ’80s, this type of tire was very common in the off-road buggy world. These buggies were very similar in size and horsepower to today’s high-performance UTVs. The profile gave great flotation and traction without being overly aggressive or heavy and was hard to spin loose or slide predictably. The non-aggressive nature of the tire is also easy on components like transmissions and CV joints.
The tire is available with an eight-ply rating and comes with DOT approval in a variety of sizes. The DOT rating means that you can drive these meats on the street if the rest of your machine was made legal as well. For the rest of us, the DOT rating means that the tire is as strong as tires built for pickup trucks. Sizes of the Mongrel include 26×10-12, 28×10-14, 28×10-15, 30×10-14 and 30×10-15. These sizes all carry a 1000-pound load rating. The smallest tires weigh in at 27 pounds, and the largest ones weigh 33.8 pounds. Prices range from $165 all the way up to $205 per tire. The GBC Mongrel is also available in large truck-tire sizes as well.
In the one year the tire has been on the market, the Mongrel tire has already garnered a lot of attention. The 30-inch size took all three podium spots in the 2013 King of the Hammers UTV Rock Race. The tire was also chosen to be the spec tire for every car in the TerraCross series, and it’s now available as an option on the new Polaris RZR XP 1000.
For this test we mounted a full set of Mongrel tires on the brand-new OMF NXG1 beadlock wheels and entered a local desert race. Even when using beadlocks, the Mongrel has a noticeably thicker rubber rim guard that helps protect the outer edge of the wheel. So right off the bat, we figured we had a tough tire.
We went with 28×10-14 sizing on all four corners of our Polaris Jagged X RZR 900. This car in stock trim would actually run circles around the top buggies of the 1970s and early ’80s. Compared to most other wheels and tires we have used lately, this package is very lightweight. You can tell the rolling resistance of this tire is light as well just by pushing the vehicle on the pavement.
On the dirt, our results were better than expected. Although the tires are not very aggressive in nature, traction was abundant. We tested all four tires with 15 psi. At that pressure there was still always a good-sized patch of rubber hitting the dirt. Take-off and braking traction were great. The tires didn’t feel heavy or spin wildly.
During cornering is where we saw even more benefits. The tires slid very predictably. No matter how hard you drive into a corner, you could pitch the rear end, slide and feel comfortable; the tires weren’t going to catch an edge or come around on you. Lap after lap the feeling was duplicated with both our drivers. No matter if we were in the sand, running over whoops or rocks, or driving on hardpack, the tires felt very neutral and predictable.
After the 250-mile race, all four Mongrel tires were in great shape. Even though we were running in 4WD, the front tires were barely worn at all. The rear had some wear, but it was very minimal. There wasn’t as much scratching on any of the sidewalls. From the looks of it, these tires could have raced the full Baja 1000 and had plenty of tread left over. In this race we didn’t carry a spare, so we were somewhat cautious, but were still running at race speed.
Our drivers flew through the rocks and didn’t avoid any sticks or other trail debris that might have slowed them down. They did have one small leak from a stick puncture, but they plugged it during the race and didn’t lose more than a minute. One other tire went low about a week later due to the beadlock needing to be tightened.
Overall, we were stoked with the performance of the Mongrel tire and NXG1 combination. We do wish the tires came in a few more size options. For this car we would have ran a 28×9-14 up front instead of the larger 10-inch just to save a little weight and put less stress on the steering components. See your dealer or contact GBC Motorsports at www.gbcmotor sports.com. To find more about the OMF NXG1 wheel, contact (951) 354-8272 or www.omfperformance.com.