PRODUCT EVALUATION: AMS BLACKTAIL TIRE & ROLL’N 105 WHEEL
All-terrain 8-ply radial for all conditions By the staff of Dirt Wheels
While most turbos and extreme-performance SxS’ come stock with specialty tires, several sport and recreation utility machines still come stock with all-terrain tires like the Maxxis Bighorn and Bighorn 2.0. To get a low overall weight to advertise, most are shod with 6-ply-bias tires. Many tire manufacturers offer direct-replacement all-terrain tires with open tread similar to Bighorns, and AMS Tires has developed the Blacktail radial as a direct-replacement SxS and 4×4 ATV tire. Blacktails are non-directional with beefy lugs and side lugs that are boxed and siped for extra traction. Side lugs provide traction in deep ruts and protection for the sidewalls. Molded in rim guards protect your wheels, and the thick tread lugs are 25/32 inches tall. Blacktails come in 13 sizes from 25 inches up to 32 inches for 12-, 14-, and 15-inch rims; 25-27-inch Blacktails are 6-ply, while 28–32-inch sizes are 8-ply.
We chose 30x10R14, and AMS mounted them on their Roll’n 105 wheels, which come in 14×7 with 5+2 offset for 4/110, 4/137, and 4/156 lug patterns. The eight-spoke wheels have a bead-lock look but are standard-mount aluminum rims with a grey satin finish and AMS center cap. They’re $153.95 each, and 15×7-inch 105s will be coming soon. We got the Polaris lug pattern for testing the tire/wheel combos on our RZR Pro XP4, mounted them on the turbo with aftermarket lug nuts, and headed for the SxS Adventure Rally on the Rocks at Sand Hollow State Park. The 30x10R14 Blacktails are a direct replacement of RZR Pro XPs and have a rounded profile and open tread similar to the OEM Carnivores. Weight for 30-inch Blacktails is a light 31.9 pounds.
We headed out into the red-sand dunes and sand washes, and the Blacktails gave impressive traction and stability at speed with no wandering or skittishness in deep sand. That’s an improvement over Bighorns, and the Blacktails delivered excellent turning side-bite. On Top of the World, conditions turned to hardpack with loose rocks and silt on top, and the Blacktails delivered excellent traction and handling in those conditions, too.
We hit The Maze’s red-sandstone trails and did a few obstacles with excellent traction and control. To complete the loop, we found a sand two-track through the desert chaparral that turned into a sandy worm track and had a blast flicking the Pro XP4 from turn to turn and berm to berm. The Blacktails delivered great turning manners and predictable slides, and we were impressed with their overall performance. Not a bad shake-down run at all.
Next, we tackled Double Sammy on one of the guided rides, and the rock-crawling trail is rated 7 in difficulty. The AMS Blacktails delivered excellent bite on the red sandstone obstacles and hooked up very well. Traction on rocks was excellent, and that gave us confidence with a sure-footed ride at 15 psi. The Pro XP 4 got high-centered on a couple of ledges, so we were wishing for 32s, though. It was so much fun, we did Double Sammy again the second day with the same control and performance, then we played in the dunes some more. To test the Blacktails on more familiar desert and mountain trails in the Mojave, we devised a loop with loose sand and hard-packed dirt with all sorts of turns and undulations, and the Blacktails provided great turning traction and handling with predictable slides on exits. They performed as well on hardpack and loose rocks as they did in Utah. Great traction and almost no sign of wear over six days of riding are a good combination, and the rims only showed one scratch from Double Sammy.
This is a well-balanced, high-performance all-terrain tire. It delivers great traction and precise handling in dune sand, sand whoops, loamy to hard-packed dirt, loose rocks, and sandstone rock-crawling obstacles. Steering is precise and light feeling with no wandering in loose sand. It handles full-throttle launches and stops with control, and ample side bite provides a no-slip ride on steep off-cambers and controlled slides on fast fire roads. With 15 psi, Blacktails deliver a plush ride with the sidewalls delivering good ride quality, and there is no rolling or wallowing in corners. The 30x10R14 Blacktail has a list price of $297.95, so the tire/wheel combo comes to $1,807.60 total, plus $20 for the splined lug nuts. The combination performs very well and looks great. Go to www.amstires.com or see your Parts Unlimited dealer.