Digging the desert By the staff of Dirt Wheels
According to EveryCulture.com, the homeland of the Apaches was a vast region stretching from what is now central Arizona in the west to present-day central and south Texas in the east, and from northern Mexico in the south to the high plains of what became eastern Colorado in the north. Given the radical difference in terrain found in that vast area, giving a tire the name Apache puts a lot of expectation on that tire, but the Apache A/T is up to that challenge. The new tire is available in 30×10-14, 32×10-14, 30×10-15, 32×10-15 and 33×10-15. We had 30×10-14 Apaches on our Can-Am Sport X xc in place of the stock 29-inch Maxxis Bighorn tires. They installed easily on the stock beadlock rims.
CST Tires has given the Apache a somewhat typical desert tire profile, meaning that it was a somewhat flat tread profile with well-supported tread blocks that are spaced relatively close. The center tread blocks are very close, with the spacing wider on the side tread blocks. The side blocks are at more of a 90-degree angle to help the tire dig and grip in softer dirt and sand. CST gave the Apache an 8-ply rating and radial steel-belted construction. Nylon belt construction is more common for UTVs for ride compliance. Steel belting is less reactive but makes for a tougher tire.
We ran the Apaches through a wide range of terrain in Nevada and Arizona—from river mud on slick rocks, sand that’s almost like dune consistency, packed clay, and some amazingly sharp and rough rocks. The edges of the rocks actually looked like knife blades that we thought might cut the tire blocks to pieces. Some of the rocks were just a loose jumble, but others were buried as solidly as if they were set in concrete. Even though CST says the max load rating is at a much higher pressure, we opted to begin with 12 psi.
For rocky and packed dirt, the traction and handling were quite good at that pressure, so we just stuck with it. Even when we hit deep riverbed sand, the car was a little busy, but was better than we expected for a desert tire. On the packed clay the tire hooked great, and the control on the steel-belted radial was excellent. We felt very little tire squirm at all. The round profile allows the car to stay flat in the corners, yet showed no tendency to stand the car up. Front-end traction is very good, and that includes on packed surfaces with loose material on top. The feel is a little crisp on edges and rocks compared to a nylon-belted tire. But with the close tread blocks and the steel belts, the tire is very tough. We pounded through the sharp rocks with the power on, and the tires looked brand new. Traction is excellent for a tire this resistant to wear. We had no flats, and we didn’t see any cutting or tearing of the tread blocks.
The Apache A/T is a great tire. It works as well as any of the popular square-shouldered desert tires we have tested. It crosses over to soft terrain better than a lot of desert tires. To check out CST’s tread lineup and find a dealer near you, go to www.csttires.com.