— Testing a new tire style for the sand —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
We have something of a love-hate relationship with paddle tires. We love the traction in the sand, but unlike many UTV pilots, our whole world doesn’t revolve around the sandbox. None of our machines are reserved specifically for sand use. That means we need to keep wheels with sand paddles mounted, or change tires every time we hit the dunes. Another issue is the rattling ride you typically get from a paddle tire. CST’s new Sandblast tires have eliminated that rough ride. The Sandblast paddle tires ride as smoothly as any aggressive off-road tire on packed surfaces.
Both the front and rear Sandblast tires have the typical high-floatation, balloon-shaped carcass we are accustomed to seeing. To keep the tires light, they have 2-ply construction. They are built light, not buffed down to a thin carcass. The front Sandblast has a double row of what almost looks like fish fins or teeth on a circular saw blade. Those teeth provide shockingly instant and accurate steering for a tire with a round, high-volume shape.
The rears are even more distinct. Instead of a few large paddles, the Sandblast rear has many (15 paddles on our 32-inch tires) small, low paddles to avoid pulling the engine down. We would have guessed the paddles are at least an inch tall, but CST lists the tread height at 20mm. Too many paddles, or ones that are too tall, will make a car feel slow and respond sluggishly to the throttle.
Between the actual paddles are four rows of small rectangular knobs. They are oriented length-wise, and two rows are straight and the outside rows are angled slightly. These added rows of small knobs add some directional stability in sand, but on harder dirt they support the car when the tires are between the paddles. They are why the Sandblast rides smoothly on harder surfaces. We wouldn’t want to drive on hard surfaces for any distance with a two-ply tire, but it does add considerably to the comfort of the ride
WHAT ABOUT SAND?
We spent three hard days in the dunes with the CST Sandblast tires. As you can guess, they were a sand blast. We had them mounted on a Polaris RZR XP Turbo S four-seater on Tusk beadlock wheels that widen the 72-inch track to 76 inches. We ran the recommended 10 psi. Our Turbo S has 15-inch rims, and it comes with 32-inch tires on it.
Sandblast tires currently come in front sizes 28X10-14, 30X10-14, 32X10-15 and 32X10-17. Rears are available in 28X12-14, 30X12-14, 32X12-15 and 32X12-17. We chose the 32X10-15 front ($193 each) and the 32X12-15 rears ($204 each). They mounted and inflated easily on the Tusk rims. We were at the same dunes previously without paddles and with paddles that were taller. No paddles in Idaho Dunes at St. Anthony, Idaho, wasn’t much fun. With the larger paddles we had ample traction, but the car felt loaded down and sluggish. The Sandblast tires provided all the traction we wanted and needed, but without pulling the car down. They are ideal for machines with standard engine performance.
With normal paddles we miss the accurate handling you get with normal tires. Paddles break loose suddenly when you are turning under power, and the smooth or ribbed fronts push. We didn’t feel any of that with the CST Sandblast tires. Drivability is excellent, and the car behaved the same way it would on treaded tires, but with far more acceleration in the sand. We did a steep climb with a sharp transition at the top. A driver following us said that at one point we had only one wheel on the ground in deep, blown sand, and we still had the drive we needed.
Braking was better than expected as well. We were able to drive like normal, hit precise lines and simply have a blast. Idaho Dunes has sections that have protruding buried rocks and other sections that are rocks and dirt. We took it easy in the rocks, but experienced no trouble. Obviously, these are highly specialized tires, so they have little-to-no crossover from sand to other types of dirt. Nevertheless, we are very glad to have these in our tire quiver for when we hit the sand. Check out www.csttires.com or a local CST dealer to get a good look at their full lineup of tires for ATVs, UTVs and more!