PRODUCT EVALUATION: OBOR BRAWLER TIRE
Truck-tough traction-grabber By the staff of Dirt Wheels with Steve Norr
Obor Tires has been building momentum in the ATV and UTV markets by innovating and releasing new tires. One of the latest for UTVs is the Brawler. It is so new that as this is written, the tire is available in only three sizes—28-, 30- and 32-inch—and all for 14-inch wheels. The Brawler is claimed to have “light truck-inspired” tread design and features. The Brawler has a tough 10-ply-rated carcass to handle the rigors of rough terrain.
When the unmounted tires arrived, the tread blocks looked substantial with a fair amount of open space between the blocks. When mounted on stock Polaris aluminum wheels, the look changed. The tires had a much flatter tread profile when mounted and inflated. Flattening out the shape of the tire made the tread blocks look spaced closer together.
The center tread blocks are positioned so that the two center rows of tread blocks overlap. Before the tire rolls off one tread block, the next is already in play.
The result is a tire that rolls extremely smoothly on hard surfaces and doesn’t make the typical tire noise we would expect from an aggressive off-road tire. The outer rows of tread blocks are spaced more openly for bite in softer surfaces.
Our concern was that the sharp, 90-degree angle of the outer tread blocks and the somewhat flat surface of the tire would make for a tire that wouldn’t break loose predictably. We thought it might catch and make the car want to stand up. Also, our experience with 10-ply tires is that there isn’t much cushioning feel to the tire carcass to aid ride quality.
ON THE TRAIL
It turned out that our fears had no foundation. The tire is pleasantly compliant at 15 psi without the rough, clattery ride that some 10-ply (or even 8-ply) tires have. The sharp outer tread-block edges made for crisp and accurate steering that let us pick lines and hit them with confidence.
Traction was excellent on typical desert terrain that ranged from packed dirt and rocks. The rocks were loose and jumbled at times and slab-like concrete at others. Forward bite was instant with very little wheelspin. Traction descending or under hard braking was excellent as well.
The final question was sand. How would traction and bite be in the soft stuff? DOT-rated, 10-ply tires that offer substantial packed dirt and rock traction don’t usually offer stellar sand performance. The Brawler does spin a little more than a softer carcass with deeper tread blocks, but it was surprising how well it bites. The flat profile rides on top of the sand, and those sharp side tread blocks prevent it from wandering around.
Obor’s Brawler is a smooth-rolling tire with accurate steering. It is plenty tough to stave off routine punctures or sidewall cuts. Our tires still look nearly new with only the smallest amount of feathering on the leading edges of the tread after miles in sharp rocks! We are confident they will live a good, long time. They are rated for 583 pounds per tire, so they have plenty of load rating for larger and powerful machines. Our 30-inch tires have a suggested retail of $176.
Overall, the Brawler is a great tire. It works as well as any of the popular square-shouldered desert tires, and has better and more pleasant front-wheel traction. It crosses over to soft terrain better than a lot of desert tires. We can only hope that it will be available in additional sizes soon. To check out Obor’s lineup and find a dealer near you, go to www.obor-tires.com or call (470) 282-3671.