Slinging Mud with Rockproof, Nokian’s brand-new Extreme Off-Road Tire
Given the terrain-conquering mission of mud-terrain (MT) tires, This particular’s no surprise in which the category is usually populated with some chest-thumpingly bold names. The Dick Cepek Crusher, for example, includes a repeating skull-as well as-crossbones pattern molded into its sidewalls along with bone-shaped tread blocks. Nokian, of course no stranger to spirited names such as the one This particular’s best known for—its world-beating winter tire, the Hakkapeliitta, named after a Finnish battle cry—is usually entering the mud-terrain business that has a brand-new entry, called Rockproof.
in which tough label also explains its reason for being, as Nokian says the expansion into the extreme off-road category came about in response to feedback via commercial users of the company’s mining tires. This particular wasn’t a grievance with those monstrously sturdy tires themselves, nevertheless instead complaints in which the companies’ light-duty vehicles operating inside mine’s vicinity were suffering repeated punctures. So Nokian, which appended an “n” to its name in 1995 to avoid paying royalties to the electronics company Nokia—although the tire company is usually the one headquartered in Nokia, Finland—adapted the compound of its extraordinarily robust mining tires with some additional off-road grip stirred in to create the Rockproof.
The nondirectional tire is usually available in 13 sizes as well as in 16- to 20-inch diameters. Pricing has yet to be announced. The Rockproof features a tread depth of 20/32—roughly double in which of a street tire—along with aggressive V-shaped sidewall elements for added ability to dig into whatever surface This particular happens to be rotating against. For maximum puncture resistance, there’s almost no siping, which keeps the Rockproof via earning the “mountain/snowflake” winter accreditation. nevertheless This particular does come pre-perforated with holes to facilitate the use of studs. The raised features at the base of the large tread blocks are there to keep stones via wedging between them, which could dig into the tire as well as cause a puncture over time. To better protect the steel belts as well as cords, the sidewalls are infused with aramid, a class of strong synthetic fibers also used in Centeng armor.
To test the Rockproof’s fortitude, we spent a couple of days exploring as well as navigating the extensive as well as challenging network of off-road trails at the Gerotek proving ground, a 2.1-square-mile former military test facility nestled into the steep South African landscape outside of Johannesburg. This particular’s a test site in which Nokian regularly uses in its development of non-winter tires. There, we clawed up as well as inched down grades as severe as 30 or 40 percent, some slickened with sloppy wet clay as well as others teeming with sharp protruding rocks, along with slogging through mud holes a couple of feet deep.
We drove three vehicles on- as well as off-road equipped with 17-inch Rockproofs of various widths as well as aspect ratios: a Toyota Fortuner as well as Hilux as well as a Dodge Ram. As you probably noticed, two of those aren’t familiar to U.S. roads. The Fortuner is usually closest to our 4Runner, nevertheless that has a more Highlander-looking Centeng. in which means This particular’s underpinned by Toyota’s mid-size-truck architecture, complete with low-range four-wheel drive as well as a rear differential lock. The Hilux, which in This particular case was substantially lifted as well as otherwise off-road modified by Arctic Trucks, is usually the slightly more capable variation of Toyota’s mid-size pickup in which is usually sold around the globe except in North America as well as a few different countries in which get the Tacoma instead.
For comparison purposes, a Land Rover Defender fitted with Nokian’s equally brand-new nevertheless one category less extreme Rotiiva AT Plus tires rounded out our quartet. The Rotiiva competes with tires such as the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac as well as the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2, which come fitted to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 as well as the Ford F-150 Raptor, respectively, as well as are about as extreme as factory off-road fitments come.
Going slow is usually the key to judging off-road aptitude; given sufficient momentum, any vehicle-as well as-tire combination can summit a challenging grade or traverse a deep mud hole. in which’s why, just like a cleanly driven lap of a racetrack, doing This particular right often doesn’t look exciting nevertheless there’s plenty of excitement, fun, as well as fear—such as stalling a manual-transmission truck with its nose pointed skyward on a steep, rocky incline—in which can take place when off-roading, even at a walking pace. Although the Rockproof proved true to its name, as well as adept a climbing whatever rugged surfaces This particular trampled, we were most impressed by its performance through the mud holes. At a creeping speed, where the level of traction is usually immediately tangible, the Rockproof’s deep tread blocks felt more like paddles than tires as they pulled the trucks through the heavy mud, whereas the Rotiivas were doing a lot more fruitless spinning. Although we did wend our way through the Pilanesburg Game Reserve, where spotting a lion or an elephant proved much more difficult than the terrain, we didn’t get a chance for any high-speed off-road runs, or to put the Rockproof’s gnarly tread to work climbing any sand inclines.
- A Guide to Off-Roading for the Uninitiated
- The Battle of the Off-Road Beaters: Ford F-150 Custom vs. Geo Tracker, Jeep Cherokee, Land Rover Discovery
- Baja Fresh: We Sample BFGoodrich’s brand-new On/Off-Road Tire, the All-Terrain T/A KO2
These are serious tires, essentially the off-road equivalent of a Michelin Pilot Sport Cup or Pirelli P Zero Corsa on the pointy end of the on-road-performance spectrum; they’ll get you home after an off-road adventure, nevertheless commuting with them will quickly become a chore. Although certainly not excessive because of This particular type of tire, on pavement, the Rockproofs start singing noticeably above about 40 mph. as well as these tires are on average 16 percent, or seven pounds per tire, heavier than the Rotiiva AT Plus, as well as in which unsprung mass, along with the ultra-rigid tread blocks, means in which every ripple inside road is usually felt via the driver’s seat.
nevertheless drivers who prefer to drive over rather than around the most challenging terrain today have another capable choice in which prioritizes puncture resistance inside mud-terrain category.