Being an older geezer, you get a bit sceptical when a new product lobs making big claims about how it will improve your life. I remember well when MaxTrax first came out I was pretty vocal in saying they’d be useless, as my experience in trying to jam a lump of timber under a wheel (which is pretty much the principle of the thing) almost always failed, unless the timber was right underneath the wheel.
Anyway, I put them to the test, and on the first couple of occasions I failed miserably and burnt off the cleats at both ends. The hallelujah moment came later in WA when I had to rescue a vehicle from a sandy bowl with a blown CV joint, and I figured out how to use them correctly. But again in the process destroyed the Trax because the disabled vehicle was now only a 2WD and to drive out of this pickle needed a lot of engine speed and that came with wheel-spin. I now use them all the time in the classroom with a lot more finesse and am a believer.
The problem is this. A spinning wheel will in short time melt the cleats and rob you of the very thing you need to get some purchase, and that’s a point that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Tred people. The new Pro uses what they call a “dual-composite” construction (AKA fancier plastic) that has better heat resistance and yet still maintains the flexibility these things need when on the ground.
That’s got to be good because any of these track style products don’t work particularly well with passenger car tyres that vehicle manufacturers fit standard, as the tread voids are too small to permit reliable engagement of the cleats. Wheel-spin is inevitable and especially when you’ve got no previous experience with them.
So we’ve got the melting issue sorted, and it seems my concerns about location too, as Tred Pro also has a trademark going on a feature on the face of the track called SIPE-LOCK. Now I’ve been telling people all my professional life about sipes (as I am the tyre whisperer), those clever channels that funnel moisture pumped off the road by the tyre out to the outside world and away from the tread.
Tred boffins apparently analysed hundreds of off-road tyres to design their SIPE-LOCK feature to obtain the likely most consistent hook-up, using 3D scanning and CAD modelling. Cool. That’ll translate into additional grip.
The Tred Pro still retains handles to enable it to be used as a de-facto shovel, and it packs more easily to occupy less space when travelling and that’s good. What also is good is a lifetime warranty and that my friends is a massive vote of confidence in the product. I’m gonna get a set and see if I can break them! Watch this space!
Want to know more? Head over to ARB’s new look website and check out the Tred Pro.