The Dick Cepek Mud Country tire is a relatively new tire to the market and probably the first really new Dick Cepek in quite some time. Dick Cepek is now a division of Mickey Thompson, so there are bound to be some sharing between the two and this tire is no exception. The carcass of this tire is new and is shared with the also new Mickey Thompson ATZ and MTZ.
Why did I choose this tire? (For those that don’t know, I have been sold on Interco for some time.) I was at a 4x4 show recently and the MT/DC rep was on hand and the display caught my attention. Talking with the rep and being able to see how much better the new generation tire is in sidewall strength compared to the old generation Radial Claw http://gallery.hot4x4.ca/album242/aet
. Just by feel alone, the sidewall thickness was about the same as the Interco Trxus I currently run. The moulding of the tire is also different than the norm. Rather than the moulding edge running down the centre of the tire, it is sectioned across the tread. Gave me things to think about. The pricing at the show was also very good. Heck, the pricing at the show on most of the tires, wheels, winches and so forth was pretty good.
By the end of the day I had ordered a set of 35x12.50R15 Dick Cepek Mud Country tires mounted on a set of 15x8 Pro-Comp 1079 Alloys.
I know what my buddy Graham is going to say to me. Should have bought the SX. Probably would have too had this not been a daily driver.
For comparison, my old set of tires is Interco Trxus mounted on 15x8 ARE Outlaw II. The vehicle is a 95 YJ tipping the scales between 4000 and 4500 lbs, depending on the set up.
Visually, the Mud Country is much like any mud tire today; large siped lugs and a distinctive side biter. OK, lets face it, the side biter is the letters DC, yep about as cheezy as the Parnelli Jones PJ lettering in their tread block. The tire also sports a rim protector. Though it is not as large or aggressive as the BFG version, it may work better than the BFG version in keeping junk out of the bead. There are two things that set the tire apart. First is the stepping of the lugs. This can be nice as you wear down the lugs you end up with a new edge a couple more times. Though I think by the time one gets down to that final edge, their usefulness as a trail tire is minimal. Same can probably be said of any trail tire. The second visual item of note is the channel that runs down the centre of the tire. Not sure what it is going to do, perhaps clean the tire and disperse the mud and water better. I guess I will find out when I wheel them.
With this tire and wheel combo, each wheel required between 2 and 8 oz of weight to balance. Not sure if this is good or bad. My last set was similar in nature.
With the tires on, I checked the pressure and lowered it to 28psi, then went for a short drive around the block. The quick review is that they performed much like most mud tires on pavement. Rode a bit much in the centre and had about an inch or so on the outside that was not contacting the ground at 28psi. I would consider lowering the pressure, but with the amount of wobble on the tire when kicked, I feel that less pressure would make for a fair bit of wander on the highway.
I got to drive on the tires all week back and forth to work. They performed as expected in the rain and dry. They did seem to have a bit more of a hum to them, probably due to the more open style tread block than my previous tires. I decided to try dropping the tire pressure a couple pounds to see if I could get a bit more flat contact with the pavement. Yep, got that and more wander. Oh well, its like any mud tire.
Sunday was wheeling day. Double duty too. Pre-running the GPS Challenge we were hosting the following weekend while trying out a new set of tires. Airing down to about 8.5 PSI, they bulged to a decent amount. I got to try them in mud and on some rock. These tires love the mud. They happily chewed and tossed mud all over the place. Lug cleaning is not a problem, while cleaning the mud off the roof of my Jeep can be. These tires also stuck well to rock, climbing up and over with ease. Even at 8.5 PSI, they squished well, but not as much as I was expecting. Going to have to play with the air down pressure a bit more. Only one spot I had some issues, I fell into a trench and lay into the bank. At this point the tires were not helping any. I engaged the rear locker and was able to drive out. Not without some carnage though. Ripped a front flare partially off and chunked a tree that my windshield frame and hard-top decided to get up and personal with. Ah lockers, gets you out of the trouble open diffs get you into. Good news on that rim protector, even with the side of the tire mashing into the bank and in the other adventures in the mud, nothing noticeable was jammed into the bead. Ah, less is more. No marks on the wheels, but then again, I have not washed the mud off either.
Overall, the Dick Cepek Mud Country tires performed well. Definitely worth being on the short list of tires when looking for a mud tire.