There’s a reason why tires are the number one modification full-size off-road vehicle owners make. While the reason most people change tires is for a better look, tires have a profound impact on performance. In the world of RC, it’s no different. In fact, nothing delivers more bang for your buck performance improvement than new tires. Whether you want pure performance or scale replicas or tires that offer the best of both worlds, Axial Racing has you covered.
There are two primary tire sizes for rock crawlers and scale vehicles. These are 1.9 and 2.2. In both cases, the numerical value refers to the size of the wheel the tires are designed to fit. More specifically the 1.9 or 2.2 refers to the diameter of the wheel and, of course, the corresponding inner diameter of the tire. While the difference sounds small, 2.2 tires are generally larger in overall size than most 1.9 tires. Vehicles like the SCX10 platform come equipped with 1.9 tires, but can easily accommodate 2.2 with few alterations. Since the body posts on the SCX10 are adjustable, it’s like having a built-in body lift. The shocks are also adjustable, so fitting larger tires is pretty easy. You can go the opposite way with the Ridgecrest and Wraith vehicles that come with 2.2 tires, but more substantial modifications are needed to achieve a scale look. The tires will bolt right on, but will look out of proportion. In addition to the 1.9 and 2.2 tires described above, Axial offers a 2.2/3.0 sized tire designed to fit the EXO Terra Buggy. The 2.2/30 is the industry standard short course tire and wheel size. Since Axial is committed to scale, the officially licensed Hankook Dynapro MT tires come in a 34 mm wide front version and a wider 41 mm rear version.
The other aspect of size, other than the size classification it fits into that was described above, is its dimensions—height (diameter) and width. Just like real tires, the RC versions come in different sizes. While taller tires increase ground clearance and wider tires can increase the contact patch (part of the tire that actually touches/grips the ground), bigger isn’t always better. Big changes in tire size will require setup in suspension and body mounting. Big tires place more wear and tear on steering and drivetrain components. Your motor, battery and speed control have to work much harder to cope with bigger heavier tires. Changes in gearing may also be in order. Click here to see for a post on gearing for larger tires.
Axial offers fully licensed tires with treads just like the full-size tires they are meticulously modeled after and RC-only treads. The ideal tread for you is determined by the terrain you expect you’ll encounter the most. Treads with large voids between the lugs work best in mud and loose dirt. Conversely, tires with smaller voids between lugs handle better than other tires on pavement or other high speed applications. Directional tires work exceptionally well when combined vehicles with good wheel speed as the design of the tread allows the tire to sling mud and water out from the center of the tire. Directional tires want to pull a vehicle forward. Mounted backwards, the directional tire will want to dig down, so only mount them in the intended direction if unless you’re running only on solid rock.
The material the tire is molded in is called the compound. Some rubber compounds are firm and long last and some are soft and pliable. Axial offers its tires in two compounds. The softer and stickier compound is called R35 (white dot). While a softer compound will wear out faster, it will grip better on most terrain.
Axial tires come with standard foam inserts that last a long time and provide consistent, predictable performance on a variety of terrain. If you run your Axial vehicle on dirt, rocks, sand, pavement, etc., standard foam may be the ideal choice. If you are running exclusively on rocks or are competing, you may want to consider memory foam inserts. Memory foam is heavier (denser too) and conforms to rocks. There are also companies offering hybrid inserts that use standard foam and memory foam.
There are a lot of subtle traits found in Axial tires. Tires with interior ribbing along the sidewall (on the inside) offer more support without sacrificing the overall flexibility of the tire. Some tires such as the Ripsaw have different sized lugs for a more aggressive offroad tread. Many Axial Racing tires feature siping, thin slits in the tread, just like the real tires they are modeled after.
While not a licensed scale replica, the Ripsaw tire is still a very realistic tire and suitable for use on any scale vehicle. It is slightly more aggressive than most scale tires, so it can provide an edge in competition. The Ripsaw is designed to offer many edges to cut into the ground for more traction.
4.3″ (109 mm) tall
Part no. AX12016
1.9 Maxxis Trepador
The Maxxis Trepador tires is fully licensed and an exact replica of the real tire. Like the real Maxxis Trepador, the 1.9 version is a direction tire. The Trepador also feature sidewall tread for added protection and traction.
4.6″ (117 mm) tall
Part no. AX12019
The 2.2 Ripsaw, like the 1.9 version, is not a licensed replica, but is still a realistic scale tire. This aggressive tread is excellent when a lot of traction needed. The Ripsaw is designed with a number of edges for increased traction and raised bars between lugs to help it self clean (fling out mud and snow).
5.5″ (140 mm) tall
Part no. AX12015
2.2 Maxxis Trepador
Like the 1.9 Trepador, the 2.2 version is fully licensed and very realistic. The directional tread works well on a variety of surfaces from dirt to sand to rocks and has been successfully used in competition.
5.5″ (140 mm) tall
Part no. AX12022
2.2 BFGoodrich Krawler T/A
The BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires are extremely popular in the full-size offroad world and have won numerous rock-crawling championships. The Axial version is officially licensed and just as aggressive with large well spaced lugs.
5.5″ (140 mm) tall
Part no. AX12021
2.2 Hankook Dynapro MT
Made for the Axial Racing EXO Terra Buggy, the 2.2 Hankook Dynapro MT tires are offered in a 34 mm wide front tires and a 41 mm wide rear tires are wide. These tires are reinforced with internal ribbing. These tires require the use of a 2.2/3.0 wheel that uses a larger interior wheel diameter.
4.1″ (104 mm) tall
Part no. AX12017 (front), AX12018 (rear)
To learn how to glue tires, check out this post