HOW TO MOUNT A BEADLOCK WHEEL
Roadkill Racing 9302 beadlocks by Dirty Life
For the newcomer to the off-roading world, the premise of lowering a tire's pressure for more traction seems like a recipe for disaster. In truth, they would not be completely incorrect as plenty can go wrong if you do not take care when letting air out of your tires. You could easily slip a tire bead off the wheel or puncture a sidewall (as they are now more exposed). You also lose a small amount of valuable ground clearance when airing down so we’ll admit, it’s a not a perfect world.
Even with all those nagging drawbacks in mind, there’s nothing like rolling up a trail with tire pressures in the single digits and the rubber enveloping the trail while producing spectacular traction. The added footprint size when airing down also equates to increased flotation, and for those of us in a leaf sprung rig… added comfort. But the lower you go with pressure, the greater the chance of the aforementioned disasters, and remounting a tire on the trail a dozen times gets draining, literally. There is an answer, and it goes by the name of “Beadlock”.
Originally installed on military equipment to help aid in tire changes during combat situations, the beadlock has migrated throughout professional auto racing from drag, to dirt track, and of course, to our favourite, off-road racing. By physically clamping one or both tire bead bundles securely to the wheels, your chance of losing a tire bead at an inopportune time is greatly mitigated. With tires clamped and dirt or snow covered trails ahead, it is not uncommon to see tires with less than one psi stay on their wheels, and produce amazing traction while laughing off side loading forces that would put other wheel and tire setups in the “Grave Danger” category.
Having the ability to run at these ultra low tire pressures does need to be done with caution. Running at high speeds with the sidewalls flexing like a yoga instructor