Road­kill Rac­ing 9302 beadlocks by Dirty Life

4WDrive - - Review - Story and pho­tos by Bryan Irons

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

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