When Mike Milazzo bought a 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in 2016, he had a plan to upfit it for his personal needs. Milazzo is the president of T & M Motors, a thriving full-service automotive business with a collision repair shop in North Adams, Massachusetts, and has a busy work life and active family life, as well. So, to relax and have fun, Milazzo loves to hunt and he pilots a variety of aircraft; he owns a Lake amphibian airplane that lands on water. The outdoorsman began with Katzkin leather and heated seats and then moved on to tires and wheels.
“When I thought about tires for my Jeep Wrangler, I wanted a reliable brand, and a tire that was durable and tough not just for my everyday driving, but for the times when I go off-the-road,” said the backcountry enthusiast. “I needed the assurance that I had good rubber underneath me that would provide excellent traction and puncture-resistance. I chose a set of Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar MT/Rs to give me the peace of mind that comes from have “bulletproof” sidewalls-literally. I expected they might be a bit noisy on the road, but they have been surprising quiet and give a really good ride.”
While off-roading for most does not include serious rock crawling or traversing extreme terrain strewn with sharp rocks, it does for some hunters and fishermen trying to find the perfect spot away from the crowd, and having tough tires with the right traction for a variety of backcountry conditions is critical. A tire mishap, like a cut or punctured sidewall, can be disastrous; having tires that eliminate or reduce that risk is imperative.
The Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar MT/R maximum traction terrain tire is a great tire for everyday outdoorsmen and women and especially for those who drive challenging tracks with their vehicle or live or travel in snow country. Its single-surface asymmetrical multiple tread design and rubber silica rubber compounds deliver reliable off-road traction when slogging through sand, mud or snow or on wet roads. The Wrangler Kevlar MT/R-enhanced sidewalls reduce the risk of a cut or punctured sidewall; the tires are constructed of a silica rubber compound for wet surface traction and feature a distinctive asymmetrical wrap-around tread design, with multiple lug types with tread sections designed for a specific road type from the wide lug outer tread row for extreme off-road conditions to the tight lug inner row for highway motoring. For additional effectiveness, the wide lug outer tread row has a self-cleaning channel to throw off excess mud or debris. Micro sipes across the tread lug surfaces provide added traction by voiding excess water from the tread face.
The “bulletproof” sidewalls are built with a Dupont Kevlar fiber; Kevlar is more commonly known for its impact resistance and use in body armor and, though it has been used in racing tires since the 1970’s, it only recently has been used in off-road tires. The MT/Rs sidewall’s third ply is woven with Kevlar high-strength aramid synthetic fiber using what Goodyear describes as “an advanced opposing cord angle design” that is 35 percent more resistant to punctures and cuts than standard 3-ply sidewalls. In addition, the Kevlar provides a stiffer sidewall for stability, when adjusting tire pressure for different needs off-road, and provides stability for better and quieter highway performance.
The Goodyear-engineered asymmetric tread design blends the multi-purpose tread patterns into a single footprint using “advanced mud-flow geometry” that features alternating (stepped in and out) shoulder blocks that give a greater grab on rocks coupled with a wide outer lug self-cleaning channel that increases traction in all conditions.
The Wrangler Kevlar MT/R comes in 31 sizes that fit multiple wheel type and sizes from 15- to 20-inches. Depending on the size, Load Index (per tire) ratings run from 2,205 to 4,080 pounds with C, D, or E Load Ranges and a Speed Rating of Q (100mph) for all.
Next, Milazzo moved on to pick out XD Machete Crawl wheels. “I chose these wheels for two reasons,” said Milazzo. “I really like the style and they enhance the looks of my Jeep, but I selected them because they are made for off-road racers, rock crawlers and mudders. I knew they were an excellent blend of lightweight materials’ technology and were also sturdy and strong enough for my needs as a business owner that depends on a reliable vehicle for both good and bad weather- and as an outdoorsman. My customers look at what I drive to work and for play and, therefore, I wanted to showcase wheels and tires that show my customers some options of good products in each aftermarket area.
The XD Wheel brand builds the XD Machete Crawl series with a style and performance that has made them favorites for those that race off-road and need rugged performance; the cast aluminum wheels have a groundbreaking evacuation beadlock that allows for mud and dirt to easily escape.
“The Machete Crawl is the ideal beadlock for the outdoor enthusiast as it is built tough to handle the many obstacles that you find out on the trail and get you where you need to go to find that big game,” said Chris Anderson, of XD Wheels. “Plus, the ability to air down is a great feature of a beadlock wheel when you are trying to get back to those hard to reach areas as the lower air pressure provides better traction over rocks and unstable surfaces.”
Available Finishes are Machined or Matte Black with Machined Ring; Sizes are 17×9 – 38mm; Available Lug Patterns –5, 6 and 8 lug.