Published on September 25th, 2012 | by Joe0
CST Clincher Tire Test
Four-by-four ATV and side-by-side manufacturers have a lot to consider when choosing what tire with which to equip a machine. Price, performance, and weight are all taken into account in selecting a tire that manufacturers believe will serve the needs of a diverse customer base. Quite often these result in an OEM tire that won’t provide optimum performance for your specific needs.
With wet springs and hot summers, dry, dusty trails strewn with rocks and mud holes are the norm. CST’s Clincher tires were developed for hard to intermediate conditions, and are available in a variety of sizes that will fit most side-by-sides, and larger 4×4 ATVs. Sounding like a viable tire choice for our neck of the woods, we ordered a set to see if they could spruce up the ride of our Kawaaki Teryx Sport.
CST recommended that we try their 27×9-12 front and 27×11-12 rear Clinchers for our Teryx. Listed as one inch taller than the stock 26×8-12 front and 26×10-12 rear tires, we were a bit apprehensive of their additional size, fearing it may reduce our machine’s stability; however, we decided to follow their advice and see how it worked out.
The Clinchers feature a 6-ply radial construction. Their 6-ply rating adds durability, compared to most 4-ply OEM tires and has a max load rating of 1130 pounds front and 930 pounds rear. A built-in rim guard was a welcomed feature as our Teryx Sport’s flashy wheels were beginning to collect a few battle scars.
The tread features interlocking C-shaped center knobs to provide a smooth ride in dry conditions, with wider-spaced shoulder knobs for increased traction in the loose or sloppy sections of the trail. Grooved knob centers increase the number of biting edges on top of hard packed dirt. Stepped knob edges provide additional bite when the knobs start digging in the softer stuff. As a non-directional tread, you can change the tires’ rotating direction from time to time for longer life and more even tread wear.
After mounting up our Clinchers, we headed to Bill’s 491 Off-Road, located in Demossville, Kentucky to put them to the test. The trails were dry and hard with mud holes and creek crossings thrown in to test the tires’ lot traction capabilities.
When you switch out tires on a machine, you are usually trading one thing for another. With the Clinchers, we gave up very little for a surprising improvement in overall handling. Small bumps were notably dampened thanks to the tires’ radial construction. Their slight increase in height allowed them to roll more smoothly across logs, rocks, and other obstacles. We were surprised how easily the Teryx steered with the Clinchers. Bump feedback through the steering wheel also seemed lessened.
The tires perform superbly on hard pack. We aggressively negotiated some tight trails scattered with mud holes where the Clinchers easily found traction in two-wheel-drive. We managed to get the rear end spinning on a couple of slippery creek banks and in sections of the creek with deep sand, but switching into four-wheel-drive got things hooked back up and driving.
We expedited the tire’s taller size to make the Teryx feel more top heavy; however, the wider contact patch and reduction in tire roll actually made the machine feel more planted on side hills and entering corners. We still noticed some front end push when charging tight turns; however ,this trait seemed to be lessened with the Clinchers. Stomp the gas and the rear end can be slid around predictably. The tires’ extra size and weight, at 29.8lb rear and 23.75 pounds front, may slightly hamper acceleration, but the overall improvement in handling is worth way more in our opinion. Add a slip-on exhaust like we did, and you can easily offset any additional drag the tires may provide.
With a protruding front end, extreme approach angles can present a challenge to the Teryx. With the slightly taller Clinchers, our machine could tackle steeper approach angles without digging in the front end.
After a full day of riding, the CST Clinchers still look nearly brand new––no cuts, no flats, and the edges are showing virtually no sign of breaking down.
Tire pricing varies a lot from MSRP to what people actually pay, but the clinchers seem to lie somewhere in the middle of the price range. A tire that can last through a couple of seasons while providing predictable traction, good stability, and excellent bump absorption seems like a winner to us!
Product: Clincher Tires
Price: See Dealer
CST Clincher Tires: Rating
Summary: Tire pricing varies a lot from MSRP to what people actually pay, but the clinchers seem to lie somewhere in the middle of the price range. A tire that can last through a couple of seasons while providing predictable traction, good stability, and excellent bump absorption seems like a winner to us!