Review: Pit Bull Radial Rocker Off-Road Tires

Mar. 14, 2011 By Pete Bach
The Pitbull Radial Rocker

We feel fortunate to live in a time and place where technological advancements can improve products that make our lives better and more comfortable. It wasn’t long ago that, due to limits in technology, we couldn’t have the “best of both worlds,” especially within the automotive industry. We’ve been fortunate observe Pit Bull Tire Company make these advancements in tire technology and have tested several of its tires on our Jeep Rubicon Projects. We recently tested the new Pitbull Radial Rocker tire and found that you truly can have the best of both worlds, thanks to modern tire tech.

We also tested the bias-ply Rockers a few years ago.

In 2007, we mounted up a set of bias-ply Rockers and found that they very durable on the trail, chewing up the biggest rocks, roots, snow and dirt, and spitting them out. Pit Bull claims that its tires offer all bite with less bark, but the bias Rockers still howled like a B-17 bomber and became less comfortable on the road after some good wear and tear.

As Pit Bull Tire Company evolved and advanced its technology, a natural introduction of a radial tire lineup was inevitable. The Radial Rocker was finally born in late 2009 and offered taming of its bias-ply brother. Could we really experience the aggressiveness and durability of the Rocker tread while maintaining a comfortable and quiet ride on the pavement? We have finished up our initial testing of the Radial Rocker after a little over 8,000 miles and have some results that might surprise you.

To our surprise, our 37x12.50 17 Radial Rockers measured in at slightly over 37 inches tall on an eight-inch wheel. At 37.25” tall, a section width of 13.5” and a weight of 92 lbs., the Rocker is a big tire in every aspect. We were happy to see that the tread design on the Radial Rocker has not changed from its bias twin. With a tread depth of 22/32nd, you’ll not only get a lot of highway life from the Rocker, you also get plenty of snow and mud slinging action for which Pit Bull Tires are known. Speaking of snow, our Rockers shredded through the deepest Colorado snow we could throw at them. Mud was also no problem for these beasts…but we intended to do most of our off-road testing in rock.  After all, rock is the natural habitat of the Pitbull Rocker!

The Rockers are at home in the rocks.

The Radial Rocker has a three-ply sidewall, which is a must in our opinion when subjecting a tire to serious rock work. While the three-ply sidewall can withstand serious abuse, it also means that some additional break in time might be required. With 10 lbs. of air in each of our Rockers, we found that it hardly created a bulge in the sidewall, even under our heavy Unlimited Rubicon. The beads on the Rocker seem stout enough to handle 6 lbs. without giving up their bite on the wheels, so we now run 6 lbs. and have had no problems at this low pressure while in the rocks. Any lower and bead locks would be our recommendation.

Our new Rockers needed a break-in period.

Rock crawling with the Radial Rockers is simply awesome. Not only do they look all business, the confidence-inspiring rubber compound bites on all surfaces, and the ultra-aggressive tread pattern keeps the Jeep moving forward under mild and hard throttle. We really like the idea of the sipes in the Rocker’s lugs, however, we were concerned that they would allow chunking in sharp rocks. We were wrong. We experienced some very light chunking combined with some good graining. The sipes seem to be placed close enough to the center of each lug to prevent any major chunking.  They also aid in highway driving, allowing the tires to stay cooler, as well as helping in icy situations. 

The Rockers are great looking and work very well.

We were impressed with the bias-ply Rockers a few years ago … but after breaking the Radial rockers in, it will be hard to give them up for another tire in the future. They are that good in any terrain. Toughness? We put these tires up against some seriously sharp rocks and the Rockers won. While they might not be as indestructible as a bias tire, they are very, very close.

Let’s face it—most of us don’t drive through rocks all of the time. Our Unlimited Rubicon sees 15,000 miles a year on the pavement and many of those miles are run topless. A noisy and harsh riding tire is something we can do without. After approximately 4,000 miles, our Rockers started to bark a little louder than when they were brand new. At our current 8,000 miles, they have gotten louder yet; however, they are perfectly acceptable for a hard-core tire. In fact, with our Jeep soft top on, they are louder than many mud tires we’ve tested but more quiet than any bias-ply tire on the market. A couple blips of the stereo volume and the Rockers seem to disappear! Some of the increased noise we experienced has been created by some minor cupping after a prolonged rotation and balance job. To keep these tires true and quiet, we suspect that regular tire maintenance is needed to get a full 35,000 miles out of them, especially if you use them in their natural habitat—the rocks. Currently, we have noticed a normal rate of wear and expect 35k miles without a problem. Balancing our Rockers proved to be somewhat challenging. Each of our tires called for 16oz. or more of weight.

Keeping the Rockers balanced is very important for good wear.

We feel that the Pit Bull Tire Company made the right move introducing a more technologically advanced radial LT tire. We are also pleased that they continue to offer a bias-ply counterpart to each of their radial tires, which shows their commitment to off-road enthusiasts. Now everyone can enjoy the benefits of running a Pit Bull Tire and not just the hard-core off-roader. ATV/UTV riders and radio controlled rock crawlers are also covered by Pitbull with their newly introduced Growler and Rocker XOR Ubers and Rock Beast RC tires. Pitbull Tire technology has truly given us what we need. Check ‘em out!

Pit Bull Tire Company
A Division of Tire Mart, Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri USA
314.621.5396 Fax
800-645-2006 Newsletter
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