Maxxis Creepy Crawler Tires - Review

Only For The Pros?

Oct. 15, 2007 By Pete Bach

When thinking of Maxxis Tires, one might conjure up thoughts of huge, ultra aggressive, professional use rock crawling tires, and cringe at the thought of a droning, rough highway trip on bias ply tires.

After all, Maxxis Tires is now a leader amongst the hard core professional teams and drivers of XRRA and UROC, among others. The pro drivers want the most aggressive, indestructible and best performing tires, sacrificing any of the creature comforts that most of us are used to with a dual purpose, radial tire. We were able to get our hands on a set of Maxxis Creepy Crawler tires to test them, trying to find out if they are only for the professional driver or if the weekend, “just for fun” crawler can drive to and from the trail in comfort, while still sporting the ultimate rubber for some extreme bashing.

For our needs, a set of 35x12.50 Creepy Crawlers were in order and once they arrived, our first surprise is that they really are 35s! We’ve run many “35” inch tall tires in the past and have found that most of them run a hair over 33 inches in overall diameter. This was a welcome change in the world of tires. A quick trip to Peerless Tire in Colorado Springs, CO for mounting was first on the list. We spoke with the manager of the store, informing him that these were no ordinary tires and that some special attention may be needed in mounting and balancing such a large and heavy tire, weighing in at about 75 pounds each. He promised to balance them himself, being the most experienced around large, off road tires.

Of course, the pro drivers don’t need to worry about balancing a Creepy. But our first trip was going to be over two hundred miles on the highway and balancing the 75 pound tires was a must. Our first concern came upon balancing the first tire, as 23 ounces of weight was required to get it to almost zero out. That’s a lot of weight! The next three tires all hovered around 16 ounces each or more. Once mounted up, we were surprised to find that there was no evidence of shimmy from the front end and the rear was smooth. Several pounds of lead seemed to do the trick on these burly meats!

So far, so good. Running around town with the Creepys was almost as smooth as any radial tire we’ve ever run and the jealous, gawking looks that we received by other wheelers “in the know”, was hard to beat. The tires look awesome!

A quick jaunt on the highway was calling the Creepys and we couldn’t resist a little foreshadowing of our long trip to Carnage Canyon, in Boulder Colorado. Once up to 70 mph, the bias ply tires started to show why they were better suited for the rocks. There was some slight vibration and a little hopping from the rear but was surprisingly tame compared to other bias ply tires on the market today. This also might be attributed to the balancing, rather than the tire’s construction. Overall, we were very impressed with the highway ride of these rock tires!

Of course there is noise associated with these super aggressive tires. They howl as expected but again, not nearly as loud as many other aggressive rock and mud tires that are popular today. In fact, with the top on the Jeep and the windows up, you could hardly hear the tires at any speed.

One hundred ten miles to the trail-head was uneventful and the true testing was about to begin. Carnage Canyon, in Boulder is a moderate to extreme trail, consisting of mostly large boulder fields, sandy stream bottoms and mud. We expected light rain most of the day. Bead lock wheels had been the original thought with this Jeep project, however, by keeping the hope alive to drive to each trail, we opted to go with a traditional aluminum wheel.

Airing down the Creepys had to be kept reasonable without the bead locks so eight pounds was determined to be best. Three to four pounds is really optimal for a big bias ply crawler tire, however, we were sure to lose a bead going that low with a standard rim.

Over the first few obstacles, we watched closely to see how much flex we would get from the sidewalls. With nine pounds of pressure, the tires flexed nicely but we were pretty sure that they would also need to be broken in a bit more. Bias ply tires benefit from extreme flex. It seems to loosen up the sidewalls and tread section of the carcass, allowing them to spread themselves out onto the rocks.

The rocks on the trail progressively got bigger and traction was deteriorating quickly. The night before, the entire area flooded from heavy rains and there was a lot of loose sand on the rocks. Incredibly, the Maxxis tires grabbed onto each rock and slipped very little (picture6). It was visible that each sipe in every lug was performing as it should through the toughest sections. In the deeper, muddy and sandy areas, the large shoulder lugs did their job by clawing and throwing debris, enabling the tires to propel the Jeep forward and up onto the rocks.

We were most impressed with the rubber compound that the Creepys are made from. They are extremely soft, allowing each lug and the entire carcass to wrap and conform around all sized rocks. They are, without doubt, the softest durometer rubber we have tested to date! Best of all, the rubber holds together! As with most other tires, chunking is a common occurrence and can destroy a tire well before its time. The Maxxis rubber does not chunk at all, leaving the intended tread pattern in tact. Due to the soft nature of the rubber, they do wear, but it is apparent that this wear is actually helping the tires’ performance.

Carnage Canyon was a great test bed for the Creepys first run. It was really no challenge for the tires and they worked flawlessly. It was obvious, afterward, why the pro drivers are using Maxxis tires. In fact, Westin Blackie, a XRRA Maxxis driver, was also in attendance at our little run in Boulder and he was sporting a set of Competition Compound Maxxis Creepy Crawlers, in the 40 inch flavor, on his competition buggy. Our DOT approved Creepys performed excellent but Wes’s Comp tires were something to behold. However, on our mild mannered trail Jeep, we have a tire that is very close to what the pros are using, just a slightly different compound. We were confident on the first outing and were very impressed with the performance in the rocks and on the highway getting there.

Our next trip was scheduled to where all great rock crawling products are tested. Moab, Utah! Four hundred miles one way to the slick rock capital of the world would be our next challenge and we hoped to see the Creepys shine, both on and off the trail.

Arriving in Moab after only stopping twice for food and fuel, we felt the Creepy Crawler tires, expecting an extremely hot tread. Once again, we were surprised to find that all four remained fairly cool for such a long ride, which will promote a long tread life. Our plan was Hell’s Revenge for day one and Poison Spider/Golden Spike was planned for day two.

The Maxxis Tires really shined on the slick rock of Moab. The super sticky compound bit harder than any other tire that we’ve ever used. The sidewalls were now flexing nicely, without over flexing on extreme off-camber sections. We tackled both trails with little effort from the tires. A quick trip to the Sand Dunes, just outside of town, gave us the opportunity to air down to 5 pounds and give these tires a jaunt through the red powder. As expected, the Creepys floated on top of the sand with a wide footprint and threw the sand upon hard throttle, although dug in a bit deep a few times as well. They also retained their good handling manners due to the stiffer sidewalls.

The return trip to Colorado was uneventful and the Maxxis tires proved to be a comfortable ride, even after beating them in the rocks for two days. We never believed that a tire this aggressive could pull of the double duty of a hard core trail tire and a manageable street tire.

While a radial tire will net a slightly smoother ride and a longer tread life, we would chose the off-highway performance and the indestructibility of the Maxxis Creepy Crawlers every time. We never worried about having to use a spare tire, as these tires seem puncture proof.

If radial is still your choice, Maxxis also has a choice of radials that might fit your need…and there is also rumor that a new radial version of the Creepy Crawler is on the way!

If you’re considering an extreme tire for your rig but don’t want to sacrifice comfort by using a bias tire, check out the Maxxis Creepy Crawler, you won’t be sorry. The Creepy Crawler is not only for the professional drivers! This tire serves well for any rock hound, on any rig.

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