WELCOME TO THE BYOOC BLOG. THESE BITE-SIZED HINTS AND TIPS CHANNEL THE COLLECTIVE WISDOM OF NUMEROUS BUILDERS / TRAVELLERS WHO HAVE MOST DEFINITELY EARNED THE T-SHIRT.

POSTS APPEAR IN DATE ORDER WITH THE MOST RECENT FIRST BUT YOU CAN EASILY HYPERLINK TO OTHER POSTS IN ANY NUMBER OF WAYS. JUST FOLLOW THE VARIOUS LINKS. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE MOST RECENT POST AT ANY TIME OR HERE TO RETURN TO THE BYOOC WEBSITE.

TYRES AND RIMS

Some basic pointers:

Tyres are nearly always a source of compromise as most overland journeys will take in a variety of surfaces ranging from smooth tarmac to deeply rutted muddy trails - and everything in between. If you know a particular terrain is going to dominate your plans, then you’d be wise to select tyres accordingly. If, though, you’re one of the majority of wanderers who aren’t entirely sure what the day will throw your way, then it’s no bad thing to steer towards tyres that are voluminous, suitably load and speed-rated, and which sport with a fairly aggressive tread pattern. (NB not so aggressive that it will limit top speed or create excessive road hum - this can and does drive people insane).

Voluminous tyres are good, but not all volume is born equal: tall is usually preferable to wide. Tall sidewalls mean that you benefit from an increased ground clearance, a more compliant suspension effect on very rough terrain (where the increased air pocket and taller sidewall structure acts as a very sophisticated bump-absorption system) and increased traction: particularly if pressures are reduced. Lowering pressure allows the tyre to flatten out at the point of contact thereby vastly increasing the ‘footprint’ available to transmit power to the ground. Tall tyres run at low pressure are capable of presenting far more surface are than wide tyres of a similar volume. Low pressure in a tall tyre is one of the most successful strategies for hauling through (or out of) tricky conditions and is one of the reasons why agricultural tractors have such tall wheels.

In the case of wheel rims, in very general terms, those made of a simple steel construction are usually more robust than their aluminium / magnesium etc counterparts and are comparatively easy to repair if damaged. Some alloys are up to the job but steel is the go-to, no-worries option. Steel rims on overlanders fall broadly into two types: one piece, and split rims. As the name suggests, split rims are made up of several different components usually comprising an inner rim section, an outer rim section and a locking collar to ensure the two other parts stay together when a tyre and tube are on (and inflated). With some designs the locking collar is done away with and instead the inner and outer rim sections are bolted together.

The attraction of split rims for overlanders is that – with skill, practice and a very thorough knowledge of the steps involved – it’s possible for just one person, with no special equipment, to replace tyres and / or inner tubes at the side of the trail; even in the case of very large truck tyres weighing in at well over 100kg. Depending on exact design, there may not even be the need to unbolt the large inner rim section from the vehicle’s hub. Repairing or replacing inner tubes at the roadside with one piece rims is not usually an option; unless you have a ton of specialist equipment on board.

Twin rear wheels are very popular on road-going trucks as they improve load carrying capacity considerably. In the overlander context, they can also offer more ‘float’ on really soft ground and increased traction due to the larger surface area. However, they are not particularly popular for poor road / trail use. There are several downsides but by far the biggest issue is their tendency to trap rocks between tyres which can, and does, cause sidewall failure. A tyre with a torn sidewall is basically scrap. Seasoned overlanders do not generally advocate the use of dual rear wheels.

Filter posts by date