In June 2015, UTVUnderground.com in conjunction with Discount Tire, unveiled the all new RAGE Thunder tires to the UTV industry. The tire at the time was as new to me as it was to the public and our sport.
Today it seems that new UTV products, especially wheels and tires, are surfacing left and right. New companies are emerging while existing companies like Method Race Wheels, BFGoodrich, and Pro-Armor are introducing their own line of UTV tires. Its a good thing for consumers, we all like choices, but its also getting harder and harder to make a decision surrounding the purchase of a new tire, especially a new brand like RAGE. Fortunately for you, UTVUnderground.com is committed to testing and honestly reviewing these products to better help you make those decisions. While we always choose to focus on a products positives as we want to do right by the companies putting effort into our sport, we do feel obligated to give it to you strait and point out the areas that aren’t as favorable. Luckily for the RAGE Thunder, there is very little negative to discuss!
What is the RAGE Thunder? The RAGE Thunder is a DOT approved 8-ply radial that comes in 8 different sizes ranging from 26” tall to 30” tall and is available for 14” and 15” rims. We opted for the 30” tall, 10” wide Thunder on a 14” MB11 wheel for all 4 corners for our test. It’s a wheel and tire combo that’s perfect for the RZR XP1000 so we thought we would put the Thunder’s to use on our new 2015 Polaris RZR XP1000 Fox Edition. We knew we would be using this machine through the month of June with a big trip to Moab for the Rally On The Rocks so we could really see what these tires were all about beyond just “Shaking them down” for our UTVUnderground.com SHAKEDOWN video.
I have driven on just about every popular tire there is in the UTV segment and frankly other than some of the OEM tires that come standard on base model units, most tires coming out from the major brands are pretty dang good. Some better than others in certain terrain and scenarios but overall there is a lot of really good tires in the marketplace for UTVs. So it comes down to the little details such as your primary riding terrain or style, the sizes available that fit your machine, and of course how they look. If you ride the dunes, then you want a tire that is going to enhance that riding style, a set of paddles may be your best option. If you ride a lot of streets with your UTV then of course you will need and want a DOT rated tire. So the first thing is deciding what it is you need the tire to do and then go from there. For me, I want an all around use tire. I hate having to change wheels and tires out and frankly it seems that most of the riding I do requires a good all around tire as many of my trips consist of multiple types of terrain. Thats why I wanted to wait until we rode in Moab to write this review, because I knew I would get to feel the tires work in a vast array of terrain.
Our first trip out on the RAGE Thunders was captured on video (see above) for an initial SHAKEDOWN. We were very happy with the way the tires worked in the hard pack dirt and rally roads. We played with tire pressure and found that the lower we went in PSI the better they performed. In Moab I ran them at 10 PSI most of the time and they were AMAZING! As I mentioned, the Thunders are soft and sticky, perfect for rock crawling but also provide for a lot of traction in all terrain. As I run my machine down a graded dirt road, like everyone else, I love to flick the vehicle into corners and drift as far and as hard as I can. I noticed quickly that my drifting was cut short by the traction I had, even as the tires rolled over, they were hooked up and propelling me forward. At first it slowed me a bit, fearing they would hook up and put me on the bike, but then quickly I found myself driving the RZR in deep, trying to see how much and how far I could push the RZR with the traction I had. Before I knew it I felt like I was racing, finding the apexes and seeing how quickly I could get in and out of the sweeping corners versus throwing it in and seeing how far out I could slide the back end. I couldn’t help but think about how well these tires would do on a short course track with that compound and groove pattern which has great surface area but also a lot of spacing for clean-out of the lugs which allow you to maintain that traction even in a muddy or thicker loamy type dirt scenario.
Off of the hard dirt and into the rougher rocks I began to test the tires durability. I had a spare so I wasn’t afraid to put the sidewall into rocks or drive right at things that normally I would avoid. With that said, I wasn’t trying to get a flat, but I did want to see how much the tires would take. Needless to say they never once punctured or pinched. The MB11 wheels we are running on have a simulated bead lock so I was also pushing to see how well the bead of the tire would hold up since we had dropped the air down. On my final day of riding I was down to about 8 PSI and never once felt like I was about to pop the bead off.
The Thunders are some of the best tires I have ever used in rocks. The soft and sticky compound really shined in the slick rock terrain of Moab. Getting some weather was great for our test because we were able to see how they would do in a muddy and slick situation. What I found was that even when the tires were wet and the rocks got covered in mud, they cut through and put an amazing amount of traction down. While many in our group were slipping and sliding I was almost laughing as I rolled on the throttle and walked up obstacles as if the rocks were still dry. Others in the group also took notice and commented thinking I had some secret crawling technique that I wasn’t sharing.
Of course when the slick rock was dry, these tires really shined. Gripping the ground like they were glued to it and propelling us up everything. So much so that it felt like I was popping wheelies up some steeper obstacles, fearing I would backflip myself and crash!
Ok, so they can’t be all good right? There has to be a negative right? Well, honestly there isn’a whole lot I can pick on here. The trade off to having a soft and sticky tire like the RAGE Thunder is that they are going to wear down much quicker than a harder compound tire. We noticed the signs of wear after our first afternoon of riding for the SHAKEDOWN video but after a hard week of riding in Moab we could definitely see that these tires would need to be replaced much quicker than other tires we have ran on in the past. I am spoiled, so I spread my riding out to multiple machines so for me these tires will still last a very long time, but if you use your UTV multiple times per month then you might see the wear as a negative, but if traction and reliability are as important to you as they are to us then the wear is a very fair tradeoff.
Availability could be a problem for those of you who like to buy from your favorite off-road shop or UTV dealer as you can only get these tires through Discount Tire, America’s Tire, and Discount Tire Direct. Thats not a huge negative of course, you can find a Discount / America’s Tire in almost every major city in the USA and you can have them shipped directly to your door step through DiscountTireDirect.com. At $140.00 per tire (for this size we tested) you really can’t complain! Its a lot of tire for that price.
We are looking forward to playing with the Thunder’s throughout the year. We will also be testing the new RAGE Storm’s next. The Storm is another very cool looking tire and we will be testing it in a more utility type setting.
To Purchase: http://www.discounttire.com/dtcs/tires/rage_tires/product/byName.do?tmn=Thunder&typ=ATV
The durable 8-ply rated Rage Thunder is a cross between a Mud Terrain and All-Terrain tire and delivers exceptional performance even in the toughest of terrain. Available in 14-inch and 15-inch wheel sizes, with tire diameters ranging from 26-inch to 30-inch, the Rage Thunder fits a broad range of ATVs and UTVs.
• Stepped tread blocks improve stability and help reduce stone retention
• Wide void ratio and reptilian surface design for efficient clean out of mud and debris
• Radial design for optimal ride comfort
• 8 Ply rated construction for puncture resistance
• Wrap around sidewall tread lugs for improved side bite
Words by: Joey DiGiovanni // UTVUnderground.com
Photos by: Vincent Knakal – Jessica Katharsys – Ernesto Araiza // UTVUnderground.com