Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tread Wright Retread Tires - Sentinels w/ Kedge Grip

Have I ever told you that I love tires. This year I needed some new winter tires for the truck. I have been hearing a lot about this company that makes retread tires; Tread Wright. So I decided to give them a shot.

Tread Wright has several of there own tread patterns but the three most popular are the knock offs; BFG AT, old Goodyear MTR, and the Bridgestone Dueler Revo.

For my previous set of winter tires I was running a studded classic mud terrain pattern. They worked in the deep unlowed snow, but was a nightmare on ice. Mudders are NOT good snow tires. Even though the look aggressive, don't be fooled. There is no way the 8 big lugs, which make up your contact patch, can provide much grip. Even with the carbide studs. Even after I hand grooved and sipped the lugs, they still suck.

Since it is commonly considered that the Revo pattern is one of the best snow treads of any all terrain tire without a winter compound, I figure Revo's with a winter rubber mix would be awesome; I was right. The top picture is the Revo the bottom is of the the Sentinels, notice the very slight differences. Kedge grip is Tread Wright's own winter formula. It is mix of glass and walnut shells. The glass, which is basically sand, make the rubber gritty. The walnut shells are designed to fall out leaving little pits which act like additional sipes. This compound is basically the same as Toyo's winter compound.

I had these tires mounted at Stone's Tire in Truckee (NEVER go there, worst tire shop I have ever been to). They balanced out ok. One tire was a little heavy but not too bad. I had brought the tire and wheels in to the shop off the truck and finally got them on the truck right before the monster Thanksgiving storm. Did not drive them till 3 days into the storm when the roads were a total sheet of ice. How did they do? They SUCKed. I was so disappointed. But then I remembered that new tires are greasy. This is well known fact in the motorcycle world. Do not try to get crazy on a new pair of tires till you break them in. Because of the mold release agent used, new tires are literally greasy.

After I got about 100 miles on them they started to stick. And boy do they stick now. I can drive into my neighborhood in 2wd, where before there was absolutely no way. I also rarely ever activate the ABS. Before it was every stop when the roads where snow covered. It is truly amazing the performance these tire provide. I have taken them up to 80mph with out any noticeable wobble.

The tires cost me $95 each. Shipping was about $25 each. And mounting and balancing was $25 each (I would have paid $15 but that is one of the reason's I will never go back to Stone's). So "out the door" I paid about $150 each. Not quite 1/2 the cost as they claim but ok. Not bad for a tire that uses 1/3 the petro and energy to make, and comes with a fat warranty.

Since this is the tire buying season, they are really low on stock for most of the popular tires and sizes. There is a couple of week back order. I got mine a few months ago, and I got them within a week of ordering them.

Based on my experience with these tires so far, I would not hesitate to buy them again. In fact when I am in need of new summer tires, I will surely go Tread Wright.

Update: Now that I have had these tires on for several months I am able to give a more long term review. I seem to have developed a slight imbalance, and feel a vibration between 50 and 60mph. I believe it is due to that single tire which took more weight to balance out than the rest of them. At speeds above and before the zone, the tires are vibration free. Though I initially raved about the snow/ice performance, I do not think that these tires perform as well as one which is labeled "studless winter". Namely when compared to a fresh set of Bridgestone Blizzaks with Microcell tech. On one particular icy snow storm, on one particularly steep hill, I was not able to stop and slid though the intersection with the ABS system pulsing to the max. Sure I was driving a little fast, and it was the worst condition possible, but our subi with blizzaks have never experienced such an event. Sure this is not an apple to apple comparison since my truck has the worse brakes and most sensitive ABS system. A set of blizzaks on my truck might have fared the same in the given situation, however I thought that it is my job to report the event. I must note that I believe the blizaks wear faster and the mirco cell tech is only incorporated into half of the thread life/depth. Given these updates, I would still buy another set of Tread Wright tires, as they are a good compromise of price, performance, and eco friendliness.


  1. The Kedge grip allow the tires to chunk out a lot easier. Spinning the tire on dirt and rocks really eat them up. Improves ice performance but shortens their life span. Still not as good as blizzaks. That said a true positive review of a tire is if I buy them again. And I DO plan on getting another set of Thread Wrights with Kedge grip when I wear these out.