30″ GBC Dirt Commander Review

dirtcommander2015 SCENE PICSIMG_4754We bolted a set of GBC’s 30” Dirt Commanders to our Polaris RZR XP1000 four-seater and put them to the test at a recent adventure through picturesque Kanab, Utah, where the trails seem to travel as far as Utah is beautiful. The terrain in Utah is as diverse as the weather. One second you can be on an open dirt road with the sun out, and the next you are carving through thick pines in a heavy downpour.

With a short drive from Kanab to Zion and Brice Canyon National Parks there is plenty to do in the area. You can hike Zion one day and carve dunes the next at Corral Pink Sand Dunes. Utah offers some of the best off-roading around, and as you’ll see in the pictures, the scenery in Kanab Utah is second to none. But this article isn’t about the riding area it is about the tires that we chose for it.

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You can reach Corral Pink Sand Dunes from the Kanab riding area, so you can bet your bottom dollar we added soft sand to the long list of terrain we would tackle on this outing. Knowing soft sand would be a part of our XP’s diet, we opted out of the GBC Mongrels, they work great elsewhere but they’re not very good in the sand. Like the Mongrels, GBC Dirt Commanders are also a great all around tire but do a better job at scooping sand.

So for this trip we chose the 30×10-14 GBC Dirt Commander 8-ply bias tires mounted on STI HD5 bead lock wheels. The overall look of the tires seemed small in comparison to the 32” previous tire test. Most Polaris RZR 1000 owners that we’ve talked with in this area seem to run 30” tall profile tires, so even though the 30” Dirt Commanders are smaller than the previous 32” tall tires the type of terrain will always dictate the type and size of tire that warrants the best performance. In the previous test of 32” GBC Kanati Mongrel, we needed the added ground clearance for the tall rocks of Moab Utah, but for this trip getting the most traction possible was more important than higher ground clearance.

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The Dirt Commanders are load rated to handle modified UTVs. All 14” tires are marked on the sidewall with two air pressure ratings, one for lighter ATVs and the other for heavier UTVs. GBC is the first manufacturer in our industry to extensively test their tires with different vehicles and appropriately print the suggested tire pressure for that particular vehicle. And as most already know, GBC Dirt Commanders have been a favorite tire choice by many racers who have proved they’re one of the best tires available from any of the tire manufacturers.

The sand was soft and a little wet from morning rains. The elevation in Kanab is around 5000 feet, so the moisture in the sand makes for great riding. There’s little to no dust and carving through the sand is a blast, especially when you have chosen the right tire like we did. The tires did amazingly well in the sand and the tight wooded trails.

It was rewarding to watch other UTVs in front of us struggling in 4WD while going up slippery sand and rock infested hills, all the while we were able to zip up them in 2WD. Yes, we could have easily switched to 4WD but we wanted to test the capabilities of the tire and all the while enjoyed the challenge. The Dirt Commanders put our Polaris up and down the hills and wherever we wanted with ease and with no added belt or clutch stress. The terrain was full of tight trails filled with thick brush, trees and soft sand. The front tires seem to carve the sand so well that in places other 4-seater RZR’s would have to take 2 tries to make a turn, our Dirt Commanders would cut into the sand and we easily made every corner on the first try. The tires carved so well it seemed to put our Polaris 1000 4-seater on rails around corners.

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On fast fire road areas the Dirt Commanders also have more of a stable feel than what you’ll get with the GBC Kanati Mongrels, since the Mongrels have less surface area touching the road, with that comes less rotating mass, which means less stress on differentials, axles, transmissions etc.. The Dirt Commanders have a flatter profile and worked great for more traction, however on higher speed hard packed terrain there is a more noticeable but not noise from the wider tire lug pattern, it’s not excessive but seemed worth noting nonetheless. The other down side of having the wider tire lug pattern is while driving high-speed over deep sand patches we noticed that the motor would bog a little more the tires were no longer able to enjoy effortless spinning in hard-packed situations. There was no vibrating or shaking whatsoever, even at full throttle high speeds, so hats off to GBC, they properly balance their tires.

In closing, the GBC Dirt Commander tires are just as we expected, a great all-around tire that works especially well in the soft sand and loamy dirt. And we’re happy to report that the tire is definitely built tough, we had no sidewall damage or any punctures after a full week of abuse. These are true 8-ply rugged meats that don’t disappoint. We know and agree, no flats always make for a great weekend. We highly recommend 30” GBC Dirt Commanders!

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