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Owner Test: Roctane X2 Tires

NOTE: Tony Russo is an experienced driver who has run several sets of Roctane XD tires on his RZR. He got a set of the new Roctane X2 tires and did a thorough review. We did not pay him to do this. Check out his impressions. 

First Look Impression of the new Roctane X2:

When I first saw them, I was a bit skeptical about the new Roctane X2’s tread design and the suggested higher psi. But I was excited to try them, and when I saw them in real life, I was pleasantly surprised that the X2 is much more aggressive looking, with its square shape. I love square tires. They are way more square than the original Roctane XD. In my opinion square tires have more predictable traction performance in all conditions including at higher psi and higher RPM. Much more of the tread lugs are actually on the ground to find traction.

I was also impressed with the height of the 32-inch X2. It measures a true 32 inches unlike so many other tires on the market. I immediately installed them onto the RZR (see “Background” for vehicle details), mounted on the STI HD9 beadlock wheel. I noticed right away this tire maintained most of its full 32-inch height even with the RZR’s weight on them. In fact, the new 32-inch X2 with 14 psi measured nearly the same height as my 34-inch Roctane XDs with 6 psi. To go down a whole tire size and maintain nearly the exact same clearance, ride height, and reduce the rotational weight was almost unbelievable!

The new X2 has more aggressive, sharply angled tread lugs than the XD. And the grooves in each of the X2’s tread lugs add biting edges and reduce overall weight. Rolling them around the garage they rolled very smoothly. You couldn’t feel the individual tread lugs as I rolled the tire by hand. The new tire has a massive rim guard which should help keep my bead locks looking good. The X2’s sidewall tread lugs are a huge improvement. The lugs extend well down the sidewall. STI did an excellent job making the sidewall tread lugs look symmetrical. But upon looking closer you will see that every other lug is taller than the previous. This helps the sidewall flex, reduces weight, and offers increased traction. I also noticed the prominent flex rib at the top of the sidewall lugs and the beginning of the tread pattern. This feature allows the tread portion of the carcass to flex independently of the sidewall, which dampens impact and provides a smoother ride. I noticed this improvement immediately on my first test ride.

First Ride Impression:

I had the opportunity to put in 140 miles on my first outing with the new X2. I chose to run the tires at 14 psi and was amazed with how smooth they rolled over everything I threw at them. The X2’s high-speed stability is amazing and has extremely predictable characteristics. My RZR felt planted to the ground over extremely rocky trails at all speeds. The unimproved roads were twisty and tight, but I managed to hit 70 mph a few times. This is hands down the smoothest and most stable running tire I have experienced.

Traction in the corners felt as if the RZR was on rails which must be the work of the massive multi-stage corner tread lugs. Acceleration and stopping traction were equally impressive. The 32-inch X2 tire and HD9 wheel combo weighs 14 pounds less than my 34-inch Roctane XD tire and wheel. By running the new X2, I dropped a total of 56 pounds of rotational weight. As you can imagine, my RZR XPT felt like a land rocket and these tires kept me feeling in control the entire time.

Second Ride Impression:

The next day I wanted to test the new X2 in more challenging terrain. I arranged to meet up with a different group of riders in an area unfamiliar to me. We rode 102 miles in extremely steep, rocky, and loose terrain. In one particular area we climbed over 3,000 feet in elevation in less than a mile. It felt straight up the entire time. My ears were plugged up from the steep climb. This particular climb is known for cutting tire sidewalls and being difficult to maintain traction. With the X2s, I had traction to spare the entire climb. I purposely took harder lines over sharper rocks expecting to punish the new tire. I felt there was no way it was as durable as the original bullet proof Roctane XD tire.

After making quick time to the top of the climb, I was convinced I needed to punish these tires more. I turned around and blasted down the near vertical trail, and the tires took the beating without hesitation. Throughout the day we had to do sections of pavement to connect different trail systems. The tires, again at 70+ mph on asphalt, felt smooth and planted. This group of riders liked to ride fast and aggressive on the tight trail system we were on. Several of the other riders made attempts at passing me, but immediately backed off because of the shot gun spray of rocks the X2s fired at them. They claimed rocks ranging from golf ball sized to baseball size were pelting the fronts of their SXSs forcing them to back off. I apologized for not knowing these tires were so ruthless. The other riders kept inspecting the X2s at each stop, clearly amazed at how aggressive they were.

After completing 242 miles in 2 days of riding on the new Roctane X2, I am convinced they will continue to impress me, especially their ability to absorb and conform around rocks at 14 psi during slow speed crawling and high-speed assaults. It’s clear that STI is putting some new technology into the construction of these tires! Finally, a tire that performs at slow speed with higher psi and is equally ready to sprint to the max speed of your SXS’s potential.

Background:

I have a 2016 RZR Turbo 2-seater. It’s heavier with aftermarket cage, front and rear winches, tools, stronger axles, on board air, spare parts and heavy-duty high-clearance suspension. I have geared it down 13%, clutched it and it has 180 Horsepower. I live in Nevada City, Calif. and I ride year-round in all weather and terrain conditions, but mostly steep and rocky trails. I do a lot of rock crawling and high-speed forest roads. I spend a lot of time on the Fordyce Jeep Trail, Rubicon and in Moab rock crawling trails. I go out all winter long, in varying depths of snow up to 15 inches. I need a tall, aggressive, and highly durable tire. Which is why I have been very happy with the original Roctane XD. I have had the best results running the XD at 0 psi for snow, 5 psi for extreme rocks, and 7 psi for fast trails. I have owned 18 individual Roctane XDs, in either 32s or 34s. Some I wore out, others I sold at 50% or less tread life. In all, I have run around 8,000 hard miles across three states. I have had so much success with the Roctane XD tire that 12 of my close riding friends have all switched to running 32-inch or 34-inch XDs!

Roctane X2 Strengths

  • square shape
  • grooving in tread blocks
  • sidewall tread extends clos to wheel
  • huge rim guard
  • rolls smooth
  • flexible, even at higher psi
  • rides smoother over abrupt terrain
  • sidewall tread is raised every other one, reducing weight, allowing more flex
  • great traction at higher psi
  • superb high-speed stability
  • zero run out or out of balance issues
  • multi stage varying height shoulder lugs
  • true to measurements
  • predictable traction and handling characteristics
  • seem to be as puncture proof as Roctane XD

 

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