Denis Baldwin Talks...

TSLOnce there were Super Swampers.. and they were good. They were a TOUGH bias ply that stunned the fourwheeling world. Then there was the mighty TSL Bogger.. and it was GOOD.. a paddle-like design that shared the super swamper toughness and ability.. then there was the Thornbird, the all terrain that stood fast to many mud terrains. Throughout fourwheeling, the mighty Interco line has been a forerunner. This get-down-n-dirty tires have gone places and done things that set them apart. Not saying they are unmatched, but definitely good off-road tires. Now on-road is another case entirely…

Off-road Performance -- Mud, sand, and rocks. These tires have got you covered. The big, heavy lugs on these are what can hold an entire rig to a rock. In sand, with proper horses behind them, these things work wonders. Oh, and their home.. the MUD! Quite possible the closest thing to tractor tire traction that I have seen that can actually be driven on road. Which brings us to…

On-road performance -- Poor. These things CAN be used as daily drivers but do to the low tire mileage, weight, loudness and other factors, they aren't the best road tire. The average Super Swamper mileage varies by vehicle weight, road conditions, weather and the driver but I have heard of Bias Ply and Radial Swamper and Swamper Steel Belts lasting from 10,000 to 30,000 miles. The all-terrain Thornbirds last typically 30-60,000 miles. A full size truck running in 100 degree weather most of the time will put more stress on them than a small sport ute with 70-80 degree weather. As will speed they are driven at mostly

Weight - Perhaps a VERY big factor in some people's reason not to buy these is weight. They weigh a lot more than your average mud tire due to sidewall thickness and size of lugs. If you plan on driving on these as a daily driver on the highway, you must either have enough horses or high gearing. Not to say that a 4-cylinder can't pull them, but you will see a noticeable difference.

Noise - This is harsh. The Thornbirds are the least loud. They aren't much worse than most mud tires from other brands. The Super Swampers and Boggers are another animal. I've heard calls of 105 decibels and more at freeway speeds. The solution? Start humming to the tone or get a louder stereo. Some people claim they aren't bad in the truck but I know from experience that they howl like a banshee outside of the truck at cruising speeds.

Cost - this isn't too bad when compared to other tires. It's about average. They range in price from just over a hundred dollars for 235/75R15 sizes and upwards of $400 each for the oversized ones.


Super Swamper TSL

Pros: The Super Swamper TSL is THE off-road tire. The original and most popular of the Interco line, the classic Swamper is also available in most sizes in both bias belted and radial. They are self cleaning and great in mud and in rocks.

Cons: Deafening. Heavy, and low tire mileage


Super Swamper SX

Pros: The Super Swamper SX is the super-strong steel belted Swamper. Though it is only available in bias ply, these tires are worth their weight and cost.

Cons: Loud. Heavy, and low tire mileage.


Super Swamper Bogger

Pros: The best mud tread of the line and an incredible rockcrawler. This tire is often seen on everything from Land Rovers to Jeeps to full size trucks.

Cons: Poor Mileage. Heavy, and 105 decibels @ 55mph= LOUD!


Super Swamper Thornbird

Pros: Interco's attempt at an all terrain. A very good attempt that kicks the butts of not only other all terrains but many mud tires. Their HUGE side lugs have been known to grab a rock and pull an entire rig over on just a lug or two. They are also pretty good in mud. Best tire mileage of the three. Very thick sidewalls.

Cons: Not as self-cleaning or great in mud as the other three. Heavier than most other all-terrains and some mud-terrains.

Reasons to buy: No matter which Interco tire you choose, you won't be disappointed with off-road performance. They have thick, heavy sidewalls and thick heavy lugs that make them dig hard into the muck and cling to rocks. Unlike other brands that claim this, Swampers truly CAN be aired down to 15-20 psi and stay bead-locked. They perform best at low pressures and from what I have seen can out do just about anything on the market.

Now you have the facts and my opinions. Need more info? Check your local tire store. They usually have all sorts of brochures and such.

DenisCheck out my other columns throughout my own e-zine, Custom World or e-mail me.

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