Review by Terry.sc
Review: PL1145-11 Proline Hammer M2 tyres with memory foams
Proline introduce another tyre for crawlers, but these are also available as an all terrain tyre for trucks in general, the difference being the foam that's included with them. Proline describe these tyres as designed for a wide range of surfaces, which is not something thought too important for crawlers. As we don't have large areas of bare rock all over the UK the range of surfaces they are designed for will be useful.
On opening the packet they felt soft and sticky, even though these are the harder of the two compounds available. The memory foams included means there isn't the tedious job of star cutting the foams before inserting them in the tyre and mounting them up. Once mounted the memory foams meant that squeezing the tyres they felt exactly like a good star cut foam, so this should allow the tyre to wrap around rocks to help generate grip. One advantage is the memory foam does not rebound like ordinary foams, so once a tyre has grabbed a rock the memory foam means the tyre stays there. I had heard tales of these tyre being hard to mount up, but they went on Junfac beadlocks with no problem and only one proved tricky while mounting them on the super narrow Proline 8 Shooters, mainly due to trying to squeeze the tyre into the beadlock while tightening everything down. Once I got used to the first one the rest bolted together easily with no sign of pulling out of the wheels.
Unfortunately due to work commitments combined with the weather the first run of these was the UKRCRC Nationals, not the best way of giving new tyres a test run. Having watched other trucks running and seeing the mud that was filling up the treads of other tyres I felt a bit more confident with the more open tread of the Hammers, and was proved right.
On the rocks they gripped okay, the combination of foams and tyres wrapped well around the rocks. I did find moving slowly over the rocks gave more grip, using wheel speed to power over obstacles usually gave lots of wheelspin and little traction. They would certainly dig in and help it climb steep verticals, but only as long as you went slowly. There were many places where they worked, but just not as well as other tyres.
One big advantage over most of the other tyres was the tread design, the large gaps between the tread blocks allowed the tyres to clear the dirt from them so much better than the Losi Rock Claws and Proline Flat Irons that spent their time full of mud.
This was not really a true test of these tyres, so the first opportunity I had I ventured to my local test area. To begin with I found little grip from the tyres at anything but very low speed on the particular rocks I use, just like at the nationals.
After running for a while experimenting with them I noticed they seemed to be working better. Trying them again on the same routes I started with I found they climbed up much easier this time, the only conclusion to this is that they need a break in period to get them working properly. Once they had been broken in they were transformed, the truck now climbed up steep slopes no problem and using lots of wheel speed to climb meant they would now leap up vertical sections instead of sitting there with the wheels spinning that it had done previously.
The large side lugs on the Hammers mean the side tread does give lots of grip while usefully keeping the tyre in shape when side hilling. A lot of tyres will just fold over but the Hammers just kept on sticking, even when the tread does fold over the side tread pattern kept on gripping and kept it under control.
Using the dig demonstrated how much more grip I was now getting, the truck would now rotate around the rear axle where originally the tyres were dragged along.
After the nationals I was prepared to write a report on how bad these tyres were compared with the alternatives. Now having run them for some time and they have bedded in they are transformed and work very well. Prolines suggestion that they are made for a wide range of terrain sums them up well. Prolines Flat Irons might be better on dry rocks, the Badlands on wet, muddy surfaces, but the Hammers really do seem to be a good all round tyre and unless a specialist tyre is needed for a particular surface they are likely to be staying on my truck for some time.