A New All-Around Performer from GBC
Story By: Brandon Bunch
Photos By: Brandon Bunch & Elizabeth Leal
The Dirt Commander has long been one of GBC’s strongest assets in their lineup, and they’ve now released an updated version as the Dirt Commander 2.0. The old model was a favorite among racers, and provided tons of traction with sharp handling. In redesigning and developing version two, GBC held on to those much loved traits and elevated them to the next level, creating an all new favorite in the process.
We received our Dirt Commander 2.0’s in a 30x10R14, and right away I knew they’d be a perfect upgrade for the stock wheels on the Can-Am Maverick X3 X DS we had planned to take to Sand Hollow, Utah. If you read many issues of UTV Sports, you know we frequent the place quite often, and for good reason. Sand Hollow offers up rough hard-packed dirt, traction challenging slick rock trails, and deep power-robbing yet rock-filled sand.
It was a pretty cold morning, and as we set off cruising up the sandy-rocky trails my initial impression was the 2.0’s gave a firm but compliant ride—just taking the edge off the jarring rocks. However I was running 15 psi in the tires, which is a bit more than you’d need for easy trail riding, but I like to err on the side of caution with the hidden rocks in the sand. The X3 was warmed up by the time I hit the deeper sandy trails, so I finally opened up the throttle while in 4WD and was more than impressed.
These new Dirt Commanders hooked and propelled the X3 forward with immediate aggression, and wherever I pointed the steering wheel, the front end followed. It feels like the long overlapping center tread blocks act like paddles, and the squared off shoulder/sidewall lugs gripped and pulled the car through the ruts. Just by looking at them I was concerned the tires would feel too grabby due to those big shoulder lugs, but that concern was immediately alleviated as the 2.0’s delivered very precise and predictable handling thanks to the 8 ply radial construction.
That feeling of stability and precision carried over to the hard pack dirt as well, which was loose in spots with embedded rocks scattered about, but I felt confidence knowing the X3 would go wherever I asked. I clicked the Can-Am into 2WD and it was time for the fun to begin. The Dirt Commander 2.0’s drifted a bit easier than I initially thought they would, but once accustomed to the amount of throttle needed to put the car sideways, the slide was easy to control with my right foot and easy steering inputs. The harder and tougher rubber compound meant that even after a good amount of childish drifting around, the tires had hardly any wear or noticeable chunking from the rocks.
That hard compound certainly flexed very well on the rock though, allowing the lugs to conform and grip sometimes slick stone through the beautiful West Rim trail. I threw Elizabeth the keys and give her a shot at some rock crawling, and even on her first attempts she had no issues maintaining traction up and down the steeper climbs. I was confident in her abilities and the grip of the tires as she made her way up and over the obstacles, and her nervous screams were priceless as she navigated West Rim for the first time.
At the end of our weekend I had certainly fallen in love with the GBC Dirt Commander 2.0’s. If I’m honest, I’m not much of a fan of the blocky squared off looks that this tire presents, but the performance more than makes up for the look, in my opinion. I’d love to get my hands on a set of 33 or 35 inch Dirt Commander 2.0’s to put to the test, as I bet the extra height would greatly improve the looks—I just need a vehicle with a little bit more clearance… These UTV specific radial tires are available in seven total sizes ranging from 28 to 35 inches tall, and they should be available soon at your favorite GBC retail location!