Are 20 inch wheels and tires better for handling heavy loads? Is the firmer ride on rough surfaces (both paved and not) worth the additional lateral stability? How about for all-around, dual-sport, and overland uses? I’ve never run 20 inch wheels before, preferring the proven off-highway formula of less wheel and more tire sidewall.
About a week ago I bought a used set of stock Dodge/Ram 20 inch wheels and tires, and have been driving on the worn factory tires to establish a 20 inch baseline on my heavy camper truck.
Tires and wheels at the end of this video are: Toyo C/T 35×12.50R17 on Ram forged aluminum (WFV) Power Wagon Wheels, Toyo R/T 285/75R18 on Ram Forged aluminum (WBJ) Big Horn wheels, Firestone 285/60R20 on Ram (WF3) black painted, aluminum, Black Appearance Group wheels.
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This blog will not always be so tire centric, but it seems a popular topic so I’ll continue in this vein for now.
Dick Cepek F-C II
This is a review about one set of Dick Cepek F-C II tires I have been tracking. Longevity is only one consideration when choosing a tread, and needs to be balanced with other criteria, but everyone always asks about wear. Some might argue that long wear is the most important characteristic, however that really depends on how you want your tires to perform. Some off-highway enthusiasts care much more about traction or noise.
A few years ago this Hummer H2 was lifted several inches, and at the same time these 38×15.50R20LT Dick Cepek F-C II tires were mounted. I’m aquatinted with the owner and he’s not a conservative driver, or maybe he is now but he didn’t used to be. Admittedly this H2 is a street queen, though it has traveled a few fire roads when goin’ fishin’. The tires were rotated with each oil change, about every 5,000 miles.
When doing the photo shoot the owner knew the tires had logged several thousands miles, though not exactly how many. After he confirmed the date and mileage of the installation, I had the data I needed for this story.
The F-C II is no longer offered in this size, but came with 20/32″ of tread, as seen here on the still new spare.
Slow Wearing Tread Design
After 40,000 miles of driving, the rate of wear was nothing less than exceptional. Four thousand miles per 1/32″ of tread wear on a heavy, modified utility wagon running a fairly aggressive traction tire is outstanding.
Without prompting, the owner shared that the F-C II is a great winter tire, which is a common accolade. While not a dedicated winter design, the shape and density of tread sipes, combined with the layout of the center tread blocks helps make the F-C II an outstanding winter performer. This tire does well many places, that’s why Dick Cepek Tires calls it an any-terrain radial.