Back in September during Interbike, Animal had a display bike rolling around the show floor with a few of their prototype parts that they were working on. Two of those items that caught our attention were the new MTT tires and the BPE pedals. We figured with both of these items being ready to release in January that it would be a good time to catch up with the guys and find out what they are all about. We’ve got a two part interview about each of the parts for you to check out. For the first part we caught up with Jay Dyer, Frank Lam and Jeff Kocsis to take a closer look at the MTT tire and find out what the story is about it. If you are in the market for a new tire, I’d advise you check this one out. Let’s get into it!
All right, so one of your big new products you guys are working on, literally, is the MTT tire. When did you guys start working on this one?
Frank: This one started in late 2011. We were talking to Mike Brennan (when he still rode for animal) about what he would want to do for a signature product.
Jay and I then went to work on developing the tread. We took inspiration from Super Swamper Mudder tires and Pirelli WRC Tarmac tires.
I’m going out on a limb and guessing MTT stands for Monster Truck Tire. I’m not imagining things, right?
Jay: Nope you are correct. Haha.
You guys have had the ASM, GLH, and TWW tires out for a while. What made you guys want to introduce another tire to the line?
Frank: We had just discontinued the ASM and wanted to fill the gap in sizes we offer with a solid all round tire.
So this tire is definitely a beast and comes in a few different sizes, right? What made you guys want to go so big with it? What are the benefits of running a tire that big?
Frank: The tire comes in 2.1” and 2.35”. The benefits of the larger sizes are that you have a larger volume of air supporting your weight as opposed to higher pressures. The tire doesn’t bottom out on the rim as easily.
Jay: Bigger tires give you more surface area, so you can have more control and traction.
Tires seem pretty straight forward, but there’s a lot to them. How many different samples did you guys go through in the process of getting these all dialed in? Did you guys try out any different tread patterns, rubber or sizes that just didn’t make the cut?
Frank: We only went through one sample while developing this tire. Tire molds aren’t cheap and they take a long time to make. Most of the trial and error was done on napkin sketches and Solidworks.
Jay: We had several different tread patterns that we were working with, but in the end we chose this one. This tread pattern offered three centers of contact, so no matter what you will have ultimate traction on any surface.
Are there any special features to this like silk walls or anything? What is the thread per inch count on these tires? What is the PSI rating? What about the weight?
Frank: The tire has a tight block centerline to keep it fast, while the sides have the chunkier multi height blocks to improve lateral grip on grimier surfaces. It has a standard 65TPI Nylon base and an additional layer of 120TPI Nylon on the sidewall to make them a little tougher. The tires are rated from 50-75 PSI.
Jay: The 2.35” MTT weighs in at 28.8 oz
When will the MTT tire be hitting shops? What will the price be on the tire?
Jay: The MTT will be available at the start of the new year. January 2013. Retail price will be $22.99.
Will these have sidewall color options? What about a folding bead?
Jay: Right now we are going to keep it simple and only offer the black wall and steel bead option. Down the road we may have Kevlar bead and sidewall color alternatives. You never know what the future holds.
Jeff, what’s the gnarliest thing you have monster trucked with these so far? I can imagine the streets of NYC get pretty filthy.
Jeff: I was trying this line where I jump up a 5 stair and I must have cased the top step 10 times without getting a pinch flat. It got to the point where I started doing it on purpose. Haha.
What sizes are you running?
Jeff: 2.35” in the front 2.10” in the rear, but I think I could get away with a 2.35” back there.
What do you think of the size of these? What kinds of benefits do you find running tires this big?
Jeff: I find more rubber = more traction and more traction = more bike control. Big front tires keep my toes alive with foot jams. You can start to find the end of the treads and it makes certain tricks fun if you like sliding around and stuff.
You have been testing these since the start, did you make any suggestions for changes from the original sample to what you are on today?
Jeff: I gave my input on the tires to Jay and Frank. I’m still riding the original two I started with. I didn’t have much concern for them. It seemed like where the tread ended it needed a smoother transition to the sidewall, but they (Jay and Frank) are smart and already knew that.
What kind of a PSI do you run with these? How do they hold up on different surfaces from rough city streets to smooth skate parks? Have you taken these to any dirt?
Jeff: I run around 70-75 in them, the front less because at full max it rubs. These tires were designed for street and that’s where they prove best. When testing them on ramps I found that they work great due to the amount of traction. Fast or slow adding rubber cant hurt, I’ve yet to ride dirt (the one test left). I’ll let you know when I grow a pair and jump a set.
Prior to these, what tires were you running? Do you ever see yourself running something smaller again?
Jeff: I was running the famous “GLH” tires. It’s hard to go back down to a lower size. I actually had a premium 2.35” on the front for a little while and that’s when Jay gave me a MTT. I told him I needed 2.35” I wouldn’t stand for less or I’d quit ☺
Let’s say a shop or distributor wants to get the MTT tires in their shops and warehouses, who should they contact?
Jay: You can hit up our sales staff. They are the best in the game. Their contact info is on our website. (AnimalBikes.com)
I figured we covered this pretty well, but what if somebody has questions about the tires? Who should they contact?
Jay: We educate the sales staff on all the details of new products, so they should be able to help you out. But if they are unsure, they will put you in contact with us directly.
How can we keep up with Animal these days?
Jay: Our website (AnimalBikes.com) constantly posts original content for your entertainment. We are always active on the social media sites as well. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @animal_bikes or hit up our Facebook page.
Is there anything I missed you want to say?
Thanks everyone for the support. Be on the look out for more new products.
Check back soon for part two where we take a closer look at the new BPE pedal!