Back to Tyre Information
This is just a quick look at the results of our expeditions over the years in relation to tyres and how things seem to work while travelling off-track. The raw data at the end of this article is shown as flat tyres per tyre construction and the number of vehicles who had those tyres plus the amount of trouble had with tubes. This information is taken from my notes from each day during an expedition. In the very early days I didn’t note a great deal apart from the numbers of flats. In time I took much more notice because it was obvious very quickly that I had to get on top of this "problem" and so I set about learning why things happened, not just the end result and the process to repair it.
A tube problem adds to the overall flat tyre tally but has nothing to do with the tyre construction so the graph below excludes flats due solely to a tube problem. As I have tried to explain multiple times on our website, tubes are a difficult thing to manage well when running at low pressures for extended periods. The quality of rubber in tubes these days is woeful for this sort of work. We do our best and have learnt a great deal but we still have tube issues that even after all this time we don’t have an answer for, but we are learning. Another tube problem is customer lack of maintenance between yearly trips (we have quite a number of folk who regularly participate in our expeditions). Split rims & tubes need regular maintenance, dismounting, cleaning, fresh talc and refitting with silicone in the lock ring gap and valve slot to keep the sand & grit out of the tyre.
Anyway, if you are one of the very few that are looking to poke around without any sort of road or track then have a look and see what you think about what tyres to use for off-track work. At the very least don’t use bloody Steel Belted Radials!
My biggest trouble with all this data is how to show it in a format that is easy to read at a glance. Took me a while to figure it out as I’m not the most literate fella on a computer, a word document and some basic image edits are about as technical as I get so see what you think.
The graph below simply explains the difference we have found between Radials of either construction & Bias during extended off-track travel. The height of the column is the number of flats in total. The red is how many Radial flats and the blue represents Bias flats. The horizontal axis has the year of each commercial expedition. At a glance it is easy to see which construction handles off-track better, which was the idea. There is a lot more red than blue as far as I can see.
Some results and points to add to the mix which you might be able to see in the raw data at the very bottom;
2004 - Callawa Track Retrace
72 flat tyres approx - 640 kms off-track
2005 - Callawa Track - following faint set of wheel tracks
14 flat tyres approx - 640 kms off-track
2005 - Last of the Nomads
9 flat tyres - 326 kms off-track
2006 - Giles 130 Years
18 flat tyres - 790 kms off-track
2006 - Callawa Track - following set of wheel tracks
9 flat tyres - 640 kms off-track
2007 - Carnegie 1897
29 flat tyres - 848 kms off-track
2007 - Rudall 1897
9 flat tyres approx - 327 kms off-track
2008 - Calvert Expedition 1896
25 flat tyres - 760 kms off-track
2009 - Unknown Ranges
23 flat tyres - 670 kms off-track
2010 - Great Sandy Explorer
19 flat tyres - 734 kms off-track
2011 - South West Explorer
13 flat tyres - 504 kms off-track
2012 - C96 Great Sandy Desert
21 flat tyres - 771 kms off-track
2013 - Unknown Hills & Lakes
21 flat tyres - 656 kms off-track
2014 - Forrest, Carnegie & Hill
14 flat tyres - 639 kms off-track
2015 - Lost Waters of the South West
23 flat tyres - 596 kms off-track
2016 - C96 Two Soaks
20 ½ flat tyres - 560 kms off-track - all vehicles had Bias tyres fitted
2017 - Carnegie, Wells & Hann
14 ½ flat tyres - 682 kms off-track - all vehicles had Bias tyres fitted
2018 - Secrets of the South West
5 flat tyres - 622 kms off-track - all vehicles fitted with Bias tyres
Connie & I no longer run commercial off-track trips, with the slow spread of Native Title decisions and therefore the reduction of Crown Land we have simply run out of places to go. As the Crown Land shrunk we concentrated our trips. There are sections of the desert that we have scoured for things of interest and now know very well. Even with that sort of restriction we were still able to follow explorers and investigate areas of interest with our customers from when we started commercial expeditions in 2005 to when we stopped in 2018. Very few get to experience exploring in its real sense.
Much the same as Len Beadell’s book "End of an Era", Connie & I have reached that same point in regard to off-track work. For us the desert will never be the same if we and others can’t wander about where ever we fancied. The desert country was open to anybody that was willing to go there. That was freedom, now we have progress.
Copyright: June 2021
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