Published on September 10th, 2021 | by Joe
GBC Dirt Commander 2.0 SXS Tire Test Review
GBC Dirt Commander 2.0 Rating
Summary: As an all-terrain, high-performance SXS tire for those that typically ride in dirt, from hardpack to loam with some muddy challenges along the way, the Dirt Commander 2.0 seems to do it all and do it well.
1 Day Test
The Dirt Commander 2.0 from GBC is their second generation Dirt Commander. The original Dirt Commander tire remains highly popular among SXS and ATV enthusiasts due to their solid performance across varying conditions, long-wearing design, and good value. The Dirt Commander 2.0s were developed with the added weight and horsepower of modern side-by-sides in mind. They were developed in cooperation with Yamaha for use in their SXS lineup. This backed the 2.0’ design with OEM dollars and product testing in addition to GBC’s extensive in-house testing.
The Dirt Commander 2.0 tires feature an 8-ply radial construction. A square shoulder profile was chosen for improved traction at high speed and in corners by putting more rubber in contact with the ground. The center lugs appear very similar in design to the original Dirt Commander, although they have been redesigned to improve cleanout. The new design allowed tread depth to be decreased by 4.5/32ND IN to 4.5/21.5ND IN to help keep weight in check. Square shoulder knobs transition into elongated side knobs for increased sidewall protection and added traction in deep ruts.
Comparing the 30×10-14 Dirt Commander 2.0s we’re testing to the originals, the max weight rating has increased by 260 LB to 1310 LBS. The 2.0’s switch from a bias-ply to a radial design, along with the increase in the number of lugs added around 3.9 LBS of weight to the DC 2.0s, an increase that should be hardly detectable to the average driver or 100+ HP SXS.
We mounted a set of the Dirt Commander 2.0 tires on Yamaha’s awesome RMAX 1000 sport utility SXS. It’s a great test unit for these tires, with its 108 horsepower near the top of the naturally aspirated sport SXS class, plus a chassis and drivetrain capable of conquering most any terrain with relative ease, with ample traction off course. Our test took place at Dirty Turtle Off-Road Park in Bedford, Ky., offering a good mix of dry hard-pack, rocks and mud for our day of testing.
We hit the trail with 14 LBS of pressure at both ends. This seemed like a good compromise for keeping the ride reasonably supple while offering some added protection against punctures during aggressive driving. We’d consider dropping the pressure a pound or two for touring or casual cruising.
Their more square profile makes the ride a bit firmer than the original Dirt Commanders or the Maxxis Carnivores Yamaha originally specced on the XTR Edition RMAX. With the sidewalls rolling less, they added to the RMAX planted, stable feeling in corners and on sidehills. Their stable handling would certainly make them worth considering on 60” width and narrower SXS for those wanting to add stability without adding width.
Acceleration and braking traction were both good. Hooking up well on dry hardpack and loose rocky climbs. Spending much of our time flat out on the trail, we were very happy with the overall performance of the DC 2.0s with no detectable bounce or deflecting. What impressed us most was their predictable cornering manners. Test driver, Eric Jones, was hanging the RMAX out on some uphill switchbacks in 2wd, with the back end stepped out and the front tires steering accurately. Their steering accuracy with the light front end was impressive and indicative of the tire’s good directional control. Locking in limited slip 4wd, the RMAX was instantly cornering like it was on rails. Their square profile might make the front end wander more in soft, rutted conditions, so they might not be as ideal for deep sand or soft mud. However, for the wooded trails we typically ride in the Midwest, they handled quite well.
Eventually, we came across some of those mud holes that never seem to dry even in drought conditions. The bottoms were rutted, slick, and pretty hard-packed, offering little for the tread to dig into. The added biting edges of the closer spaced tread and deeper sipes, combined with the shoulder and long sidewall knobs did well at propelling us through and out of the mud, which we were blasting or cruising through. Cleanout seemed good in the softer areas, although they don’t quite have the mud clearing capabilities of the Grim Reaper, our favorite wet season trail tire from GBC.
With a lead foot and mostly dry trail conditions strewn with rocks in sections, we’re thrilled with the tiny amount of wear the Dirt Commander 2.0s were showing at the end of the day. The edges are still square and sharp with only minor scuffing and no signs of chunking. Some tires start looking ratty pretty quickly. We’d expect the Dirt Commander 2.0s to easily last a season or more if kept in the dirt, made easier by their non directional tread design, allowing you to rotate and flip their direction for more even wearing.
As an all-terrain, high-performance SXS tire for those that typically ride in dirt, from hardpack to loam with some muddy challenges along the way, the Dirt Commander 2.0 seems to do it all and do it well. There are other GBC tires that do better on sandy trails like the Mongrel or Terra Master, or for muddy Fall and Winter rides, like the Grim Reaper. However, if we could only have one tire for typical wooded trails or browner soil types, the GBC Dirt Commander 2.0 tires are great all around performers. Will they become a cult classic like the original Dirt Commander? They certainly could.
For more info on the GBC Dirt Commander 2.0 and their entire line of SXS, ATV, Truck and tractor tires log onto greenball.com.