I've now completed a number of articles that have improved the handling, power and efficiency of the WL Toys 144001 and 124018 and 124019 which can be found here: All my WL Toys 144001 /124018 / 124019 upgrade articles. The next item I am addressing is the tyres. The stock wheels and tyres (like the rest of the car) are modelled closely on the LR Racing EMB-1h micro pins which are designed for carpet and hard packed dirt racing. Outside of these grip isn't great, and when you take into account the the rubber is firmer on the 144001 tyres then you are left with a tyre that is not really suited well for bashing off-road. In this article I'll explore some better bashing alternatives that shouldn't compromise the rest of the car
Stock wheels and tyres
Stock tyres have an outside diameter of 72mm which is the same front and rear (it needs to be on a 4wd). Widths are staggered meaning they are slightly wider at the rear - 30mm compared to the front - 26mm. Again typical for a buggy because on acceleration weight transfers to the rear and the extra width provides more grip. Drive on the wheels is provided by a 12mm hex drive which is something of an industry standard on cars around this size
The problem is that a combination of the design and compound of the tyre mean that they don't grip well on the majority of surfaces we run (off road bashing and tarmac). Since the 12mm hex drive is common there are a lot of wheels that physically fit but not a lot that work well because of the uncommon diameter. On to the theory:
Why is diameter important? (Skip if you don't want boring theory)
Each turn of the wheel equates to a set number of turns of the motor which is defined by the gear ratio. This is fixed on the 144001 based on the stock 27t pinion gear. Each turn of a 72mm (stock) diameter wheel will move the car 3.141 x 72mm = 226mm forward. If you went to say a 100mm diameter it would move the car 314mm forward. This is the equivalent of using a 37t pinion gear which would very quickly cook your ESC and motor especially if you were planning to run in rougher terrain as larger wheels might suggest.
So, unless we can change the gear ratio (NOT easy) we need to stick with the same or similar tyre diameter. What are the options?
This wheel and tyre set from the excellent SG1602 I reviewed here are an ideal physical size. They have a slightly larger 76mm diameter (equivalent of 1 extra pinion gear tooth) but are much wider at 40mm for both front and rear. Tyres are glued from the factory. As noted in my review the tyre compound is hard and so they do not contain foam inserts which helps keep rolling mass down. The harder compound means grip is not great but the bigger width somewhat makes up for it. The advantage of the harder compound means you'll get a lot of life out of them, even on tarmac. The last thing you'll notice that I haven't talked about is that these have a fairly low offset meaning they stick out a long way (wider track) as you'll see below.
From an appearance standpoint I like the look of the tyres but not a fan of the orange ring on the rim. Whatever though, this is a basher! I'm pleased to say that after months of bashing these wheels and tyres on my son's SG1602 there is no damage other than a small section where the tyre has come unglued. Easy fix with the old 99c 6 pack of super glue.
Update, I can't seem to find the same wheels as I used, check out the HBX 16889 wheels which are practically identical but have a better, more aggressive tread pattern.
Unfortunately even on my car with the stock brushless setup grip is not great - the tyre compound is just too hard, at least on the uneven gravel surface I tried it on. They do run better on short grass than stock though because they extra width gives you the ability to ride on top of rather than through the grass. I've just gotten back from trying them an smooth tarmac and they seem to work well on this surface too (unless it is wet and then they're awful!)
The Remo 6973 wheels and tyres are also a good size compared to stock as you can see in the images below. Diameter is identical to the SG1602 tyres although they are not quite as wide at 35mm (although still much wider than the stock wheels). Unlike the Sg 1602 tyres these ones are much softer and so have foam inserts as well to help them keep their shape. Tyres are well glued to the rim. Speaking of the rim it looks like a 2 piece unit with screws on the inside of the rim that look like they will allow you to separate the halves.
Offset isn't quiet as aggressive as the SG 1602 wheels as you can see below but the track is still wider that the stock wheels. On interesting thing to note is that these will not fit with the metal front knuckles (see my meat upgrade article) however they do fit just fine with the stock knuckles. I really like the look of these wheels and tyres, I think it looks agressive and not quite so balloon-ish as the SG 1602 wheels and tyres.
Good news, the Remo 6973 wheels and tyre combo is the setup I've been searching for, even on my much more powerful brushless setup (2838 brushless upgrade as per this article). The aggressive tread pattern, the softer compound, bigger width and the foam inserts mean these grip really well on a lot of surfaces. I find myself now doing wheelies which I had never been able to do with the 144001 before. Surfaces I've found better grip on:
A note on durability
These have proven to be very durable rims 6 months after installing (I still use the original ones). Sure tyres have worn a bot but they still give great grip and rims are still running true. So yeah personal experience suggests they look fine so far. Just looking back through my notes I think it may have been the cheaper $6 Remo 6971 rims people have been having issues with rims collapsing on, not the 6973 rims as reviewed here
At this point in time I wholeheartedly recommend the Remo 6973 rims and tyres as reviewed here for off roading. They are inexpensive, they look great, they grip great and they don't upset the stock gearing of the car. Traction is much better on every surface I've tried and so far durability of the rims seems good. This is most clearly demonstrated by the the fact that I'm now pulling wheelies on many surfaces whereas I never could before. This may put extra stress on your diff which could be a problem but if you look after it properly then you should probably be ok. Alternatively the SG1602 / 16889 wheels and tyres are better than stock in some instances but the hard compound means it would be a minimal upgrade - stick with the Remo 6973
Thanks for checking out my article and please let me know on my facebook page or in the 144001 group if it worked out for you. I've created a reference page below for all of the 144001 articles I've published here:
144001 UPGRADES - EVERY ONE OF MY GUIDES
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