2017 is almost in the rearview mirror. Hopefully, it’s been a year of blessings and joy for you all. For us here at Off Road Xtreme, it’s been an incredible 12 months. We wanted to take the time and reflect on our 10 most popular articles published this year.
From tire reviews to vehicle upgrades, project truck (and Jeep) progress to trade show highlights, there has been much to celebrate in 2017.
Finally, there was our tech comparo of Rancho shock absorbers. For this piece, we tested the outgoing RS5000 against the new kid on the block, the RS5000X. There were some minute differences between the two, but both made for a reasonable shock for entry-level off-roading.
Without a doubt, some of the biggest news this year was Ford confirming its development of next-gen Rangers and Broncos. 2019 will be the Ranger’s debut, while 2020 will be the Bronco’s. We’re really looking forward to seeing how these trucks do once Ford lets us have ’em.
Trying out the Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 was another rare treat for us. We flew to Colorado to check this tire out, and got the chance to test it on a short course and mountain road. With both looks and capability, it made for a well-rounded unit worth putting on almost any 4×4.
It goes without saying that part of off-roading is getting stuck. It can take minutes or hours, but eventually, there will be a time when we or someone else will need a way out. Our guide for recovery talked about the most sensible tools and gear to bring along: recovery straps, winches, snatch blocks, and more.
After our first successful set of Falken tires on Project Storm Trooper, we were pleased once again with the Wildpeak M/T. Switching from all-terrains to mud-terrains ramped up the traction even more. The tire featured offset shoulder blocks, a three-ply sidewall, and added protection against rocks.
Firestone was proud to release its newest mud-terrain tire this year — the M/T2 — and treated us to a muddy Virginian ‘froading session to test out its capabilities. Though the testing procedure was flawed, the tire itself was quite the opposite. It proved itself as a robust, off-road-ready unit.
Anytime a company develops a new product, it has to be tested by professionals. This was certainly the case with BF Goodrich’s KM3, which we happened to notice on Rob MacCachren’s prerunner during a LOORRS race in Mexico. Whether it was a mistake or a hidden-in-plain-sight open secret, it definitely made an impression on us. Its sidewall, tread blocks, and generous siping made for a very appealing tire. One day, we hope to do a full review on the KM3. Only time will tell…
As we all eagerly await the arrival of the 2019 Ford Ranger, it was only natural to take a second look at an international one when we visited Gibson Performance Exhaust. It was right-hand-drive, but still, it sported some interesting motifs that we might see once the next-gen Ranger arrives. These included a 3.2-liter diesel engine, stick shift, boxed frame, and more.
Starting all the way back in March, this article showcased the lightning rod that was SB 249. SB 249 was a piece of legislation affecting Californian off-roaders, and not it a good way. It was originally going to take funds collected for Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMRV) and allow them to be spent on things other than off-road areas, which would lead to OHV area closures. Boo!
Fortunately, our fans spread the word. CORVA announced in September that “90 percent of [SB 249’s] objectionable components” had been removed, and common-sense solutions had been found. It reached a triumphant end in October when Governor Jerry Brown signed off on the reformulated SB 249. We all breathed a sigh of relief.
Project Storm Trooper, our prerunner-cum-race truck, was ready to rock with a set of the newest all-terrain tires from Falken, the A/T3W. It touted heat diffusing technology, rugged tread blocks, and an aggressive upper sidewall, making it a robust add-on to the truck.
What was your favorite ORX article of 2017? Let us know in the comments below, and have a wonderful 2018!