A couple of issues ago in the Loaded 4X4 Magazine I evaluated the then-new TRED Pro recovery board. Now I was mightily intrigued with the design because it sought to address some of the issues you might have with a MAXTRAX, specifically the risk of melting the cleats on the face of the board, which can happen if you are too aggressive with the accelerator pedal and spin the wheels. That wheel-spin generates heat via friction and the plastic melts into a chewing gum black mess.
The plastic from which the board is made has to be pliable, otherwise, from what I’ve witnessed, it could break during a recovery. I’ve seen MAXTRAX bent almost in half, which you’d think would be the end of them, yet an hour out in the sun will see them spring back to their original shape, seemingly none the worse for it.
That flexibility is a must, but it means that friction resistance is poor, and this is why TRED Pro’s board is a composite construction that uses two different material types. Fancy plastic with greater friction resistance is used on the cleats (in orange) and the balance of the board is the pliable plastic (in grey), giving you in effect, the best of both worlds. TRED Pro claims to have analysed a bunch of typical off-road rubber tread patterns to determine the layout of the cleats to ensure the most-likely engagement of the tyre. I was sceptical about that but it seems there’s a ring of truth about it and maybe, just maybe, the SIPE-LOCK™ insertions on the edges are assisting as well.
I’ve been using TRED Pro's on Isuzu I-Venture Club training days and can say without telling any porkies (because we don’t do that here) that they really do work. We’ve stuck them under our D-MAXs on a couple of courses around the country now, most recently on Moreton Island and using my technique of deep-digging the board in, along with a steep retrieval angle, the D-MAX pops out of the hole effortlessly. One of the tyres analysed must have been Toyo’s OPAT2 as that’s the tyre we use on our hero D-MAXs and they hook up on the TRED Pro's easily.
Any negatives? A couple, but they’re minor. The MAXTRAX has tapered ends whereas TRED Pro has only one and I suspect that’s a nod to the original patent… something had to be different. I haven’t found a use for the blocky end of the TRED Pro yet, but I’ve got an idea it might be useful for filling a void. I’ll report back when I can explore that thought. They are also more rigid than the MAXTRAX, so some of the flexibility has been sacrificed to ensure longevity of the cleats. Again, not a deal-breaker. They’ll also take up a bit more storage space because they’re slightly taller.
Yep, TRED Pro is a recovery item that’s worthy of inclusion in your kit and you’ll find them at www.tred4x4.com. You can read the old story here.