The Yokohama and Black Rhino 4×4 Drive
Offroading has evolved into a much more aggressive and exciting motorsport in just a few years, and those who’ve carved their own paths in the most challenging terrain will attest to that.
In a country where the SUV is king, it’s good to know that the number of offroad enthusiasts are multiplying at a healthy rate, thanks in a huge part to OE and after-market brands who make the best equipment readily available to the market.
For what use would your large-displacement, massive torque-laden, all-wheel driven behemoth really be for, if you’re just going to let it inch through daily horrid city traffic?
Arming the beasts
Straight from the showroom, a good selection of off-road capable SUVs are built to be ready for some extreme action away from the pavement.
But just how far away from the pavement you can drive it, and how extreme the action is that it can safely and ably handle, really depend on how well you can equip it after you acquire it.
Japanese tire manufacturer Yokohama and popular alloy wheel brand Black Rhino recently teamed up to demonstrate what your ride could be capable of, off the grid, on an extreme 4×4 driving clinic at the Jungle Base Offroad trail in Tanay, Rizal.
Fifteen burly SUVs of various makes and models assembled in Manila to drive in convoy to the base plus the lead vehicles were fitted with Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 off-road tires, mounted on Black Rhino heavy-duty alloy rims.
Drivers of different levels of driving skill and experience joined in, but expert offroading instructors were there to guide them safely through the most challenging trails.
Just like a soldier who wouldn’t dare go to war in his typical Sunday clothes, a stock vehicle certainly wouldn’t make it far without the proper gear and equipment.
Though these customizations and modifications certainly make one’s ride look great, they’re really there for the actual performance, utility and safety of the most demanding conditions.
Of course, if it’ll make you look awesome at the same time, why not?
Yokohama’s Geolandar M/Ts are very much unlike other all-terrain tires for the fact that they are constructed to be a lot more aggressive and capable on what would be considered as hostile terrain.
The Geolandar M/T’s tread pattern includes large mesh lug grooves and sequential sipes that enhance its grip and traction on various surfaces.
The grooves are designed to channel out rocks and stones, mud and water as the sequential sipes provide exceptional traction to allow for the vehicle’s optimal forward motion—which is crucial when traversing mud or bodies of water.
If your tires do not have a proper grip on the surface, then they have the tendency to simply spin in place without pushing the vehicle forward, digging in on the surface until you eventually are bogged down and stuck.
It might get a bit embarrassing, but it’s potentially dangerous too, especially when crossing rivers.
An improved rubber compound was also used on the Geolandar M/T to give it the highest level of durability, which is absolutely necessary when driving on jagged rocks and broken branches.
Tires are the only things that stand between the terrain and your vehicle, so this fact alone should underscore the importance of choosing them wisely. But mounting these tires on the best wheels is just as crucial.
Black Rhino alloy wheels are, first and foremost, capable of getting the job done with precision-engineered toughness in the design and materials used.
Light and robust, they’re very rigid, ultra-resistant to breakage under the most punishing conditions, and being lightweight helps provide a better power-to-weight ratio for the vehicle.
Aesthetics-wise, Black Rhino wheels serve as a ruggedly handsome punctuation to your off-road rig.
As Sam Liuson, proprietor of Wheel gallery, Yokohama dealer and Black Rhino distributor, always says, “If it’s stock, it don’t rock.”
I was one of the few motoring journalists who stayed to take on the more advanced off-road trail later in the day, and I’m so glad I did.
My amateur offroad driving skills, nerves and self-control were thoroughly tested.
As I learned after getting stuck both on land and in the river, offroading is almost as much about taking control of one’s adrenaline, fear, and testosterone, as being in command the vehicle itself.
Power on tap from the drivetrain is abundant, and abusing it will either get you nowhere or wreck your ride. The key is taming it to make the vehicle comply with your need to move forward, as our friendly instructors advised as we treaded wild terrain.
Whew. Just reliving the drive by memory is giving me sweaty palms. Again, please?