YotaTech Hits Texas Hill Country to ‘Climb the Falls’ with Yokohama

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Yokohama Climb the Falls event YotaTech.com

We go off-roading with fans from our forums to test out new sets of Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003s during ‘Climb the Falls’ event.

If you go to the Yokohama website and look up the Geolandar M/T G003, you’ll see that its wide, flat profile gives it a longer life and that its variable-pitch tread design enables it to ride quietly on the highway. Thanks to its armored, multiple-ply sidewalls; steel belts; and full nylon cap, it can survive the hazards of off-road driving. The G003’s mud/stone ejectors and block-to-void ratio improve its grip on the road, even in the rain.

If you went to Texas’ Hidden Falls Adventure Park in Marble Falls on July 22, you would’ve seen the Geolandar M/T G003 in action. YotaTech’s parent company, Internet Brands, and Yokohama tires joined forces to put on the “Climb the Falls” event, a day of off-roading with Internet Brands forum users and moderators at the 3,000-acre off-road playground. Four of them had previously been awarded new sets of G003s to test on their vehicles. One was a Jeep. Two of them were full-size American trucks. YotaTech user Jason in TN was the only person there with a Toyota. Nearly everybody else that was part of our convoy was in a Jeep Wrangler (including two of my IB colleagues in a Wrangler Unlimited Sahara press vehicle; I was driving a 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab media loaner).

Jason in TN had already had nearly a month to judge how his new rubber performed on and off the road. In a YotaTech thread about the G003s, he said, “I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet they were on the road as well. This may change over time as some tires do get louder with wear, but for now, they are great.”

After using them in the rough, Jason in TN added, “Again I am very impressed. I had the chance over the weekend to spend several miles off-road in everything from slick mud rocks to six-inch deep mud, where [the Geolandar M/T G003s] were in their element the whole time. I experienced things with these tires that I never have before. On slick wet rocks, when I’d give a little wheel spin, I would get a little tire squeal and they would just start gripping. In the deeper mud, with moderate wheel spin, they would clean out and just dig. Another thing I noticed immediately: When I aired down to 12psi, the side wall flex was instant. I really expected an E-rated tire to have a much stiffer ride.”

Yokohama - Climb the Falls

Climbing the falls was going to give Jason in TN an opportunity to find out if the G003s would surprise him again. The fine folks from the Fort Hood Military Jeepers club were kind enough to be our guides for the day. After all of us aired our tires down to maximize grip, our sheet metal shepherds split those of us in the media vehicles and full-size trucks into one group (which Jason in TN was also a part of) and the heavily modified Wrangler drivers into another. The TJs and JKs made for the more extreme trails while we joined the rest of the wheelers in our bunch and drove down the less potentially ruinous paths.

They weren’t without their hazards, though. Despite our Raptor’s generous 11.5 inches of ground clearance, we heard the underside of one of its running boards scrape against a rock. Our co-workers barreled over the nub of a tree stump sticking out of the dirt a little too quickly, causing one of their Jeep’s tires to pop. At some point during the day, Jason in TN’s trail-hardened rig received a fresh coat of forest pinstripes.

Yokohama - Climb the Falls

After lunch, those of us who had been driving trucks and press loaners left them parked and hitched rides with Wrangler drivers who were going to tackle the more brutal and demanding sections of Hidden Falls. One of them was an uphill climb that was as steep as it was lethally rocky. Jason in TN’s 4Runner seemed to have enough grip, but it couldn’t get the job done. He told me in an email, “I gave it a shot and just didn’t pick a good line, rather than hold up the group I hit the bypass. Nothing to do with the tires either time, just not enough truck.”

As for his Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003s, Jason in TN said, “Wow. After nearly 1000 road miles getting to Tx I don’t know that there is another MT tire that would perform this well on road, they run as quiet as you could ask this style of tire to run, handle great absolutely no complaints.”

He also praised them for how well they flex when aired down and their grip on everything from loose rock to dirt to slick boulders.

“After the terrain at Hidden Falls I really expected to have some chunked lugs or at the very least some cut lugs, but they held up fantastic against it. I think this is one of the best all around tires in this style available.”

Photos provided by JK-Forum editor Manuel Carrillo III.

Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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