After putting 40,000 hard miles on our old STT set, we were able to take a first-hand look at the remodel and how it stacks up against the original.
The STT Pro utilizes Cooper’s patented Armor-Tek3 sidewall construction, which consists of a full 3-ply carcass with the third ply overlaying at an angle to maximize carcass protection off-road. Cooper uses a chemically infused silica and carbon black tread compound to optimize wet traction both on and off-road. Their new compound should also help improve stopping distances as well as improving rolling resistance to improve fuel economy.
Cooper also redesigned the inner tread layout by using a 3-2 alternating pattern that provides several benefits to include: reduced road noise, increased stability and handling, balanced wear, increased mud and soft terrain traction along with reduced tendency for vehicle drift. We can say first hand that the tire noise has noticeably been reduced from the original STT design.
Within the tread redesign, Cooper has included some exclusive features to add even more performance out of the STT Pro. Asymmetrical scallops on alternating lugs direct mud into mud scoops which provide improved traction in mud. You will also notice mud release dimples along the shoulder tread block walls that create mini air pockets, which help prevent mud from sticking between the tread blocks and aid in self-cleaning capabilities. Found between the treads, raised rubber ribs and pads were placed to provide extra rubber gauge in the widest portions to help resist stone drilling and impact damage.
Found between the shoulder lugs and the side biter cleats, is a small groove that generates a designed flex point in the tire. This capacity to flex provides a smoother ride by helping to dampen impact on rough roads and gravel. This also allows for the tire to flex easily when aired down, allowing the side biters to better conform around objects and work together with the main tread patter for optimal traction.
Our 2006 Tacoma was used for our testing and has seen its fair share of variable terrain and conditions with the STT Pro. Through the rugged mountains of Colorado to the vast deserts of Utah, our early tests were filled with adventure. The STT Pro is very comparable to the original STT when taking on the rocky terrain found out west where grip and durability are key components for that terrain.
A common battle with tires with their on and off-road trade-offs is the level of grip versus long-term tire wear. The STT Pro, similar to the original STT, are not the “grippiest” on the rocks. They are, however, showing great long-term life expectations as we approach 10,000 miles on them. Having great off-road performance while maintaining long tread life is where I see the STT Pro really standing out amongst the crowd.
This past fall, we were able to get a taste of northeast wheeling and quickly got introduced to the STT Pro’s ability to handle mucky trail conditions. We were impressed by their ability to really dig into the ground and keep our rig moving forward. Aired down, the side biters were able to aid in traction very well, both on ground and up against the rut walls.
A concern for those who run mud-terrain tires in the northern and/or mountain states, is winter performance. I for one was very eager to see how the new design would do in the winter time given the new tread pattern and additional tread siping. From what I’ve experienced so far during the easy going Vermont winter, is an overall improvement in winter road performance. The current winter is not your typical northeast winter, however, we have had a handful of icy commutes to tackle and so far, we are impressed with the new design for winter performance.
Final thoughts on our initial review of the Cooper Discoverer STT Pro are positive. If you were a fan of the original STT, don’t be too worried about change. Cooper has passed the torch to a worthy replacement.
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