MXA TEAM TESTED: HARDLINE TREAD DOCTOR WITH SNIPER KIT

September 10, 2014
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WHAT IS IT? The Tread Doctor is a heated tire-cutting tool that promises to improve the performance of worn tires by cutting new edges on the knobs. And thanks to the new Sniper kit, it is also an effective grooving tool.

WHAT’S IT COST? $79.99 (Tread Doctor with Sniper kit), $69.99 (Sniper kit only), $59.99 (Tread Doctor without Sniper kit), $14.99 (replacement cutting blade), $13.99 (12 pack of grooving blades).

CONTACT? www.hardlineproducts.com or (805) 581-4700.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Hardline’s Tread Doctor with Sniper kit.

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(1) Cutting. The Tread Doctor can be used two ways. First, with its large blade, it can slice off a thin layer of the acceleration edge of the rear tire with a scooping motion down the vertical side of the knob. Cutting the knobs vertically gives them a new edge while making the knob narrower. The slices you remove should be very thin to avoid knob flex. Second, with the Sniper kit attached, the Tread Doctor becomes a tire-grooving tool. By grooving an old tire, which has hardened, or a new tire, which has too firm a rubber compound, a rider can fine-tune his sneakers for different track conditions by putting more biting edge on the face of the knobs.

(2) Choices. Hard or intermediate-to-hard terrain tires, especially ones with reinforced knobs with bridges, are the easiest tires to slice or groove. Grooves provide extra edges for acceleration and braking. Instead of shaving the edge of the knob vertically, cut a groove into the contact patch of the center knobs with horizontal grooves and sipe the transitional knobs with 45-degree grooves from corner to corner. Don’t groove the side knobs. For MXA’s tastes, grooving is a better alternative than vertical cutting.

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(3) Melting. The Tread Doctor blade doesn’t cut as much as it melts the rubber. The Tread Doctor Sniper kit is held like a knife and with the depth stop resting on top of the knob, you apply pressure as the horseshoe-shaped blade begins to melt the rubber. When pressure is applied against the knob, the hot blade cuts through the knob like a knife cuts through butter.

(4) Extra parts. The $79.99 Tread Doctor comes with the heating element, cutting blade, Sniper adapter, resting stand and 10 horseshoe-shaped grooving blades. You can also buy the Tread Doctor with the cutting blade only for $59.99 or just the heating element with the Sniper kit groover for $69.99.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Our only complaint is that the power cord is on the short side.

4-STARS

This is four-star product for a backyard engineer who loves to fine-tune his bike.

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