Max 200 Break-Away Tire

20 Mar 2011Steve Schwarz

I’ve written in the past about the need for break-away tires in agility. Well I ordered one from Max200 after seeing one at a USDAA trial a month or so ago and just got it this week. Here is my old tire, it needed new taping this year:

Old Tire in Frame

But the bigger issue was it was unsafe. Can you name the three ways it was unsafe? OK the obvious first reason was it wasn’t break-away. Second is the bungees between the frame and the tire, dogs can get tangled in them and pull the frame down on themselves. Third and last, and you couldn’t know this, the tire is filled with foam insulation and with outdoor use has become water logged over the years. So just by itself it weighs nearly 20 lbs! It was bending my PVC frame so I was leaving it in the down position for that reason…

Old Tire on the Scale

So here is the spiffy new tire fresh out of it’s shipping box. It came with a coated wire, with a screw adjustable clamp and hook in the top to set/adjust the jump height for each tire frame and two black adjustable length tubing “bungees” on the side eye bolts. At this time the tire costs $150.00 USD and shipping to Chicago was $40.00 USD.

New Tire

I simply unbolted my my old tire’s top wire and disconnected the bungee cords. Then I threaded the green wire through the eye bolt in the center of the frame and clipped the hook on one of the jump height eye bolts. The bungees clipped on to the existing eye bolts on my frame (years ago I built the frame large enough to hold an AKC diameter tire):

New Tire Mounted in Frame

The tire is made up of two 180 degree segments with a mesh strap connecting the two segments at the top; like a hinge. The two segments are held together by magnets in the top and bottom of each segment. The break-away occurs when enough force impacts the tire to pull the magnets apart. The segments tend to reconnect to one another automatically.

New Tire Hinge

I’ll replace the bungees centering the tire with simple Velcro straps going horizontally from the tire to each side of the jump frame. That way there is one less thing on which to tangle dogs that go between the gap between the tire and the frame. Interestingly a non-stretching strap will cause the tire to break apart more easily than the bungees. That is because horizontal motion of the tire when a dog brushes against one side will cause the strap on the opposite side to go tight and keep that side from moving. So the only way the tire can keep moving with the dog is for the gap in the tire to open up. With bungees the tire can move further until the tension on the bungee exceeds the strength of the magnets holding the tire together. Coincidentally, at today’s trial Meeker slipped on the approach to the tire and hit against the side and actually broke it apart. I don’t think he’s every done that before, but at least there was no concern about him getting hurt!

Here’s a quick video I shot showing me hitting and pushing on the tire to demonstrate how it breaks apart:

With this break-away tire there is no need to train on the larger AKC/CPE tire, I’d rather my dog learn to negotiate the smaller opening and now it is safer to train on. So there are many benefits to this upgrade.

3-Apr-2011 Update

Full disclosure: After publishing this article, A number of people said they purchased this tire due to my review. I contacted Max 200 to see if I could become an affiliate of theirs, like I am for Clean Run. As of 2014-Aug I am now a Max200 affiliate and if you order a tire through this link I’ll get credit from it. Your purchases help pay the hosting fees for this blog.

I always maintain an unbiased attitude toward any products/services I review on this web site. I won’t recommend a product if I don’t believe in it, whether I have an affiliate relationship or not.

3-Dec-2012 Update

At a trial this past weekend here is an experienced dog that misjudged the take off and, I believe, would have been seriously injured if a break away tire wasn’t used

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