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Green Diamond Tire Icelander MT
Mud Terrain Review

Green Diamond Tires


We've seen and used our fair share of offroad tires ranging from light All Terrain tires up to the nasty knarly bias ply MT Mud Terrain or Maximum Traction as some say MT stand for.  So when Mike from Green Diamond Tire Corporation asked us to do some honest real world offroad testing of a set of their Green Diamond Icelander MT tires, we thought why not, another tire we could beat the hell out of and give our honest opinion of.  So Mike personally deliverer a set of Green Diamond Icelander MT's in size LT31x10.50R15-C which we promptly installed on one of our vehicles we'll call Scrappy.  Scrappy, not because it's ready for the scrap heap, but Scrappy because it's always been ready to scrap with some tough obstacles, mud holes and rough trails over the years and 2 four wheeling owners without hesitation.  Put another way, this 92 Toyota has been beaten for years and keeps coming back for more.  Scrappy is a daily driver as well as a weekend warrior.  During the week this tough little truck runs a set of All Terrain street tires then when it's time to play in the offroad, it gets a set of Mud Terrain wheels slapped on it.  It's had rear a locker in the past but currently it's rear is an open pig leaving any tire testing dependant on the tires themselves and not traction controls or enhancements.  We ditched the All Terrains for the set of Green Diamond Icelander MT, which fit nicely under the fenders for the local law enforcement.  We live in PA where tires outside the fenders is grounds for a fine. 


Green Diamond Tire Icelander MT
Mud Terrain Tire
Ratings (1-5 Star)
Click for Rating Key

A Little Background on the Green Diamond Icelander MT

Prior to our testing we had never heard of Green Diamond Tire Company.  Leading up to getting the tire on the trail, we did a bit of reading about the Green Diamond Tires and had an interesting discussion with Mike from Green Diamond Tire about this tire specifically.  We found out a few interesting facts about it which put this tire outside the average mud terrain tire category.  Several features that make up this unique tire set it apart from the rest of the MT tires.  Manufactured in the U.S.A. by Green Diamond Tires, the Green Diamond Icelander uses technology invented in the harsh conditions of Iceland to enhance an otherwise great performing offroad tire.  The most notable feature of this tire is a mixture of hard silicium carbide granules found in the tire tread.   The silicium carbide granules are found from just a millimeter below the initial new surface veneer to the last bit of tread on the tire carcass.  What does the hard silicium carbide granules do for traction?  Quite a bit according to users of the tires.  Most prominent, the carbide granules work like silent studs on all surfaces and terrains, increasing traction on otherwise slick surfaces such as ice, wet roads and rocks.  For this reason tires with this technology are popular in the frigid winter conditions of Iceland.  In the states, Green Diamond Tire produces remanufactured tire with this technology in many models to choose from in several popular sizes.  The Green Diamond Icelander MT is a Mud Terrain tire with an aggressive directional tread pattern designed to propel the vehicle through the deep mud, over rough and rocky terrain.  With 8 or 10 protective plys (model dependant), the Icelander performs very well in Mud with excellent self cleaning ability using multiple channels to move the mud away from the tire to find traction.  Although it's best traction will be found in it's forward direction, the tire also does well in the reverse direction of it's direction tread design.  Found down the center of the Icelanders tread design is a large stepped and staggered center void that helps to channel mud, water of whatever out through to it's voids running laterally towards the sides of the tire.  The staggered pattern outer lugs prove quite effective in scooping and moving mud, earth and snow, which equals forward momentum. 

The first 1000 Miles

As soon as we had the tires mounted we wanted to go thrash them against the rocks and through the mud of a local farm to see how the perform but time didn't allow that to happen immediately.  Instead our upcoming trip to the mountains would be the first real test of their offroad capabilities.  Up to that point Scrappy accumulated about a thousand miles of highway and around town driving.  During this time the silicium carbide granules began to surface, which was pretty interesting.  We attempted to pluck a few granules out and found it pretty difficult to remove them, which is a good thing meaning they probably will stick with the rubber pretty well.  We did manage to get a few out and found them to be just a few millimeters in size but very hard.


On the Street

During the first 1000 miles or so John, the owner of the truck, made these observations about the handling, noise level, cornering and braking of the freshly installed Green Diamond Icelander MT.  First to be said, they balanced well which is good for any tire but even better for a larger MT type tire that will quickly let you know the balance is out.  On the street and highway, road noise is minimal.  A slight hum from the tires but nothing that is annoying, and on the contrary, sounds good.  Apparently the tread pattern is good for preventing lug slap and harmonics that is commonly associated with tires geared for offroad.  Dry pavement cornering the tires feel strong and hold traction well.  Air up to their recommended pressure, they felt strong with good stiff cornering especially for a tire with a tall Section Height, the height of the rubber rim to ground (for more on tire definitions and descriptions see this page).    Stopping traction is good on dry pavement, similar to the siped all terrain that were on the truck previous.  Wet weather stopping traction required a little more distance, mainly as we gather due to the lack of sipes in the large lugs, which would make it about the same as another MT type tire that did not have sipes.  As the silicium carbide granules began to appear (just under the thin layer of rubber veneer), wet weather traction on the paved surface improved as the hard silicium carbide granules found in the tire tread become exposed and compliment the tire tread compound.  Since the granulars are spread throughout the tire tread depth the hard silicium carbide granules are constantly renewed for the life of the tire.



Offroad is where this tire's abilities shine.  Shortly after installing the Green Diamond Icelander MT tires, we had been planning to make a trip to a little know valley in the mountains to do some 4 wheeling over a weekend and John's truck, equipped with the Icelander MT's, was going to be put through some challenging paces that were to involve mud, rocks, mountain logging trails and whatever else we might encounter.

Upon arrival Scrappy's Icelander's were air down to a modest 18 to 20 PSI, which is probably a little high to really soak up the bumps and maximize traction but it was adequate.  We occasionally hit the road for a short time to get food or visit a few local places and this PSI was sort of a compromise.  Below is a summary of John's perception and our observations of the Icelander MT's performance in some rough mountain conditions.


The Icelander MT also provides excellent traction on rocks.  When aired down for offroad, the Icelander wraps well around rocks as the hard silicium carbide granules found in the tire tread provide tiny sharp edges of grip in the rock surface.  This feature is especially noticeable on wet rocks or where ice and snow may be present and affect offroad traction.


Attacking the Mud

When we considered a few mud holes to run through, one mud hole stood out above all the others.  This mud hole has a reputation for eating Jeeps and getting worse over time.  Located along the banks of a small mountain stream, this mud hole started as streamside trail that was a saturated and weakened due to a beaver dam just downstream.  One day a Land Cruiser was passing by this spot and the ground just opened up and swallowed the heavy vehicle.  After locking the differentials and applying plenty of right foot, the he was out of the hole.  But that was the beginning of many attempts to get through this hole.  While the beaver dam no longer remains, the mud hole continues to challenge many.  It has been known to break axles, blow engines and almost flip a few vehicles.  So it was the perfect mud hole to send John's Scrappy into to test the new Mud Tires.

The personality of this mud hole changes like the weather.  Literally.  Today the creek is low, the weather dry and it hadn't rained in a little while so the mud of this hole is actually worse than usual with the consistency of thick cement and sticks to everything like plaster or stucko.

John's first attempt to get in and get dirty didn't carry much momentum and as soon as he stuck his nose in the mud hole, he quickly realized he'd need a bit more speed to get into the hole.  A quick yank back out, another shot at it with some momentum and he was moving through the trench of mud, pushing a wave of cement ahead of him.  Check out the video to see the action.


Getting in the mud hole was the easy part.  Getting out was the challenge.  John's Truck has open differentials but thanks to the Icelanders, he could plow through the mud without a problem.  Due to the thickness of the mud, the tires were really put to the test with attempting to self-clean the tread but with a little wheel spin, they kept finding traction.  Enough traction to mount an attack on the exit embankment, which was about a 3 to 4 foot vertical embankment.  The exit of the mud hole required a quite steep  approach angle, more than the front of the truck but with multiple attempt to launch up and over the embankment out of the mud hole, he wore down the embankment allowing him to get the front of the truck up out of the hole.



Working the Mud

John quickly realized the key to getting out of this mud hole was momentum to break overt the embankment.  The Icelander MT's were doing a good job if propelling him forward as well as rearward in multiple attempts to break over the embankment.

The big challenge getting out of the hole was probably not traction but keeping both rear tires on the ground.  With open differentials and an exit embankment that was higher on the right side, John kept lifting the right rear tire off the floor of the mud hole leading to a shower of mud at every attempt.  Because of that tire lifting and the left tire staying planted but without power, he was struggling to keep his momentum.  Ironically if he had another week or so, the truck would have had a locker in the rear.  Maybe next trip.  As hard as he tried, lifting that back right wheel was killing his momentum.  Even with the front wheels trying to pull him up and out, the Icelanders were getting him further and further with each attempt while the lifted rear wheel was showering the mud everywhere as we scattered to avoid getting pelted by shrapnel.

John, contemplating his exit strategy

With John working his truck hard and the Icelander MT's doing a good job keeping him moving, John was putting on a show.  Ultimately Lewis gave him a little assistance with a tug from his FJ Cruiser.  Ironically the last time Lewis was in this mud hole, he snapped an axle trying to get out of the same hole, same embankment.

After he was back up on dry land, he spent the next 15 minutes picking mud out of the lower grill / air intake of the ARB bumper to get some clean air to the radiator.

Nice show for the Icelander MT's.  We were impressed at the traction in this thick mud and hope to hit it again soon, after John get s rear locker installed.

Some of the Thickest Mud
we've seen in this valley.


Mountain Trails and the Green Diamond Icelander MT Tires

With great weather complementing loads of fun, we spent the weekend trail riding on a wide variety of trails.    All along we wanted to consciously make mental notes to get an honest evaluation of the Icelander MT tires.  Everywhere we wheeled, the Icelander MT tires did well.  Difficult rocky areas, loose hill climbs, soft mud, water crossings on slippery rocks, all yielded a pretty good opinion of the performance of the Icelander MT tires.  After a hard weekend of thrashing these tires across everything we could think of, the durable compound was none the worse for wear and the tread lugs held up good to some of our rock crawling abuse which included a night run that where it was difficult to see what you were crawling over.


Beyond our Mountain Trip...



Around here, sand is hard to come by but the next closest thing can be found not too far from here.  Coal slag.  When a coal mine is in operation, much of the material that is mined is not really coal but a mix of coal, shale and rocks.  Much of it is very grainy, like coarse sand.  One of the 4 wheeling locations that Scrappy is driven in is the coal slag piles in the coal regions of eastern PA.  In this coal slag, the Icelander provides decent floatation.  When wheel spin is applied, the tread design will tend to dig as it is designed for excellent forward traction and self cleaning.


We haven't seen any snow yet as it is early in the year but from what we hear the Icelander MT's performance well with the snow.  We look forward to testing them on our winter trip up here and hopefully it will be a little cooler than last year's 50 degree balmy weather.  


Our Summary

Great tire.  Tough, very tough.  According to Mike at Green Diamond Tire, 8 and 10 ply tough model dependant.  We encountered no damage even though we beat hard on the Icelanders.  We were most impressed by the Icelander MT's ability in mud where it found traction even with 2 to 3 feet of cement-like mud holding the truck back.  We find ourselves at the end of a long weekend with a positive opinion of the Green Diamond Icelander MT tires.  We drive it hard and drove it home without incident.  A highly recommended Mud Terrain tire.

Miles after several offroad trips the Icelanders are still going strong.  On-road wear we would consider to be better than average and they still behave well on paved surfaces.  Road noise is still about what it was when they were new although we probably should rotate them.  We've put about 10 thousand mile on this set and gone through a northeast winter with a few icy, slick drives home from work and they did well.  Not bad for a tire without sipes.  The silicium carbide granules have been visible for a while now and they seem to be living up to the claims of added traction specifically when conditions get slick.  We're still beating on them and they're still taking it.  So we are still very happy with this tire.



Green Diamond Tires are available through distributors across the U.S. and from green Diamond Tire themselves.  Sizes are limited but the most popular sizes for general applications are available.  For more information contact Green Diamond Tire or visit their website.





Manufacturer Info:

Green Diamond Tire
Elmira, New York 14902
607-737-8473 (local)
800.428.8696 (toll free)
607.737.0778 (fax)


More information about the Green Diamond Tires

Green Diamond Tires



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