Over the last few years, we’ve logged thousands of miles in a 2014 Toyota Tundra. 76,000 miles to be exact. In many ways, the big black truck is just as important to our staff as our cameras or computer equipment. We’ve pounded the pavement around SoCal for local events, trekked to the Bay Area more than a few times, and have pinned it to Vegas for long weekends at the races. The rig has been flawless for every mile, even when we ran over a box of nails on the 15 freeway and shredded two tires.
For the longest time, we left the truck in its stock trim, which was far nicer than steel wheels and limited options of other models. With the Limited TRD Off-Road package, the truck was already outfitted in 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped with Michelin tires that are designed for off-road adventures, Bilstein shocks, and skid plates placed over the engine and fuel tank. And with those parts, it was certainly more than capable of a few laps around the pit area at the local track.
That wasn’t enough for our friend Myles Kovacs. The founder of the DUB Magazine empire has diversified the brand’s portfolio in the automotive market and launched a lifestyle magazine for the raised truck market, titled LFTD X LVLD. Myles has just as many connections in the truck industry as we do moto, so with a few phone calls, he had a pallet of parts that took our truck to new heights.
The most obvious components of the build are the wheels and tires. Off went the OE alloys and on came a full set of flat black Dropstars DS645 20X9 rims, which were complete with Nitto Trail Grappler rubbers. This swap completely changed the attitude of the truck, as it looked ready for a run around the desert. To keep the truck balanced, Kovacs had a leveling kit from Ready Lift installed on the chassis. This kept us from venturing into “bro-dozer” territory.
Anyone with a new truck knows how much stress comes when you pull up at the track. For whatever reason, the fresh paint on the bed is the first thing to get scratched by a careless friend during their morning dig in your toolbox or from the abrasive rubber or buckles on a pair of riding pants. To protect the finish and promote the products used, we had the dudes at Split Designs Co. cover the bed with a digitally printed vinyl wrap. Mikey and the boys already had their way with swap’s personal Tundra, so in order to keep the “team” look, we had them copy the design for the black truck. It’s incredible to see how far digital wraps have come in a short time, because the finish of the material is flawless. There are no obvious glares from the printing process and the installers were especially careful during application. Best part? With the TWMX logos on the side, we can write off any day in the truck as “mobile advertising.”
You might be wondering how wild we got with the performance modifications. Well, we didn’t do any. They were an option, but the performance of the big 5.7 liter V8 engine is more than enough for us. At 381 horsepower and 401 foot-pounds of torque, that’s more than enough to haul a bed of bikes or even a fully-loaded Rage’n Toyhauler trailer.
Now, there were a few drawbacks with the wheel and tire changes. The massive engine already has a massive thirst for fuel (in stock trim and with a light right foot, we averaged 13.5 miles per gallon), and the increased rolling mass made that number drop just a bit more (we’re now at 12.7 miles per gallon). The aggressive tread pattern is noisier than the intermediate tires that were originally on the truck, but that just means we turn the sound system up a bit louder.
Look, we’re not truck experts. But we know that the Toyota Tundra is by far one of the most popular vehicles on the market (drive down the highway and keep track of how many you see). If you’re tired of looking like every other ride on the block, check out the accessories offered by Dropstar, Nitto, and Split Designs Co. With a few simple switches, you can completely personalize your pick-up.