Our Take On Seven Popular Tire Choices
We ride on a lot of different styles and brands of tires in our line of work. In one year, we might use six or more sets on one vehicle just to get a fair share of highway and trail miles on each of them (we also drive a lot of miles!). Very few tires have wholly disappointed us in our tests, as each has typically offered some feature or degree of capability that has held our interest. Many tires, however, have impressed us greatly, either through improvements applied in redesigns of existing model tires or the excellent performance realized in newly launched models.
The following tire reviews represent seven of the tire brands we've rolled on in 2012. It was a good year, as none of the testing resulted in any blowouts or torn sidewalls, and no tire plugs were required (though we do still have a screw or four jammed in to the tread blocks of a handful of the tires). Check out our year on tires for 2012. Maybe you'll discover the right set for your rig for 2013.
Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Radial
We've ridden on a variety of styles of Mickey Thompson tires over the years and each has provided good results. One of our favorites of those has been the Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Radial. It's a strong contender in the dirt, rocks, and mud, providing ample traction as needed, and it is just as comfortable on the highway, offering excellent handling and ride characteristics.
For this article, a set of 37x12.50R17 Baja MTZ Radials were installed and run on a '97 Ford F-350 Crew Cab XLT 4x4 pickup, but we've also used them in various sizes on smaller rigs, including a Jeep TJ and a YJ. Whatever the vehicle, however, the Baja MTZ Radial is an excellent all-around tire that won't leave you wanting for off-road traction or highway performance.
The MTZ features Mickey Thompson's Power Ply sidewalls, which utilize a special angled third ply to provide high-performance handling, better puncture resistance, and improved towing capability. Deep shoulder lugs and enhanced Sidebiters are in place to provide added traction, and self-cleaning, high-void tread lugs are also incorporated to improve traction in mud and snow.
One of the cool things about the Baja MTZ Radial is that it's a mud tire, but it doesn't really act like one until you need it to. Then it just pulls through without much effort. If we were dedicated mud hounds, though, we might consider the Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC radial as it certainly provides greater traction in more extreme trail situations, but the Baja MTZ Radial beats it out on the highway by far, while offering comparable trail-crawling capability in the same package.
The Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Radial is available in popular sizes such as 31x10.50R15, 33x12.50R15, 35x12.50R15, 33x12.50R17, and 37x12.50R17, as well a variety of LT Metric sizes to fit 16-, 17-, 18-, and 20-inch wheels and 35-, 36-, and 38-inch-diameter flotation sizes to fit 20-inch wheels.