A Conversation With Mickey Thompson at Melbourne 4×4 Show

At the Melbourne 4×4 Show this year, I had a truly amazing conversation with a Mickey Thompson sales rep. I was honest with him that I’m most likely going with the Maxxis Razr MT, and his reply was something along the lines, “I’ve only heard good things about the Razr.” That was super honest from a competitor.

I got to talking with the Mickey Thompson rep as I have an inkling toward Mickeys because of their new Legend range that replace the Deegans, and specifically the powerply sidewall which is best in business on-road. Regardless the tyre type, driving on-road matters in emergencies. I was interested in the Deegans because they were a true hybrid, AT middle, MT outer. Now they have the Legend EXP and Legend MTZ.

My dilemma resides in an aggressive AT or going to MT. I asked him about the whole 20% on-road, 80% off-road rating, and how IMO it didn’t make sense based on the fact that very few people could even meet that designation for use. If your vehicle was for nothing other than off-road trips, if you drove it from your home to those locations, chances are you’re racking up more sealed km’s than unsealed.

Long story short, his response was in essence, “totally agree and the more important factor is that you should choose your tyre based on how you want it to perform at your destination.” That was an eye opening moment, helpful to me personally, as that is what kept screwing with my decision between AT or MT. I was reasoning myself that way, BUT, to hear that from a manufacturer rep to confirm I should choose based on the destination, was kinda validating.

My Dmax is for exploring. It does little in-between holiday / off-roading adventures. Its not a daily driver. My lean was towards MT’s, because that gives me the best grip off-road, especially the Victorian High Country and surrounds. At the same time, if we drive to Qld, the Dmax would be the car we drive, not the wife’s X5.

Our discussion shifted towards GVM upgraded work utes, running AT’s for nothing other than weight requirements. I couldn’t understand why these people are being recommended AT’s over light truck HT’s, which will do a superior job driving job site to job site. Again, agreeance. Highway Terrain LT tyres are decent enough off-road for any job site, tough enough, with a load rating over 1 tonne per tyre.

So why is there so much misinformation about what type of tyre you should be running when sales from manufacturing agree with all the common-sense aspects? The answer to that, it seems, is the tyre stores.

One example was tyre pressures. Tyre stores perpetuate this myth of more air in the tyre is better for the tyre. My understanding of this would make the tyre harder and more susceptible to slippage. He confirmed this. This is why people run away from MT’s because a tyre store tells them to over-inflate on the bitumen and they suck. The fact is that you should be running around 30-32PSI, so the tyre is softer and correctly planted on the bitumen. The rep said that 40PSI in an MT on bitumen will feather the tyres due to camber.

Basically, unless you’re running low profile tyres, you should not be exceeding 32PSI in an AT or MT for bitumen use (approximately). He was telling me that every time they visit a tyre store, the same conversation about correct manufacturer tyre pressures occurs, yet the stores run off and tell the client something different. MT’s need every bit of rubber gripping the bitumen, otherwise you end up sliding around, especially with a bit of rain. Correctly inflated MT’s should not lose traction in the wet on bitumen at correct speeds for any situation.

Where has common-sense gone? I’m no expert, just a practical guy that can see how stuff works, with a common-sense approach. MT’s will not last as long on bitumen as AT’s, and HT’s will have the best longevity of all three on bitumen. But off-road, AT’s are useless when it gets wet. Their voids fill quickly and become slicks. Watch any Youtube video where AT’s are being used in the VHC in the wet. They all struggle and often fail, becoming dangerous.

I need maximum traction off-road, wet or dry, so I can tow a camper safely. I will additionally be using chains, which most have for snow in Victoria, but don’t think about using for mud. They’re actually called Mud / Snow Chains for good reason. On steep VHC mountain sides, chains are your best friend, especially towing a camper trailer.

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