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What's important to you when buying off road tyres?


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I will need to buy at least one new set of tyres next year and it's never been a straight forward purchasing decision in the past for me. Tyres dictate the spec of my Jeep, particularly the size. It's a major investment and can often be the reason for another round of modifications.

 

I have two XJ's both with similar body mods for 35" tyres. At the moment one is on 33x12.50R15 tyres and the other is on 35x12.50R15 but I am increasingly thinking that they should both be on the same size wheel and tyre. They both have 15x8 wheels but offsets and bolt patterns are different. Interchangeability between both Jeeps would be good.

 

Some times I think that I should have one Jeep on All Terrain (AT) tyres and the other on Mud Terrain (MT). I prefer AT's on snow but that is not much of an influencing factor for the UK. I have been running MTs on a 'daily drive' for twenty years, mostly without ABS so I am used to them on the street in all weather conditions. I can't imagine that there will be a significant difference in fuel economy between AT and MT over the life time of the tyres but I think this time I won't automatically be buying BFG again. I am going to take more time to look for the right tyre.

 

What's important to me when buying off road tyres?

(In no particular order yet)

 

Price - They need to be affordable. I have bought cheap tyres before that have performed as well as BFG but didn't last anywhere near as long

Availability - I am fed up with UK tyre suppliers saying there are none in the country, on back order, haven't seen any that size for months/years

Sidewalls - Tall. Anything less than an 75% aspect ratio isn't going to last long when aired down. Sidewall protection

Tread - Mud Terrain, sipes are an advantage, 19mm tread depth minimum when new

Carcass - Triple ply, puncture and abrasion resistance is important.

Size - My Jeep is built around the tyre size, wheels, axles, gearing, suspension, brakes, engine performance, bodywork

Reliability - I don't want a puncture prone tyre or one that loses tread blocks

Look - The tyre must look fit for purpose and not fanciful or stylistic - weirdly, I think this says something about the owner/driver

Brand - I will consider any well performing product irrespective of brand but I will admit that I don't want a naff sounding tyre brand in large white letters on my Jeep and there are some strange tyre brand names about.

Country of Origin - British made would positively influence me but otherwise not bothered

Performance - Road, off road, wet weather

Noise - Are they so noisy that the Jeep becomes tiring to drive

Economy - Probably never going to see an EU 'A' rated MT tyre

Fitting - How easy are they to mount/dismount in the field

Balance - Does the density vary so much across the tyre that they need kilos of lead to balance

Centricity - Are they perfectly round and run true without lumps and bumps

Recycling - Can they be remoulded

EU - European Union 'E' Marked

Weight - Can I lift a mounted spare tyre without suffering a back injury

Spare - Do I need one, two, any?

Beadlock - Are they suitable for bead lock wheels

 

What's important to you about tyres?

 

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...now I do like a good tyre discussion  :great:

 

To be honest though, Vincent, I think you have pretty much covered it and I agree with most of the points you make.

You are right that the choice of tyre ( and wheel) tends to pretty much set the tone for everything else and is probably the best place to start from, other things always lead on from there. It’s no use deciding on a lift or a regear without knowing what tyres you expect to run.

 

Tyre choice has been a constant issue for me since I got my JKU. Not so much the CJ7, 2.5” lift with 31x10.50 15 General Grabber MTs. Choice here was that the Generals were cheaper than the BFGs it does very little mileage so I’m not worried about wear and I have a strange aversion to having what everyone else has got, lots of people have BFG not so many the Grabbers ( of course that may well be that the BFGs are “better” but I have no complaints with the Generals)

 

I have 29x9.50 15 Mickey Thompson Muds on the YJ with no lift. I think I got them because “Mickey Thompson” is just such a cool brand name all that “Baja belted” stuff, and they were on Kevin Bacon’s Jeep in Tremors  :icon_cool: . They are however,, at least in my experience on the YJ, crap on wet tarmac, but really great in the mud. Since laning is mostly what the YJ is best at that’s OK by me.

 

But moving to the JK. The original 245/75 17 Goodyear Wranglers were a good all round tyre, I drove them on and off road and they performed well in both. However I wanted a ‘proper’ MT for off road and this is where the problems start: I wanted to keep the original wheels because I think they are just great, they just seem to go so well with the Jeep’s colour scheme so I ended up getting 285/70 17 Cooper STT Pros ( good looking, tough tyre with triple ply sidewall.....and they were readily available in the size I wanted, also Cooper own Mickey Thompson  :great: ) on a new set of 17x8 rims This meant I could run them without ( I thought ) a lift and still keep the Goodyears on the standard Jeep wheels for day to day so (unlike normal sane people) I have two sets of tyres, an off road set and a day to day AT set.

 

As it turned out I did need a bit of lift for the bigger tyres so I fitted a 1.5” spacer lift.....But I still want to keep the original rims.....and they are only 7.5” x17 so this limits my choice a bit as to what can go on them, and they have almost no backspacing ( if I’ve got that right ) whereas the wheels for the MTs offset them a good 1.5” further out. It would be so much easier if I was prepared to ditch the wheels or just run one set. Anyway I replaced the Goodyears recently, so what’s important:

First up, price, if I was just running one set I would go BFG as the best all rounder but they are just too damn expensive. Cooper STT Maxx - too much like a full on MT its a 70/30, Mickey Thompson - to hard to get hold of/too expensive, New General grabber AT3, yes I liked this, good price and a good looking tyre.....BUT not available with outline white letters! Sorry, I just like OWL on Jeep (CJ/Wrangler) tyres. I ended up going for one I’d never heard of: Radar Renegade AT/5s in 265/70 17. Why this tyre, well it looks really poor in the pictures and it’s HALF the price of the BFGs but I saw it ‘in the flesh and they looked pretty good, they have OWL and have a cool name on the side “Renegade” it’s even Jeepish!  Turns out they are quiet, not as quiet as the Wranglers but they are wider, seem to be wearing well are good on the road and in the snow, pretty pleased with them. 

 

Even here though there is a choice and I took a long time mulling it over. I could have gone for a 285 rather than a 265 ( in the Radar and still keep the factory wheels) which would have meant that both sets of tyre would be the same size so I could recalibrate to the new tyre size, also having the bigger road tyre would mean I could get a “better/bigger” lift and go to 2.5” without making the road tyre look too small. Thing is I don’t need a bigger lift to run the 285s, they are fine on 1.5” so why go taller unless I’m going to go even bigger on tyres for more clearance, otherwise I gain nothing, in which case I may as well just go 3.5” on 35s and be done with it. All of which means even more cost to add in when all I’m really looking for is some nice new tyres :icon_rolleyes:

 

Anyway, for me it’s price, looks and balance between what you need off road and what works well on road which is where it gets most use. If I can offer a bit of advice then it would be take some time over thinking what’s important and then go and actually look at some ( and feel them, and stand them up next to the vehicle ) If you can get to a good tyre warehouse ( I went to tyres direct in Luton, recommended  :great: ) that has plenty in to see it makes all the difference.

 

By the way, I do like the comment about weight, it’s not just the vehicle that has to deal with pushing around a bigger tyre. I can just about manage comfortably the 44kg wheel/tyre combo I have for the Coopers ( I think it must be the triple sidewall ) it’s easy to forget that a huge tyre is a pain in the back to change when you’re on your own.

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Radar Tyres. I haven't seen any of these in person yet. Their website confirms my worries about large 15" tyres - no future. Looks like 17" wheels are on the shopping list next year.

http://omni-united.com/tire/renegade-at-5/

 

These look interesting for 37x12.50R17

http://omni-united.com/tire/renegade-r-7-mt/

 

I last bought General Grabber AT for my Chysler Voyager and they were superb in snow and on flooded roads.

https://www.general-tire.co.uk/SUV-and-Offroad-Tyres/Grabber-AT

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Actually, I liked the look of the Radar Renegade R7 it was a toss up between that and the Cooper but the Cooper had availability in the size I wanted at the time.

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