Hitting the Trails
Enough already! How do they work OFF the road where they belong? This isn't a grocery getter magazine, is it? It certainly isn't!
The Goodyear MTR is made of an "advanced silica compound for excellent durability and puncture resistance." In addition, "a new tread pattern provides increased element and lug stiffness and uniform treadwear." Great! OK, what does that mean?
The MTRs sidewall is a 3-ply construction, which uses Goodyear's DuraWall Puncture Resistant Technology. That's basically a fancy way of saying that most-likely, the sidewalls will stand up to just about anything you would normally encounter on a trail. That does not mean that you should go around purposely raking the sidwalls on every sharp rock face you can find. Remember, that even a 6-ply sidewalled tire will peel open in some situations, so just keep in mind not to go into any war zones expecting to come out without a flat now and then. Though we have not punctured a sidewall yet, we did run over a screw in the tread area, which caused our neighbors to wonder if we were changing the Jeep over to a low-rider one morning. A simple plug at the tire shop fixed that problem. Thanks again, K&W.
By now, we're certain you've seen the MTRs on the trails. In fact, they made their debut at the Goodyear Extreme Rock Crawling Championships last year on many of the leading competitors' vehicles. Considering how many of those guys did in the points standings, it's pretty obvious how the MTRs fared on the rocks out West. But how did they do here in the South?
In most "normal" off-road conditions, ranging from dry to moist wooded trails and rocks, the MTRs have done quite well. They are sure-footed and put the traction where it is needed...on the ground. The tread extends well over the sidewalls in a squarish pattern that helps grab on to rocks and keep you moving forward. Though not as aggressive as the Baja Claw's Side Biters, these treads do come in handy. They also act as extra armour to shield against gashes and punctures. When the tread encounters rocks, the tire has enough goosh to it to conform well and give a good contact patch.
Once we got into the serious mud, though, we found out the MTR's limits. We finally got some very needed rain here in Alabama, and it came in droves. The local trails were soaked and the mud was deep. We encountered everything from the slick stuff to our infamous red clay mud. Even the guys with the Boggers had trouble. In this kind of situtation, you find that "Mud Terrain" is a bit of a misnomer for just about any tire other than a Bogger, Swamper, or Baja Claw. You simply cannot get traction, no matter how you try.
Our MTRs did the best they could, however. In the really soupy mud, there was just no traction to be had. No matter how far left we would steer, we'd still go straight, even with both ends locked up. In the clay, the mud pretty much got into the treads and stayed there. Even if we tried spinning the tires at high speeds, the mud would either stay put or more would go in as soon as we could sling the last bits out, causing us to feel like we had no tread at all.
Alabama mud, like that found in Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, is like nothing you'll find anywhere out West or up North. Many of the locals run as big a tire as they can get with V-8's to try to combat it. 38-44" tires are not uncommon on the muddier trails. Of course, these sizes are not reasonable for most of who drive our rigs every day. But, as I mentioned earlier, the boys out West are doing great with the MTR on the rocks and drier trails, which says a lot.
The Bottom Line