Least aggressive off road tires used? Michelin LT M/S2 experience ?

Jwestpro

Explorer
So we are all familiar with the common quest for the most aggressive tire for off road use that will hold up, etc. I'd like to hear from those who are not caught up in having the most aggressive tire possible but instead one that lasts a long time and does just fine most of the time.

I started thinking about this because my first 4x4, a 1996 Land Rover Discovery 1, came stock with a factory spec "Michelin XPC 4x4 " in 235/70x16. Not knowing any better, I used this tire in goopy NC mud with the Rover club outings and on other trips until it wore out. Still not knowing much but assuming "more is better", I then put on the BFG AT KO as seen on many D90's and LC 80's around that time.

Yes, the BFG AT KO just plain works, 98% of the time, and lasts so long you can just not have to think about tires for a long time. Next Land Rover got the same tires, and so on.

Those years were when fuel cost so little I didn't really care about "rolling resistance" or fuel cost to go across the US and back for fun. In the recent years, especially when premium was over $5/g, mpg got my attention.

Has anyone had good luck with a more efficient rolling tire, like a modern XPC, possibly the Michelin LT MS2 ? I have these now and they run so efficiently it's amazing, but I am wondering how these would fair on Colorado trails with rocks, where mud is not really an issue too often but durability could be questioned. Obviously any tire can be cut on the sidewall if you aren't careful.

I always "air down" for off road and base the amount on the terrain so that would presumably help a less durable tire like the LT MS2 compared to the BFG AT KO2 but on most surfaces, they should both work almost as well. Moab comes to mind where low psi should be more important than the actual tread aggressiveness.

I currently use both tires in the same size, 32" 275/65x18 but will be using a 33" next time around. Due to my LR3 7500lb weight, I run no less than 30 psi, maybe 25.

What I've been doing is running the Michelin LT MS2 most of the time and then swapping to the wheelset to the BFG for special trips. Some trips though are cross country with 6000 miles of highways and only 200 miles of actual trail (not just forest roads, actual Colorado rough trail). These trips are also solo so nobody to help, which means less likely to try anything too crazy either.
 
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calicamper

Expedition Leader
I like the LT for light off road primary on road, great tire. I have Rugged Terrains right now about 20k on them. At first I thought the KO's I had prior were better. But the rugged terrain is growing on me.
 

Jwestpro

Explorer
I like the LT for light off road primary on road, great tire. I have Rugged Terrains right now about 20k on them. At first I thought the KO's I had prior were better. But the rugged terrain is growing on me.
Not sure what you mean? Both tires I mentioned are "LT" E load range . Do you have experience off road with the LT MS2 ?
 

Box Rocket

Well-known member
The BFG AT KO and KO2 would be my first choice. After that I've been super impressed with the General Grabber AT2. Really nice road tire and works surprisingly well offroad. My LC80 had a set on it when I bought it and I was really impressed with them. But I did the "normal" thing and got some more aggressive Goodyear MTRs to replace them. :)
 

wingysataday

Adventurer
The BFG AT KO and KO2 would be my first choice. After that I've been super impressed with the General Grabber AT2. Really nice road tire and works surprisingly well offroad. My LC80 had a set on it when I bought it and I was really impressed with them. But I did the "normal" thing and got some more aggressive Goodyear MTRs to replace them. :)
I couldn't agree more
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Consider the Terra Grappler

I have just under 30k miles on Terra Grapplers on an 11,500 lb. vehicle. Less than half worn. http://www.nittotire.com/light-truck-tires/terra-grappler-all-terrain-light-truck-tire/

Very happy and they were quite acceptable in limited mud on "Hell's Backbone" and the Capitol Reef when I was told that the road was "impassable." I didn't air down, but they handled light mud without problems.

Should last much longer on a lighter vehicle.
 

GR8ADV

Explorer
Not sure what you mean? Both tires I mentioned are "LT" E load range . Do you have experience off road with the LT MS2 ?
I have used these on a 4Runner. They work fine. By off road I assume you mean off pavement? My experience is tires make a huge difference in real mud, heavy sand, and Rock crawling. Other than those extreme situations, most any (reasonable) tire works fine. Especially if you are only talking off pavement.
 
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snowblind

Adventurer
Has anyone had good luck with a more efficient rolling tire, like a modern XPC, possibly the Michelin LT MS2 ? I have these now and they run so efficiently it's amazing, but I am wondering how these would fair on Colorado trails with rocks, where mud is not really an issue too often but durability could be questioned. Obviously any tire can be cut on the sidewall if you aren't careful.
Some tires can be VERY different across different sizes. Especially Michelins. Make sure you compare apples to apples. The LT MS2 275/65/18 size comes in P275/65/18 and LT275/65/18 flavors. The "P" tire does NOT have Green-X rubber and is only "T-rated" to 2640lbs. The "LT" tire has Green-X and is E-rated to 3400lbs per tire. All "D" and "E" tires in the LTXMS2 family also get a THIRD steel belt.

That said - I run the LTMS2 in LT285/70/17 on my 2001 Suburban 2500. This is a D-Rated tire with Green-X rubber. It has proven to be very fuel efficient and smooth riding on the highway with ZERO durability problems. I don't wheel it hard but it is a HEAVY vehicle and I've rubbed the sidewalls on plenty of sharp trail rocks with no damage at all. The tread shoes almost no wear after 20k miles. I drive unloaded at 45psi and increase the rears slightly if loaded and towing my small trailer. Perhaps the perfect tire for touring the desert southwest?

Wet pavement traction is very good. Snow traction is OK but I use dedicated snows for winter. The Michelins are 1-2mpg better on the highway.

I could see people being VERY disappointed in the LTMS2 for even light mud. The sipped tread is designed to hold snow to the surface of the tire and this is just plain bad news in the slop.

The only durability issue I could see is maybe tearing the sipped tread off by spinning tires on the rocks. If this did happen not sure if Michelin would warranty or not but they do have a 6 Year / 70,000 Mile treadwear warranty.


Matt
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Not sure what you mean? Both tires I mentioned are "LT" E load range . Do you have experience off road with the LT MS2 ?
I was referring to your post
Michelin LT MS2 - we had them on grandpas Suburbans in Michigan they were very good tires and kept him out of trouble when road conditions were basically ice skating rinks. His job at a power plant ment no snow days for him.
In CA I haven't seen the need to pay the top dollar price for the Michelin's and have found BFG to be a good compromise really durable well made long lasting and generally priced pretty fair considering the quality etc. Where I found BFG to be a little lacking is in the snow / ice which is why we ran Michelin LT's in Michigan.

As for off road the range of conditions that qualify as off road is to generic. Any tire does fine on well worn dirt roads as long as it has proper safe tread on it. Add snotty mud conditions and the tire performance greatly changes due to the tread design having a big effect on directional control and traction etc. Harsh rocky stuff totally different issue where tires with softer better road manners start getting torn up. All depends on what your calling off road. We talking rocky desert, muddy East coast, or dirt of the Pacific coast?
 
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Arktikos

Explorer
In CA I haven't seen the need to pay the top dollar price for the Michelin's and have found BFG to be a good compromise really durable well made long lasting and generally priced pretty fair considering the quality etc. ..
The BFG At is considerably more expensive than this Michelin tire. I have read some reviews claiming that the MS2 doesn't hold up well on gravel and isn't good with much snow, so I went with the Michelin ATX currently offered at Costco for $70 off. Not sure it was the right choice though. You probably can't go wrong with the MS2
 

oliverlove

Adventurer
Currently I have running Michelin LTX tires. They are a road tire, but not an AT. They work in mud, sand, and when aired down on smaller rocks really well. I was going to replace them with a mud tire, but they have done so well so far, I might just replace them when they wear out.
 

Jwestpro

Explorer
I have just under 30k miles on Terra Grapplers on an 11,500 lb. vehicle. Less than half worn. http://www.nittotire.com/light-truck-tires/terra-grappler-all-terrain-light-truck-tire/

Very happy and they were quite acceptable in limited mud on "Hell's Backbone" and the Capitol Reef when I was told that the road was "impassable." I didn't air down, but they handled light mud without problems.

Should last much longer on a lighter vehicle.
Thanks. Good to hear for the TG. It's one I see as a very good middle ground but would be interesting to test the TG2 against the BFG AT Ko2 specifically in muddy soils. I have the BFG and the Michelin though, hence the particular comparison in my post.
 

Jwestpro

Explorer
Some tires can be VERY different across different sizes. Especially Michelins. Make sure you compare apples to apples. The LT MS2 275/65/18 size comes in P275/65/18 and LT275/65/18 flavors. The "P" tire does NOT have Green-X rubber and is only "T-rated" to 2640lbs. The "LT" tire has Green-X and is E-rated to 3400lbs per tire. All "D" and "E" tires in the LTXMS2 family also get a THIRD steel belt.

That said - I run the LTMS2 in LT285/70/17 on my 2001 Suburban 2500. This is a D-Rated tire with Green-X rubber. It has proven to be very fuel efficient and smooth riding on the highway with ZERO durability problems. I don't wheel it hard but it is a HEAVY vehicle and I've rubbed the sidewalls on plenty of sharp trail rocks with no damage at all. The tread shoes almost no wear after 20k miles. I drive unloaded at 45psi and increase the rears slightly if loaded and towing my small trailer. Perhaps the perfect tire for touring the desert southwest?

Wet pavement traction is very good. Snow traction is OK but I use dedicated snows for winter. The Michelins are 1-2mpg better on the highway.

I could see people being VERY disappointed in the LTMS2 for even light mud. The sipped tread is designed to hold snow to the surface of the tire and this is just plain bad news in the slop.

The only durability issue I could see is maybe tearing the sipped tread off by spinning tires on the rocks. If this did happen not sure if Michelin would warranty or not but they do have a 6 Year / 70,000 Mile treadwear warranty.
Matt
Yes, I am very aware of LT vs P and the D/E load ranges but thank you in case someone else reading isn't up on all that. I have the LT in E load range. I'm thinking I'll give them a shot on a trip but first do a couple test locations nearby to see how some mud works. Most of what I'm anticipating is actually more dry, rocky, loose, dirt with high gravel content.
 

Jwestpro

Explorer
I have used these on a 4Runner. They work fine. By off road I assume you mean off pavement? My experience is tires make a huge difference in real mud, heavy sand, and Rock crawling. Other than those extreme situations, most any (reasonable) tire works fine. Especially if you are only talking off pavement.
I do mean off "road" as in, using off "pavement" to get to the trails that are rated in the mountains like CO. Some of these can be mostly doable in a Subaru until the few short crux areas to get over to the other side. I'm more concerned with the crux places once you've spent 2-3 hours getting into a great camp site or ongoing point to point style trip.
 

snowblind

Adventurer
Yes, I am very aware of LT vs P and the D/E load ranges but thank you in case someone else reading isn't up on all that. I have the LT in E load range. I'm thinking I'll give them a shot on a trip but first do a couple test locations nearby to see how some mud works. Most of what I'm anticipating is actually more dry, rocky, loose, dirt with high gravel content.
Sorry. Didn't totally get that you already owned from your post.

Dry, rocky, gravel I think they work great. The rubber is soft but durable and the overall construction is smooth riding which usually indicates the ability to conform more than other tires at comparable pressures.

On thing I have noticed is that they do tend to pick up gravel in the treads. Perhaps another result of the more pliable Green rubber.




Matt
 
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