MUD-TERRAIN vs ALL-TERRAIN
“Mud-terrain or all-terrain?”
A common question heard on any 4x4 forum, the question usually goes something like this:
“So, I’m in the market for a new set of tyres and I can’t decide between mud-terrains or all-terrains. I really like the look of a MT, but I’m worried about road noise, fuel consumption and wet-tar performance. What should I do?”
Of course, no one can answer this question for you, but the answer may be… “neither”.
If you consider the terrain designation of most mud-terrains, you’ll find they hover around the 80-20 mark, that’s to say they're designed for 80% off-road use and 20% on-road. In the case of all-terrains, that ratio swings the other way into a typical 70-30 split, where the tyre is designed primarily for 70% on-road use and 30% off-road.
This is true for most off-road tyre products, but oddly, these percentages leave a noticeable gap in the market which very few (if any) tyre manufacturers manage to fill.
ENTER: The Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx, a tyre that’s so unique, it’s largely competitor-less.
With a 60-40 terrain application, the S/T Maxx was designed as a hard working tyre for off-road adventurers, overlanders, farmers, miners, tour operators and commercial 4x4 fleet vehicles… while retaining great on-road performance, too.
That said, the primary features of the S/T Maxx focus around durability, load-ability, puncture resistance, and longevity.
A CUT ABOVE THE REST
Cut & chip is a leading cause of tyre damage off-road, the question is: what makes one tyre more resistant to cut & chip than another? Well, let’s forget the technical jargon for a moment and look at tyre design from a common sense perspective…
Most of us will agree that a large tread block is going to be more impact resistant than a small tread block, and therefore, less likely to break apart.
Similarly, the same can be said about siping, where each sipe groove creates a potential cleave-off weakness within the tyre’s tread design. One possible way to get around this is to incorporate internal sipes that don’t exit the side of the tread block. This feature radically reduces the chance of cut & chip damage, while retaining wet-weather performance on-road, too.
These features, along with the S/T Maxx’s *silica-infused compound, all add to the S/T Maxx’s unique ability to provide aggressive off-road traction, without compromising on-road performance and safety.
A reduction in tyre pressure will significantly increase your tyre’s impact resistance, and therefore, reduce cut & chip damage off-road. However, if you deflate too much, you stand the chance of overheating the tyre and weakening it. For these reasons, tyre’s with a high load index and stronger sidewalls are better suited to deflation, as they’re less likely to overheat than thinner, weaker all-terrains.
With this in mind, the S/T Maxx boasts a payload capacity that ranges between 1 350 kg and 1 700 kg per tyre (depending on your selected tyre size), as well as an ‘E’ tyre-load rating that is equivalent to 10-plys. In contrast, most other all-terrains feature a load capacity of just 1 100 kg, or even less. Of course, this makes the S/T Maxx perfectly suited to…
- Industrial and commercial heavy-load applications
- Cross country off-road racing
- Towing of trailers or caravans
- Heavily equipped camper vans
- Hard working double-cab vehicles
- Large size SUVs with high GVMs
- And dedicated 4x4s that are exposed to extensive gravel-road driving
Throw in the S/T Maxx’s heavy-gauge carcass construction, durable (Silica) compound and cross-ply technology, and you start to get a sense as to why the S/T Maxx is now the preferred tyre amongst most major 4x4 rental companies, tour operators, instructors, miners, hunters, game rangers and remote off-road travellers.
We often get questions about the S/T Maxx’s terrain designation and whether it’s a MT or AT, but the truth is, it’s neither, it’s a S/T Maxx, a tyre so uniquely engineered it has no rivals.
Next month, we’ll be looking at a brand new Cooper tyre that’s so unique, it drives like an all-terrain, but looks like a mud-terrain.
The TyreLife Team
As far as modern tyre technology goes, very few materials have had as big an impactful on tyre performance, quite like silica. These benefits includes:
- Reducing rolling resistance
- Increasing fuel economy
- Better mileage and durability, and…
- Vast improvements in traction
Yet, despite the well-known benefits of this sand-like additive, many tyre manufacturers don’t use silica. This is because the process of infusing silica (into the rubber compound) is notoriously difficult and costly – which is why most budget tyre brands don’t use the additive.