Mickey Thompson has been there in the market for over 50 years now, and they were bought by Cooper which was then recently bought by Goodyear for $2.8 Billion. But no matter what the company is, the Baja Boss AT would remain the same.
Mickey Thompson really made a great aggressive looking tire, that has all the features to perform well off road, while still keeps things smooth on streets. The tire also outperformed BFG KO2 in some areas.
Let’s see why and how?
Starting with their Designs:
Mickey Thompson Baja Boss A/T
BF Goodrich KO2
The Mickey Thompson Baja AT presents with a very complicated pattern.
It’s central area consists of 4 unique blocks, each with different shapes and sizes.
Here the blue (highlighted) blocks have lateral incision in one block and the longitudinal in another and they face the green ones which although are not divided by deep cuts still have tons of biters on them.
These blocks are seen with notches and and chamfered edges along with rectilinear siping (common with all of them)
Together they all make 3 circumferential channels where the outer two are wider.
And the inner channel although, not as wide, is still pretty aggressive.
Here, the two blocks have deep notches and sharp triangular shaped edges sticking out on their sides, which make a pretty tough passing longitudinal groove in the middle.
These grooves also join the lateral ones which then meet the wider grooves between shoulder blocks.
On the other side, if we look at BFGoodrich KO2, the tire make a very simple middle design (especially compared to Thompson AT).
It features 3 worm like blocks which interlock with each other (central block is wrapped by the other two). And this pattern then repeats throughout the tire.
And although the tire is not too aggressive here, these blocks still offer deeper siping in comparison, which bite on the surface in a better way.
If we look at the shoulder blocks, the Mickey Thompson AT being a hybrid tire shows an open design here.
It features prominent shoulder blocks with wider grooves. All these blocks have rectilinear siping and have traction notches on both their inner and outer edges.
They also join on sidewalls and make bulkier lugs in comparison (which resemble Baja M/T).
If you consider it’s shoulder close enough, you’ll also note that with it’s asymmetric pattern, it’s blocks vary in width a lot through out the tire.
On the other side, the BFG KO2 shows symmetric pattern so it shows up similar shoulder blocks all over its sides.
But still these blocks are more aggressive in comparison. They are prominently staggered with traction scoops, have deep incisions, and rectilinear siping.
And the sidewall lugs, although are pasted on a similar surface area, they are not as thick as the Baja A/T.
Other than this, both tires feature dual stone ejector designs, where triangular shaped ones are very similar looking.
But they are still more in number, featuring 3 of them on every shoulder blocks.
Other specs to note about these tires:
|BAJA AT||BFG KO2|
|Weight (avg)||64.2 lbs||55.3 lbs|
|Tread Depth (avg)||17.8/32″||15/32’’|
|Available sizes||15 to 24″||15 to 22″|
|Sidewall Construction||3 ply||3 ply|
|Load Rating Range||C to F||C to F|
|Tread Width (avg)||11.8″||11.2″|
On Road Traction:
On smooth dry pavements, both tires show almost equal performance values, as they both provide you with a lot of biting edges which translate in to enhanced grip.
But on wet roads, Mickey Baja AT acts in a more civilized manner.
The tire shows a more dynamic response (where it over steers more, and BFG KO2 under-steered).
The tire actually has softer rubber and this combined with its numerous siping, it’s simply provides a better recipe for great wet traction.
Actually, the siping on a softer rubber are more squishy, so they suck in the water particles in a better way.
But the same rubber is also not too good when it comes to wear, especially in case of Thompson Baja AT, where the tire also weighs more on average, so comparatively, this tire would wear faster.
BFGoodrich KO2 on the other side, with its’ stiffer compound is less prone to wear.
And yes, with less weight, it would also be more fuel efficient.
The tire is also more silent on roads, of the two, with it’s uniform central design. But then again, as the difference is minimal, the overall comfort of Mickey Thompson AT is better (at least subjectively).
The tire’s softer rubber actually provides better cushioning to the impacts.
Their Traction on Mud:
The BFG KO2 can not handle mud in a better way.
The tire (as we saw in the design section) has an interlocking design, so this grabs on to the mud and it gets lodged in it’s grooves easily, in comparison.
And although the tire, does provide wide enough lateral grooves between shoulder blocks, with traction scoops, its stiffer sidewalls is still not good gripping on slick mud.
On the other side, the Mickey Thompson AT although, does not provide you with bigger traction scoops, it still has mud terrain tire’s shoulder blocks with more wider grooves from where mud can pass through efficiently.
Even in its central part of the tread, the tire features 3 circumferential grooves which are wider and have a lot of biters on each sides.
These breakdown the mud, which becomes less prone to get lodged in grooves as it passes out of the tire efficiently.
What about Rocks?
Well, on rocky terrains, there are a lot of things going on, but the most important is the tire’s toughness.
And both of these tires with 3 ply polyester casing provide awesome puncture resistance.
Note: Non LT sizes of Baja AT only have 2 ply carcass construction.
Both tires also perform in a very unique manner as well and it’s hard to put one over the other, as there are many factors involved. So let’s just take a look at them.
Where BFG KO2 is better on rocks?
- The tire features deeper siping. It’s central blocks are further divided as the sipes go all the way deep. This allows the blocks to bite the rocky surface on a micro level.
- The tire’s interlocking blocks also helps the tire in gripping from all directions, and it’s more aggressive shoulder blocks provide you with better lateral traction, so less sideways slippage in seen.
Where Mickey BAJA A/T is better on rocks?
- This tire features softer rubber compound, which produces a sticky effect with the rocky surface, so the tread molds over the rocks in a better way.
- It also has wider grooves, so with a bigger (groove’s) mouth, they munch on the rocky surface more efficiently.
- The tire also presents bulkier sidewall lugs, which are especially useful when the tire is pressured down, and during flexing sidewalls, they grab the surface in a better way.
Traction on snow:
Both tires are 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rated, but the Mickey Thompson AT does not provide you with this rating on all sizes.
Why is that?
Well, because the tire actually gets wider and this is not good for snowy terrains, that’s why Baja AT only offers 3pmsfr on width less than 12.5 inches (or 315 mm).
So the BFG KO2 with it’s slightly skinnier tire in comparison has this to it’s advantage.
Where more no. of sipes and biting edges of Mickey Thompson, along with its softer rubber (which allows the tire to endure more freezing temperatures) benefit this tire.
Moreover, with wider grooves and deeper tread voids, the Baja AT also works better with deeper snow.
Where BFG KO2 with its interlocking design which is good at trapping particles, allows the tire to have more snow to snow contact.
The stuck snow just sticks better on snow, because each snowflake has arms which interlock with each other.
So, what’s the verdict?
Well both tires are great overall, but it was really surprising to see the on road performance of Baja AT, given its aggressive design.
The tire outperformed KO2 in wet traction, and provides you with better overall comfort.
The BFGoodrich KO2 on the other side, is slightly better on dry roads, and produces less on road noise combined with better fuel and wear efficiency, (still both tire companies offer you with the same 50k miles warranty).
If we look at things off road, both tire again showed remarkable performance where the Thompson Baja AT is better on rocks and muddy terrains and on par in snow with KO2 (if not better).