Although Mickey Thompson Baja Boss “A/T” is marketed as All-Terrain tire, it’s actually a hybrid just like Nitto Ridge Grappler. And being hybrid, these tires have wider lateral grooves between shoulder blocks and compact blocks arrangement in the middle.
Hybrid, also called “rugged terrain”tires, main goal is to provide a more aggressive off road performance (compared to all terrain tires), while still keeping things comfortable on road.
But which of these tires is more suitable to you? Well, let’s find out.
Starting things off with their Designs:
Nitto Ridge Grappler
Mickey Thompson Baja Boss A/T
Looking at Mickey Thompson Baja AT, you see a very haphazard placement of blocks at first.
But it’s pattern can be easily understood, if you consider these 4 blocks below.
2 blocks on one side (marked with blue) have lateral and longitudinal incisions in them, which make them look like separate blocks.
Blocks highlighted with green, don’t have deep cuts in them, but one of them is seen with sharp chamfered edges, notches facing the blue ones.
In fact these notches and edges are also common with the (blue) block which has lateral cut in it. And both of them make a very jagged circumferential groove in the middle.
So the tire actually makes 3 of these channels with the outer two wider.
On the other hand, the Nitto Ridge Grappler also makes two wider channels on the outskirts of it’s central blocks.
It makes clear zigzag path of grooves which separate the 4 triangular shaped blocks.
These blocks form a more aggressive pattern, where the two blocks on the sides have deep cuts in them (facing the lateral grooves between shoulder blocks).
The other two blocks don’t have notches but have common features, like offset edges, chamfered edges, rectilinear siping and ridges which connects them with shoulder blocks as well.
Together they make Z shaped grooves connecting the outer channels.
Note how, these inner channels are almost equally wider compared to the outer ones.
It’s central blocks also have reinforced foundations underneath, so they further enhance the grip of these blocks.
These foundations support the blocks and allows the tire to have a firm biting off road.
If we move towards the shoulder blocks, as the Mickey Thompson AT is a hybrid, it features a very open design.
Because of the tire’s asymmetric nature, the blocks heavily vary in width throughout the tire.
All these blocks (highlighted 2 with yellow) other than width show almost same features, where they have rectilinear siping and notches on both inner and out edges (making each block staggered on itself).
These blocks also extend to the sidewall and make very prominent lugs.
But still, the Nitto Ridge Grappler features bulkier lugs in comparison (on both sides).
Why both sides, well, because the tire also features dual sidewall design as well, where one side is more aggressive than the other.
These lugs act as traction scoops (but more on that in the off road performance section below).
If we look at its shoulder blocks, although the tire makes staggered shoulders, they still feature a very minimalist design.
But these blocks still have chamfered edges and stone ejectors in between the pair.
But speaking of stone ejectors, I don’t think I’ve seen any more aggressive than on Mickey Thomspon’s Baja AT, where there are two different types of these ejectors.
6 of these (triangular shaped ones) attach on every shoulder blocks.
Where they are also seen in the central lateral grooves where they are smaller in size.
Other specs of these tires:
|BAJA AT||Nitto Ridge|
|Weight (avg)||64.2 lbs||63.15 lbs|
|Tread Depth (avg)||17.8/32″||16.2/32″|
|Available sizes||15 to 24″||16 to 24″|
|Sidewall Construction||3 ply||3 ply|
|Load Rating Range||C to F||C to F|
|Tread Width (avg)||9.8″||11.8″|
So although both tires are almost same when it comes to their average weight, the Baja AT has more tread depth to it.
On Road Traction:
Both tires show a very minor difference when it comes to grip and handling on dry roads (but still if you want to know, Nitto Ridge has better dry handling times).
Both blocks even with their wider grooves (especially between shoulder blocks), are fine here because they still feature connectors which keep these blocks firm.
On Baja AT, all blocks have connectors between them, while on Nitto Ridge, every other block connects with the central block.
But things get a little different on wet roads. Here the Mickey Baja A/T shows better efficacy.
Well, because the tire has two main ingredients here. More siping, and softer silica rubber.
Siping on a softer compound are more flexible, so they are able to create better vacuum, sucking the water particles, underneath them with ease.
On the other hand, the Ridge Grappler with it’s very little siping, especially on the shoulder blocks, result in poorer handling.
Nonetheless, the tire is still better in one aspect of wet traction, hydroplaning. It’s interconnecting wider channels make a clear path for water to pass through.
If we look at other factors, the Ridge Grappler is a little louder on road (comparatively), but it’s still not too loud, given it’s more aggressive design out of the two.
This has to do with it’s variable pitch technology where its triangular shaped blocks in the middle make very wild angles, which don’t let the noise to amplify that much.
And although both tires have almost equal average weight. The Mickey Baja AT is more fuel efficient of the two, as the tire features less rolling resistance, mainly because of it’s less average tread width, and a more on road oriented design.
What about Rocks?
Rocky terrians demand toughness and both tire provide you with 3 ply carcass construction, which is reinforced by 2 steel belts and nylon. So they both provide you with a great deal of puncture resistance.
Note: Not all sizes of Baja AT have this, 3 ply is seen on only LT sizes and above.
But besides durability, there are other factors in play which renders Nitto Ridge Grappler overall better here (with a very small difference).
The tire simply has more biting edges to it. The offset edges, chamfered edges, deeper siping, notches, and reinforced foundations, all create a great soup of lateral and circumferential traction for this tire.
The tire also has it’s more tread width (on average), to it’s advantage, and this allows the tire to have more contact with the rocks, enhancing grip.
And, although has a little harder compound compared to Ridge, it’s still not too stiff. This factor is also further eliminated, where the tire is pressured down.
And with bulkier lugs, the Nitto Ridge Grappler is able to stick on rocks in a better way with flexing sidewalls.
If we talk about the Mickey Thompson’s AT, the tire is not too far off at all. The tire also has multiple biting edges which make very aggressive grooves that ensure the tire’s friction stays intact.
The numerous siping also help the tire here, as they bite in to the rocky surface (on a micro level).
And although the lugs are not as aggressive, they are still very bulky and they grab on to the rocky surface in a great way.
Traction on snow:
The Mickey Thompson Baja AT, is better here, which you may have guessed, as it’s the only one here giving you 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating.
But let’s see why is that…
First, the Mickey Baja AT is better because of it’s less tread width (on average) compared to Nitto Ridge.
Skinner tires perform better on snow, that’s why not all sizes of Baja AT have 3pmsf rating, and only the ones below 12.5 tread width qualify for it.
Furthermore, the tire also features more siping in comparison, which aids the tire here a lot.
The Nitto Ridge Grappler with very minimal siping, faces a hard time on snow.
The tire besides wider of the two, also has a harder compound which gets stiffer with lower temperatures as well.
Their Traction on Mud:
It’s no surprise to see a better mud performance on Nitto Ridge Grappler, given the tire’s wider grooves.
The tire features 2 outer circumferential grooves which connect with the lateral (slanted) channels formed by central blocks, (seen as Z shaped grooves in the design section).
The offset edges of the sharp blocks cut through the mud, while it escapes efficiently through them.
On the other side, Mickey Thompson although, does not make wider grooves, it still offers more tread depth, and this combined with it’s jagged grooves, especially the ones in the middle, the tire is still not too far off here.
The multiple stone ejectors along each shoulder blocks combined with chamferend edges and notches break down the mud particles everywhere, so the tire does not get packed too easily.
But still it’s more prone to getting stuck in comparison, as the Nitto Ridge with its bulkier lugs (even on the less aggressive side), simply makes better traction scoops and let’s the tire escape even when aired down deep in mud.
In other words, the tire is a better digger out of the two.
Both tires being hybrid performed really well off road while keeping things great on road.
But still the Nitto Ridge Grappler showed better dry road performance, while the Mickey Baja AT is better on wet, fuel efficiency and noise levels.
Off road, Ridge Grappler is better on rocks and mud, but with a very small margin. Where the Baja AT with its 3pmsfr is better on snow.