Nexen Roa­dian MTX MT

NEXEN’S HARD­CORE OFF-ROAD OF­FER­ING

4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - Chris­tian Hazel BY EDI­[email protected] PHO­TOG­RA­PHY CHRIS­TIAN HAZEL

YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF Nexen Tires. The Korean man­u­fac­turer isn’t as well known in the states as the other, more es­tab­lished la­bels. But af­ter our ex­pe­ri­ence with Nexen’s new­est and chunki­est Roa­dian MTX de­sign, we are bet­ting that will change.

Nexen’s new­est off-road tire only re­cently hit the mar­ket. So re­cently, in fact, that we lit­er­ally had one day in which to gather our on-and off-road driv­ing im­pres­sions be­fore our pub­lish­ing dead­line reared its ugly head. We mounted a quin­tet of LT265/75R16s on a set of su­perbly cool Amer­i­can Rac­ing AR969 Ansen Off Road wheels, tossed them on our trusty 1989 Wran­gler (aka Project Why-J), and headed for the trail.

We headed down twisty moun­tain roads to­wards the free­way, lean­ing into the steer­ing wheel as hard as we dared. The AR969 wheels fea­ture a 41⁄2-inch backspacing for the 16x8, 5-on-41⁄2 pat­tern size that fit our Wran­gler, so the first thing we no­ticed was an im­proved steer­ing feel over the 31⁄2-inch backspacing wheels we nor­mally run on this man­ual-steer­ing Jeep.

The sec­ond thing we no­ticed was that, de­spite a very soft durom­e­ter, the pli­able and fully siped tread blocks grabbed the pave­ment with­out squeal­ing or slip­ping. You’re not go­ing road rac­ing on these tires, but they cer­tainly will not send you ca­reen­ing off into the radishes ei­ther.

Get­ting up to high­way speed, a dull rum­ble be­gan to emerge from be­low. There was tread noise—quite a bit, to be hon­est. Even in an open-top YJ with the four­banger scream­ing at 3,300 rpm, there is a very au­di­ble tread hum from be­low. It’s not the four-prop wail of a WWII bomber you’d as­so­ciate with a Swamper Bog­ger, but it’s no whis­per ei­ther.

As the pave­ment turned to dirt we sim­u­lated a few emer­gency ma­neu­vers. The rear of this Jeep could be made to kick out a bit more eas­ily on hard-packed dirt roads than with some other tires we have tested un­der it, and com­plete four-wheel drifts came a bit eas­ier than we ex­pected. Lat­eral grip on hard pack with full street pres­sure, we sur­mised, was a bit want­ing. How­ever, emer­gency stops and clutch­dump starts al­low the tread block sipes to open up and aid in trac­tion. These tires grab hard for­ward or back­ward even at the 26 psi our 3,200-pound Wran­gler dic­tated.

Out on the trail, we dropped the pres­sure to 12 psi, slid the T-case into Low, and started climb­ing the hard pack into SoCal

moun­tains. That’s where these tires came into their own. De­spite be­ing brand new and a Load Range E, the side­walls flexed and con­formed around in­con­gruities very well. The tread blocks en­veloped and grabbed at will, with hardly any slip­ping. As with any high-void tread, rocks are picked up, but we no­ticed they were also evac­u­ated quickly. For­ward grip, side hill sta­bil­ity, and trac­tion in sand and rock were all right on par with off-road tires we have tested that cost a lot more than these. And if your normal wheel­ing takes you into harm­ful ter­rain, these tires of­fer three-ply polyester side­walls and seven-ply tread con­struc­tion to get you home with­out bust­ing out the plug kit.

Un­for­tu­nately, we didn’t find any mud in the arid SoCal test ar­eas, but we will re­visit these tires again very shortly in some wet­ter lo­ca­tions. Keep your eyes peeled for more up­dates as we gen­er­ate ad­di­tional road and trail miles.

1 Our only gripe was lat­eral grip on hard­packed dirt roads when the Nexen Roa­dian MTX tires were fully aired at our street pres­sure of 26 psi. How­ever, once aired down or in deeper soil and rock, these tires had no prob­lems hold­ing lat­eral lines. The treads are soft, sup­ple, and siped, and we found them ea­ger to grab and con­form to ob­sta­cles and ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties. Over­all we are re­ally happy with their per­for­mance.

2 The Roa­dian MTX tread wraps par­tially down the side­wall, help­ing to in­crease bite and pro­tect­ing against punc­tures and abra­sion. De­spite this tire’s Load Range E rat­ing, we found the three-ply side­walls flex­i­ble and the car­cass very pli­able. These seem to strike a very nice bal­ance be­tween strength and per­for­mance.

3 The Amer­i­can Rac­ing AR969 Ansen Off Road wheels are one of our four fa­vorite de­signs on the mar­ket. The clas­sic Ansen slot styling has been up­dated with black fin­ish in­side the slots and a thick pseudo beadlock ring, which not only looks great but also adds thick­ness and strength to this nor­mally vul­ner­a­ble wheel area.

4 The Roa­dian MTX has a lower than av­er­age propen­sity for pick­ing up rocks and de­bris, but any high-void tire is gonna bring a lit­tle of the trail with it. The tread blocks ta­per slightly from their base at the car­cass to the tops of the tread blocks so af­ter only a cou­ple rev­o­lu­tions the treads would nicely evac­u­ate any small rocks and de­bris.

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