If you’re looking for a true off-road tire, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels (M/T) proudly showed off its new Baja Boss XS tire at this year’s SEMA Show. The Baja Boss XS is the result of continual development on the part of M/T’s engineers, particularly through Ultra 4 and desert racing teams that have taken its technologies and design principles to extremes.
M/T first launched its Baja Boss line with the Baja Boss M/T. This tire, which launched in 2019, is a true radial mud terrain tire with high, asymmetric elements in its tread pattern. It has big, chunky elements on the outside for stability, and twice as many elements on the inboard intermediate strip to help quiet things down. Not only has it been a quiet tire (relatively speaking) but has great ‘bite’ for off-road traction. The ‘sidebiters’ also have variable lengths and depths to help with traction and protection and give them a nice look.
Underneath, however, this tire has two radial plies, as well as a third ply laid on a bias-ply angle. This, M/T’s Ben Anderson explains, means it can take an impact on the sidewall and spread the force to a wider area to reduce the chance of a puncture. It also helps with handling, allows the tire to react quicker to steering inputs, and stabilizes quicker. The Baja Boss M/T also has silica in its compound to help with wet handling wet braking, puncture resistance, and tread life.
M/T has since revised the Baja Boss X multiple times, adding four-ply construction and new side elements as its development and technologies have evolved. But the company needed a DOT version of its sticky competition tires to satisfy the requirements of some racing classes and give enthusiasts one heck of a weekend off-roading tire.
As Anderson tells us, three of the four Ultra 4 racing classes require a DOT-approved tire that’s readily available to the public, in a 35- or 37-inch size. The Baja Boss XS is that tire. It’s the same pattern as the Baja Boss M/T and subsequent Baja Boss X. It has the same compound as the M/T, but utilizes four-ply technology, silica, and the additional rubber gauge on the sidewall from the Baja Boss X. The XS will come in sizes of 35 x 12.50R17, 37 x 12.50R17, and 40 x 13.50R17.
“This would be great for a SCORE off-road endurance racing vehicle, Ultra 4 classes, people with a modified Jeep or Bronco or Tacoma or whatever, or someone who wants more durability in the sidewall, still have great off-road traction, but the ability to drive on the road,” Anderson says.