Off-roading puts heavy demands on a vehicle – joint-flexing, engine-churning, brake-scorching, and tire-wearing demands. Having the right equipment makes all the difference. Making sure our 2017 Ram 1500 had the right equipment meant having the latest and greatest from Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels – and that came in the form of the Baja Boss.
Touted as an ultra-premium Extreme Mud Terrain, the Baja Boss (PN 58052) offers up some marvelous traits and aesthetics that make it a good match for our recently revamped Ram. A truck like that has to perform as good as it looks, and we’re putting our trust in the Baja Boss 35×12.50R20LT to get the job done. We’re also pairing these can-do tires with can-do wheels – the 20×9 Sidebiter II (PN 3029402), also from Mickey Thompson.
Truck Specs: 2017 Ram 1500
Tires: Mickey Thompson Baja Boss – 35X12.50R20LT (PN 58052)
Wheels: Mickey Thompson Side Biter 2 – 20X9, Bolt Pattern 5X5.5 (PN 3029402)
Exterior Modifications: Barricade HD drop-side step bars (PN R109750), Barricade retractable bed cover (PN R107161) Barricade Extreme HD rear bumper with LED spot lights (PN R102620), Barricade HD Off-Road front bumper with LED fog lights (PN R109951), and Barricade skid plate for HD Off-Road front bumper (PN R109952)
Background Of The Tire
The Baja Boss is a tire that gives truck owners a lot to work with, starting with its radical look and attitude. As a mud terrain, it comes equipped to deal better with off-road use. Its makeup represents a new phase of tire design, as digital media specialist Willy Woo explained.
“To understand the vision behind the Baja Boss, we have to look at the Baja MTZP3,” he said. “The Baja MTZP3 was released in 2015 to replace the legendary Baja MTZ. We intended to update the tire with the newly developed silica-reinforced tread compound. We also wanted to pack in new features, while modifying as little of the classic design as possible.”
“For the Baja Boss, our intention was to differentiate greatly from the Baja MTZP3 and the competition,” he continued. “We did it thanks to several new features: a new soft-asymmetric tread pattern, PowerPly XD construction, longer, deeper SideBiters, deep embossed black sidewall lettering, unique sizing, higher load carrying capacities, etc.”
Something else of note that Woo touched on was the PowerPly XD technology. This new technology is another distinctive aspect of the Baja Boss that sets it apart from other mud terrains. “Our PowerPly construction lays the third ply at a bias angle, unlike the conventional radial ply that takes the shortest path bead to bead,” said Woo. “The bias-angled third ply provides additional puncture resistance as impact forces are distributed across a wider area, lessening the likelihood of a puncture.”
“Our new XD development goes to the next level. It contains a 50-percent heavier denier cord ply, providing even greater puncture resistance, quicker steering reaction, and greater stability,” Woo continued. “It’s especially helpful for lifted vehicles and towing purposes.”
On-Road Driving Impressions
The roads down here in Southern California give off-roading a run for its money. Potholes, cracks, and other deformations in the asphalt make for a cheap thrill – even on just a grocery run. Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea.
On-road, the Baja Boss was not in its element. The F load rating meant the ride was a little stiffer, as the sidewalls didn’t want to flex as much coming into and out of road deformities. The tire size that we went with was only available in an F load rating and because of this rating on a half-ton truck, it made the ride feel stiffer. If we would have gone with a 37-inch tire we would have had the option to go to an E load rated tire.
As far as road noise went, the Baja Boss was noticeable, but not a droning mess of noise. It offered a mid-pitched thrum that carried along as we went higher and higher on the speedometer. Still, we could hold a conversation in the cabin and not revert to shouting to hear each other.
Off-Road Driving Impressions
Now was the Baja Boss’ time to shine. We took the truck to a local canal that has soft-packed sand, dirt, and mud. Sand and tires are on non-speaking terms most of the time, so it would be interesting to see if the Baja Boss could live up to its name.
True to form, the Baja Boss kicked butt in sand. The tires found traction and kept us moving forward wherever we wanted to go. Four-wheel-drive enhanced the fun and gave us even more thrill-chasing, as we did circles and sharp turns to try and knock the Baja Boss off of its game. But it stayed strong.
We returned to off-roading with some fire trails. On the hard-packed dirt, there was little to upset or get in the way of the Baja Boss. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any rock sections to test out, but we imagine the grip is remarkable on those as well.
The Baja Boss is certainly a boss of a tire when it comes to off-road. But that comes at the cost of a mild-mannered road driving experience.
We didn’t enjoy taking the Baja Boss out on the road, and running these underinflated to try and get some more flex out of the sidewall is a bad idea (just ask Ford). The truck/SUV enthusiast who wants a balanced on and off-road tire would be better suited for Mickey Thompson’s ATZP3 or Deegan 38 All-Terrain.
If you’re thinking of getting a set of Baja Bosses, our recommendation would be that they go on a dedicated off-road vehicle or weekend toy rather than a daily driver. Jeeps and overlanding rigs (especially those that get towed) will be a good fit for these tires. The uncompromised off-road performance is incredible and will leave a smile on your face as you conquer sand, mud, rocks, and (we assume) snow.