Hankook Dynapro HT RH12 vs Michelin Defender LTX MS

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The Hankook Dynapro HT RH12 offers stability and comfort for varied road conditions, while the Michelin Defender LTX MS excels in wet grip and longevity for diverse weather driving. Let’s see which of these highway all-season tires is for you.

Dynapro HT RH12 on Equinox
Dynapro HT RH12 on Equinox

Key Highlights

So overall, the Dynapro HT RH12 excels in:

  • Dry Performance: Offers robust traction and substantial contact with sleek, longitudinally aligned ribs.
  • Noise Reduction: Quieter rides due to closed-off voids and an optimized tread pattern reducing air vibrations.
  • P Metric Handling: Lighter weight in P metric sizes enhances stops and handling.
  • Dry Grip Design: Zigzag notches around ribs boost the longitudinal grip.

Review Hankook’s tire in detail: https://tiredriver.com/hankook-dynapro-ht-rh12-review/

Whereas Defender LTX MS excels in:

  • Wet Performance: Superior in expelling water and resisting hydroplaning with abundant siping and interconnected grooves.
  • Winter Traction: Better grip and handling in snow with curved notches and multiple siping slits.
  • Wear Resistance: Longer tread life and even wear through Max Touch Construction and EverTread compound.
  • Snow Handling: Improved grip and acceleration in snow due to open tread design and diverse siping patterns.

Detailed review of Defender LTX MS: https://tiredriver.com/michelin-defender-ltx-ms-review/

Size Variations

FeatureDynapro HT RH12Defender LTX MS
Rim Sizes15 to 20 inches15 to 22 inches (68 total sizes)
Speed RatingsS, TR, T, H
Load RatingsSL, XL, CSL, XL, C, E
Tread Depth11, 12.5, 14, 15/32″10 to 13/32″
Weight24 to 64 lbs25 to 60 lbs
UTQGUp to 700 A AUp to 800 A A
Treadwear Warranty70k miles for Non-LT
40k for LT
70k miles for Non-LT
50k miles for LT
Additional RatingsOnly M+SM+S only

Dry Performance

Understanding a tire’s dry performance requires focusing on the linear and lateral grip and steering response. Let’s examine these aspects.

Directional Grip

The performance of a tire’s directional grip is significantly affected by the rubber’s interaction with the road, particularly in the tread’s central area.

But why is this central region so vital here? It’s because this section carries the majority of the weight when the tire is moving straight ahead, resulting in a stronger force between the lugs and the road.

With this understanding, it becomes clear why the Hankook Dynapro HT RH12 ranks better for its braking performance, standing out in its class of highway all-season tires.

Hankook Dynapro HT RH12
Hankook Dynapro HT RH12

Basically, it’s designed with sleeker, longitudinally aligned ribs, featuring a central rib with a continuous-running/unbroken pattern and surrounding ribs with numerous zigzag notches.

This design ensures not just substantial rubber-to-road contact but also robust traction, collectively enhancing the tire’s overall longitudinal grip.

However, this is particularly true for P metric sizes.

I mean, when you check out the LT sizes, the Dynapro doesn’t quite keep up with the Defender LTX MS. And that is mostly because it’s a bit heavier.

In the bigger sizes, this extra weight makes the tire a tad slower to stop, as with more weight, more momentum gets created.

Overall Handling

Overall handling is evaluated by examining the tire’s steering responsiveness and the lateral grip it provides during cornering.

Focusing on lateral grip, the Hankook Dynapro HT does better here, as indicated by its impressive g-force metrics.

This is because the tire offers nearly continuous running shoulder ribs, with minimal tread features, making a more solid contact with the road.

By the way, if you’re wondering why shoulders matter here, you should know that they make the most contact with the road, while the tire turns.

Additionally, the Dynapro incorporates in-groove notches that extend toward the sidewalls, enhancing its grip during cornering. With its deeper tread depth and firmer rubber composition, the tire also prevents excessive lug bending, leading to improved steering response.

In contrast, the Michelin Defender LTX MS lags in these areas, with its wider-spaced shoulders fail to provide an equivalent grip level.

Its softer rubber, akin to that used in winter tires, results in a more sluggish steering response, especially in aggressive driving scenarios, often leading to understeer.

This is because its lugs tend to deform more under stress and take (more) time to revert to their initial shape. And that time marginally increase overall handling times, as seen on lap tests.

Wet Grip

Wet traction in tires is significantly influenced by sipes, which are small cuts in the tire tread that play a vital role in enhancing grip on damp surfaces.

Why? Well because, these sipes create suction, drawing moisture away from the lugs, allowing the tire’s rubber to maintain effective contact with wet roads.

So the number and flexibility of these sipes are critical for their efficacy in displacing water at a micro-scale, while the majority is expelled through the tire’s grooves.

In this regard, the Hankook Dynapro HT falls short.

In my tests, it consistently demonstrated longer braking distances and slower wet handling lap times across various sizes. This deficiency is primarily due to its less flexible rubber composition, which limits the sipes’ ability to efficiently remove moisture.

On the other hand, the Michelin Defender LTX MS excels in wet traction, thanks to its following distinctive features:

Michelin Defender LTX MS
Michelin Defender LTX MS
  • Abundant Siping: It offers a higher count of sipes than the Dynapro HT, improving its capacity to expel water effectively.
  • Interconnected Grooves: The Defender’s grooves are intricately interlinked, enhancing water ejection and reducing reliance on sipes for initial moisture removal.
  • More Biting Edges: The tire features additional lateral voids between shoulder blocks, acting as in-groove notches. Although the Hankook tire also incorporates two ribs, the Defender offers a greater number of these “biters”.

These biting edges complement the sipes by sucking up remaining water particles and flexing on the wet surface. This action promotes better rubber-to-road contact and, consequently, improved grip.

Hydroplaning Resistance

Hydroplaning resistance is a critical aspect of tire design, emphasizing a tire’s ability to channel water away from its tread through its grooves.

This feature is vital to prevent water from getting trapped between the tire and the road surface, which causes tires to float basically, or “hydroplane”, leading to potentially hazardous situations.

Now, the Michelin Defender LTX MS excels in this aspect, thanks to its interconnected grooves that encircle the tire and its slightly open shoulder design.

And coupled with a deeper tread depth, these features enable it to displace a larger volume of water compared to the Hankook tire, significantly enhancing its resistance to hydro or aquaplaning.

On the flip side, the Dynapro HT, characterized by its continuous, unbroken shoulder ribs, falls behind here, where its design limits the interconnection between grooves, restricting the lateral flow of water from the tire.

Noise Reduction

The primary origin of tire noise is the air that mostly flows in and out through shoulder voids, generating vibrations against the tread walls.

And here, the Michelin Defender LTX MS is marginally louder, showcasing a decibel greater on scale, on average.

This slight increase in noise is largely due to its unique tread pattern, which features wider spaces around the edges. A closer examination reveals that these edge areas are relatively more open, allowing a greater influx of air and consequently more noise.

In contrast, the Hankook Dynapro HT is designed with closed-off lateral voids, significantly restricting air entry and thus reducing noise at its source.

Moreover, the tire also benefits from an optimized tread pattern that enhances pitch sequencing.

This sophisticated tread configuration generates sound waves of varying wavelengths and frequencies that interfere with each other, effectively diminishing the overall tire noise.

Winter Performance

While both the Defender LTX MS and Dynapro RH12 are marketed as all-season tires, their lack of the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) certification reveals some limitations, particularly in their snow acceleration capabilities.

Why acceleration? Well because the 3PMSF symbol signifies that a tire has proven at least a 10% improvement in light snow acceleration over standard touring all-season tires.

So lacking this certification indicates that both tires may not be the optimal choice for severe snowy conditions, particularly on icy surfaces.

Though if you have to pick one here, you should know that the Michelin LTX MS demonstrates superior performance here overall.

This is because this tire is equipped with more winter traction focused features such as curved notches and multiple (winter-tire-like) siping slits across its tread, enhancing its grip on ice, and particularly on snow, as they are really great at trapping snow particles, improving snow-to-snow contact.

This “contact” is crucial because snow adheres better to itself than to rubber.

Additionally, the Defender’s slightly more open tread design aids in collecting and ejecting snow, enhancing acceleration.

Wear Resistance

The Michelin LTX MS distinguishes itself as one of the premier “highway” all-season tires, particularly noted for its tread wear superiority.

I mean, it not only offers greater tread life compared to the Hankook Dynapro here.

So what makes this tire so great? Well two of its technologies actually.

The first is the Max Touch Construction, which ensures the tire wears evenly. This technology distributes the forces of acceleration, braking, and cornering evenly across the tire, reducing irregular wear and extending tread life.

The second notable feature is the EverTread compound. This specialized tread composition incorporates resins, silica, and other polymers, enhancing the tire’s flexibility and resistance to cuts and chips. This robust compound contributes significantly to the tire’s durability and longevity.

Additionally, the Defender LTX MS offers a relatively greater tread depth going up to 13/32″.

Simply put, this depth strikes a balance, avoiding excessive rolling friction associated with deeper treads while also ensuring the tire doesn’t wear down too quickly.

And yes, this optimal layer of rubber means the tire takes longer to reach the replacement threshold.

Wrapping Up

Overall, each tire has its strengths and weaknesses, making the choice dependent on specific needs and conditions.

The Dynapro HT yields superior dry performance due to its sleek, longitudinally aligned ribs. However, it falls short in wet grip and hydroplaning resistance, where the Michelin LTX MS excels with its intricate siping, interconnected grooves, and open tread design.

And while both tires lack the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification, indicating limitations in severe snowy conditions, the Defender slightly leads with its winter traction features.

Noise reduction is better managed by the Hankook’s tire due to its closed-off lateral voids and optimized tread pattern. Though the tire lacks in terms of overall tread longevity.

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