Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP vs BF Goodrich KO2

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If you’re in the market for an off-road tire that can also handle the road with ease, consider Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP and the BF Goodrich KO2. These rugged tires offer amazing superb traction on rougher tracks, while keeping smooth on pavements as well. And while they may not be all-purpose tires, if you know their strengths, they can be a great choice. Let’s me discuss them for you.

BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain T/A
The sidewalls of BF Goodrich KO2 are very powerful.

As a seasoned tire engineer, I can tell you that the BF Goodrich KO2 provides you with a better dry and wet grip (though its wet traction is not so great compared with other A/T tires). Moreover, you also get better fuel economy and tread life on this tire as well. Mickey Legend EXP on the other hand, gives superior sand, gravel and mud performance, and on-roads it provides a comfortable ride, though it’s still a little louder in comparison.

Tire Specs

The BF Goodrich KO2 (review) provides you 90 sizes in 15 to 22 inches. They have the following specs.

  • Speed Ratings: R, S, or Q
  • Load ratings: C to E
  • Weight range: 35 lbs to 67 lbs
  • Tread Depth: 15/32″ on all sizes
  • Winter ratings: M+S & 3PMSF
  • Warranty: 50k miles on all

On the other side, the Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP features 41 sizes in 15 to 20 inches having following specs:

  • Speed ratings: Q only
  • Load ratings: C, D, E and F
  • Weight range: 45 to 75 lbs
  • Tread depth: 18.5/32″ on all
  • 50k miles warranty on all sizes
  • No winter rating is seen on any

(Make sure you know, how to read tire sizes).

Tread Pattern

Let me start off with Mickey Baja Legend EXP. (I really dig its name for some reason, probably its the coolest).

Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP
Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP could use some more siping for wet traction.

So on this asymmetric tread pattern , you see a total of 4 ribs, where the 2 similar ones (making mirror images of each other), form 3 longitudinal grooves.

(By ribs I mean the columns of blocks).

All lugs are pretty squared off, and form 3 unique shapes there, which repeat themselves throughout.

These lugs have sharp chamfered edges, reinforced foundations, and M shaped full depth sipes.

The grooves they make, interconnect with the outer wider longitudinal channels, though the widest grooves are seen between the shoulder blocks.

Speaking of which, these lugs (shoulders) are thicker and have full depth notches, though have same “M” shaped siping (like seen in the middle).

Moreover, these lugs have staggered outer edges and make thick enough sidewall lugs, though they don’t cover as much bead area, compared to KO2.

Speaking of which, the BF Goodrich KO2 features a completely different structure.

BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain T/A
BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain T/A, with it’s haphazard shoulder blocks get to provide amazing off-road bite.

Here you see relatively smaller lugs in the middle (compared to the ones on sides).

All these worm like blocks have full depth notches, and sipes which split open where needed (all the way). So with that they are able to provide ample grip on all types of off-road terrains.

And it does that without compromising its on-road capabilities, as it gets to provide ample rubber to road contact with its consistent design.

Though same can’t be said about it’s shoulder lugs, which have pretty wild gaps in between, having bold stone ejectors.

(Basically the tire offer dual stone ejectors, where the conventional ones are between these lugs, and the other triangular ones are hidden inside the outer circumferential grooves).

Furthermore, the shoulder lugs have full depth notches and siping, and on the outer margins, their staggered structure allows them to have big mud scoops.

And adding to overall aggressiveness are its sidewall lugs, which provide ample bite with lowered air pressure.

Off-Road Toughness

Off-road tires need to be tough to handle aggressive terrains, and to achieve almost all all-terrain tires are provided with a chip resistant rubber and a thicker skin, though still majority of “toughness” still depends on the internal make-up of a tire.

Having said that, the Ko2 comes out stronger as it features 3 ply polyester casing, with dual steel belts, and spirally wound 2 ply spirally nylon cap plies.

On the other side, the Mickey EXP has 2 ply sides, with dual steel belts and 2 ply polyamide cap plies (not spirally wound though).

For Your Info: In my complied list of all-time great A/T tires, the BF Goodrich KO2 gets ranked for it’s amazing durability.

Rugged Terrain Performance

The challenges posed by off-road terrains can range a lot. So let me discuss this section by different types of these terrains, and how each tire performed on them.

On Sand

The tire’s air pressure, weight, and tread composition are all important factors to consider when driving on sand, as they determine the tire’s ability to adhere on soft surfaces.

These features basically supply the tire with floating abilities, and so it makes sense why Mickey Legend EXP provides better traction here.

In comparison, the BF Goodrich KO2 features sharper edges, with it’s spirally wound cap plies, and even though you get a lighter tire, it still is not able to provide as much of the “floating” in comparison.

On Muddy Tracks

All-terrain tires although have good enough self-cleaning grooves, they are still not aggressive enough for this type of terrain. This is because it’s the toughest of all, and the only reason why mud tires are there (with balder design).

Though still out of both tires, the BF Goodrich Ko2 faces a lot more difficulty here. This is because, the tire’s hook shaped structure traps in mud way more, comparatively.

Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP on the other side, has wider grooves, and it’s edges aren’t that sharp so you get less digging with this tire, so it focuses more on moving forward, which is exactly what you want.

For Your Info: Out of all tire’s I’ve reviewed, the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac (review) provides the best mud traction.

On Rocks

To effectively maneuver on rocky terrain, you need a tire with grip of course, but it has to coming in from all directions. Furthermore, you also need some powerful sidewalls.

So why is that?

Well, because with multiple-angled-grip, the tire can climb better and is not at a risk of over-turning. And helping to that are the sidewalls which provide durability + traction with lowered air pressure.

And considering all these factors, it can be seen why out of both tires, you get a tiny bit better traction on BF Goodrich KO2.

This tire basically comes with slightly more durability (I’ve already explained this in it’s section), and with the sidewall lugs angled, and forming biters in between its able to provide better grip with lowered PSI values.

Moreover, unlike the Baja Legend EXP where you see less tread features especially in the middle, the KO2 provides full depth sipes which split open the lugs further improving the grip of it’s hook shaped blocks, yielding soup of lateral and circumferential traction.

Dirt Filled Roads

To overcome the challenges posed by gravely roads, it’s necessary to have self-cleaning grooves. That’s why tires without stone ejectors and narrower tread voids, can get clogged with dirt and stones, reducing traction and increasing the likelihood of damage (even though they have a chip resistant rubber).

Though that’s not a issue on both of these tires here.

Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP has wider grooves which are not too inviting to any kind of debris.

And the BF Goodrich KO2 features dual stone ejectors doing the same.

On-Road Traction

To get a clear understanding of an all-terrain tire’s dry performance, it’s necessary to take into account its traction, steering, and cornering capabilities. Let’s delve into each of these critical factors in more detail.

Dry (Directional) Grip

The footprint of a tire along with section width, are the main dimensions that affect grip, though other factors such as rolling resistance, weight, and rubber composition also contribute to it a lot.

And considering all, very similar braking distances are seen on both tires, (which is how you calculate this grip).

This is because both tires make similar rubber to road exposure from the central part of the tread. Though that’s does not mean the overall dry traction is better on Legend EXP, and this brings us to their lateral traction performances.

Lateral Traction

The shoulder lugs play a significant role in determining a tire’s lateral traction, which is crucial for cornering, (as they carry the most weight, during).

That’s why, with a more voided design (of shoulder lugs), the Mickey Thompson Baja Legend is lacking here.

In comparison, the BF Goodrich KO2, even with it’s weirdly shaped shoulder lugs, and quite some spaces in between, still gets to yield a better contact patch with the road, providing greater sideways grip with it.

Steering Communication

The ease of maneuvering tires, determined by the critical performance metric of steering sensitivity or communication, is frequently overlooked but has a significant impact on a vehicle’s handling.

And here the most important thing to consider, is the tire’s ability to flex.

The Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP has a softer compound, more tread depth, and unsupported lugs formation, so its no wonder, the lugs cause larger over and under-steering in comparison (as they are more prone to bending).

BF Goodrich KO2 on the other side, has a dual compound, with softer rubber on top (which is still not as soft as the Legend EXP), and it has a base layer of a harder compound, providing reinforced foundations.

So, overall, KO2 gets to provide better stability in comparison. That’s why, you also see better speed ratings on it’s sizes.

Wet Road Traction

When it comes to wet roads, a tire must have a solid balance of both grip and hydroplaning resistance. And both these factors ensure the water removal gets attainable.

To achieve a strong grip on wet roads, the tire must incorporate both siping and flexibility. Together, these features ensure faster water evacuation from the tire tread, leading to a safer driving experience.

Basically, as the tire rolls over watery surface, most of the water gets escaped out through the grooves, whereas the remaining gets directly in contact with the blocks (having sipes on). These sipes “flex” in a way to suck these water particles in, and that way water gets cleared off.

Mickey Baja Legend EXP only offers half of the overall equation, which means, it’s tread is flexible, and it accounts for good hydroplaning resistance, but with minimal “M” shaped siping, the overall wet traction is compromised.

BF Goodrich KO2 on the other hand, is also not that impressive here, though it’s performance is still better comparatively, as it’s full depth siping, gets to be more effective.

Though keep in mind, (as I told you folks above, it has harder compound underneath), it’s wet traction gets worse with wear. So if you live where it rains a lot, this all-terrain tire might not be worth it.

Tread Mileage

Tread wear is not solely determined by rolling resistance, as most folks think. There’s tread depth, and composition as well, and both of these play a very significant role.

That’s why both tires give out similar mileage through their lives.

The Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP, although has more weight and wider grooves, allowing lugs to burn with the road with more pressure causing faster wear, (and decreases fuel economy). Due to a greater tread depth of (reaching up to ) 18/32″, you still get similar tread wear life as it’s competitor.

BF Goodrich KO2, in comparison, has a more stable formation of lugs, and a harder compound, so it’s burning rate is slower, but with shallower tread, you reach down to 2/32″ sooner.

The 2/32″ is actually the legal limit up to which you can drive on, check your tires with a penny and see where they stand at.

Interesting Read: How to increase tread life?

Winter Performance

Comparing both tires, it can be seen why the Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP deficit in providing ample grip when it comes to winter traction.

The tire severely lacks in biters, and it’s M shaped sipes are not good enough (less in number) to grip, especially on hard packed snow. So, its no wonder, the tire is not branded with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating unlike it’s competitor.

The BF Goodrich KO2 on the other side features a 3 rib design in the middle, with hook shaped lugs, providing full depth sipes. All these grab the snow particles much more easily in comparison.

Ride Comfort

Ride comfort depends on two key aspects: tire tread noise and road imperfection “absorption” via tire structure and tread. Let’s start with the later first.

On-Road Vibrations

The soaking of vibrations on roads, depends on how soft the tread, and internal construction of the tire is. That’s why the BF Goodrich KO2 having hard-threaded rubber does not offer smooth enough ride.

Moreover, the tire has a dual compound, and once its initial (still somewhat softer) rubber wears off, the harder compound underneath makes the vibrations cushioning abilities even worse than before.

Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP, on the other side, settles down the bumps in a better way, it’s more tread depth provides a thicker rubber, and with higher silica density, they get to dampens down those bumps much more effectively.

On-Road Noise

The source of tire noise is the movement of air, with most of it coming in and going out through the tread voids on the (tire’s) shoulders. This air then collides with the walls (around the grooves), leading to unwanted noise.

So with greater baldness on Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP, the tire gets to be louder in comparison.

BF Goodrich KO2, on the other hand, offers better pitch sequencing, and so here less groove resonance is rendered. I talked about it in detail below.

See Here –
Are All-Terrain Tires Noisy? : https://tiredriver.com/are-all-terrain-tires-noisy/


Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP is although not a great tire to have on-roads, it really shines on rugged terrains on nearly all sorts of surfaces (expect for rocks).

BF Goodrich KO2 on the other hand, does better with dry and wet traction (though overall it’s wet grip is nothing to praise for) Moreover, you also get superior winter performance, fuel economy and tread life with the tire as well.

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