Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP vs Falken Wildpeak AT3w

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The Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP and the Falken Wildpeak AT3w are all-terrain tires with a new silica tread compound, combined with water evacuating channels and biting edges in the treads, giving dependable off-road performance combined with on-road traction. These tires offer a great option for compact, 1/2 – and 1-ton trucks and full sized SUVs. Let’s check them out in detail.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w
Falken Wildpeak AT3w offers a sidewall design which provides better heat expelling abilities while towing.

In my opinion as a tire engineer, the Falken Wildpeak is a better prick for highways, in both wet and dry conditions, the tire also provides you with better tread life, fuel economy and overall comfort. On the other side, the Mickey Thompson EXP is better off on rugged terrains, where it crawls on muddy and rocky terrain like a champ. Though the tire really needs some traction when on wet and snowy surfaces.

Tread Looks

Let me start here with the Falken Wildpeak AT3w.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w Tread
The Z shaped blocks and the shoulder lugs of Falken Wildpeak (AT3w) have ramps which act as strong biters.

With this tire you get shoulder lugs covering the majority of the tread with their elongated design.

Towards middle they carry notches and stepped edges, and on the outer margins, they present with saw toothed edges, as all lugs are serrated on themselves.

They also join together on the sidewalls making U shaped sidewall lugs providing ample off-road bite.

And as these lugs have reinforced foundations, they get to provide amazing on-road stability with that off-road performance.

Same goes for the central lugs, which provide the directional part of traction.

These lugs provide on-road stability with ridges and rectilinear siping and off-road they get to provide enough biting with Z and C shaped lugs offering notches in all directions.

(The ridge basically support the blocks, so they don’t bent too much and rectilinear sipes ensure shorter braking distances on dry and wet roads. These sipes work accordingly with the interlocking ones on the shoulders to provide amazing overall wet traction values).

Check out Falken Wildpeak AT3w’s tread design in detail here.

On the other side, the Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP features a slightly more aggressive look.

Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP
Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP

So on this asymmetric tread structure , there are a total of 4 ribs where the 2 similar middle ribs (making mirror images of each other), form 3 vertically running channels where the inner one is very tough passing (it’s hard to consider this one a longitudinal grooves the tire makes).

The lugs in the middle are pretty “blocky” and form 3 unique shapes (which continues in a similar pattern throughout the tread).

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.

Moving towards the shoulders, blocks are bigger here, and they additionally have notches as well, though they are equipped with similar M shaped sipes like seen on the central blocks.

On the outer ends, they these lugs are staggered and since they form thicker sidewall lugs, you get to have better footprint with lowered air pressure.

Sizes Facts

The Falken Wildpeak AT3w has 15 to 22 inches rim sizes with following specs.

  • All sizes have speed ratings: Q, R, S, T, and H.
  • Tread depth range: 12 to 19/32″.
  • Load Range: SL, XL, C, D, E, and F.
  • Weight Range: 35 lbs to 79.4 lbs.
  • Warranty: 55k miles on all.

Detailed review of Wildpeak AT3w: https://tiredriver.com/falken-wildpeak-at3w-review/

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.

Recommended Reads:
What is speed rating?
What is load rating?
How to read tire size?

Tread Noise

Noise from tires is just the flow of air, mostly through the lateral gaps between the shoulders (of the tire’s tread).

The impact of air particles on the tread walls leads to unwanted noise. So this means, the more bald a tire is, the greater the level of noise it will produce.

And so it makes perfect sense why Mickey Legend EXP is a louder tire.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w on the other hand, has closed up grooves, so air particles don’t get to play around as much, and with interlocking shoulder grooves, not too much air comes in to begin with.

Winter Traction

Snow performance is seen with the tire’s capability to accelerate, stop, and corner on both deep and light snowy tracks, as well as ice.

Now off the both tires, as only the Falken Wildpeak AT3w is 3 peak mountain snowflake rated, its not a surprise, that this tire brings about better traction abilities.

But how is that? Let me explain.

The tire basically provides a decent snow grabbing abilities, which is important, as when it comes to winter performance, rubber to snow contact is not as effective as snow to snow. So the the lodged snow in the grooves provide you with a much superior friction when it moves on snowy terrains.

On the other side, although the Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP is not branded with 3PMSF rating, it’s still does great on deeper terrains, where its wider grooves hold on to the snow better there.

Pavement Performance

To gain a clear understanding of an all-terrain tire’s dry performance, traction, steering, and cornering capability are all crucial elements to consider. Let’s delve into each of these important factors in more depth.

Dry Grip

The design of the tread pattern affects the quantity of rubber in contact with the road surface, which is the direct measure of dry grip, or should I say directional grip.

Though the middle area of the tread is where most of the action is seen, as that part (while moving straight), gets to meet up with the road the most (as it has all the weight concentrated on).

Having said that, both tires aren’t going to disappoint at all.

The Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP with it’s blocky design is quite packed up there, same as the Wildpeak, though still with precises testing the Falken AT3w yields shorter braking distances (measure of directional grip).

This is because the central part of its tread contains C shaped lugs with biters facing at multiple angles.

Moreover, you also get summer sipes here as well. These basically provide the grip by flexing (when moving straight).

Dry Handling

Handling performance on dry roads, is judged by the sides of the tread, as upon cornering, the whole tire’s weight gets transferred there.

That’s why it makes sense why the Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP with wider gaps between the lugs doesn’t show as much lateral traction as it’s competitor.

Falken Wildpeak AT3w on the other side having compacted shoulder lugs provides larger meeting area with the road, resulting in superior lateral traction.

Wet Road Performance

On wet roads, a tire must have both a solid grip and the ability to resist hydroplaning, and both of these performance factors ensure effective water removal abilities.

Let’s start with grip.

Wet Grip

To achieve a safe grip on wet roads, the tire tread must incorporate both siping and flexibility. These two characteristics work in tandem to remove water from the tire tread, enhancing driving safety.

With sipes, tread has the slits which literally suck water particles in them, and with flexibility, they get to bend in a better way creating suction.

And so considering sipes on both tires, it can be seen why Mickey Legend EXP lacks here with limited no. of “slits”. So any water coming in contact with these slits are not efficiently removed in time.

Whereas on Falken Wildpeak AT3w, you get dual siping design with rectilinear sipes in the middle helping with the directional part of the overall traction and the full depth interlocking sipes providing lateral grip.


The 2nd part of wet traction, hydroplaning occurs when the tread is unable to remove water off quickly, and this causes the tire to float.

To avoid this grooves are designed, and it can be seen why both tires are great here. They both have wider enough tread voids to channel the excess water out quickly.

For Your Info: I’ve ranked Falken AT3w on top, in my list of best performing A/T tires.

Fuel Usage

Fuel consumption is shaped by the rolling resistance of the tires, which depends on the weight and tread composition, additionally.

That’s why with heavier make-up and wider grooves, the Baja Legend EXP consumes more fuel while rolling. Basically on this tire, more weight gets to be divided on a smaller no. of lugs. And so, each lug get to rub off with the surface with more pressure.

Whereas on Falken Wildpeak AT3w, even though you get a quite heavy build as well, the weight is more evenly distributed across all tread blocks, especially shoulders.

Tread Life

Three factors determine the lifespan of a tire tread: rolling resistance, tread depth, and composition.

This is because, greater tread depth (for example) results in slower wear, even if the tread “burn-off rate” is faster, and similarly, if the tread has a harder composition, it would not have a faster rate to begin with.

And Falken AT3w provides you with both of these attributes. It’s compound is although soft, but still firmer compared to it’s counterpart. And with such tread depth reaching up to 19/32″, it takes a lot of time before it’s time to change.

That’s why you get 55k miles warranty on this tire as well.

Though keep in mind that the Mickey Thompson EXP isn’t too far off, and the advantage this tire has is it’s lighter weight, and with that it gets be only slightly off, providing you with 50k miles warranty, (only 5k less in comparison).

And so using these techniques, one can make it’s tread life even better, comparatively.

Traction Off Road

The challenges of off-road terrains can range from mud requiring specialized tires to gravel and dirt roads being easily managed (or navigated on).

Due to these factors, I’ve chosen to look into each terrain individually.

Sandy Dunes

On sand you have to ensure your tire can stay afloat at all times, as digging is the worst enemy of traction here.

So usually weight affects negatively here, its not the case here, as out of both tires, even with heavier weight, the Falken Wildpeak AT3w provides you with a better job.

This is mostly because of it’s optimized sidewall lugs and a malleable tread compound.

The softer tread compound provides enhanced footprint with smaller change in (lowering) air pressure, whereas with sidewall lugs (pasted on a larger area), you get an increased contact patch with the sand, so the tire stays afloat in a better way.

The Mickey Legend EXP on the other side, isn’t able to pull that off, and it’s sides are sharper in comparison, so with this tire you get to face more “digging”.

Recommended Read: Are all-terrain tires good on sand?

On Mud

On muddy terrains, balder the tire is, the better, as you need to remove mud off the tread as soon as possible, otherwise it would invite other particles to get in and would pack up the tire.

And although most of the A/T tires aren’t able to provide wide enough grooves for that, these two tires are not in that list, as both of them have interlinked web of grooves connecting the outer circumferential channels and then the shoulder voids.

Though still out of both as the Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP as wider shoulder grooves, overall mud is mud more easily evacuated through it’s grooves compared to Wildpeak.

Rocky Terrain

In order to effectively drive on rocky terrain, a tire with a soft tread that can bend and grip the surface for traction and strong grip in all directions to avoid slipping, is required.

Furthermore, durability, particularly on the sidewalls, is also necessary to counteract sharp punctures, along with sidewall lugs which grab and pull things further enhancing traction.

That’s why both tires here do pretty great, though they still perform a little differently.

The Mickey Baja Legend EXP basically features less biters in the middle, but since it’s shoulder lugs have a bigger groove mouth and it provides thicker sidewall lugs, you get a better lateral traction.

Falken AT3w on the other hand offers superior climbing abilities with it’s numerous notches in the middle.

Ending Up

So out of both tires, off-road Wildpeak AT3w provides you better sand traction and grip on gravely roads, and on roads, you get an enhanced traction on both dry and wet pavements, slightly better tread life, better fuel efficiency, and overall comfort.

On the other side, the Mickey Legend EXP gives you a good traction on highways, but only when things are dry, though off-road the tire is a beast, conquering rocky and muddy terrains like a pro.

Though despite having all season compound it lacks on snowy terrains, and it makes sense why it’s not rated with sever winter ratings like its competitor.

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