Mickey Thompson Deegan 38 vs BAJA ATZ P3

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When it comes to mud-terrain tires, you just can’t ignore both the Mickey Thompson Deegan 38 and the BAJA ATZ P3. These tires are packed with innovative tread compounds that offer top-notch rugged terrain traction.

Mickey Thompson Deegan 38
Mickey Thompson Deegan 38

In my expert opinion as a tire engineer, my testing comes in sync with my theory that the Mickey Deegan 38 is only better here off-road, while the Baja ATZ p3 comes out on top, on all pavement performance metrics, including comfort, fuel economy, tread life, traction, and even winter performance.

Sizes Measurements

The Deegan 38 M/T offers sizes in 15 to 20 inches with following specs:

  • Speed ratings: Q only.
  • Load ratings: C to E.
  • Weight range: 44 to 73 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 18.5 to 21/32″.

On the other hand, the Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3 also comes with 15 to 20 inches with following specs.

  • Speed ratings: P and Q.
  • Load ratings: C to E.
  • Weight range: 47 to 86 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 18.5 to 22/32″.

Tread Appearance

Although both tires look quite similar, there are a few things to note about them, when it comes to their tread designs.

Let me start off with Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ P3.

Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ P3

So in comparison, this tire is more closed up, yet forming similar 2 rib design in the middle.

This accounts for greater rubber to road contact, resulting in superior grip.

Though they also deliver off-road traction with their sharp off-set edges, and notches. And helping that are its network of grooves interconnected with outer longitudinal channels, providing the tread with self cleaning capabilities.

Moving towards the shoulders, they cover the majority of the tread’s area, as lugs here are slightly bigger.

They are although squared off, they still carry sharp sides, and their wider gaps in between, have bold stone ejectors.

Moreover, they’re although not properly staggered, each lug is serrated on itself.

On the other side, the Mickey Deegan 38 features comparatively spacious structure.

Mickey Thompson Deegan 38 AT
Mickey Thompson Deegan 38

In the middle there are 2 ribs constituting of similar lugs.

These lugs have sharp edges, and V shaped sipes to them.

Moreover, they also make a wider tread voids connecting with the outer wider lateral grooves the shoulder makes

And with bold stone ejectors there, its tread also becomes equally efficient in self cleaning, compared to its counterpart.

Moving towards shoulders, these elongated lugs have chamfered edges and rectilinear sipes, and on the outer edges have powerful staggered mud scoops.

Moreover, they also make thicker sidewall lugs in comparison.

Tread Wear & Fuel Consumption

Rolling resistance is basically an assessment of how much friction the tire creates with the ground, and it highly affects the tread life of the tire.

The Mickey Thompson Deegan 38 is although a lighter tire, it still produces greater rolling resistance values, with its more greater adhesion of its sloppy rubber.

As mentioned in the handling section, its less supported tread lugs, get to flex a lot more when the tire corners, or brakes. And this bending of the lugs causes the wastage of the energy, which could have used in to rolling of the tire, as a whole.

Moreover, it’s this flexing of the lugs also generates heat, and burns its tread faster, where its softer rubber composition isn’t helping to that either.

On the other hand, the Mickey Thompson BAJA ATZ P3 requires less effort to “roll” its lugs because of its relatively tighter and firmer contact with the surface, its rolling on.

Furthermore, its stiffer rubber compound also allows it to have a longer tread life.

Grip & Handling

When examining the dry highway traction of these mud tires, I took into account all the main elements including directional and lateral grip, and steering feedback. Let’s examine them one by one.

Dry Grip

MT tires aren’t so great on pavements and tar, due to their aggressive structure, so gripping on highways is always a challenge for them. This is because they are highly voided, and don’t offer ample rubber to road meetup.

That’s why with a superior directional orientation of Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ, the tire features shorter braking distances, upon deep testing.

Basically it’s tread blocks have a structure that is more streamlined towards moving straight (which is what’s happening on highways). Its inner 2 ribs form a more consistent rubber to road connection, resulting in superior grip.

The Deegan 38 in comparison, lacks with its wider tread voids.

Dry Handling

In case of handling, same thing is happening.

The Deegan 38 is balder towards shoulders, and with a softer tread compound, its tread lugs get to flex a lot more in comparison, even though the tire’s overall weight is lighter in comparison.

Basically with a more voided structure, the weight still influences greater pressure on each of its tread lug, as they rub again the ground.

This causes greater under and over steering, and creates difficulty during handling.

On the other side, the relatively more uniform design on Mickey Thompson ATZ allows it to exhibit a smaller moving inertia, even with its heavier build.

Navigating Wet Roads

When it comes to wet asphalts, the only way to grip is by drawing the water out as quickly as possible, because water cannot be compressed. Which means if its not removed in time, a tire would float (which is called hydroplaning, by the way).

Grooves help to remove the majority of the water from beneath the tire, while sipes are required to remove the remainder.

So, while comparing the two tires, Mickey Thompson BAJA ATZ P3 has more interlocking sipes available, giving it greater traction qualities.

On the other hand, the Deegan 38 has less effective siping, although having comparable hydroplaning resistance to its rival.

Ride Feel

The Mickey Thompson Deegan 38 is not really impressive in this department, and it makes sense since we are comparing mud terrain with a rugged terrain tire. (I mentioned all types of off-road tires here).

So it makes sense why this MT starts making a lot of noise in the form of wobbling, especially when you go above 30/35 miles per hour on it.

It’s outer rubber may be soaking towards bumps, it’s inner construction is very stiffer, relatively. This causes this tire to be more jittery in comparison.

Moreover, with such spacious lug design, it allows air particles to freely move in and hit the tread around, causing unwanted noise.

The Mickey ATZ on the other side, is a more comfortable tire overall.

It deals with noise with superior pitch sequencing, and it’s closed up tread blocks, don’t produce a lot of noise to begin with.

Furthermore, although its bump absorption efficacy is also not that appreciable, at least its a more stable one on pavements, as already discussed with it’s steering response (see above).

Winter Traction

Winter traction depends on a tire’s capability to keep its momentum going, and handling efficient on all types of snowy terrains.

Though aggressive off-road tires are not suitable at all for packed up snow, and ice. Nonetheless, they do okay when it comes to deeper snow (anything above 3 feet).

That’s because both these boys deliver powerful scoops on shoulders along with the sidewalls, which paddle their way out with ease.

Though still with superior snow holding capabilities, I would rate the ATZ here. Basically the tire traps the snow particles in its grooves, and then forms a contact with them.

This generates superior friction, as snowflakes are very sticking towards each other.

All Terrain Traction

A lot of folks think mud tires only do better on mud, that’s not true at all, they are just as great on other types of terrains. See them all below.

On Mud

Mud requires self cleaning grooves, and so with a more voided structure, its not a surprise to see a superior traction on Deegan 38 MT.

Whereas the Mickey Thompson ATZ, coming in the rugged terrain category, can’t offer as much mud evacuation through its tread voids, compared to its competitor.

On Rocks

A tire designed for rocky terrain should supply a pliant tread and durable sidewalls.

And after a lot of testing, I would have to rate Mickey Thompson Deegan 38 better here, as it’s softer lugs are more sticking, and provide bigger groove mouth to bite in to the rocky surface.

Moreover, they also features more aggressive sidewalls along with 3 ply polyester casing, and these account for superior durability as well, which is highly needed on this most puncturing terrain.

In comparison, the Mickey Thompson ATZ is off, but only by a tiny margin.

Sandy Dunes

Sand is a tough one, but its no big deal for both of these tires.

Though still out of them, the Mickey Deegan 38 takes the larger piece of the pie.

Not only the tire is lighter in comparison, it also has smoother edges which prevents it form as much digging.

Moreover, the tire also offers thicker sidewall lugs which further improve its contact-path with the sand, by expanding with lowered air pressure.

Wrapping Up

While it’s strongly advised to thoroughly read the preceding content, given its well-researched nature, for those pressed for time, allow me to summarize the key points discussed above.

The Mickey Thompson Deegan 38 does better in the following departments.

  • Sand performance.
  • Rocks.
  • Muddy terrains.

Whereas the Baja ATZ did better in following.

  • Winter grip.
  • On-road traction.
  • Comfort performance.

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