*** EDITED SNOW/ICE REVIEW BELOW ***
Several people have been asking about them, so with about 1K miles on my new Wild Spirit TXR II's, I thought it was time to post up a review based on their performance so far.
The TXR II's are made by Multi Mile tire and sold under several names, including Wild Spirit and Wild Country. In the west, they're sold by Les Schwab tire stores and in the east, primarily by local tire shops. What initially got me interested in the tires is their appearance. The tough looking sidewall is combined with a tread that's a cross between an A/T and an M/T tire. I have had many people ask about them, just because of their appearance and the fact that they're not a very common tire where I live.
The TXR II's measure 32.8" in diameter and 11.3" in overall section width. The tread is a super deep 20/32" and the tire weighs in at a hefty 57 pounds. The pictures I've posted don't do the appearance of this tire justice, as they're much more aggressive in person. The design leans towards a mud terrain, with just enough all terrain features to keep them more street friendly than most.
On the street, the TXR II's have enough road manners to make them great for a daily driver. As you take off from a stop, you can definitely feel the lugs as your speed increases. The same is true when coming to a stop. They're not as bad as an M/T, but you can definitely feel that they're there. These tires are loud for an A/T. You can definitely hear them howling as you drive down the road. At highway speeds, the tires put out a nice hum. People can definitely hear them as I've had a few turned heads as I've driven by. Traction on the street is impressive. They will take a moderately fast corner without rolling onto the sidewall. And it's nearly impossible to break them into a spin unless you're on rain, gravel or ice. Street performance: 7/10.
Offroading is something the TXR II's do with ease, in most situations. In sandy conditions and aired down to 14 psi, they simply dig in and go, without so much as a slight spin. I imagine they would do even better aired down further, I'm just not that brave. Also at 14 psi, climbing a moderate rock obstacle isn't much of a challenge either. With the siping not present on most M/T's, these tires grip very well. Note that the TXR II's are a two ply sidewall, so some caution must be used, but I've not had a single problem with the sidewall or tread in rocky situations. Mud is the weakest offroad area for these tires. The tread blocks are just too close together to effectively be a true mud tire. They will, however, work very well for 90% off offroaders that encounter a wide variety of terrain. There are better dedicated off road tires, but their on road manners will not be as strong as the TXR II's. Off road performance: 8/10.
Rainy and icy conditions are the downfall of most M/T tires. The TXR II has siping, which should definitely help in both areas. During a heavy rain fall, I was impressed with their ability to shed water without hydroplaning. Even on the highway at speeds exceeding 65, they stick to the asphalt very well. There was one occasion where the highway was deeply grooved in the tire tracks that the TXR II's lost traction, but only for an instant and they found their way again without further drama. As you can imagine, the rain had pooled up there and was likely several inches deep. I have not had the opportunity to test them on icy or snowy conditions, which I'm not sad about. Again, with the siping, they should do well on ice. And, with the huge tread blocks, show should not be a problem. In fact, it may be one of the strong points of the tire.
The Wild Spirit TXR II's will be too loud and harsh on the street for those used to highway tires and they will not be aggressive enough for those that spend most of their time on the trail, in the mud and climbing rock obstacles. With their unique tread and sidewall design, however, they might be the perfect blend of M/T and A/T designs. If you're like me and need a tire that does everything very well, instead of a dedicated highway or off road tire, the TXR II's are definitely worth a look. When you consider their price of around $155 each in the 285/75 R16 size, you simply cannot go wrong. This is a great tire!
Updated snow and ice review (12/22/07)...
Here in Iowa, we get our share of nasty winter weather. Heavy snowfalls, packed snow and very slippery ice are common. When I bought the TXR II's, I was a little afraid about how they were going to do on the glare ice. Let me say that this is the best tire I've ever owned for snow and ice traction!
The aggressive sidewalls and tread pattern grab into deep snow and just keep going. The above picture was taken after a 4" snowfall. As you can see, the tread is clear of snow, meaning that they clean out very well. And, the sidewall is very functional in helping the vehicle through deeper drifts. On snow packed roads, the TXR II's seem to dig their way through to pavement with ease! The deep tread (20/32") helps greatly in that regard.
Icy roads present little problem for this tire. Forward and lateral traction are very good, thanks in large part to the tread siping. Ice traction has surprised me greatly. There's not a single time that I haven't felt confident about driving on even ice covered roads. The TXR II's definitely live up to their premium traction rating!
With about 5,000 miles on them, I only have two concerns about this tire. First, since they are quite heavy, it has taken several attempts to balance them correctly. As of now, there's still a shimmy in the steering wheel at 50-60 mph
. The tire shop has agreed to try again, and possibly do another alignment if the balance doesn't totally fix the problem.
Second, it has been a challenge to get an even footprint with the TXR II's. I've aired them down to 30 psi front and rear to try and remedy the situation. The front seems to finally have a flat footprint. I may need to air down to 28 psi in the rear to achieve that. This, however, is a common problem with running larger tires on lighter vehicles.
Finally, I still believe that the Wild Spirit TXR II's are the best tires I've ever owned. Excellent on road manners and unbelieveable off road prowess. These tires are the best combination of an A/T and M/T yet!