Truck, Jeep and SUV enthusiasts are all very familiar with all-terrain and mud-terrain tires. All-terrain tires are designed for a good balance between off-road and highway performance, whereas mud-terrain tires are geared towards mostly off-roading due to its aggressive deeper tread and reinforced construction. Typically, mud-terrain tires are aired-down to a lower inflation pressure to enable better traction on the trail, such as rocks and obstacles.
That said, what is an R/T tire? What performance benefits does an R/T tire have versus an A/T or M/T? R/T stands for rugged-terrain, synonymous with extreme-terrain, rough-terrain or hybrid-terrain tires. Let’s Talk about what a rugged-terrain tire really is.
Rugged-terrain tires are a relatively new design and designation. Oftentimes, R/T tires are referred to as hybrids, as their on- and off-road performance and tread aggressiveness slots in between A/T and M/T tire types. Rugged-terrain tires generally offer both A/T and M/T tire features, such as large open tread blocks and sidewalls to help evacuate mud and debris. Additionally, R/T tires also share siping tread lugs found on A/T and M/T tires to help improve traction in wet and icy conditions. In the end, a rugged-terrain tire is a fantastic choice for those looking for a well-balanced medium rather than leaning all the way to one side. This is a very popular choice for overlanding, as overlanding builds travel frequently on all types of on- and off-road surfaces, not just mud.
You may have seen the XT designation while shopping for light truck tires. XT stands for extreme-terrain. Truth be told, XT tires are the same as R/T tires. While XT tires are claimed to be superior in performance versus R/T, the differences are likely negligible and the noise levels from both XT and R/T are about the same.
All-terrain tires are designed for both on-road and off-road use. They are designed with a reinforced casing, damage-resistant rubber compounds, and a lug or block tread pattern that can travel on mud, sand, gravel, and even snow. Some A/T tires have M+S or 3PMSF ratings, making them serviceable in harsh winter weather. All-terrain tires vary greatly, with some offering better traction and durability off-road than others.
Rugged-terrain tires take all of the design elements of all-terrain tires and elevate them. This means you get a more durable rubber compound, extra reinforcement in the sidewalls, deeper tread blocks, and more. R/T tires will handle difficult terrains that an A/T tire would struggle with, all while keeping on-road use a viable option, as noise levels are kept at a minimum.
A reasonable way to conceptualize R/T tires is to consider them a hybrid of all-terrain and mud-terrain tires in terms of design, expectations, and performance. Today’s mud-terrain tires are a bit quieter and have a longer lifespan on pavement than older designs, but they are still designed for more off-road use in thick, soupy mud than on pavement. Many mud-terrain tires also result in longer braking distances on pavement. This is because mud-terrain tires are larger and heavier, which means more rotating mass and unsprung weight (defined as weight that is not supported by the vehicle’s suspension). This difference in unsprung weight makes the vehicle more difficult to stop on dry or wet pavement.
Rugged-terrain tires and mud-terrain tires share some similarities, such as tread compounds, reinforced casings, tough multi-ply sidewalls, and aggressive, deep lug or block tread patterns. However, R/t tires are not as aggressive or tough as M/T tires. M/T tires have a higher void ratio (tread vs groove area) for good self-cleaning of mud and debris, tougher construction, more rolling resistance (and poorer fuel economy), and are usually taller plus-size tires for improved ground clearance on lifted trucks.
On the other hand, rugged-terrain tires are designed for a wide variety of conditions and surfaces – not just mud. R/T tires provide enough traction to tackle all types of terrain, such as mud, dirt, gravel, and more. At the same time, R/T tires are much more highway-friendly than mud-terrain tires, and have lower noise levels and improved ride quality. All this, without very little compromise in performance.
M/T tires are large, durable, and damage-resistant tires that are designed for trucks with lifted suspensions and extra ground clearance. They are ideal for off-road use, such as rock crawling, as they can be aired-down to provide more traction. However, they are heavy and noisy on the pavements, so RBP recommends M/T tires for vehicles that will spend 50% of their time off-road.
A/T tires have aggressive tread patterns for enhanced traction in mud, sand, loose dirt, and gravel. Thanks to its tread block design, these tires are “self-cleaning” as the tires turn. Although not as durable as M/T tires, A/T’s still utilize enhanced damage resistance with a reinforced casing and sidewall. Handling is precise, ride quality is good, and noise levels are quite low on pavement. Overall, A/T tires are a good compromise between road manners and off-road performance. RBP suggests A/T tires for vehicles that will spend 5-15% of their time off-road.
R/T tires are the ideal balance between all-terrain and mud-terrain. These tires are built for better durability and off-road traction than what an all-terrain tire can offer. However, tall sizes, deep tread and aggressive lug patterns are less pronounced compared to a mud-terrain tire. In the end, rugged-terrain tires are a great choice for those that are not willing to sacrifice off-road performance, but still want to enjoy their vehicle on the pavement. RBP recommends R/T tires for vehicles that will spend 15% to 50% of their time off-road. Rugged terrain tires are the best of both worlds and offer excellent performance in all driving situations.
The Rolling Big Power Repulsor R/T is a Rugged-Terrain tire designed for light trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. It provides excellent traction in wet, icy, muddy, snowy, and other challenging driving conditions.
The Repulsor R/T is a durable and technologically advanced tire that combines the best of both worlds: on-road comfort and off-road capability. Its beefy 3-ply sidewall construction provides a smooth ride on the highway, while its open notched shoulder tread blocks eject mud, rocks, and debris for excellent traction off-road. With these features, the Repulsor R/T is the perfect tire for drivers who want the comfort of an A/T tire and the performance of an M/T tire.
The Repulsor R/T is available in 33″ to 35″ applications, making it suitable for any truck.
If you need more information regarding our tires, check out our tire guide.