deliver very good float to our suspension. Over sharp bumps, we can feel the tire absorbing some of the shock (rather than passing all of it on to our suspension), but this Toyo seems to have less of that reactive lingering overhang than other tires we've worked with, and this also surely contributes to it feeling deceptively light, belying its true unsprung weight hanging out there.
This suggests that static unsprung weight does not tell the whole story; equally important to the real road feel of a tire, or perhaps more important, is its dynamic response to the transients of road bumps. We suspect that the construction and materials of the Toyo's design (including hysteresis of the rubber compound, fibers in the carcass, etc.) are better damped than in other tires. This can be informally confirmed by a simple tap test. Give a solid tap to the tread of the Toyo (when mounted on the vehicle, so it is inflated and loaded), and it just makes a dull thud, indicating good damping and quick cessation of the tire's own energy oscillations after absorbing some road bump impact. But when we tap the tread of a competing A/T tire, it makes a lingering bongggg sound (which indicates a reactive overhang without sufficient damping), and that sound has a definitely pitched tone (which indicates the periodicity of that undamped lingering reactive ringing). That lingering ringing over every road bump makes these other tires feel heavy and sluggish, since heavy objects typically have a slow and lingering dynamic response to transients. On the other hand, the Toyo's quick, damped dynamic response to each transient road bump makes it feel light and alert (regardless of its static unsprung weight), since light objects typically have a quick and brief dynamic response to transients. All this adds up to making the Toyo's ride smooth, alert, and light over all kinds of surfaces, while it still communicates very well with the vehicle's suspension and with your steering.
And that, friends, is how Toyo engineers somehow reconciled all those seemingly incompatible, opposing goals: delivering a smooth, enjoyable ride; excellent transient handling performance; and long tread wear. These seemingly incompatible goals are difficult enough to achieve in any single purpose tire, such as a street tire. For Toyo engineers to have achieved all these goals in a multi-purpose tire, and in an A/T off-road configuration to boot, is a small miracle.
Incidentally, as you know, all-season tires have recently become popular for SUVs and light trucks, especially when these vehicles are primarily used on pavement. These all-season tires purport to offer better pavement performance than A/T tires: better handling, smoother and quieter ride, and longer tread wear. Of course they also offer miserable off-road capability, since their tread is not aggressive enough and their carcass is not tough enough. In other words, all-season tires are basically cheap street tires pretending to be something more. Let's say that you drive your SUV or light truck 90% of the time on pavement, but you would still like to have some off-road adventure and enjoyment 10% of the time. Put all-season tires on your vehicle, and your 10% off-road enjoyment suddenly collapses to 0%.
Now, riding out of the west (or the far east), along comes our hero, the Toyo Open Country A/T. It gives you back your off-road enjoyment. And, more importantly, for all of your pavement driving (whatever its percentage), the Toyo also gives you all of the benefits that all-season tires promise, and that no other A/T tire can deliver: great handling, smooth and pretty quiet ride, and long tread wear. And the Toyo A/T (in common with other decent A/T tires) actually handles all seasons better than so-called all-season tires; its aggressive tread pattern bites into snow better, and bites into or sheds water film better to resist hydroplaning.
Suddenly, there's no reason to buy any of those all-season tires. The Toyo Open Country A/T simply makes all-season tires obsolete.
back to table of contents