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Old 23 Jan 2005
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7,5 x16 or 33"12.5x15

Which tyres would be the best for a trip down to Ghana on the Atlantic route and back again through Niger and Algeria (desert crossing twice) on a ToyoLC HJ60?
Four 33"12.5x15 BFGoodrich almost new that came with the car or four new 7,5x16 Michelin XZL (last time I did 23000km without punctures with this type of tyre!)
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Old 23 Jan 2005
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BF Goodrich are All Terrain (forgot to mention it)
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Old 23 Jan 2005
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Hi Mario,

I did 35000 km trans africa on the AT's (and a tour in south Alg earlier). I had one avoidable flat in Angola because I hit a sharp stone with the side walls at 70km/hr (lazy steering).

The front tires where still in pretty good shape, those on the back had like 0.5 cm profile left.

I think they're pretty good all round tyres traveling tyres and much cheaper then the michelins.

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Old 23 Jan 2005
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All terrain is a great tyre, very durable. 7.50x16 is the industry standard though for 'proper' off roaders so I would go with them, replacements on the road will be easier to come by. also tubes are available which can help if you wreck the tyre, giving you a useable, albeit not ideal, spare even on a tubeless tyre. Although the 33s are wider the benefit in sand is minimal when compared to the additional strain on steering and bearings. additional floatation comes from lengthening the footprint when airing down rather than the width of the tyre. You can get BFG in a metric size equivalent to 7.50. I would save the wider tyres for posing at home!!


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Old 30 Jan 2005
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As you are spending more time in sand, go with the BFG's -
Tubeless tyres run cooler, are easier to fix (take strings/patches and tubes)
The wider BFG size will give you more much more floatation on sand, especially when aired down.
Consider 2 spare tyres for this route though if space permits as if you shred one you wont be able to replace it.
I used BFG's Mud Terrains 265/75 16s through West Africa, and would use them again without hesitation.
They worked fine in sand - but only beceause they are wider.
The only downside I can see with your BFGs is they are 15 inch, and not as tall as a 16 inch (35 inch tall), so you may lose a little ground clearance. Also taller 16 inch tyres with a greater rolling radius work better in sand -as long as your gearing can handle them (Tall+Wide = biggest footprint)though the width 12.50s have will offset the height to a certain extent.

The Downside with 7.50x16 XZLs is that they are quite a narrow tyre and this combined with the agressive tread pattern means they wont perform as well as an All Terrain (epsecially a wider one)in hot sand.
The Bonus with 7.50x16s is that its the most common size of tyre especially in West Africa, and therefore if you need a replacement on route - easy to find.

Ex RAF Regt, Ex Dragoman, LRE Instructor,
LR 90 300 Tdi Overlander
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..and Bloody Nice Bloke!

[This message has been edited by Gipper (edited 30 January 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Gipper (edited 30 January 2005).]

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Old 2 Feb 2005
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Hi Mario,

For sand, a taller tyre is better, other things being equal. This is for two reasons: firstly, when a taller tyre sinks a given distance into the sand, the angle of the "wall" in front of it is not as steep. Secondly, a taller tyre can (other things being equal) run a little softer than a smaller diameter tyre. (The deformation of the sidewalls takes place over a larger area, so there is less heat build-up).

A tyre's dimensions have little to do with its ground-contact area. But the shape of the "footprint" differs, and this is very important. For a road-performance car, a wide, low tyre has a wide, short footprint which provides stability for cornering. But in sand, a wide, short tyre has all the disadvantages of a wide sand "wall", a steep angle to climb the wall, and lower clearance.

The options you have are both good in their own way - the BFGs are taller and less aggressive (good), but wider (bad). The Michelins are the other way around. But the Michelins offer two other benefits - they are the standard size in Africa, and they are well known for their ability to run at low pressures (and pressure pretty much aces any other consideration when driving in sand).

Of the two, I'd opt for the Michelins, but either is a good choice. Given a blank slate (and cheque), my first choice would be tall, narrow XZLs in a 255/85-16 (33x10-16), if available.

My 2p worth.


Michael & Sandy
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