Our Ford F250 was in dire need of new rolling stock. Its previous shoes, although immensely capable, rugged, and stalwart examples of the kind of tires a truck like this requires, were feeling their age. It was lucky happenstance that Nexen had just introduced their new line of tires, the Roadian, with 63 different sizes covering everything from a reliable street tire to a punishing mud tire. However, this truck, seeing more grocery store parking lots than mountain peak trails, needed something that could do it all, so in rolled the Nexen Roadian ATX, a wonderful compromise between the extremes of the tire world: a tire that could keep pace on the highway and dip hub deep into the dirt when needed.
After a quick trip to the tire shop to mount and balance our new tires, we were rolling.
…in rolled the Roadian ATX, a wonderful compromise between the extremes of the tire world: a tire that could keep pace on the highway and dip hub deep into the dirt when needed.
Although pneumatic tires had been around for 56 years before successful adaptation for automobiles in 1911, early developers in the tire world, like Dunlop, Goodyear, and Michelin are still household names we easily recognize. However, there are many tire companies around the world that have long histories in the space that undeservedly roll under the radar. Nexen, established as Korea’s first tire company in 1956 under the name Heung-A and later Woosung Tire—is such a company. The company established a U.S. branch in 2005, and has since been enjoying around $2 billion in annual sales.
Designed to be quieter, more durable, bring better gas mileage, and provide increased traction, the Nexen Roadian ATX tire has large open blocks and aggressive sidewall that provide good performance in a variety of conditions we were able to experience. The first couple of forays on the road were to flesh out the overall performance of the four different elements trying to work in union to provide a confident and smooth ride. There was success in some areas and concern in others.
First, the concerns. Namely, they wors already horrid fuel economy of the stock Super Duties was made worse, as we gave up approximately 3mpg thanks to having to push an additional 400 pounds of aluminum and rubber rolling stock up to speed. We figured that would happen. However, we gained around 1mpg from the previous all-terrain tires that were on the truck. We didn’t expect that.
At low speeds, a very subtle chattering of the treads lets you know they’re there if you need. Multi-ply tread and sidewalls lend to a softer ride than we’d expect from such a corpulent tire, but any changes from the feel of the previous set of tires dissipated after a day or so. Basically, we took on the learning curve and adjusted our driving accordingly.
The successes of the Nexen Roadian ATX tire were brilliant. The overall ride was very smooth and very quiet over the previous tires. The tires have minimal whine and only a very small vibration at the top-most speeds, which is much more than we can say about any all-terrain tire with big-blocks and deep sipes that we’ve ever driven with.
…The tires have minimal whine and only a very small vibration at the top-most speeds…
The open channels of the shoulder blocks and the outwardly angled tread pattern that traverses the entire face of the tire effortlessly cleared the dirt and sand away from the fender wells. What was most impressive was that they adeptly avoided caking in the center treads, as there are very few channel intersections to block the exit of the debris. Some of the center treads seemed stepped, like the setbacks of a skyscraper, which helped keep the tires clear, but the unimpeded channels are the real gems. There was no slipping in the mud during quick accelerations or on a steep incline, but if you keep your head in the game and your foot light on the pedal, they are remarkably sturdy and confident in tight spots.
The factory siping on the larger blocks were too few and far between to assist in any serious rock climbing (the fewer the better for a tire that will see pavement), but that’s really not what we needed these tires to do. The real charm to these tires are the aggressively meaty side lugs that really knuckle down around the shoulders into loose gravel, dirt, and mud (it’s too early in the year here for snow), all the while providing a cool palette for the subtle hints of the tire’s animal theme (one side of the tire has what appears to be an animal skin of some kind).
Overall, the Nexen Roadian ATX tire is a vast improvement on the set of tires previously on the truck, and we are looking forward to them settling in so we can really see what they are capable of as the weather turns colder and wetter.
We swapped out the very capable KMC Wheels’ XD Series bling for Fuel Off-Road’s Covert Model D716 wheel to pair with the Nexen Roadian ATX tires. The heavy-duty aluminum wheels are gunmetal gray with a black simulated bead lock ring, giving them a subtle two-tone appearance. Other colors available are Candy Red, Matte Bronze, and Matte Black (but the beadlock ring is always black).
Each of the 10 spokes are split by a machined angular detail that provides a rugged mesh like a spider web, while 24 decorative bolts stud the ring. The 18-inch wheel is nine-inches wide and comes in at 39 pounds. It is available in sizes 15, 17, 18, and 20 inches with a host of bolt patterns for nearly every type of truck.
Editor’s Note: A version of this story previously appeared in the January/February 2023 issue of TREAD Magazine.