We touch base with Fuller in Big Bear Lake, CA, home of Federal Tires and site of the launch of their new Xplora RT. The old Couragia AT line is being phased out in favor of the Xplora line, even though Couragia was popular and well priced. Onward and upward, right?
First introduced is the Federal Xplora MTS, which is a hybrid show/street tire with a mud-tire appearance. Then you have the Federal Xplora RT (which is what Fuller is driving here). He says that there will be eight tires in total.
The Federal Xplora RT
Fuller focuses on this product because he thinks it will have a strong place in the market and will be extremely well liked. It’s 35-inches tall and 12.5-inches wide for a 20-inch wheel. Because it’s an RT, it’s a hybrid tire that everybody tends to love because it easily gives you the best of both worlds: a little bit of mud terrain and a little bit of all terrain, blended together. At the initial presentation, the Federal people assured us that the Xplora will be very quiet. We’re going to hold them to this.
Federal Xplora RT Tire Photos
Test drive the Federal Xplora RT
Fuller was given the chance to take these tires out on the street, driving for about two hours. He noticed that the claim about the tires being quiet is true. Federal did a really nice job with the center tread block design, which is a major component responsible for the quiet ride on the street.
With some other tires, you’ll often see extra space for stone ejection and for water passing, which is what can make the tire sound louder. Here, Federal keeps a four-block tread design and keeps it quiet. It’s still aggressive enough so that it works well off road too.
On the outside block of the tire, a variable pitch also reduces the noise. Federal included incremental step blocks on the edges of these tires. What this does is help you when you are going over water; when you are treading over the wet, the water has a place to go. The tires will channel that water into the evacuation pass and shoot it out of the tire so that you’re not hydroplaning.
Off road experience
The center sections of the tire appear very angular, with sharp-looking lines. Off road, you’ll get plenty of traction. Federal truck tires includes stone ejectors in between the outer tread blocks.
“No complaints there,” Fuller says.
The side "look" of the Xplora RT
It’s super aggressive looking. We’re seeing a few different tire manufacturers making these type of hybrid tires. However, the sidewalls usually don’t look as mean as the rest of the tire; good to know if you are specifically shopping for this look, which you most likely are.
The tire design is based on childhood memories.
Fuller found out from a conversation with the Federal CEO and chairman that the tire design is based on childhood memories. In the center section of the tire, the design is taken from an Atari Asteroid video game pattern. The outside design is borrowed from a movie called Human Centipede (and yes, it looks very centipede-like). The styling aesthetic that goes into this tire definitely matches its performance.
Xplora RT size
Federal offers this style in everything from 15 up to 20 inches. The most popular size that most of you will probably ask for is the 33x12.5 20 or the 35x12.5 20. Many of the smaller ones -- 17s, for instance -- are not going to be super popular with our crowd, but they are definitely out there for those who want them.
Fuller made a smart suggestion to add a 22-inch version, so that should definitely be coming soon.
The Xplora RT is definitely a very competitive price for this type of tire. Check out our pricing here: https://www.customwheeloffset.com/brands/tires/Federal?sort=popular&brand=Federal&tmodel=Xplora%20RT
Like most hybrid tires, the Federal Xplora RT does not offer a mileage warranty or rating -- it really depends on how you use them. Like in this video, Fuller is doing 80 miles per hour on the gravel, so it’s going to wear tires a lot differently than if he were doing 55 miles per hour on a state highway. So ultimately, mileage depends on how you’re driving them. However, Fuller predicts that, on the average, you should see 40,000-45,000 miles out of these.
Fuller also reveals a Federal company secret: they use the same rubber compound in the rubber tire that they do in the mud tire. So there’s that. But don’t pass it on.