Michelin XZL 9.00 R16 (XZL900)
Designed for agricultural and military use, these tires are some of the strongest tires available for recreational offroad use. The XZLs feature steel-belted sidewalls and multiple steel belts on the tread.
The tread pattern on the 9.00s is identical to that of the 8.25 and 7.50 sizes, but the grooves are substantially deeper on the 9.00s. These are not described as "DiggerLugz" or anything by Michelin. These lugs are simply designed for maximum traction on all types of offroad surfaces from rocks to sand to mud.
Unlike the older XCLs, the XZLs are tubeless and radials. The tread pattern on the XZLs is also not unidirectional.
Many vendors sell tires that they describe as "new" or "as good as new" when in fact these tires are used. Our XZLs are not some used tires that were pulled off an ex-MOD vehicle and left to rot or sold for military scrap. These XZLs are absolutely brand new. These tires have never been mounted and are fresh from Michelin's Southern California storage facility. The tread is unworn and there are no stains on the tires from having been exposed to sunlight for long periods.
While the XZLs are designed for trail use, they are fully street legal. The sides of the tires are marked "FOR DOT TEST AND NORMAL HIGHWAY USE IN NORTH AMERICA AND AUSTRALIA". Instead of "Durawall Puncture Resistance Technology" or "TriGard Construction", the specifications simply list four steel plies for the thread and one steel ply for the sidewalls. The single-tire load rating is a remarkable 3750 lbs.
The previous photos of our XZLs look rough because the tire flashing and mold lubricant is still on the tires since the tires are brand new. A quick rub with Armor All will make the tires shine like this if that is what you want.
If you are looking for white lettering on your tires, then you will be disappointed to know that the XZLs do not feature any kind of white lettering whatsoever.
And if you're into the Super Swamper thing, you won't like the XZLs either.
The 9.00s are very large and heavy tires. The 9.00s make even the 8.25s look small.
The 9.00 R16s are approximately 36.5" tall.
However, the tall and narrow profile of the XZLs lets them tuck into the wheel wells more easily than other equivalent-height tires.
The quality of the XZLs is very high. While very heavy, the weight of the XZLs is very evenly distributed throughout the tire and the shape of the tires is very concentric, making for very easy tire balancing compared to other similar-sized tires. When balanced with lead weights, the XZLs require substantially less weights than other equivalent-sized tires.
Even though the XZLs are much easier to balance than other equivalent-sized tires, we still recommend balancing the XZLs with Equal Tire Balancer for best results. When combined with Equal, the XZLs give a very smooth ride. We use Equal on our own Michelin tires, and the result is far superior to any other balancing/tire combination we have tried. Furthermore, the XZLs will remain balanced for their entire useful life with Equal. The 9.00s take 8 oz. of Equal.
Tires as large as the XZLs take a very long time to air down. For airing down your XZLs, we recommend the Staun Tire Deflators. Simply thread the Stauns onto your tire valves and the tires will deflate until they reach the preset pressure, at which time the Stauns will automatically stop deflating. You will be able to air down all four tires simultaneously with the Stauns.
Conversely, tires as large as the Michelins will require large volumes of air to inflate back up to safe road pressures. Our favorite tool for inflating tires in the field is the Power Tank. This 15 lb. Power Tank system has been upgraded with a Heavy-Duty Inflator and a Tank Boot. The Heavy-Duty Inflator is much easier to use than the standard press-on air chuck, and the Tank Boot protects the tank from the gorillas at the local welding shop.
Many recreational fourwheelers who demand tire performance also use Michelin tires. When you are driving a heavily loaded vehicle far from home, the last thing you need to worry about is your tires. This Defender 110 is fitted with XZLs in size 7.50 R16.
The XZLs are extremely strong tires. Very few tires have steel-belted sidewalls, but the XZLs do. During our Dusy Ershim and Rubicon trips, the three of us who had XZLs fitted suffered no tire problems of any kind. Both the Dusy and Rubicon are famous for being very hard on rims and tires, as most of the rocks are as tall as the wheels and the trails are very narrow with lots of turns.
In the United States, we are accustomed to traveling first class, business class, coach, etc. But we Americans forget that the majority of the world travels in first class, second class, and roof class. For such occasions, the very high load rating of the Michelin tires really matters. These Michelin XS sand tires take these great loads in stride. While you will never load your vehicle like this, it's nice to know the Michelin tires can take it.
Look at the load on this Mercedes-Benz truck. The front tires are some cheapo tires, but the rears (where the load is carried) are Michelin XS tires.
Numerous motorsports teams rely on Michelin tires to get the job done. The Repsol-KTM Rally Team use Michelin tires exclusively. Their support truck is fitted with Michelin XZLs. This support truck makes even the Snap-on truck pale in comparison. Photograph by J. Cunha.
The Gauloises-KTM Rally Squad also use Michelin tires. Here, former Dakar champion Richard Sainct freshens up during the 2004 Dakar Rally. Photograph by T. Flechsig.
Mechanics from the Repsol-KTM squad repair the team bikes during the 2004 Dakar Rally. In the foreground is a very large Michelin XZL, the tire fitted to their team support trucks. The team mechanics have their hands full just keeping the bikes running. They don't need to be dealing with truck repairs. Hence the Michelin tires. Photograph by T. Flechsig.
Team Repsol-KTM's strategy worked. Nani Roma went on to win the 2004 Dakar Rally. (Roma's KTM 660 is fitted with Michelin Desert tires.) Photograph by H. Peuker.
Dream on Ho. Dream on.