4WD MODIFICATIONS - TYRES & WHEELS
BFGoodrich produced the first all-terrain tyre in 1976 and in 2015 released what the company says is its most advanced product ever: the All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyre. We tested a set on our bush-travelling ute.
The BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A KO2 was introduced to the market in stages, with the full range available in 2016.
Engineered using BFGoodrich’s off-road motorsports racing technology, the KO2 is designed to deliver exceptional toughness, durability and traction in harsh conditions; including gravel, dirt, rock, mud and snow.
The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyre is the first consumer tyre to incorporate the company’s race-proved CoreGard technology that is said to provide unmatched resistance to sidewall splitting.
Compared with the current KO tyre, the new KO2 is 20-percent stronger in this critical off-road performance area.
The new KO2 is also claimed to last twice as long on gravel roads and 15-percent longer on asphalt than the current tyre.
In addition, the KO2 improves mud performance with 10-percent greater traction.
The KO2 has split and bruise-resistant sidewall rubber and a thicker, extended shoulder to help prevent sidewall failures. Computer modelling was used to predict object paths and create a sidewall design most likely to deflect protruding objects.
The KO2 has a new tread design and rubber formulation. The tread rubber has been optimally blended to reduce chips and tears on gravel. A new footprint shape and interlocking tread design provide more uniform wear and stone ejectors push objects out of the tread to reduce drilling into the tyre.
The KO2 also has Side-Biter lugs in the sidewall to improve traction in mud, snow and over rocks.
Raised bars in the shoulder help release compacted mud for better traction in soft soil and 3-D sipes create biting edges for better snow traction.
We tested a set of the new BFGs in our chosen tyre size of 265/75R16, 10-ply equivalent on the LandCruiser’s 8×16 ROH mine-rated steel wheels.
We clocked up 22,000 bush kilometres in winter 2015 and 2016 and had no punctures, and absolutely no signs of stone cutting or chipping. we did another 21,000km on them over the next two seasons and then passed them on to another OTA Team member for continued testing.
The BFG KO2 tyres were excellent. On bitumen the were cool-running without the need for excessive pressures that create a harsh ride.
On the fully-loaded 75 Series we have 1.4 tonnes front axle weight and 2.1 tonnes rear axle weight. (Yes, it’s legal: we have an engineer-approved GVM upgrade.)
We experimented with different starting pressures for highway cruising at 100km/h and the optimum cold pressures were 36psi in the fronts and 50psi in the rears.
After an hour’s running the pressures have consistently climbed by an ideal increase – 40psi front and 55 rear – and the tyres were only warm to the touch.
Those starting pressures were lower than we’ve been able to use in any competitor tyre.
On bitumen the KO2s were quiet and had excellent response to steering wheel movement.
On gravel they performed well, with no sign of tread damage and in sand they bagged out and increased their contact patch length for great flotation.
In soft, steep dune country the optimum pressures were 16psi up front and 22psi at the back.
As a footnote, BFG seemed surprised that we reported these results without any financial encouragement. Here’s what a BFG staffer said:
“We focus on working with ambassadors of our brand who continually show support and engagement with BFGoodrich Tires (sic) and also who actively create content relating to the brand that also resonates with our audience.
“We seek to partner with brand advocates who are passionate about our tyres, even before we discuss financial endorsement.”
OTA isn’t anyone’s ‘brand ambassador’ or ‘brand advocate’ and never will be. We’re from the old-fashioned school of journalism and we don’t get involved in any cash-for-comment deals.