If you follow motorsports even a little, you probably associate the B.F. Goodrich name with off-road racing, and the legendary Baja 1000 race in particular. This event takes place on the potholed trails of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and showcases off-road pick-ups and race buggies.
Over the years, vehicles fitted with B.F. Goodrich tires have come out on top 25 times and have taken home top honours in 80 different categories. This dominance is a testament to the quality and toughness of the brand’s tires, and continued success has helped the company gather valuable information for the development of its products. In fact, all this experience is precisely what led to the development of the new T/A KO2 all-terrain tire. It was put to the test during the 2013 edition of the Baja 500, where the winning vehicle was fitted with – you guessed it – the KO2.
B.F. Goodrich’s truck and all-terrain SUV performance tires are grouped into three categories: the first includes truck tires designed for the road (namely the Long Trail and Rugged Terrain line), while the third consists of tires made for intense off-road use (the Mud-Terrain and competition tires). The KO2 falls in between these two categories. It’s an all-terrain tire that can take on almost all conditions while offering good performance on the road, good resistance to wear and an exceptionally quiet ride. Thus, it’s designed for truck or SUV owners who drive on the road most of the time but head for the trails on the weekends to go hunting, fishing, camping or the like.
Designing a tough tire that performs well off road and offers good handling is a mighty tall order. This explains why the sidewalls of this new product are 20% stronger, while the tread is twice as resistant on gravel and 20% more resistant on the road. Finally, B.F. Goodrich also claims that the traction is 10% better on muddy surfaces and 19% in the snow.
To increase the puncture resistance of the sidewalls, the engineers used the same adhesive found in B.F. Goodrich Baja T/A KR2 rally tires and CoreGard technology. What's more, advanced deflection design helps deflect the trajectory of pointy objects that could puncture the rubber.
Improved tread longevity is due to a more resistant rubber compound and a tread design that produces an interlocking effect for added stability. Stones that get caught in the tread can have a shearing effect, so the stone-ejecting grooves are all the more important. In short, ejecting the stones prolongs the life of the tire.
For traction in the snow and mud, the engineers created a serrated shoulder design for better grip. Moreover, sidewall rubber blocks add to the traction while 3D active siping technology provides biting edges.
All these features combine to make the KO2 a better tire in all aspects, at least if the manufacturer is to be believed. To convince us, the brass at B.F. Goodrich Canada equipped some Chevrolet Silverado LTZ pick-ups with AWD and an extended wheelbase so we could put the new All-Terrain T/A KO2 to the test.
The proof in three moves
We were directed to the wooded routes of Alberta’s Lake Louise region, where we had to complete three different tests. The first was crossing a section of large rocks that simulated a dry riverbed; the second was to drive on a muddy, uneven road; the last was a stretch of wooden logs placed across the road like you often find on roads in the forest.
It should be said that these tests weren’t necessarily difficult, but they helped confirm some of the KO2’s qualities. The goal of the rocky section was to demonstrate tread toughness, stability and increased traction due to the shoulder design. The second test helped us verify mud ejection. Finally, the wooded section was there mainly to prove the resistance of the sidewalls when put up against outgrowths like logs.
Without comparing these tires to competitor's models, it’s hard to declare them the best in the category. But the tests introduced us to a tough off-road tire that’s quiet on pavement and offers good traction in the mud. In addition to all that, the All-Terrain T/A KO2 has a very interesting asset for the Canadian market.
Beginning this year, Quebec drivers are required by law to use snow tires that bear the mountain/snow flake symbol on the sidewall, which indicates that they surpass the snow grip requirements of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). Although the KO2 is an all-season tire at heart, it earned the mountain/snowflake symbol, meaning that it is perfectly legal to use it in winter. Furthermore, the specially developed tread should prove durable even in summertime.
This product is not an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) tire. It’s a replacement tire, and don’t be surprised if many people choose it this fall when the time comes to put snow tires on their pick-ups or SUVs. Initially, it will be offered in 12 sizes, targeting primarily Ford, General Motors, Ram, Toyota and Nissan trucks.
In addition to all these advantages, the KO2 upholds B.F. Goodrich’s reputation in this category.