BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2. Click image to enlarge
Article and photos by Russell Purcell
The BF Goodrich tire company sits atop the all-terrain tire market in Canada, and for good reason. Years of gruelling off-road competition at events like the legendary Baja 500 and 1000 endurance races has enabled BF Goodrich to prove the durability of its tires, exemplified by its recent dominance in the rock-crawling segment of the industry.
Racing and competition require intense research and development to develop new tire technology and designs that can endure the hostile conditions of everything from a Sonoran desert to a boulder-strewn trail.
Last month, BF Goodrich rolled out the latest iteration of its well-known Mud-Terrain T/A tire, the KM2 (which stands for Key Mud 2). The new design reflects the company’s goal to give the traditional mud-tire even greater versatility on the trail, as well as livable handling on the road.
“They look quite a bit different than the previous variant,” noted BF Goodrich’s light-truck brand category manager Joe Mazur. “The tread pattern is very aggressive. It incorporates some of the things we have learned from our rock-crawler programs.”
In the past, mud tires were specifically designed to excel in mud or deep snow, but recently, tire manufacturers have been engineering these units to strengthen their capabilities when faced with rocks, gravel and wooded trails. The heavy lugs and softer compound of a mud tire help this new generation of off-road shoes grip rocks and logs with relative ease, inspiring confidence in the driver and delivering a feeling of surefootedness never before seen off-road.
BF Goodrich’s new Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tire’s cut and chip resistance will be valuable when crawling along rocky trails. Click image to enlarge
“The big news,” continued Mr. Mazur “is a substantial increase in sidewall strength. (BF Goodrich calls this Krawler TEK).” The tire features thicker cord in the sidewall that is 33-percent stronger than that used in the outgoing model, as well as a different rubber compound that is cut and chip resistant. These advancements allow for more bite and sidewall protection along with increased strength and resistance to bruising caused by rocks and rough trails. “The people of the Pacific Northwest, such as here in British Columbia, will appreciate this as your terrain often features stumps and roots that can damage sidewalls and shorten the life of a tire.”
The sidewall benefits from extra rubber near the tread line which allows for better bite when you air down for the trail. Linear flex zones allow the tire to wrap around obstacles for unnatural amounts of traction. The KM2 has also been designed to be more adept at clearing mud and water than its forebearer, while generating less noise on pavement.
BF Goodrich plans to launch the tire in two phases. The first phase kicked off in early September and is focused on some of the brand’s most popular big sizes (17-inch and up wheels, and up to a 42-inch diameter). Phase two will begin next September with the introduction of 15 and 16-inch models. Currently there are sixteen sizes available, but ultimately there will be almost forty.
Current Sizes – Mud-Terrain T/A KM2
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