BFG's New All Terrain A/T KO2 - Serious Tires for Serious Weather and Serious Safety +VIDEO
By Thom Cannell
The Auto Channel
This is the same All Terrain T/A KO2 we recently tested in “sunny” Baja Mexico,not the abusive pot holed roads around Mid-Michigan. In Mexico the testing was done in “good” weather and surely not in snow. Since the tire carries an All Season rating plus the snowflake symbol of dedicated snow tires, we were curious. No matter how good it was on sand, rock, mud, slick rock, gravel, and warm asphalt, the KO2 had to prove itself in the winter.
The All Terrain T/A KO2 is an all-new generation of the famous BFG All Terrain A/T tire, which has won over 80 desert races. It is a tire that excelled on rough surface, but over the years owners demanded more. Specifically, owners wanted longer wear on rough surfaces, more resistance to sidewall damage, and overall better traction regardless the surface. BFG responded with a tire that delivers that, and more, more being a 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake emblem that signifies meeting severe snow traction requirements. That’s a lot of conflicting promises.
Because many owners use the tires on gravel roads (most tire failures are sidewall damage related), huge blocks were molded into the sidewall’s shoulders. Construction nuances include side lugs that bite into mud, sand, gravel, or snow, and areas the company calls mud-phobic bars that expel compacted mud for better traction. That’s what impressed us most in Mexico when caught in a hurricane. We were hub deep and deeper in water and mud, yet did not get stuck. That traction surprised even the tire’s design engineers. Overall, BFG says the new KO2 offers 20% tougher sidewalls, 200% more tread life on gravel (+15% asphalt), 10% better mud grip and 19% better snow traction.
This is our initial report after one nasty snow storm and a round-trip to Florida. The first scribble in our test notebook came moments after a switch from the OE tires our Nissan Armada had worn out to the BFG KO2. “They feel different,” our teammate said. “How?” we asked, “different good, bad, what?” “Well, they feel like they grip the road! They dig into it”. We thought this a good omen.
Next we rode in the rear where noise usually abounds. There we checked for any extra noise generated by the extremely aggressive tread design. There was none, at least no increase in noise we could detect, and that was compared to worn “slick” tires showing their wear bars. (Wear bars are devices cast into most tires to warn owners that replacement is necessary when 3/32” of tread remains). Then there were admiring remarks like “Wow, nice tires” and “Makes your truck look better, love the tires!” Our colleague’s response (in private) was “who notices tires?” Obviously some do.
Before the trip to Florida a sudden winter storm offered a first impression of how the tires performed on slick ice, slush, and 3” of snow. “They chewed it up, dug to the pavement” was the report. On the return from Florida, deep in the mountains, weather deteriorated to mist, fog, and sketchy roads. The report is the tires stood out as gripping the road and offering drivers a feeling of confidence and safety.
What more could we want for a first report? Nothing, really. So until we’ve racked up a few more inches of snow we’ll say this: the tire is quieter then you’d expect from its very aggressive looks, it is as quiet as the OE tire. KO2 steers better than OE tires, with accuracy and response we find a surprising in such a heavy vehicle, so the All Terrain A/T KO2 has enhanced the ride and handling. In snow, admittedly a limited test, it delivers grip and confidence. We could ask no more.