BFG WINTER KSI - ONLY IN CANADA

4WDrive - - Contents -

Yes, that’s right, a winter tire de­signed for and sold ex­clu­sively in the Cana­dian mar­ket place. And there’s even a size for SUVs that will be man­u­fac­tured in Canada to be re­leased in 2018, the 265/70R17.

I re­cently tested the Bridge­stone Bl­iz­zak DM V2 and in my open­ing re­marks I com­mented on how weather changes from good, to bad, to worse when­ever I re­view winter tires. Many of you may have thought I was us­ing some artis­tic li­cence (fib­bing) but I of­fer you an­other con­crete ex­am­ple.

On Tues­day Fe­bru­ary 28th, the tem­per­a­ture in Ot­tawa reached a high of 5°C. Ot­tawans were wear­ing hood­ies, women went to work in skirts, and ev­ery­one was look­ing for­ward to spring. It had been so warm that driv­ers were ef­fec­tively test­ing the wet track

per­for­mance of winter tires, and the Red­bull Crashed Ice event was in dan­ger of be­ing can­celled.

I left Bri­tish Columbia on Wed­nes­day, March 1st, and by the time I got be­hind the wheel two days later, the mer­cury had dropped like a hockey puck chucked from the Peace Tower to lows of -14°C with a wind chill to make it feel like -20°C. Wind­blown snow cov­ered the ice brak­ing course threat­en­ing to force driv­ers off the end of the run­way. And not the kind in fash­ion shows. BFG had taken over the run­way of the Rock­cliffe Fly­ing Club, next to the Cana­dian Avi­a­tion and Space Mu­seum out­side of Ot­tawa.

Con­di­tions had be­come perfect to test the new BFGoodrich Winter KSI. As I’ve said be­fore, I am the blessed tire tester.

The test was di­a­bol­i­cally sim­ple. Use iden­ti­cal ve­hi­cles, driv­ers and courses, to do side-by-side com­par­isons of the new BFG Winter KSI to its cur­rent com­peti­tors in the seg­ment as cho­sen by pro­fes­sional tire deal­ers. The three courses tested snow han­dling, ice han­dling, and ice brak­ing.

The first bat­tle round was the snow han­dling test, pit­ting the BFG Winter KSI vs the Yoko­hama iceGuard iG52c us­ing Mazda 3’s.

The BFG was over­whelm­ingly su­pe­rior, pro­vid­ing con­sis­tent per­for­mance (key for all stunt driv­ers) in a num­ber of key at­tributes. First was ex­cel­lent pro­gres­siv­ity (the abil­ity of the tire to re­cover from a slid­ing ma­noeu­vre) se­condly, the tran­si­tions from deeper snow to a packed sur­face were smoother and more con­sis­tent, and trac­tion in the deeper snow was bet­ter; giv­ing the driver a more con­fi­dent over­all ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind the wheel.

The sec­ond ri­valry pit­ted the BFG against the Toyo Ob­serve GSi-5 on an ice slalom course us­ing Honda CR-Vs. While all testers felt the KSI had bet­ter ice trac­tion as the ve­hi­cles tran­si­tioned through the slalom course, my own ex­pe­ri­ence was that there was very lit­tle dif­fer­ence be­tween the two tires.

These first two chal­lenges were sub­jec­tive tests. The win­ner de­cided by the driver's ex­pe­ri­ence rather than a mea­sure­ment of time or dis­tance. How­ever, the fi­nal con­test would pro­vide em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence to de­ter­mine the bet­ter tire. Back to back Mazda 3's the Winter KSI was pit­ted against the Fire­stone Win­ter­force. I (and the other driv­ers) drove the Mazda at roughly 43 kph, then at the start­ing cones we slammed on the brake pedal and pinned it to the mat un­til we were at a com­plete stop. The VBOX be­gins mea­sur­ing dis­tance at 40 kph un­til

we hit zero. Twice on the KSI, and twice on the Win­ter­force. Next driver, rinse and re­peat.

Af­ter the points were tal­lied, the KSI came out on top, blud­geon­ing the Win­ter­force with a con­vinc­ing 12 me­tre av­er­age im­prove­ment in stop­ping dis­tance, roughly three cars lengths, the dif­fer­ence be­tween com­ing home and say­ing, "Wow honey, I had a close call", and hav­ing all the airbags de­ploy.

What was also in­ter­est­ing was the dis­per­sal in the data points gen­er­ated. The KSI tended to brake at the same dis­tance ev­ery time, pro­vid­ing a nice clump of data points, where the com­peti­tor tended to brake at dif­fer­ent dis­tances, al­ways tak­ing longer than the KSI, but some­times much, much longer.

Dur­ing the wet brak­ing (a mix of rain and bits of ice) against the Toyo Ob­serve (go­ing from 85 to 0 kph) there was a sixme­tre dif­fer­ence on wet pave­ment – data courtesy of the rain that fell on pre­vi­ous driv­ers days be­fore.

Snow and ice han­dling is a re­quire­ment for a winter tire, and the KSI ex­cels un­der those con­di­tions. Bet­ter yet, the low noise and solid han­dling un­der dry and wet con­di­tions also gives you the ad­van­tages of a per­for­mance all-sea­son tire – where you’ll likely spend most of your winter driv­ing time.

The tire sizes on the mar­ket for fall of 2017 are for pas­sen­ger cars and CUVs, how­ever, the Cana­dian man­u­fac­tured 265/70R17 is slated to make its de­but in 2018. Look­ing for a con­fi­dence in­spir­ing, pre­dictable winter tire? Try the BFG Winter KSI — you shouldn’t have to work hard to stay on the road.

Head­lines shine off the glassy ice sur­face on the ice han­dling course. The Yoko­hama iceGuard iG52c comes in sec­ond on the snow han­dling course.

BFG Winter KSI com­mands the snow han­dling course.

Prep­ping for the ice brak­ing test. The ice brak­ing com­par­i­son proves to be the knock out round with BFG Winter KSI com­ing out with the tro­phy. Data shows a nice tight de­pend­able clus­ter for the faster stop­ping KSI.

Mak­ing use of the run­way for the ice brak­ing test.

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