BFGoodrich KM3 Mud-Ter­rain

Recre­at­ing the best of the best

Jp Magazine - - Table Of Contents -

About 38 years ago BFGoodrich made his­tory when it in­tro­duced its

first Ra­dial Mud-Ter­rain

T/A tire, and ever since then BFG has led the way with the best in mud tech­nol­ogy. Skip for­ward five gen­er­a­tions of BFG mud tires and you have the new KM3, a big ad­vance­ment in tire tech­nol­ogy drawn from years of rac­ing and wheel­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Every new it­er­a­tion of the BFG mud­der is a wel­come re­fresh, and this year’s of­fer­ing is no dif­fer­ent. We got a sneak peek and drive while in Moab this spring, and then jet­ted off to Aus­tralia to check out some ground-pound­ing trails to fur­ther pun­ish the rub­ber. When we get a set on our own Jeep we’ll do a more in-depth and tech­ni­cal test, but for now the new in­tro­duc­tion speaks for it­self—this tire beats the best.

While any tire can be made to work in the mud, BFG and those of us us­ing the tires know that wear, street per­for­mance, and trac­tion on all sur­faces need to be com­bined with low noise, durable con­struc­tion, and a host of other im­por­tant at­tributes. In a nut­shell, they made im­prove­ments on the KM3 with a dif­fer­ent tread de­sign, dif­fer­ent com­pound, and dif­fer­ent con­struc­tion. Ac­cord­ing to BFG, the new Ter­rain-At­tack tread gives a 5 per­cent bet­ter mud trac­tion than the pre­vi­ous KM2 while gain­ing 8 per­cent bet­ter trac­tion in rocks from the new Krawl-TEK com­pound, and of course they wouldn’t di­vulge the recipe. In ad­di­tion, a 27 per­cent tougher side­wall from the CoreGuard Max fea­ture, which comes from the Baja T/A off-road race tire and is en­hanced by gen­er­ously thicker side­walls and Trac­tion-Ar­mor Side­wall Sculp­ture, equates to a lot more rub­ber in the shoul­der area.

We took the new donuts for a two-day spin in some of Aus­tralia’s tough­est ter­rain, and were ex­cep­tion­ally pleased

with the per­for­mance on- and off-road. The tread de­sign looks great and works bet­ter than the KM2, and the side­wall el­e­ments re­ally stand out. A gen­er­ous voidto-block ra­tio makes sure the tire will spin out any ran­dom mud, and the high­way noise was about the same as the KM2. Al­though we didn’t have deep mud for this event since it was a re­lease and not a true test, we’re con­fi­dent that they will work as ad­ver­tised. And speak­ing of ad­ver­tis­ing, the “What’s Your Build” tagline honors the trend of pick­ing a tire and build­ing your rig around it—look for more na­tion­wide pro­mo­tions tout­ing that fea­ture as well. As soon as we get our own set of the new KM3 we’ll be sure to give you a thor­ough test and long-term up­dates.

By Rick Péwé jped­i­tor@jp­ Pho­tog­ra­phy: Rick Péwé and BFGoodrich

Run­ning at low pres­sure for off-road means the flex­i­bil­ity of the tire can be show­cased. Note how the con­tact patch spreads out lin­early as well as ra­di­ally for a larger foot­print, hence more trac­tion.

Run­ning in sand is fast and fun, but some­one has to do it. The com­mon myth of a mud tire do­ing poorly in sand is just that—a myth. Lower the pres­sure andsee how well these KM3s will do.

The fancy word for all this ex­tra rub­ber on the shoul­der is Trac­tion-Ar­mor Side­wall Sculp­ture. It ac­tu­ally helps trac­tion be­cause of the mul­ti­tude of biting edges, and, of course, it en­hances the tire's aes­thet­ics as well.

The new Krawl-TEK com­pound seems to just hug the rocks without slip­ping a bit. This is the same per­for­mance we found in Moab dur­ing our se­cret test­ing. Ac­cord­ing to BFG, the KM3 shows 8 per­cent bet­ter trac­tion than the KM2 in the rocks.

Luck­ily BFG paid at­ten­tion to looks as well as per­for­mance. We can’t wait to get a set of these bolted on and aired down for mud and rocks.

Hot-dog­ging on the trail proved the tire to be sure-footed, without no­tice­able squirm or un­cer­tainty. Even on the street at low­ered pres­sure the KM3s were sta­ble and pre­dictable.

Note how deep the rock is dig­ging into the side­wall, yet no dam­age oc­curred. The Baja T/A race tire lent its bul­let­proof tech­nol­ogy to the CoreGuard Max car­cass con­struc­tion. Tough stuff.

The Ter­rain-At­tack tread is de­signed with a good void-to-block ra­tio, while look­ing noth­ing like the old KM2. Note the an­gle of the tread el­e­ments that in­crease mud trac­tion, a pur­ported 5 per­cent over the old-style tire.

Even the boom­ing ATV and side-by-side mar­ket can jump on the band­wagon. BFG offers the KM3 in sizes to fit most pop­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tions. We bet that some could be used on an old flat­tie!

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