BFG WINTER KSI - ONLY IN CANADA
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.