The Tire Performance Guide
Back in the March '03 magazine issue, we gave you an in-depth look at all the tires the Jp Staff has hammered on. We said that we not only kill lots of tires, we kill lots of different kinds of tires. Nothing has changed. Perhaps more than any other magazine, the Jp staff tests tires to ten-tenths of their ability to bring you the truth on how the tires perform both on- and off-road. In fact, we probably put more miles on our test tires in the dirt than other magazines do in the dirt and on the street combined. We're wheeling fools. Here are our findings.
It's too bad tire stores aren't like shoe stores. It would be cool if you could try on your new set of tires and drive around on them for a while before you plunk down your cash, but it doesn't work that way. Since we've driven each tire in this story, we'll give you our idea, on a scale of one to four stars, of how they do in a given terrain. That way you can match which tire excels in whatever type of driving you do most.
****- This is the tire you should be running.
***- It's a good choice and will work well.
**- There are better tires available, but it's acceptable if you need to compromise.
*- We'd choose a different tire.
BFGOODRICH KRAWLER T/A KX
The BFGoodrich Krawler is a radial tire that shares more in strength with a bias-ply. In the rocks, the big lugs grab like gangbusters, especially with the tires at lower air pressures. The sidewall lugs work very well for climbing even slick granite on the sidewall. The tread and sidewall flex and readily envelope obstacles, but resist tearing and damage to an impressive degree. They excel in most terrain, but don't really seem to like deep, thick mud. On the street you can feel some lug slap, but the ride is not overly harsh and, once rolling, even borders on smooth.
Street-*** Mud-* * *
Sand-* * * * Heavy Rock-* * * *
BFGOODRICH MT KM
The BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM is a radial tire that's available in sizes up to 37x12.50-17. The semi-aggressive tread pattern makes it a good choice for all-around use, including street driving. Dry loose dirt, sand, light mud and some rock capabilities make the BFG Mud extremely popular. The sidewall lugs are slightly larger than those found on the earlier Mud Terrain, but the sidewall construction is the same three-ply. In some areas, they'll last a lifetime. Other more abusive terrains (sharp and rocky) have been known to cut the sidewalls of the BFG KM.
Sand-*** Heavy Rock-**
BFGOODRICH BAJA T/A
The BFG Baja T/A is often thought of as a race-only tire, but we've been really pleased with its performance just about everywhere. Surprisingly, if you air the tires down to about 5 psi they do very well in rocks, and their strong four-ply sidewalls aren't likely to tear. In mud and sand, they clean easily, and the outer lugs act like little paddles to keep forward momentum. Naturally, they do exceptionally well as a prerunner tire, giving superb forward and lateral traction while maintaining a high-survivability rate for rock hits. While the ride on the street is very rough, we've put about 10,000 miles on a set of 33x10.50-15s with very little tread wear noticeable.
Sand-**** Heavy Rock-****