A Tire That Allows You To Have It Both Ways
Falken Tire's first real entry into the enthusiast off-road market is the new WildPeak A/T. With a symmetrical, computer-aided design, the tread features a five-rib pattern and rigid block designs for excellent on-road response. Extra-wide steel belts aid with carcass stiffness for excellent off-pavement handing. Just like the most durable competitors, Falken also has a stout three-ply sidewall and a durable rubber compound that allows Falken to offer a 50,000-mile limited mileage warranty. Generous siping also makes this tire a wet-weather and winter-rated roller.
We recently completed the 1,100-mile JK Experience adventure in our Project 'Con Artist. The event, sponsored by Falken, was an opportunity for us to test the newest size available in the Falken WildPeak A/T, the popular 37x12.50R17, over a variety of terrain and weather conditions.
With a smooth sidewall and visually docile design, we'll admit to being initially reluctant to doing nearly 500 miles of wheeling on these tires. At first glance, we imagined lots of winch pulls and flats, something that couldn't have been further from the reality of our experience. Of the six JKs that ran the Falken Wildpeak A/Ts, not one suffered a flat on the entire journey, which encompassed every type of surface imaginable, from endless miles of pavement to ever-changing terrain.
The WildPeak A/T, which measure out at a bit over 35 inches when mounted on the 'Con's 17x8-inch wheels, were run at about 10 psi over the course of the week, while others with beadlocks went down to as little as 6 psi with success. The sidewalls offered great ability to flex and conform to surfaces; the compound is very grippy on granite; and with enough wheelspin, they were even acceptable in sticky mud. As expected, the WildPeak A/Ts took to the sand dunes with sand tire-like flotation and control.
We found that these tires were astonishingly quiet on the pavement. At one point, we even disengaged the transmission at speed and let the 'Con coast, and there was no perceptible tire noise over the engine noise. During several downpours that we encountered, the tires performed just as anticipated, with surefooted ability and excellent straight-line tracking.
What impressed us the most with the WildPeak A/Ts was the condition of all of the tires after our trip. Every single tire appeared to be in like-new condition, with absolutely no tread chunking or sidewall scuffing. Despite serious trail abuse, these tires were no worse for the wear. With another thousand miles on the Falkens since the initial test, we can tell you that we continued to be swayed by the WildPeak A/Ts.
If there is any criticism, and we'll admit it is a small one, it is that the overall tire design and sidewall don't have enough of an aggressive look for some potential customers. However, our testing has proven that while the overall look may be on the mild side, performance of this tire is not a question.
With a price point that sits in the middle of the market, Falken offers this premium all-terrain at a price that won't have you cashing out what's left of your 401(k). The Falken WildPeak A/T is as good as the best A/Ts on the market and should be considered by anyone looking for a robust all-around good tire that offers real trail prowess with exceptional highway manners. In addition to the 27 sizes currently available, Falken plans on having an additional 17 sizes available in early 2011.
Tire: Falken WildPeak A/T
Load Range: D
Max load (lb): 3,525 @ 65
Sidewall construction: 3-ply polyester
Tread construction: 8-ply casing (SYM)
Approved rim width (in): 8.5-11.0
Tread depth (in): 18
Tread width (in): 9.3
Section width (in): 13.0
Overall diameter (in): 36.6
Static loaded radius (in): N/A
Revolutions per mile: 579
Weight (lb): 81.4
*Preproduction specs subject to change