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Massive 4x4 Tire Guide

Bfg Baja Ta
Robin Stover | Writer
Posted April 1, 2012
Contributors: John Cappa, Christian Hazel, Pete Trasborg

What Rolling Stock Works Where

When choosing tires for off-road performance you can’t just go to the local tire shop for the info you’re looking for. And quite often your buddies and even online forums can be biased. Nobody wants to actually admit they bought the wrong tires! The good news is that we’ve spent several decades on- and off-road in stock and lifted 4x4s testing out different treads. Not many people (if any) have tried more tires than us or have tried them in as many different on- and off-road situations. We have rolled a significant number of miles on each of these tires to give you the evaluation you need to decide what tire is right for your 4x4 and the terrain you frequently travel on.

Tire Ratings
The terrain performance is rated with easy-to-read graphics shown here. On a scale of 1-4, with 1 being poor and 4 being the best, you should be able to locate the proper tread for the terrain you favor most.
4 stars This is the tire you should be running.
3 stars It’s a decent choice and will work well.
2 stars Better tires are available, but it’s acceptable if you need to compromise.
1 star We’d recommend a different tire.

BFGoodrich Baja T/A
The BFG Baja T/A is purely a desert survivability tire. It’s not about trail traction, flexibility, or light weight. The Baja T/A is built to stay in one piece and hit rocks at 120 mph while under a 6,000-pound, 800hp, sand-blasting ball of fury known as a Trophy Truck. The Baja T/A features a virtually bombproof sidewall. There is also a full race-only version that’s even stouter, but you’ll have to be on the sponsored list to get a set of those. The BFG Baja T/A can roll down the street fairly smoothly but the stiff sidewall can cause some flat-spotting on cold mornings. These are hand-built, purpose-bred tires that don’t do much else than what they were designed for. They pack up in mud, don’t flex enough or stick well to rocks and are worthless in snow and ice. But you can’t beat ‘em for high-speed desert use.
Rating
Street: 3 stars
Heavy Rock: 2 stars
Sand: 3 stars
Snow: 1 star
Mud: 1 star
Ice: 1 star

BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO
We think of the BFG A-T as the little sister to the M-T. While it may not be able to do the same heavy lifting as its M-T brother, it’s smarter and more civilized. The BFG A-T features a three-ply sidewall with a tread pattern that has become the Swiss-Army knife of off-road rubber. It’s works well almost everywhere without providing extraordinary performance anywhere. The BFG A-T KO tends to clog in heavy mud and is vulnerable to sidewall damage in heavy rock. However, the mild tread pattern works well in the sand without digging to China and excels at delivering a quiet, smooth ride on the street. The tiny sipes on the tread blocks help grip on wet pavement, ice, snow, and even in some rocky terrain.
Rating
Street: 4 stars
Heavy Rock: 2 stars
Sand: 3 stars
Snow: 2 stars
Mud: 2 stars
Ice: 3 stars

BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2
The BFG M-T KM2 may look similar to the company’s low-production high-cost Krawler, but this is a much more streetable version that is significantly lighter. The BFG M-Ts of yesteryear had decent three-ply sidewalls, but the company really stepped up sidewall durability with the new M-T. It’s still three-ply, but a new sidewall compound and 33 percent stronger cords increase carcass rigidity and protection. This addition makes the BFG KM2 even more of a jack-of-all-trades that is perfectly happy in mud, sand, heavy rock, snow and street (wet and dry). About the only place it doesn’t do well is on slick ice. But that’s to be expected of pretty much every mud-terrain tire with large lugs and very little siping.
Rating
Street: 3 stars
Heavy Rock: 4 stars
Sand: 4 stars
Snow: 3 stars
Mud: 3 stars
Ice: 1 star

BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX
The BFGoodrich Krawler is a low-production radial tire that shares more in strength with a bias-ply. It’s a heavy tire, but in the rocks the big lugs grab like gangbusters, especially when the tires are at sub-teen air pressures. The sidewall lugs work very well for climbing even slick granite on just the sidewall. The tread and sidewall flex and readily envelope obstacles, but resist tearing and damage to an impressive degree. They do well in most terrains and absolutely rule in the rock since that’s what they were designed for. They’re one of the best rock tires we’ve driven, bar none. They also do well in mud and deep snow but the lack of siping makes them a poor choice for ice sheets. On the street you can feel some lug slap and they drone loudly, but the ride is not overly harsh. Some flat spotting should be expected at lower pressures and temperatures.
Rating
Street: 2 stars
Heavy Rock: 4 stars
Sand: 4 stars
Snow: 3 stars
Mud: 3 stars
Ice: 1 star

Dick Cepek Crusher
With a tread reminiscent of a Super Swamper Bogger, the Crusher excels in mud, sand, snow, and rocks. The pattern doesn’t lend itself to off-camber driving, but it makes up for that with paddle-like traction in soft terrain. On the street, the Crusher emits an audible hum compared to other mud-terrains. In colder regions this tread has trouble dealing with ice-covered roads, so we don’t recommend it for such use, but if you want an extreme off-road tire that wears well, balances well, and you don’t care about noise, this could be your tire. The crusher is tough, with three-ply sidewalls and six-plies in the tread area. In addition to acting tough, the sidebiters feature skull-and-crossbone elements that bleed testosterone. With sizes offered from 31 to 35 inches in diameter, the Crusher is great for 4x4s with mild suspension lifts.
Rating
Street: 2 stars
Heavy Rock: 3 stars
Sand: 4 stars
Snow: 4 stars
Mud: 4 stars
Ice: 1 star

Dick Cepek Mud Country
In driving the Cepek tires we’ve tested, the one thing that has struck us is the company’s apparent attention to building a round tire that rolls nicely on the street. Nothing is different with the company’s Mud Country tire. While you feel the knobbies a bit, the great off-road performance more than makes up for a little road buzz. In our review we likened them to a trial’s bike tire, offering phenomenal grip in hard packed dirt and rocks. While our time with these tires didn’t allow much mud testing, what little we got didn’t prove all that impressive. Clearly, if mud is your game there are other more aggressive offerings. Aside from the mud performance, the only real criticism we had performance-wise was the lack of a biting sidewall tread. The sidewalls lacked any serious lugs to climbs ledges and shelves. Rating
Street: 3 stars
Heavy Rock: 3 stars
Sand: 3 stars
Snow: 2 stars
Mud: 2 stars
Ice: 3 stars

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