The BFG Mud-Terrain Gets More Than Just A Face-Lift
The tread pattern on the new BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 initiates either a really-like-it or really-hate-it reaction among most BFG tire fans. But if you're buying solely on looks, you're missing out on the true performance improvements that make this tire better than the previous generation BFG Mud-Terrain. It's no coincidence the BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 tread pattern looks similar to what's found on the Krawler. Much of what was learned in developing a high-performance crawler was used in designing a better mud tire.
We were able to get our hands on a set of 35x12.50R17s far ahead of the tires' release date to make sure we could get some miles on 'em. We slapped the new muds on our Moto Metal 951 17x9 wheels. All five of our tires balanced about average for 35-inch meat. Expect between 3-12 ounces of weight to zero them out.
In the past, the BFG Mud-Terrains had less than stellar sidewall strength in sharp rocks and stumps, even though they had three plies. This time around, in addition to the Tri-Guard sidewall, BFG added a more cut- and chip-resistant rubber compound, more aggressive sidewall lugs, and 33 percent stronger cords. There is three times more rubber protecting the sidewall than before. We noticed the more durable sidewall translated into a slightly firmer carcass; you'll likely run slightly lower pressures off-road to compensate.
If you're familiar with the BFG Krawler, you'll notice a crisper feel on-road when you swap over to the KM2. The new muds are lighter than the Krawler and are quite a bit more street-worthy. The Krawleresque tread pattern on the KM2 seems to wear more evenly than the previous generation BFG Mud-Terrain, and it also provides better on-road, wet-weather traction thanks in part to the extra cuts through the center of the large lugs. It's a relatively quiet tire until you reach speeds of more than 65 mph. They don't emit an unbearable reverberating growl, though-it's more high-pitched.
In the sand, we dumped the pressure down to 8 psi on our 4,500-pound Jeep. For most other terrain, 10 psi served us well. There are significantly more biting edges on the KM2 compared with the old Mud-Terrain, and traction is not an issue. For an off-road-only Jeep in loose or muddy terrain, we generally opt for a tire with slightly larger voids than the KM2. But for a daily driver that sees use as a weekend warrior, the KM2 tread pattern is a great compromise.
As if all the improvements weren't enough, BFG has larger sizes, too. The initial rollout will offer several tires up to and including a 42x14.50R20. Unfortunately, most of the rubber offered in the first phase will be for 17-inch (and larger) wheels. Those of us still running the seemingly industry-hated 15s and 16s will have to wait until September 1, 2008.
With the new stronger sidewall, the BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 is even more of a jack of all trades than before. Street (wet and dry), mud, sand, and rocks are all in its vocabulary. Overall, think of KM2 as a more affordable and much more streetable version of the high-dollar BFG Krawler.
-New stronger sidewall
-Improved wet traction
-Krawler-like tread pattern
-Slightly heavier than previousgeneration Mud-Terrain
-Fitment for limited wheel sizes initially
-Krawler-like tread pattern