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The New BFGoodrich KM3 Mud-Terrain T/A Has Arrived

Posted in How To: Wheels Tires on June 1, 2018
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Photographers: Rick PéwéCourtesy of BFGoodrich

About 38 years ago BFGoodrich made history when it introduced its first Radial Mud- Terrain T/A tire, and ever since then BFG has led the way with the best in mud technology. Skip forward five generations of BFG mud tires and you have the new KM3, a big advancement in tire technology drawn from years of racing and wheeling experience. Every new iteration of the BFG mudder is a welcome refresh, and this year’s offering is no different. We got a sneak peek and drive while in Moab this spring, and then jetted off to Australia to check out some ground-pounding trails to further punish the rubber. When we get a set on our own Jeep we’ll do a more in-depth and technical test, but for now the new introduction speaks for itself—this tire beats the best.

While any tire can be made to work in the mud, BFG and those of us using the tires know that wear, street performance, and traction on all surfaces need to be combined with low noise, durable construction, and a host of other important attributes. In a nutshell, they made improvements on the KM3 with a different tread design, different compound, and different construction. According to BFG, the new Terrain-Attack tread gives a 5 percent better mud traction than the previous KM2 while gaining 8 percent better traction in rocks from the new Krawl-TEK compound, which of course they wouldn’t divulge the recipe. In addition, a 27 percent tougher sidewall from the CoreGuard Max feature, which comes from the Baja T/A off-road race tire and is enhanced by generously thicker sidewalls and Traction-Armor Sidewall Sculpture, equates to a lot more rubber in the shoulder area.

The fancy word for all this extra rubber on the shoulder is Traction-Armor Sidewall Sculpture. It actually helps traction because of the multitude of biting edges, and of course, it enhances the tires aesthetics as well.

We took the new donuts for a two-day spin in some of Australia’s toughest terrain, and were exceptionally pleased with the performance on- and off-road. The tread design looks great and works better than the KM2, and the sidewall elements really stand out. A generous void-to-block ratio makes sure the tire will spin out any random mud, and the highway noise was about the same as the KM2. While we didn’t have deep mud for this event since it was a release and not a true test, we’re confident that they will work as advertised. And speaking of advertising, the “What’s Your Build” tagline honors the trend of picking a tire and building your rig around it—look for more nationwide promotions touting that feature as well. As soon as we get our own set of the new KM3 we’ll be sure to give you a thorough test and long-term updates.

Running at low pressure for off-road means the flexibility of the tire can be showcased. Note how the contact patch spreads out linearly as well as radially for a larger footprint, hence more traction.
The new Krawl-TEK compound seems to just hug the rocks without slipping a bit. This is the same performance we found in Moab during our secret testing. According to BFG, the KM3 shows 8 percent better traction than the KM2 in the rocks.
Running in sand is fast and fun, but someone has to do it. The common myth of a mud tire doing poorly in sand is just that—a myth. Lower the pressure and see how well these KM3s will do.
Luckily BFG paid attention to looks as well as performance. We can’t wait to get a set of these bolted on and aired down for mud and rocks.
The Terrain-Attack tread is designed with a good void-to-block ratio, while looking nothing like the old KM2. Note the angle of the tread elements that increase mud traction, a purported 5 percent over the old-style tire.
Hot-dogging on the trail proved the tire to be sure-footed, without the squirm and unpredictability as in other tires. Even on the street at lowered pressure the KM3s were stable and predictable.
Note how deep the rock is digging into the sidewall, yet no damage occurred. The Baja T/A race tire lent its bulletproof technology to the CoreGuard Max carcass construction. Tough stuff.
Even the booming ATV and side-by-side market can jump on the bandwagon. BFG offers the KM3 in sizes to fit most popular applications. We bet that some could be used on an old flattie!

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