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Biggest Little Tire Test

Tire Pile
Off-Road Staff | Writer
Posted August 7, 2013
Photographers: Off - Road Staff

13 Different 31-inch All-Terrain Tires

Do you ever feel like tire reviews in off-road magazines are always performed with giant tires and rarely in a size that fits your daily driver? Wouldn't it be nice to see some tire testing done in some normal tire sizes for once? We felt that way, too, and that's why this story has been a long time coming. We got a fair amount of testing time in before releasing an all-terrain tire guide to help you buy your next tires for your truck or SUV.

Rounding up 13 different all-terrain tires—all offered in a 31-inch tire size on either a 15- or a 16-inch rim—we dispersed them amongst staff and volunteers who would each drive two or three different sets and give us feedback for the story.

At first, we thought we'd be able to put each tire in a ratings system with numerical value, but we quickly realized that one tester could not give a numerical rating to a tire that we could compare against another tester's numbers on a competing tire when they did not each drive on the same tires. Instead, we asked each reviewer to give us feedback on performance, wear, ride, or anything they wanted to tell us about the tires. From there, we took the two most complete reviews of each tire to add to this story. One thing to note is that these tires were mounted on different wheels, and a different wheel width can change tire dimensions slightly.

Using everything we'd gathered, we were able to compile the biggest little all-terrain tire guide with some candid reviews that we felt were pretty accurate. Unfortunately, some of the tested tires became discontinued during our long-term testing, in which case you'll also spot an updated version of the tire that replaced its predecessor. OR

BFGoodrich
What more needs to be said about the tire that basically invented the term “all-terrain”? First debuting in 1976, BFG's All-Terrain has spanned a lifetime over four decades with only minor tread and compound changes over its production run. Is it a dated tire? Of course it is. But it's also the all-terrain that all other all-terrains are still measured against—the standard. Don't expect to see any major tread changes anytime soon.

Make/model: BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO
Made in: Japan
Size on sidewall: 275/70R16
Load range on tested tire: C
Max load: 2270
Tire hardness: 69 @ 92.5 degrees F
Tread depth: 16/32
# of plies in sidewall: Three-ply polyester
# of plies in tread: Three-ply polyester, two-ply steel
Weight of tire: 40.0 pounds
Diameter: 30.6 inches
Width: 10.4 inches
Tread width: 8.4 inches
Size range: 26 inches to 37 inches tall for 14-inch to 22-inch wheels
www.bfgoodrichtires.com

Test vehicle: Chevy Tahoe 1500
Average psi: 33
Driver opinion: While some other all-terrain tires may perform better in certain situations, few do it as well as the BFGs in every terrain. It was the tire I learned to off-road on and it excels in dirt. Wet pavement, dry pavement, and snow, too. I've put many on my daily drivers over the years. But after so much time, I feel like it's time for an update. If BFG could make this tire up so many years ago, what could they design today? I'd like to see better highway performance out of the next version, with maybe a taller tread depth. I'd also want better wear characteristics; I got a lot more miles out of a set of Cepeks recently.

Test vehicle: S-10 truck
Average psi: 32/30
Driver opinion: They let me slide around in the dirt a lot better with more control than some other tires I've used with ribs—you know: the ones with treads done in lines around the tire. Those ribbed type work well on the street, but tires like this BFG are what I prefer. You can't beat it—why would the same tread be around for so long if it wasn't the best? Deep mud seems to be the one thing that stops me on these tires, but I'd buy the Mud-Terrain BFGs if I wanted to hit more mud.

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