A few years ago, Falken tire busted onto the off-road scene in a big way. A well-known name in the performance car world, Falken was a relative newcomer to the ’wheeling realm. The company’s first offering was the WildPeak All-Terrain. It was a seemingly underwhelming-looking tire, but proved to be one of the most effective new-age all-terrain tires to hit the market. We spent over a year testing the WildPeak A/Ts, and were impressed with how well they worked on and off-road.
The company’s all-terrain more than proved that Falken was capable of crafting a durable, quiet, and all-around great tire, but not everyone was wild over the WildPeak. Unlike Falken’s competitors, there wasn’t a more aggressive mud-terrain option for those looking to get loose in wet soil. That was, until now. A while back, we got our hands on a set of prototype Falken WildPeak Mud-Terrains.
The prototype part of the tire title gives Falken room to fine-tune the tire before it hits the street, but we can’t see it changing drastically from 37x12.50R17 test set we’ve been running. Mounted under our 1997 Ford Ranger test rig, we’ve been able to put plenty of on- and off-road time down with the tires. Since most of you spend the majority of your time on-road, we wanted to make that a significant portion of our testing as well. Given that the Falken’s were prototypes, we didn’t bother putting them on the balancer.
This made the new rubber all the more impressive when we hit the highway. We kept looking for a wobble or vibrations, but nothing ever surfaced. In addition to gracious siping, which made for a more controlled inclement weather driving experience, the WildPeak mud-terrain shares an important commonality with the WildPeak all-terrain- low road noise. When compared to other mud-terrain radials, the WildPeak is one of the more silent of the bunch.
Using everything Falken has learned from years of off-road racing and recreational wheeling, the company has created a tread compound and pattern to work well across the board. The 37-inch version of the tires delivers a classic mud-terrain tread stagger, with modern tire technology meshed in. Extra ribs between the outer lugs are designed to fling mud more easily, while side lugs help provided more bite.
Maybe our only complaint is the fact that it looks like a very run-of-the-mill mud-terrain. There’s nothing that screams out what the tire is like say an Interco Bogger or Mickey Thompson Claw. We’re hoping to get our hands on a full-production set as soon as they become available, but for now, we are enjoying the performance of our WildPeak mud treads.
Strategically placed sipings and tread blocks provide bite in wet conditions. The load range D 3-ply sidewall on our prototypes list a max capacity of 3,525 pounds, which is slightly overkill for a lightweight pickup or SUV, but equates to an ultra-thick compound that is less susceptible to damage off-road.