Whether you've ever heard of Hankook or not, it's a huge outfit with the goal of making American consumers realize that it makes premium tires. In an effort to prove this, Hankook arranged for a thorough test session late last year, which certainly did show that the RF10 is a very capable tire-more so than we had expected. However, it was all done with a vehicle we didn't know well and on trails we'd never been on before. As promised in the Jan. '08 issue, where we described our initial impressions, here's another look at the new Dynapro ATm.
By doing a test on familiar turf, we have far better control over the variables. For example, by mounting and balancing the tires ourselves, we get a decent feel for bead-retention qualities, how round (or not) a tire is, plus other bits of useful information. In the case of the Dynapro ATm, it was interesting to see that this set was quite true-running and needed less wheel weight added than the same-size OE issue it replaced. This is noteworthy because, at the factory, the tire and wheel assemblies are perfectly matched using machines with capabilities far beyond our trusty Hunter GSP 9700, meaning that the Hankook tires were manufactured to a significantly higher standard than what came stock on the TJ Rubicon. Well, that's pretty much the point Hankook is trying to drive home; it's a premium tire, not merely an imported low-price replacement. Apparently Ford, GM, International, and others agree and use Hankook as an OEM tire.
While the generously siped tread had taken a bit of a beating at the outside shoulders of the front tires (and justifiably so) after several hundred miles of playing slot car on mountain roads during the aforementioned introduction, it stuck extremely well to the road and offered a smooth and quiet ride. That much we knew. Not expected was how much smoother the Dynapro was over the stock tires in our test-after all, they're both rated at load range E. Another very pleasant surprise was that there was less oversteer, a trait we had contributed to the vehicle itself. Overall, with a more car-like ride and very good street manners, maybe Jeep should've looked into joining the ranks of manufacturers offering Hankook as an OE tire. Unless, of course, it expected all TJ Rubicon owners to only drive in mud. But then, the 4:1 low-range transfer case wouldn't make sense.
Mud is naturally not an all-terrain's forte, but if it's a mud-slinging tread you need, Hankook makes the Dynapro MT RT03 for that purpose. Rocks, dirt of most any kind, and other common trail ingredients were easily tackled with the RF10 as the tire provided very good traction both laterally and in basic forward motion. As is usually the case, hard-packed dirt and all-terrains get along better when the dirt is a bit moist. With a decent tread arch, the Dynapro also works well in sand, despite its square shoulders, and snow traction should be good with all the siping.
For a tire that is a compromise on the street (being an all-terrain), and to some extent on the trails (being a radial), the Dynapro ATm performs very, very well. A whole lot of technical research, development, and innovation did supposedly go into creating the RF10 and it shows, on both roads and trails.
This is one ATm that shouldn't cause withdrawals, and there are 29 sizes to choose from. Try one on next time you need new tires for your street/trail vehicle.
Tire: Hankook Dynapro ATm RF10
Load range: E
Max load (lb @ psi): 3,042 @ 80
Sidewall plies: 2-ply steel, 2-ply polyester, 2-ply nylon
Tread plies: 2-ply polyester
Approved rim width (in): 6.5-7.5 (7)
Tread depth (in): 16.5/32
Tread width (in): 7.2
Section width (in): 9.8
Overall diameter (in): 30.5
Static loaded radius (in): N/A
Revolutions per mile: 677
Weight (lb): N/A
Test vehicle: Jeep Wrangler TJ