There’s a new 4WD tyre on the market, and after a couple days thrashing it through the Victorian high country, What Tradies Want is backing it as a winner.
BFGoodrich has introduced its next-generation off-road tyre for extreme conditions: the Mud- Terrain KM3. Long known as a leading brand for hard-core off-road enthusiasts, BFGoodrich – BFG – has put some serious R&D into the new tyre to improve climbing, traction and toughness in the mud and over rock.
BFG claims the KM3 has 5% better mud traction than its predecessor thanks to ‘Mud-Phobic’ bars on the tyre’s shoulders. The bars are designed to release compacted mud for enhanced traction in muddy or soft-soil conditions.
The tyre’s Terrain-Attack tread pattern includes massive tread blocks designed to deliver incredible grip from any angle of approach, and the Krawl-TEK compound delivers 8% better rock and slick-surface traction than its predecessor. The tyre’s Linear Flex Zone allows it to envelop objects at low pressures for even more grip when climbing, and the Traction- Armor Sidewall Sculpture and notched-shoulder design also boost traction in soft soil and mud.
The KM3 also claims extreme sidewall protection, pinch shock resistance and chip-and-tear resistance on gravel. Its sidewalls are 27% tougher, thanks to CoreGard Max race-proven technology derived from the BFGoodrich Baja KR3 desert-racing tyre line. This technology helps prevent splitting or puncturing with increased thickness that protects the critical sidewall failure zone.
Fortunately, that hasn’t made the KM3 noisy on tarmac. Street performance and on-road noise levels are actually pretty good.
That’s the tech side of things covered. What’s it like to drive? And can the KM3 hold its own in some real-world, tough, Aussie terrain?
In a move What Tradies Want applauds long and loud, BFG set up a heap of
vehicles, supplied driving coaches and put us behind the wheel with the instruction, “Go for it.”
For a couple of days we pounded the KM3 through the Victorian mountain trails around Mount Buller and came away very impressed. The trails BFG had ready for us included some serious, rocky snot, a couple of river crossings, some smart-paced dirt roads and hills that left nasty skidmarks (some of them in our jocks), and not only did we fail to damage a tyre, let alone puncture one, the more we drove, the more we came to trust the KM3s. It just seemed as though there wasn’t anything they wouldn’t stick to or climb over.
And we don’t make any claim to being 4WDers with any expertise. We’re just happy punters having a great time, and we’re pretty sure the tyres got us through.
Pressures were in the mid-20PSI range, so there was every opportunity for a failure, but it didn’t happen. The KM3s took all the punishment we could dish out, then smoothed us home along the bitumen with all the good behavior of a mum dropping the kids to school in the family station wagon.
In WTW’s opinion, the KM3 is a tough, sticky, and extremely capable off-road tyre.
PLENTY TO CHOOSE FROM
Australia will have 25 new sizes of KM3 available, ranging in size from 16″ to 20″ rim diameters. A full complement of 38 sizes will be available by the end of 2019, providing coverage for about 90% of the Australian market. Best coverage will be in the popular the 17″ to 20″ rim-diameter market – the largest segment in this tyre category.
There’ll also be three size upgrade options for the UTVs. The new KM3 UTV tyres offer the same toughness, traction and climbing ability as those for street-legal vehicles, but are tuned for the performance of UTV rigs, and the side-by-side racers and farmers will love that.
A GOOD OPTION
BFGoodrich had 15 vehicles on site for this demonstration of the tyres, and from the camera crew through the media cars market. Best coverage will be in the popular and support crews there was a range of vehicles and driver expertise. There wasn’t one failure during the entire exercise, and there’s no possible doubt the tyres coped with the wide variation in terrain with little or no compromise we could find.
There were times we were sure the instructor would pull us up and take the wheel because we were clearly out of our depth, but there was never any hesitation. BFG backed the KM3 without reservation, no matter what we asked of it. And with good reason as far as we’re concerned. It’s clearly a tough, versatile tyre well capable of doing what it was designed to do, and probably a whole lot more.