MR GOODRICH MEETS ITS MATCH
How to test the BFG All-Terrain KO2 tires
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Jun 15, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Story by John Grafman
All photos courtesy of Myles Regan/Regan Digital Images
You might want to say our small platoon of off-roaders in Malibu falls under the grouping of phony tough, or crazy brave. Actually, aside from a few, most of in the media would probably be considered phony tough.
This is not to say those of us here aren’t capable, but few of us are able to get behind the wheel and put in a decent showing in anything outside of an amateur competition. Then again, that’s why we are press and not professional racers.
Case in point: We are traversing all over the hills of Calamigos Ranch, just off of Mulholland and Kanan Dume Road, sorting out the pros and cons of several four-wheel drive vehicles. It really isn’t a fair comparison, nor is it meant to be. We have the rather affordable Jeep Renegade and Chevy Colorado on one end of the spectrum, and Land Rover’s luxurious Range Rover. Each has its own endearing qualities, and merits.
The steep descents and narrow trails can be a bit hazardous. Let alone, the reps from the various car companies have plainly put it; drive as slow as possible and as fast as necessary. That sounds like good advice considering that the closest most of us get to dirt is reading the National Enquirer.
We all talk a good game, but we all know our limits, and the last thing anyone wants to do is badly embarrass themselves in front of a bunch of professionals in the media biz. The word would most definitely leak out.
So, we cut around the very dry brush of the Santa Monica Mountains with due care at about 5 MPH. At this far from break neck speed the sheet metal returns without a nick, and nary a scratch. Yes, we weren’t trying hard enough. Then again, these aren’t our toys to break.
However, it is sad to say that even a very old and lazy dog could move faster than our pack.
With the guidance of many OEM reps, we live to report another day. I can say this much, all of the technology from ABS to hill descent mode, which comes in almost every 4-wheeler, allows even the greenest novice to survive. So, with any luck at all the hills of Agoura, Calabasas, and Malibu won’t be claiming any victims today. Technology is amazing!
We often think tech means some black box that manages anything and everything on how a vehicle is controlled, but there’s more to tech. Okay, it is indeed black, but there are four of them, and they reside under each fender. These tech marvels are called (are you ready for this?) tires!
Low tech you say, well we say meet the BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A KO2 and Andrew Comrie-Picard. I’m sure both will change your mind.
As it turns out, the new KO2 can boldly go where no media wag has gone before, or at least not on this day. BFGoodrich wants to show us what could be done with the right tires underfoot.
We are saddled into a Jeep Wrangler with only a few mods, and a little less air pressure in the tires. Perhaps the most significant is that for the vast majority of the spin around the hills we are motoring in just 2-wheel drive.
The curious journalist in me starts to wonder. Should I be worried? I mean, beyond a doubt it is possible to get seriously hurt or killed on this trail if the driver screws-up.
I have two reasons that keep me from breaking into a sweat. The first is, the BFGoodrich KO2. The company has been at the forefront of all-terrain tires since 1976, so the engineers had plenty of time to learn a few things over the past four decades. The engineers were fortunate, as they could leverage the ideas found on their own product, the BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR2. That tire was equipped on nine of the top 10 finishers in the 2014 Tecate SCORE Baja 500.
The resulting facts speak loudly. The relatively new KO2 tires provide 10 percent better traction in muddy conditions, and 19 percent in the white, fluffy stuff in comparison to the prior-gen KO tires.
The BFGoodrich rubber also lasts 15 percent longer on asphalt, and incredibly twice as long on gravel surfaces. And, as far as tire-tech goes, compared with the outgoing model, the new KO2 with race-proven and race-winning CoreGard has a 20 percent greater resistance to sidewall splitting. The computer modeling accounts for off-road obstacles, and prevents the tire for bruising, or busting.
The second reason I fear not is the driver. Andrew Comrie-Picard is known for his stunt driving and off-road racing. Andrew doesn’t look in the least bit concerned, so why should we?
Earlier, with us journalists behind the wheel, we managed to keep on the trails at only slightly better than walking speed. Andrew hits many of the same paths at speed that would be appropriate for the street. We tear up the hillsides, in two-wheel drive like a bat out of hell. The ride quality, in spite of the ruts, holes, and roots, is actually rather nice, especially compared to the stock OEM products we were in before.
This isn’t a race, but it feels like it. Trees and brush whoosh by us in a blink. The trails at Calamigos Ranch are only slightly wider than the vehicles, yet Andrew blazes along in a very casual, confident way. Perhaps, keeping the momentum going allows the Jeep to float over the imperfections. I’m not really sure, but the difference is pronounced.
One of the sharper turns that require a three-point turn for many of the pick-up trucks doesn’t even slow us down a beat. A little E-brake and drift-around works perfectly. Not exactly rookie moves.
The KO2 tires allow for this wild, aggressive behavior, and in the hands of talented drivers this rubber can make the impossible happen.
Well, if you didn’t know already, Mr. Comrie-Picard isn’t just any old off-roader. In fact, the 44-year old Andrew Comrie-Picard is the 2014 Rally America champion, and was one of the team members to pilot a win in the Baja Challenge class at the Score Baja 1000 race.
Andrew ran the final 100-mile leg of the race. He’s also been on Top Gear USA, and his credits go on and on. Actually, he’s one of those overachiever, Elon Musk types. If you want to feel inadequate, just look at his complete bio sometime, and it’ll bring you back down to earth quickly.
For all practical purposes, having Mr. Comrie-Picard at our beck and call is a non-starter. On the flip side, the BFGoodrich KO2 tires are readily available. No, we won’t be in Andrew’s league anytime soon, but every little bit helps!
For specifications and more information about the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, click here.