To take a tire that is already known for being one of the toughest on any terrain and attempt to update it into something even tougher and better performing is no easy task, but that is exactly what BFG has done with the new BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A KO2.
When the original T/A KO came out roughly 15 years ago it raised the bar for both on and off-road performance from a tire that fits in between a less aggressive AT tire and more extreme MT model. Branded as being the “toughest all terrain tire ever”, BFGoodrich set out to design the KO2 to not only up the ante in that regard, but looked to add to its traction capabilities and increase the treadlife.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Review:
BFGoodrich has revamped the tread compound and pattern for the KO2 and uses what they term CoreGuard technology. The tread compound, taken in large part from the Baja T/A KR, has been formed to be more cut, chip and tear resistant than its older version. It’s also been designed to significantly improve treadlife. (More on that below.)
BFGoodrich’s iconic footprint pattern remains basically the same as the original KO. Hey, why mess with a good thing when it works? What is immediately noticeable is the sidewall design. It looks a bit tougher and a little more aggressive than its predecessor.
The shoulders have been extended down and the rubber is thicker, which adds more sidewall strength, something that is critical on any off-road tire. It significantly reduces the chances of tearing or cutting the sidewall, which is where most tire failures occur. This new sidewall design has an added benefit in reducing sidewall splitting as well.
Traction on dry pavement, dry sand or dirt roads is exceptional for the BFGoodrich All-terrain T/A KO2. About the only thing we can add here is that the confidence it inspires really has to be experienced to be appreciated. While that may sound a bit over the top, it’s really just a testament to the kind of traction you can expect on this tire.
Driving on wet streets is where you can often find some problems. That’s not the case for the KO2. They resist hydroplaning whether around town or at 70 mph on the highway. Brake performance is also improved on this tire and as good as you’ll find compared to the DuraTrac, ST Maxx or any other model you want to compare.
Taking the KO2 off-road is where things become fun. Just how much fun and how well does it perform off the beaten path? The quick answer is that it exceeded what we had hoped for.
It’s easy to forget that before BFGoodrich made this tire available to consumers, they drove this model in the Baja 1000. Known for being the most grueling off-road course in the world, the BFG team won the race in their class. Oh, the tires that were driven on are the same ones sold to the public and not special race only tires. That speaks volumes for what you can expect taking these off-road yourself.
Driving through dirt, grass, sand, rock, creek beds and mud is where this tire thrives. Side biter lugs that stand out from the sidewall help provide additional traction in snow and mud. To aid in throwing out the compacted mud are unique Mud-Buster Bars that do a solid job overall. The company claims a 10 percent increase in traction compared to the original KO. While not as good as a dedicated mud tire in deep mud, the KO2 holds its own in nasty conditions.
One area where the older KO’s could have seen some improvement was in their traction on ice and slush. The KO2 seems to have addressed this issue with the locking 3-D tread block sipes. In fact, BFGoodrich claims the KO2 provides 62 percent more sipes that adds 19 percent better snow traction than the older model.
Another factor for the increased performance in deep snow is the extended shoulders and the shoulder design itself on the sidewall. It helps push through the snow for added traction, whether in just a few inches or much heavier amounts.
It’s worth noting that all sizes of the new KO2 now feature the mountain/snowflake symbol that signifies the tire meets industry severe snow service requirements. This was not the case for all sizes of the original KO.
Whether it’s on the highway or driving on off-road terrain, the KO2 has very responsive steering. Even driving through mud and snow the steering is not an issue for this tire. When steering through corners this tire does not give you the rolling feeling you often find with this style of tire. It holds its ground and confidently takes the corners.
Ride comfort on the BFGoodrich All Terrain KO2 is very good for an AT tire. No, it’s not like that of a standard passenger touring tire, but it isn’t like riding on a wooden wagon wheel either. Really, it’s what I would have expected from a tire like this.
Noise is nothing to complain about as well. Again, it’s not like riding in a quiet Mercedes, but you should expect to find minimal road noise at highway speeds, which is good news since many drivers spend the majority of their time on-road than off-road.
Treadlife is another area that BFG designers spent a good amount of time in improving over the previous KO, which arguably has always been the single biggest complaint. The end result is a tire that delivers exceptional treadwear. Of course, since this is a new tire that has only recently been made available, we can’t say whether you’ll get 80K miles out of the tread or not. But we can say that treadlife does indeed look to be longer over the older KO based on initial findings.
Do you drive a good amount on gravel roads? If so, BFG has doubled the expected treadlife on gravel. Not only off-road, but on asphalt you will find upwards of a 15 percent longer lifespan overall.
Are you looking for a tire that can withstand rugged work zone areas without the sidewall getting shredded due to all the debris that gets run over? KO2 tires feature a 3-ply sidewall construction to go with its unique tread compound which adds more strength and durability to the tire. The new tread compound and added features built into this tire give it a treadlife that is superior to the KO and most any other AT tire model as well.
In what may come as a pleasant surprise, BFGoodrich has set prices on their new KO2 at about the same level as the original KO and similar models from Goodyear, Cooper and others.
For example, the KO2 in LT265 /75 R16 123R E1 RWL runs at approximately $205 installed. The same exact size in the original KO comes in at $198, while the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac costs around $209, and the Cooper ST Maxx is approximately $215.
In an LT285 /65 R18 125R E1 RWL, the KO2 runs $289, while the KO is $288. Value for the money is excellent with the KO2.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Review: Final Verdict
It’s not often that we find a model that ticks the boxes on everything most every driver, including ourselves here at Talkcarswell Tire Review Team, looks for in a quality tire, but the new BFGoodrich All Terrain KO2 does just that. You’d be hard-pressed to find any real negatives with this tire. It just takes a beating and comes back asking for more.
While other models like the Goodyear DuraTrac and Cooper ST Maxx offer very capable performance, this new KO2 is just a step ahead in our opinion. Based on its performance, treadlife and value for the money, it is simply one of the top all-terrain tires available today.
Hopefully, this BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 review will help you in your decision. If you want a review for any tire, feel free to leave a comment below!