There may be no better place to test an all-weather, varied terrain tire than the unforgiving, but well-travelled off-road race course of the Baja 500. When you throw in the tail end of a hurricane, the result is a complete and sometimes harrowing test.
To try out their new K02 All-Terrain, BF Goodrich invited journalists to venture to Mexico for a friendly, amateur race along about 300 miles of the Baja Peninsula course.
I’ll write up a review of that driving experience in an upcoming post. For now, we concern ourselves with the tires. The KO2s are designed and built first and foremost for maximum off-road use with 20% tougher sidewalls, extended tread life and traction design to tackle everything from pavement to dust to dirt to mud to snow.
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While the KO2s long for testing through deserts, forests and tundra, they can live on any vehicle that will take them for everyday use. There would be some loss of comfort as they grip the road more aggressively than standard pavement tires. But, the driver doesn’t have to switch out tire sets between home and the wilderness.
During this Baja test, the Mexican terrain through every possible service at us except snow and ice. Nothing turned the BC cars and Ford Raptor Pickups back. The drivers even ran into a rarity in the Baja desert — heavy rains left behind by the fading remnants of a hurricane. When you dump that much water into a desert, washes become rivers and flooding covers the landscape. The drivers ended up soaked wet and covered in mud, but tires shrugged it off easily.
After all of the miles piled up, and the weary, wet and filthy journalists stumbled back to their hotel rooms for a final night of food and drink, the only thing that mattered in this marathon test of rubber was how the KO2s stood up overall. By my count, amidst all the racing buggies and Ford Raptor Pickups that carried the wannabe racers, only two tires needed replacing.
In both cases, it was more a case of driver error than tire failure. One overly ambitious truck driver took a turn too exuberantly in the wet, slamming hard sideways into a large rock. The impact broke the wheel rim, folding it in half and tearing the tire’s seal. In that case, the BF Goodrich reps were more worried about almost losing the drivers and the truck than tossing one broken tire aside. The other lost tire came off a buggy — when another driver wandered too far off of the racing course and clipped a large, sharp rock that would prove too much for any tire.
That’s it. I estimate 64 tires headed out on the 300 mile tun, and two didn’t come back. What more does a consumer need to see?