The above picture was taken when I had about 1,000 miles on the tires and they look great - too bad they didn't stay that way...
BF Goodrich KM2 Tire Review
May 27, 2013
By Matt Marine
Note: You can click on the pictures below to bring up a full-sized image.
Three years ago, I drove my brand new JK Rubicon straight from the dealer to Discount Tire to get my new BFG KM2s put on. The folks down at Discount Tire thought I'd gone a little crazy. They had never replaced tires on a vehicle with only 26 miles on it before. Why was I doing it?
Although Rubi's come with big 32 inch tires standard, I knew I was going to need larger tires because I intended to do a lot of offroading with my dream vehicle. The dealer had installed a Mopar 2.5 inch lift and I decided to go with 33" KM2s to bump up my ground clearance a bit.
I also decided to go with a not-so-standard size. A narrow 33 inch tall by 10 inch wide tire (255/80-17). One reason was weight, since these were a slight bit narrower than the stock tires, they weighed a pound less. I also wanted to give the tall, narrow tires a try. I had heard that they performed better than wider tires (the jury is still out on this for me). An hour later, I rolled out of Discount Tire with my new 33's. I was very happy.
I put my KM2s through a lot in the past 3 years. They have about 23k miles on them, most of it either four-wheeling or on pavement trying to get to dirt. I usually take the bus to work, so they don't see a lot of driving back and forth during the week. They got most of their exercise on the weekend.
Now, although they have seen a lot of dirt and rocks, most of the four-wheeling I do is easy to moderate. I very rarely do advanced trails and nothing extreme. I chicken out way before my Jeep does. That being said, I usually don't air down on the easy trails (too lazy and too impatient to take the 30-60 minutes to air down then back up) and rarely spin my tires.
Okay, so much for the background. How did they perform?
They were quiet on the road (at least for aggressive mud tires) and I never had any issues with them as far as handling. And although they had a tendency to rumble at very low speeds, it didn't bother me much.
Fortunately, I never had to perform any super-aggressive evasive maneuvers so I can't tell you how they perform in an emergency. They stopped well, tracked decently and handled as expected. In Arizona, I rarely have to deal with rain or snow, but what I did drive through on the road, they seemed to do well.
Not a lot of mud in Arizona. I went through short stretches of trails with 2 - 4 inches of mud. I don't have much to compare them to, but my overall feeling was ... I thought they would do better. I slipped around and spun seemingly as much as those running ATs in front of me. My impression was the lugs got filled up with mud and they weren't able to expel it quick enough. But not enough data to make a fair judgment.
I've driven through a fair amount of sand with these tires, but it's usually not "beach" sand. The sand I drive through is a lot more course, filled with small pebbles. Although when deep, it can get you just as stuck, it's not as difficult to traverse as the fine sand. We did drive through some finer sand in Moab a few times and it got buried fairly easily. I think these tires did as well as expected in sand for a mud tire. You don't buy these tires if you're planning on doing mostly sand wheeling.
Snow and ice
Again, not something we have to deal with a lot here in southern Arizona. But, I have had more experience than many people in Tucson with these conditions. I LOVE to wheel in the snow and seek it out whenever I get the chance. I thought mud tires would do awesome in the snow. Snow is similar to mud, right? Wrong. I was very disappointed in their traction in snow. Though, after looking this up on some forums, I shouldn't have been surprised at their lack of performance. I didn't see any advantage (and possibly a disadvantage of running these compared to ATs in snow). The top pictures shows where I got stopped on a snow covered trail. It is steeper than it looks in the picture, though I was still surprised how easily I was halted.
Here's a picture on the same day on a flatter portion of the trail. The performance of the tires varied greatly depending on the type of snow I encountered. They seemed to do okay in light, fluffy snow and wouldn't get any traction in the wet, slushy stuff. For those of you who deal with snow for months at a time, this shouldn't be a big surprise.
Rocks and dirt
Finally, getting to some for of terra firma that I know. Arizona wheeling has tons of rocks. All different types and sizes. Big, smooth, slippery boulders to sharp volcanic rocks that rip up your tires, to small "baby heads" which are about the size of a large grapefruit and driving trails littered with these is like driving on a road full of oversized marbles.
The KM2s did very well on rocks. They held onto most rocky surfaces and seemed to claw their way along very well. I rarely lost traction.
When you aired these down, they seemed to stick like glue.
Wear and tear
My KM2s looked very good after about a year and a half and 12k miles (see picture to the right in Sedona and close up below). Still lots of tread left and almost no chunking. But, that's what you should expect after only 12k miles, right? I don't think the BFGs making it to this point is a big deal. All good tires should.
Fast forward another year and a half and another 10k miles and it's a different story. I've got serious chunking going on and although they seem to have lots of depth left in the tread, they were starting to scare me a little. I was also getting a few cracks in the sidewalls.
And that scared me even more. My 2003 Tacoma stock BFG Rugged Terrains were terrible for sidewall damage. I had three sidewalls go out on me (only one when I was four-wheeling).
To quote almost everyone who saw my Jeep within the last few months, "Dude, nice Jeep, but you need some new tires."
They only have 23k miles on them! I know they have seen more than their share of offroading, but I'd expected at least 30k before I would have to start thinking about replacing them.
So I went out and bought me some Goodyear MTRs. I will let you know how they compare.
I like the looks of them
Not too loud on the pavement
Sidewalls seemed to be strong enough, though I did have some cracking
Performance on rocks. Lots of traction and grip
Prone to chunking (at least for me)
Didn't do as well in mud or snow that I would have hoped
Felt I had to replace mine at 23k miles
Undetermined. I know a lot of people swear by their KM2s and they are very popular (though I also know a lot of people who swear AT their KM2s). Since this is the only tire I've wheeled with on my Rubicon, I don't have anything to compare it to. I liked the way it handled on the road and performed on rocks, but they didn't last as long as I would have liked and were throwing off serious chunks by 17k miles. I'll update this when I have had a chance to compare them to my new Goodyear MTRs.