I knew things were going to get dicey when the ominous thunderclouds, which had loomed overhead for much of the morning, unleashed a fury of lightning. It fractured the sky and brought with it a deluge uncommon for the season. As bulbous drops began to splatter against our visors, I called over the intercom to my codriver, Trevor. “Things are going to get greasy…easy now.” He backed off the accelerator of our Wide Open Baja buggy, but only slightly.
Our straight way terminated with a left turn into a now-flowing creek bed; a bushy tree lay dead ahead. I knew we were carrying too much speed as he turned the wheels and applied the brakes. The vehicle went into a four-wheel slide − we weren’t going to make it…
“Easy, easy, back off, GO RIGHT, GO RIGHT!” We cleared the tree by a mere four feet. I rattled off a flurry of rapid fire instructions: “Go right, go right, punch it, don’t stop; don’t stop!” Like a quartet of Gatling guns, the tyres pelted us from all sides with gloopy chunks of mud; our adrenaline levels matched the raging creek by the time we’d got back on track and ploughed in.
We were in Baja Norte, Mexico’s frontier state, en-route to Mike’s Sky Rancho, an iconic enclave in the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir. Our mission for the next 48 hours was to flog BFGoodrich’s new All- Terrain KO2 − which they claim to be their toughest A/T to date − through Baja’s best.
Many of us at Overland Journal have run BFG Mud-Terrain and All- Terrain KO tyres for years. It was to our incredulous surprise that, when we put the KO up against six other leading all terrains in a tyre-to-tyre shootout this spring, it didn’t fare very well. My personal thoughts were (and still are) that the earlier KO was not a bad tyre, but that the competition had caught up with, and surpassed, it. When I received word that the company was launching its next generation All-Terrain, the KO2, it not only confirmed our findings, but also reaffirmed my belief that BFGoodrich is committed to staying on the cutting edge of tyre technology. The new tyre is said to be tougher, and to provide better traction and longer treadlife. Short of performing a longterm test, Baja’s backcountry would surely confirm or disprove the former two.
TREAD LIFE, TOUGHNESS, & TRACTION
When it comes to improving the previous model, the company is making some formidable claims. The first is a 15-percent increase in tread life on asphalt, and a whopping 100-percent on gravel roads. They’ve presented a number of enhancements to the tread block and rubber compound to back up this claim, many of which come from technologies developed during their 40 years of racing Baja.
When I asked about the rubber / carbon cocktail, Senior Development Engineer Brandon Sturgis, who has been with BFGoodrich for 13 years, said, “It’s kind of like grandma’s secret recipe for lemon cake…she’s not going to tell you.” In short, the KO2 rubber has been optimally blended to reduce chipping and tearing without compromising adhesion.
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