BFG Just Dropped the Most Important Off-Road Tire in a Decade, Company Reps Explain

BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3 12 photos
Photo: BFGoodrich/Drew Martin (edited by autoevolution)
BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3BFG Drops All-Terrain T/A KO3
BFGoodrich recently had their mic-drop moment in a year that's proving to be a make-or-break one for off-road vehicles and all their aftermarket accessories. In front of countless raving fans, BFG unveiled the successor tire to the much beloved KO2. Though its name might not be entirely original, the all-new All-Terrain T/A KO3 has all the capability and impact of the outgoing KO2, with just a few more layers of refinement added to the mix.
Across a range of vehicles from the lightest light trucks and UTVs to gargantuan full-size SUVs and pickups, the KO3 was a tire designed from the ground up to be the most capable and multi-talented off-road tire ever sold in North America. With over 100 unique sizes to pick through, all consisting of BFG's most advanced rubber compound, we knew we had to sit down with someone from the team to see what's what. Happily for us, BFG did us one better and gave us one rep each from the product management and product engineering sides of things to sit down with.

Say hello to Brandon Sturgis, Product Manager at BFG, and Matt Hanlon, a BFG Motorsports Product Engineer. Between these two, it should be easy to ascertain what makes the KO3 such a worthy evolution of the KO2, one of the off-road enthusiast community's first celebrity tires. Across a range of paradigms from the reworked tread pattern, more robust side walls, and a top-secret novel rubber compound, the KO3 is an off-road tire at the peak of current technology. Some of this tech even comes from lessons learned in BFG's participation in racing across the globe.

Given that BFG quite literally sponsors the Mint 400, America's oldest and most prestigious off-road race, the relation between street tires and racing makes sense. But there's a definite process in making racing tire technology trickle down to consumer tires, as Matt Hanlon was eager to explain. "Tread patterns, compounds and constructions from racing are all used as the foundation for BFGoodrich street and UTV tires," Hanlon said of BFG's racing tire compounds and other miscellaneous technology.

"Of course, the demands on a street tire are a little different from those of a Trophy Truck, so the technology is usually adapted to be more suitable for the application. That said, road tires and race tires aren’t completely different: The tires we race in a lot of classes in Baja, such as Baja Challenge, are the same tires an everyday consumer would buy off the shelf." However, with modern consumer-grade off-road vehicles growing larger and heavier each year, managing the weight these vehicles lug around, plus the considerable power they jet, is one of the foundational improvements of the KO3 over the KO2.

BFG Drops All\-Terrain T/A KO3
Photo: BFGoodrich (Drew Martin)
"For many years now, we’ve seen a trend of vehicles getting heavier while also adding torque and towing capacity." BFG Product Manager Brandon Sturgis about a peculiar modern dilemma when designing tires for modern battery-electric off-road vehicles. "In order to maintain a certain level of wear expectation for consumers, as these vehicles are evolving, we have had to improve the tire’s wear performance in order to maintain consumer expectations of a 50,000-mile warranty." Indeed, BFG's warranties are routinely among the most generous in the sector.

But the real magic of the KO3, at least as far as BFG hopes, is to build a tire with attributes from across the range rubber the company manufacturers, all rolled into one unit that won't have to utilize its handsome warranty. With the trail-ready performance of a Trail-Terrain T/A and competence in wet, slidey conditions borrowed from the Mud Terrain T/A KM3, the All-Terrain T/A KO3 melds bits and pieces from its brothers and sisters in the BFG lineup into a jack-of-all-trades tire with competent performance on-road to boot.

With access to considerable R&D horsepower owing to their corporate relationship with Michelin, BFG can apply their engineer's blueprints in a fraction of the time it once took before the merger. "The Michelin and BFGoodrich design teams work out of the same research campus and share best practices when it comes to tire design." Sturgis said of the mutually beneficial partnership between BFG and Michelin. "For example, there are things like noise tuning software that is shared by both design teams. For KO3, the customer needs and usage is different than any of our Michelin products so the design team needs to take these aspects into account."

With so many sizes and applications to be released between now and 2026, the first among 35 unique KO3 tire sizes have already started hitting dealerships as of May 2024, with more to come in August. From there, an astounding 52 KO3 tire sizes will drop in 2025 and a further 19 in 2026. With so many sizes at hand, it should be theoretically possible to make any four-wheeled vehicle more competitive off-road with the latest generation of flagship BFG consumer tires. That includes the NB Mazda MX-5 that won the Modified Gambler class at this year's Mint 400. Coincidentally, that Miata was also wearing BFG rubber.
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