The new BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is a capable, off-road tire that builds on the renowned series. Our automotive expert, Bryon Dorr, was on location for BFG’s Terrain Takeover on the Rubicon Trail to review the KM3 at its North American debut.
BF Goodrich has been a leader in off-road-specific tire production for nearly forty years. It all started in 1980 with the BFG radial Mud-Terrain T/A, the fifth generation of which is the new T/A KM3.
After spending two days with the BFGoodrich T/A KM3 on a variety of vehicles and on a wide variety of terrain, I can tell you that it’s an absolute winner. Off-road capabilities have only been improved. But somehow the brand also improved on-road comfort.
In short: The outgoing KM2 is a top-of-the-line, road-legal mud-terrain tire, and the KM3 has improved on that award-winning design in nearly every way. The KM3 looks more aggressive, is quieter on road, has a much stronger sidewall, and offers a bit better traction in all conditions. The only negative is that the built-in strength and new features make it slightly heavier than its predecessor.
BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 Review
The KM3 is a mud tire, meaning it offers up impressive grip in all sorts of wet, sloppy, muddy conditions. The new tire offers up a 5 percent improvement in mud traction over its predecessor, which was already a leader in this category.
A great off-road tire also has to be able to climb, crawl, and roll over rocks effortlessly. The T/A KM3 has massive tread blocks designed to provide grip at any angle of attack. They work especially well off road at aired-down tire pressures. The tire’s new “Krawl-TEK” compound offers up an 8-percent increase in rock traction, the brand claims.
The massive improvement of the KM3 over the KM2 is the sidewalls, which are 27 percent tougher. The KM3 integrates “CoreGuard Max” technology from the KR3 desert-racing tire. BFG continually tests new technologies in its off-road programs, especially in desert racing, and brings those findings to its DOT-approved line of consumer tires.
Sure, we want the tire to have amazing off-road traction in all conditions and hold up to serious abuse without punctures. But it also needs to cruise down the highway effortlessly. I found the KM3 to be the quietest on-road mud-terrain tire I’ve ever driven on. It was also extremely smooth and cornered with confidence on the pavement.
BFG KM3 Tire Sizes
The BFG KM3 just hit the North American market at the beginning of June. It’s being offered in an astonishing 54 different sizes, 33 more than the KM2. The KM3 will come in sizes ranging from 30 to 39 inches to fit 15- to 18-, 20-, and 22-inch rim sizes. Owners of UTVs to Jeeps to light trucks — and every off-road vehicle in between — should be able to find a KM3 for their ride.
BFG Terrain Takeover
BFG really knows how to throw a tire launch event! It started with a scenic on-road drive from Reno, Nev., around Lake Tahoe and finished at Squaw Valley in a new Toyota Tacoma. Brand experts taught a group of journalists about the history and racing heritage of BFG tires.
The next day, helicopters picked us up from the hotel. The 12-mile flight into the Rubicon Trail crossed breathtaking wilderness and took only eight minutes. A host of impressive off-road Jeeps and Land Rovers was waiting for us, outfitted with the new KM3 tires.
Throughout the day, we drove a little over 4 miles of the iconic 22-mile-long Rubicon Trail, from Little Sluice to Big Sluice. I was able to drive a Jeep JKU Rubicon on 35-inch KM3 tires and a Land Rover Defender 110 with 37-inch KM3 tires at 50 psi. As you’d expect, the Jeep was smooth and effortless, and the Defender was less refined but extremely capable and fun to drive.
At the lunch stop, we got to ride along in a 700+ hp Ultra 4 off-road race vehicle. You can see these vehicles doing 130 mph in the desert and then driving up sheer rock faces at events like King of the Hammers. Nothing will quite prepare you for the exceptional off-road performance these vehicles have on offer. While it wasn’t on my bucket list to ride in one, it has been added and checked off. I highly suggest you find a way to experience this yourself!
After a helicopter ride back to Squaw Valley, we strapped into a new 1,000-cc turbo charged RZR side-by-side. Off-road racing legends then drove us at impressive speeds up and down the mountain. My driver was none other than Larry Roeseler, a 10-time overall Baja 1000 champion.
Besides all the awesome experiences on the new BFG KM3 tires, the people made the event extraordinary. TV stars, Olympic gold medalists, off-road racing legends: I was amazed at the diverse cast of people brought together for the launch. Thanks for the hospitality, BFG!
If you ever get the chance to go to the Rubicon Trail, I highly recommend it. If you do make it to the Rubicon, consider running your vehicle on the BFG T/A KM3 tires. I can assure you that the new tire is up to the serious off-road challenges the Rubicon presents.