Tires in 2019: Anything better than KO2s? (1 Viewer)

Tremek

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Hey guys, been quiet in this community for the past year+ but am looking forward to getting back out on trails and exploring with the LC this summer!

With that said I have 35k currently on the set of 5 BFG KO2s on our LC, and I can see the tread depth is getting low on a few of the set, so I'm starting to investigate what's best to replace this set with. When I mounted this set in 2016 the prevailing wisdom was that KO2s were still among the best for year-round street/highway use in a climate with snow and ice, and offroading in mostly dry conditions.

With that said, 3 years on, has anything conclusively eclipsed the KO2s for this same duty regimen? Here in CO I need to be mindful of snow and ice performance and I have been continually impressed with the KO2s (and the LC's) willingness to go and stop in nasty weather.

However one thing I have never felt was good about this set was the balancing: there has almost always been a vibration, hum, or shimmy above 50-60 mph, despite Discount Tire's best efforts to balance the set. Maybe it's the 5 tire rotation schedule always keeping one or more tires at a slightly different tread depth, but from what I have read and understand this shouldn't be a huge issue.

Anyway - I went 5+ pages back in the forum and didn't see anything specifically on this subject. For reference I'm currently running 285/70/17 E load range KO2s on 5 Rock Warriors on my '13 that's lifted on Icon suspension, Slee sliders, and a Slee rear bumper. Thanks!
 
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My Nitto Ridge Grapplers are miles above the KO2s I bought the truck with. Both on road wet performance and off road traction is notably better. They are just as quiet and look much more agressive. That said, I wish I had went with Mud Terrains and will be going that route in the spring when these start to get tired.
 

tbisaacs

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Falken Wildpeak AT/3W, Cooper Discoverer XLT, and General Grabber ATX are all newer designs than the KO2. All include a treadwear warranty as well. The Falkens and Grabbers carry the same 3-peak snow/ice rating as the KO2.

I run the falken's personally and have been happy with them. 25k miles in they are notably noisier than new — but still very quiet. For my use I'm seriously considering the Coopers or Grabbers next.

As @JZelnick says above, Ridge Grappler is pretty universally loved by the serious wheelers on this forum. But note it's considered an AT/MT hybrid (similar to something like a Cooper STT/Max), which is a different class than the KO2
 
Joined
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For treadwear, strength and reliability, the KO2 is probably the #1 tire. The tread is hard, and as such, ice traction is not good (AT tires in general are not good on ice, and the KO2s are much worse than many others). The KO2 does great on snow, especially the CO/Utah powdery stuff. I have had issues with KO2s not balancing, but that can be an issue with any large AT tire. I had to have two of four replaced to get them to properly balance. Had similar problems with the original KOs. If I didn't live in area with a lot of snow and ice, the KO2 would be my choice. There is a reason they are so popular. We had such a poor experience with ice traction that we got rid of our KO2s on our 4runner and now run Falken Wildpeaks. The KO2s had 45k miles and had more than half the usable tread left. Pretty amazing. The Falken Wildpeak P Metrics have special silica compound that is great on ice, but they still wear really well. The Goodyear Duratracs have a similar soft compound, and are very good on ice as well as offroad but require diligent rotations or you'll get loud road noise (they wear fast). The Cooper ST Maxx is also a very good tire.

I have the Wildpeaks in my 4Runner, 200 series and FJ40. All have performed excellent in all conditions. I haven't done any rock crawling, but they have held up on some pretty gnarly trails. I've run them the longest on my 200, and based on current tread life, I expect to get 50-60k miles out of them using a 4 tire rotation (although I will likely replace at 50k). I've been very happy with them. I rotate every 5k miles, and have not had increase road noise with the Falkens.

I also had good experience running the General Grabber AT2. They have a similar tread pattern to the old KO, but they are MUCH better on ice than KO2s (i've detailed my experience on ice with KO2s and the Generals in a few other threads on Mud).
 

smittycrusher

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I think Cooper's are the best thing out there. Very underrated.
 
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Does no one run Nitto Terra Graplers? I’ve had two sets and have been really thrilled with their on/off road performance. Not a ton of snow miles but even that has been positive.

I ran them on my 4runner and overall was pretty pleased with their performance, tried the Wildpeaks when those were shot after 40k miles or so and have since put the Wildpeaks on 2 of our trucks and the Falken Rubitreks on the LX. Great tires and can be had for much cheaper than most other AT tires.
 

Bighead

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Does no one run Nitto Terra Graplers? I’ve had two sets and have been really thrilled with their on/off road performance. Not a ton of snow miles but even that has been positive.

I used to run the original TGs on my 100-series and really liked them. I just don’t like the redesign of the newer Terra Grappler G2s. I am running the Ridge Grapplers on my 200 now and have been very happy with them do far.
 

Markuson

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I ran KOs on my 200 series and KO2s on my 200.

I don’t know that it was the fault of my KO2s, but I had a hard time getting them to wear evenly. Other than that, KO2s were great performers in my use...

Recently I had a decision to make as I downsized from 35’s last month to 285/75/17...and tho I considered KO2s, I concluded that I couldn’t find a reason NOT to stick with my Ridge Grapplers. They took a crazy beating in two aggressive Moab trips...Baja for a week...Breckenridge...Ouray...Botrego many times and a lot more. Sidewalls on them are apparently crazy strong, and they deform very nicely when aired down.

On my first set, Nitto concluded I had a freak rubber chunk issue and replaced them under partial warranty. But I saw no such issues on set 3 despite beating them just as hard or harder.

Load E deforms very well.
Not the best example, but here’s a shot from Moab taken by @indycole last week. Have a look at my rear driver tire as in takes the massive weight-shift rearward as I climb a steep slope. It deforms similarly around small, loose stuff very well despite being load E, and still sitting at about 19psi here. Not the best surface to demonstrate, but when there are loose, small stuff, it really wraps around them. Flat here, but the only photo I have...

7CE2D91C-D50F-4A55-B9BD-000CF1A9F25F.jpeg


I’ve run HARD in the desert at these pressure and lower (10-12 in sand) and they easily wrap around small grabbers with full sidewall tread use and have been incredibly immune to puncture despite my 8k# weight and aggressive hits.

They are not mud tires, but most “mud” tires aren’t really either. :)
 
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I ran them on my 4runner and overall was pretty pleased with their performance, tried the Wildpeaks when those were shot after 40k miles or so and have since put the Wildpeaks on 2 of our trucks and the Falken Rubitreks on the LX. Great tires and can be had for much cheaper than most other AT tires.

Great point. While price was not the deciding factor why I put Falkens on all my rigs, they are an amazing value. With deals through Tirebuyer/Simpletire I was able to get all 3 sets for a great price.

5 for my 4Runner were $625.14 through TireBuyer (265/70/17)
5 for my FJ40 were $650 (31/10.5/15)
5 for my 200 were $820 (285/70/17)

From a performance standpoint, it came down to Coopers, Falken and General. All three companies have great tires that have performed well for me. I tried the Falkens on my 200 and liked them so much I added them across the board. Very happy with their performance.
 
Joined
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Maine
I currently have KO2’s, looks like maybe get 40k out of them. Wearing unevenly getting noisier. Had duratracs before that and got over 80k on them. No joke. Mixed driving in Maine. No off roading. Winter driving didn’t notice a huge difference. The KO2’s were initially quieter than the tracs which is why i tried them. Probably go back to the tracs here before next winter.
 
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Nashville, TN
Well. You guys have me seriously considering the Ridge Grapplers and the Coopers. Had thought Terra Grapplers again based on good experience but now I’m not sure. They’d be going on the wife’s ‘new’ 200 first. 80% in town and 20% dirt/gravel/fire roads. Want good road handling but really need puncture resistance, too. Lots of flat tires on rough ridge-top roads around here.
 

Markuson

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Well. You guys have me seriously considering the Ridge Grapplers and the Coopers. Had thought Terra Grapplers again based on good experience but now I’m not sure. They’d be going on the wife’s ‘new’ 200 first. 80% in town and 20% dirt/gravel/fire roads. Want good road handling but really need puncture resistance, too. Lots of flat tires on rough ridge-top roads around here.

My earlier concern with Ridge Grapplers was that I wished they had larger voids for side-sliding grip in soft/wet stuff. But I have since concluded that they do as well there as any AT can be expected to do. If you want bigger voids...be prepared to accept the downsides. Anyway...I am pretty dang happy I stuck with them...and even more happy with dropping to an inch narrower than my 12.5” 35’s.
 
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I only mention these because they're a very new tire and I haven't seen anything about them...

I am running a new tire that is made by Goodyear for Discount Tire - called the Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrain.

I only have a few weeks on them so far but I'm loving them. They are as quiet or quieter than the Ridge Grapplers that I came from, look really good, have extremely good wet road and off road/dirt traction. I haven't used them in ice and most likely won't due to - Texas.
I'm running a 285/65/18 on the stock wheels and had zero rubbing initially. I installed the 1.25" spidertrax yesterday and have rubbing all over the place.

Anyway, other than longevity they're a really good tire so I'm hoping they last.

1972736

1972737
 

Markuson

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Worth adding re Ridge Grapplers— I have not had them in significant snow nor ice. I do not expect great ice handling from any AT...but others in iced areas can perhaps shed light on snow/ice.

Always found my KOs and KO2s did well in snow...but sucked eggs on ice. Like scary-bad. But no surprise there. Will have to see with RGs.
 
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I have Terra Grappler G2's and they are good. Some noise in the 50-60 mph range and decent wet traction but the are starting to chip off chunks on the edges since they are 8 years old and getting hard. I bought some Geolandars AT G015 but haven't had time to get them installed. Evidently they are 8lbs lighter than the G2's and looks like they will be quiter.
 

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