A/T Tyre test

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Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:07 am

I recieved this.Quite a long read but interresting
http://www.4wdmonthly.com.au/tips_tyres.php

Gripping Stuff

Words by Glenn Wright, photography by Robb Cox and studio photography by Karl Dietrich

Glenn Wright mixes hi-tech gadgetry with years of motorsport testing experience to bring you the latest no-bull 4WD Action tyre comparo. Over four gruelling days, all 14 major players in the A/T market went tread to tread on every surface down-under. Are they really the jack-of-all-trades, or can A/Ts be the master of some? Don’t even try to anticipate the results

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN?

These results don’t appear by magic. Over the three months it took to organise this test, I spent many hours on the end of the phone explaining that I wanted to do a tyre test in more detail than any ever attempted in the 4WD industry. Some people said it couldn’t be done, but those whose names appear in this story jumped at the chance to be involved.

When I needed wheels, the first name that came to mind was ROH. Testing the tyres on each road surface one after another was important. With 56 tyres to be tested, 56 wheels were needed to mount them all to before we left Sydney.

ROH Wheels supplied us with pallet loads of its latest RTX alloys that transformed the mild-looking HiLux into a real head-turner.

Without the hassle of mounting and demounting tyres during the test, I could get through all the bitumen testing, for example, in one day.

This was necessary to ensure the road conditions were the same for every tyre and, more importantly, kept my impression of the preceding tyres fresh in my mind so as to make accurate comparisons between their performances.

Thanks to Sam at Overkill Engineering for his handy air jack and to Kangaroo Creek Imports for supplying these handy rattle guns. They do a great job in getting wheels off quickly and are easy to carry on long trips.

What can I say about the HiLux that the pictures don’t? It stood up to a week of punishment, including merciless braking tests and countless dousing in mud. The Toyota handled the high-speed gravel testing with ease, and its predictable handling and sharp steering allowed me to tell how each tyre went in those sections.

The 4L petrol goes like a scalded cat, and it is the first 4WD I have ever emerged from after a week of driving without a hint of back pain. In hindsight, I couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate vehicle to test all 14 sets of tyres on.

We had the perfect place to test the tyres, the vehicle to test them on and wheels to mount them to. I now needed someone to fit and balance all 56 tyres and get them up to the test ground.
Enter Beaurepaires. From the senior management down, Beaurepaires staff share our love of off-roading.

Beaurepaires was my first choice because of its huge network of country branches and bush support. It knows what we 4WDers put our tyres through and can offer an additional four-year Road Hazard Warranty. This covers you for all unrepairable tyre damage for four years.

It was keen to be heavily involved in the logistical side and supplied three experienced tyre fitters to whip tyres on and off the HiLux all week. (I said it was ‘kind’ of a holiday, didn’t I, guys?)
Surrounded by such professionals, I could just concentrate on evaluating the tyres, which allowed me to complete the test without knowing which tyres were on the HiLux until the very end.

This approach eliminated any of my preconceptions regarding the brands, and after the test my notes were married up with a list of the tyres in the order in which they were tested.

TERMINOLOGY

A/T: Stands for all-terrain and refers to a 4WD tyre that can be used on most surfaces.
M/T: Stands for mud-terrain tyre or ‘muddie’ for use in muddy conditions.
H/T: Denotes a highway-terrain tyre designed for on-road use.

TYRE PATTERN: Refers to the tread pattern and is unique to each variant within a certain brand of tyre (For example, Scorpion, Dueler 694 and so on).

SPEED RATING: In this test, the speed ratings range from N to T. This specifies the maximum speed that you can travel at with this tyre inflated to its maximum labelled pressure. N=140km/h, P=150km/h, Q=160km/h, R=170km/h, S=180km/h, T=180km/h.

LOAD RATING/INDEX: The load index represents a figure in kilograms being the maximum weight that tyre can carry at its maximum recommended inflation pressure.









LET THE TESTING BEGIN

Do you salivate over sand driving? Drooling over dirt? Maybe mud’s on your menu?
Whatever your taste in terrain, here’s the recipe for the ultimate A/T tyre test I prepared earlier.

Preparation time: we allowed three months to source all ingredients.

Grab four of the latest A/T tyres from each of the 14 biggest tyre companies on the planet. Wrap them around 56 new ROH alloy wheels. Stick them under a new HiLux Ute and throw in equal parts sand, asphalt, gravel and wet clay.

Shred tyres across every road surface, turning often, until the tread becomes hot and sticky. Pierce each tyre under controlled conditions with a steel plunger to measure its puncture resistance, and record the noise it makes when rotated on the bitumen at 80km/h.
Hand-pick the finest team of tyre fitters from Beaurepaires and throw them into the mix along with all the gear you’d need to set up a tyre shop in the middle of nowhere.

Whet a final-year mechanical engineering student’s appetite with all the latest data-logging equipment he can sink his teeth into, and you’ve literally got yourself the most in-depth A/T tyre comparo ever attempted in 4WDing history.

I invite you to gorge yourself on the smorgasbord of information that follows. After digesting the results, you’ll be hungry to get out there and purchase the A/T tyre that’s best for you.
We 4WDers are a hard bunch to please when it comes to tyres. We want a 4WD tyre that is well behaved on the black stuff, right at home on the sand and is happier than a pig in the slop. (Unlike muddies or highway tyres, an A/T tyre doesn’t have the luxury of specialising on any one surface.) Oh, and can they do it quietly, not get punctures and last forever?
Okay, we might be asking a bit much, but huge demand for the versatile A/T has seen every major rubber company invest heaps of time and money to come up with a compromise between the M/T and the H/T. Let me explain.

A/T TYRE CONSTRUCTION


Don’t assume too much from looking at the tread. The secret to an A/T’s performance lies deep beneath its tread pattern.
The unique tread designs play a big role in each tyre’s performance, and the more open patterns usually fare better in the mud and worse on the bitumen, but a quick look at how tyres are made sheds more light on what’s really going on.
Every tyre on the test started life as white rubber sap that was collected from rubber trees or was partly synthetically produced.

Each manufacturer has a different way of transforming that raw product into a tyre it hopes will outperform its competitors in as many conditions as possible. Due to the multitude of ways engineers can achieve this, every brand of A/T tyre varies significantly in its construction.
Each tyre’s overall construction uses a different combination of steel, nylon and or polyester belts encased in rubber of varying compounds. This construction is critical in providing strength and allowing the tread to get maximum purchase on the ground.

We’ve all seen how useless an H/T is in mud and vice versa, so you can appreciate how hard it is to reach a compromise in construction that allows an A/T to cope with so many different surfaces. As a result, some tyre manufacturers sacrifice one aspect of off-road performance in return for better performance in another.

TEST METHOD

What made you choose your current A/Ts? Brand loyalty from the past, have you been seduced by convincing ad campaigns or did some bloke at the bar give you the good oil on what tyre to settle on?
Plenty of us have been fortunate enough to try out many different brands over the years, but it’s difficult to draw a comparison between them unless you’re using the same vehicle on the same roads, testing the tyres in quick succession.

Hopefully the 12 years I spent engineering race cars and waving spanners for Ralliart while Tommi Makinen won his four World Rally Championships have counted for something. The test procedures followed here are a combination of those used by tyre manufacturers testing their own products and those used in top-level motorsport to determine the most competitive tyre to use.

Subjective testing is necessary to be able to put into words how each tyre felt through the seat of my pants and the steering wheel. But nothing beats the numerical feedback recorded by the data logger.
The HiLux resembled a coma patient with all the data loggers and cables hanging out of it, but the data we gathered from them validated the results and confirmed my opinions on each tyre.

Having said that, a bunch of numbers means nothing unless you know how to interpret them. Drew is graduating from Sydney Uni as we speak and has been rallying with me for years. He is familiar with vehicle testing and took charge of our hi-tech accessories while ensuring all testing was consistent.
We chose the most commonly sold A/T tyre size in Australia, the 265/75R16. In order to compare apples with apples, all 265/75R16s (except the Silverstone, which only offers a 275/70R16 LT) were happily supplied by the manufacturers in light-truck (LT) construction (as opposed to passenger-vehicle construction, which is not as strong).

Several manufacturers had more than one type of A/T tyre, so I requested they send the most suitable latest release.

With all the tyres on our doorstep and everything taking shape, I needed to find the perfect venue. The testing grounds had to reflect every possible condition that A/Ts would be subjected to in real life.
After much searching, we found a private property that had the lot - bitumen roads, gravel roads, both well formed and un-kept, and a wide, open gravel area that we graded constantly to maintain a level playing field.

All these areas were a stone’s throw from a flooded clay boghole, which led up to a 30 degree inclined gravel hill designed to stop 4WDs from making it to the top.

In testing these tyres, I wanted to provide answers to all the questions buyers ask about all-terrains. These include noise, performance in sand, mud, gravel, bitumen and puncture resistance.

TYRE NOISE

Generally, A/Ts are quieter on-road than muddies, but it’s too late once you’ve forked out for a set of A/Ts only to realise that the tyre noise drives you nuts. To bring out the worst in each tyre, a section of coarse bitumen was chosen on which to perform a coast-down noise test.

‘Pattern’ noise caused by the tread is most noticeable at higher speeds, so at 80km/h I depressed the clutch to eliminate driveline and engine noise. We used a sound meter to record what you would hear from inside the vehicle over a 10sec period.

To give some relevance to the results, the standard OE tyres on the HiLux recorded 59.1dB under the same conditions. For every 3dB increase, you approximately double the noise volume.

MANUFACTURER: MICKEY THOMPSON
MADE IN USA
PATTERN NAME: FC2
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 210mm
SPEED RATING: N
LOAD RATING: E 123
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 1 nylon, 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $275

COMMENT
MICKEY THOMPSON FC2
The FC2 turned in well on the gravel. It responded pretty well to steering changes and was predictable. 7/10

On the bitumen slalom, things changed; the steering was unresponsive and vague. The chunky tread blocks that excelled in the mud squirmed around under the load. Not the worst tyre on the blacktop but not the pick either. 6/10

The FC2 was like a pig, in that it loved the mud. This was the second-best tyre in the sloppy clay and responded to the throttle, making light work of the slippery conditions. 9.5/10

The chunky blocks in the tread bit into the gravel incline and walked up it with ease. 8.5/10

On sand, the FC2s found it hard to get going from rest. Once moving, they had good bite and gained momentum quickly. 6.5/10

After the test, the tread showed no signs of chipping and only minor cutting.


MANUFACTURER: MICHELIN
MADE IN JAPAN
PATTERN NAME: LTX A/T
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 200mm
SPEED RATING: R
LOAD RATING: C 112
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $332

COMMENT
The Michelin carried higher speeds than most through the bitumen slalom and remained composed. It offered great response to turn-in and gave a great feel for what was happening. 9.5/10

On the gravel, the Michelin had plenty of grip, even giving off a loud whining noise as it bit into the gravel circle. It was hard to make them wheelspin, and they carried higher speeds around the circle than any other tyre.
As far as balance was concerned, they understeered on turn-in but were very difficult to make oversteer. Their best feature was sideways grip on gravel, and no other tyre could repeat their performance. 10/10

They handled the clay pit well, biting in and responding to the accelerator. 8/10

The gravel incline saw the clogged-up Michelins struggle for grip, not making much of an impression on the hill. 6
Really good bulge in the sidewalls at 20psi allowed them to sit on top of the sand. They lacked a little bite to gain momentum quickly. 9/10


MANUFACTURER: YOKOHAMA MADE IN JAPAN
PATTERN NAME: GEOLANDER G011
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 210mm
SPEED RATING: S
LOAD RATING: D 119
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $239

COMMENT
While the G011s’ response to turn-in wasn’t as sharp as I had expected, on the bitumen slalom they were predictable, letting you know their intentions. They were slow to react to a change in direction, as the tread blocks rolled under the tyre during hard cornering. 7.5/10

They lacked grip on the gravel section relative to the better gravel tyres, and they understeered readily. 6.5/10

I was pleasantly surprised by their traction in the clay pit. They dug in and pulled the HiLux through easily. They were only a whisker less capable than the Cooper and BFG, and were one of the best options for a good mud tyre that’s quiet on-road. 8.5/10

On the gravel hill, the Yokies spun too easily and gave up the fight. 6.5/10

The Geolanders were just reasonable on sand. They didn’t float as well as some others and made it hard to get going from a standing start. Reasonable bite allowed them to gain momentum up the dune. 6/10

They showed very minor signs of tread chipping after the test.


MANUFACTURER: SILVERSTONE
MADE IN MALAYSIA
PATTERN NAME: AT-117-SPECIAL
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 225mm
SPEED RATING: S
LOAD RATING: 114
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 1 nylon, 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $198 inc fitting

COMMENT
This tyre was not a good performer on the slalom. It was vague and unresponsive on turn-in and didn’t change direction well. 6.5/10

The Silverstone had good general grip in the gravel and was reluctant to hang the tail out because it was very prone to understeering. 7/10

The Silverstone, which shares a similar tread pattern to the BFG, was good in the clay. 8/10

The Silverstone climbed a long way up the hill but had its fair share of wheelspin in getting up. 8/10

For a tyre that resembles the BFG in many ways, the Silverstone was nowhere near as good on sand. It lacked flotation and bite. 6.5/10

No cutting or chipping was noticed on the tread. They are a bit average on bitumen but will keep you moving forwards on the slippery stuff.


MANUFACTURER: BRIDGESTONE
MADE IN JAPAN
PATTERN NAME: DUELER D694
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 210
SPEED RATING: S
LOAD RATING: 112
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 1 nylon, 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $267

COMMENT
This tyre performed well on tarmac. It was a little slow to respond to steering, but once the tread blocks had rolled under the tyre a little, it grips and changes direction well. It carried a higher speed through the slalom than many and was predictable. They just lacked the direct steering response of the top three. 8.5/10

The Bridgestone fought well for grip on the gravel. The HiLux was better balanced on the Duelers than most and gave the best feedback as to when you had overstepped the mark. They had plenty of grip in a straight line and were one of the best for stopping on gravel. They provided good response to steering but just didn’t have the outright grip of the leaders. 8.5/10

The Dueler put up a good fight in the clay pit. 7.5/10

They were okay on the hill but had to work pretty hard to get up with lots of wheelspin. 7/10

The 694 bellied out well and showed great flotation on sand. They displayed very impressive bite, and response to throttle saw them climb the dune easily. 9.5/10

No cutting or chipping was noticed on the tread.


MANUFACTURER: SUMITOMO
PATTERN NAME: SL850 SERENGETI RADIAL A/T
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 200mm
MADE IN JAPAN
SPEED RATING: Q
LOAD RATING: 112
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $225

COMMENT
We had slight difficulty in mounting some of the Sumitomo A/Ts on the wheels due to what appeared to be extra-tight clearances in the bead diameters. While they weren’t as sharp in the steering department as the top few on-road, they weren’t too bad. 7/10

In the sloppy clay, the Sumitomos bit in well with no hint of getting bogged. 7.5/10

Lateral grip exceeded my expectations on gravel, allowing a bit of understeer, while the rear end never stepped out. 8/10

The gravel hill didn’t suit the Serengetis, which struggled for grip almost from the word go. 6/10

The Serengetis aren’t a good sand tyre. I needed low-range to get moving. Poor flotation made them struggle, and I had to keep the revs and momentum up to keep moving. 4/10

Very minor cutting was noticed in the tread after testing.


MANUFACTURER: COOPER
MADE IN USA
PATTERN NAME: DISCOVERER ST-C
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 220mm
SPEED RATING: N
LOAD RATING: E 123
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 1 nylon, 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $308

COMMENT
The Coopers were the most off-road-oriented tyres in the field. As a result, they aren’t well suited to the blacktop. On the bitumen slalom, the chunky tread blocks squirmed around, making the steering feel vague. The Coopers slid at all four corners of the HiLux as I tried to maintain a similar speed through the slalom to the better bitumen brands. 6/10

On the gravel circle, the Coopers broke into understeer. They offered good fore/aft traction on gravel roads, were good for braking and were quite predictable, recovering well from high-speed slides. They had a tendency to tramline on long, straight stretches. On hard-packed gravel, the Cooper’s aggressive tread feels harder than the others and doesn’t get the chance to bite in. It therefore doesn’t grip as well on this surface as some of the less aggressive softer-compound tyres but performs well considering. 7.5/10

The Coopers were the best tyres in the sloppy clay. Their ability to bite in and grab handfuls of the stuff as they churned their way across was second to none, even though the Mickey Thompsons weren’t far behind. 10/10

The steep gravel hill also suited the Coopers. Once again they outperformed the rest of the field here as they bit into the slightly chopped-up gravel and climbed to the top. Even after momentary losses of grip, the Coopers were quick to regain traction and keep climbing. 10/10

The ST-Cs’ sidewalls bellied out well at 20psi and provided good flotation on the sand. Good bite helped them gain momentum quickly. 8/10

The ST-Cs are the new cut and chip-resistant compound, but the tread still showed signs of cutting and chipping after four days of abuse.


MANUFACTURER: BF GOODRICH
MADE IN USA
PATTERN NAME: ALL-TERRAIN T/A KO
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 220mm
SPEED RATING: S
LOAD RATING: D 120
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 3 polyester, Tread plies - 1 nylon, 2 steel, 3 polyester
PRICE: $269

COMMENT
There was too much tread movement when cornering hard on the bitumen slalom. This resulted in slow and vague steering response. The lack of general lateral grip saw the rear tyres slide sideways, leaving impressive :blackies’ on the road that resembled those on a :slippery when wet’ sign. 6.5/10

In a similar way on gravel, the BFGs showed good bite but switched between understeer and letting go at the rear at moderate speeds. Like the Coopers, the BFGs tramlined on the same long gravel straight. Overall good general gravel bite. 7.5/10

The BFGs seemed at home in the clay pit. They were only a whisker less impressive than the Coopers and responded instantly to more throttle by ploughing through the slippery quagmire. 9/10

On the climb up the gravel incline, the BFGs bit in and travelled a good distance up, but then they just stopped biting and spun. 8.5/10

At 20psi, the sidewalls bulged out well. They had a good combination of flotation and bite on the sand. They steered out of existing ruts well and responded to acceleration. 8.5/10

The tread showed signs of cutting after the test.


MANUFACTURER: SIMEX
MADE IN MALAYSIA
PATTERN NAME: CENTIPEDE AT300i
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 205mm
SPEED RATING: T
LOAD RATING: 116
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 2 nylon, 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $195

COMMENT
The Centipede AT300is were good on the gravel. They provided good front-end grip for steering and let out a howl when spinning as they fought and gripped on the dirt. They lacked a little braking and straight-line traction but showed good sideways grip on the gravel circle. 8.5/10

On bitumen, they showed a good response to steering and changed direction well. 7/10

The Simexes did a good job in the clay boghole, showing good bite. 7.5/10

When their turn came to scale the gravel hill, they gave surprisingly good traction. 8 The sidewalls seemed to belly out well, but the Simex lacked flotation and bite on sand. 5.5/10

After the test, the tread showed very minor signs of cutting.


MANUFACTURER: TOYO
MADE IN JAPAN
PATTERN NAME: OPEN COUNTRY A/T (OPAT)
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 210mm
SPEED RATING: Q
LOAD RATING: D 119
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 1 nylon, 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $285

COMMENT
The OPATs provided good grip on bitumen. They responded quickly to changes in direction and went where I pointed them. 7.5/10

On gravel, they lacked straight-line traction but gave good sideways grip. 6.5/10

Their performance in clay was respectable. 6.5/10

When climbing the steep hill, the Toyos were unspectacular but got on with the job. 7/10

At 20psi, they showed very little sidewall bulge. They sat low in the sand and lacked grip, causing them to wheelspin easily and dig in. 5/10

After testing, the tread showed no signs of cutting or chipping.


MANUFACTURER: KUMHO
MADE IN KOREA
PATTERN NAME: ROAD VENTURE KL 41 (8-ply rating)
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 200mm
SPEED RATING: S
LOAD RATING: D 119
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $270

Comments

The Kumho’s soft tread blocks squirmed around on the bitumen and left some decent skid-marks to show the way through the slalom. Despite this, they turned in and gripped well. 7/10

On gravel roads, the Kumhos bit into the surface, and the HiLux went where you pointed it. It showed no signs of tramlining. 8/10

The Venture was very capable in the clay, where it hardly struggled for traction. 8/10

Good bite on the steep gravel hill and their never-say-die attitude saw them slip then regain traction and climb some more. 8/10

The Kumhos were the last to get a run on the sand. Their superior flotation and excellent traction shocked me. They didn’t quite have the bite of the Coopers, but they were by far the best overall. They climbed the dune easily with no run-up and were the only tyres to exit the beach in second-gear high-range. 10/10


MANUFACTURER: DUNLOP
MADE IN JAPAN
PATTERN NAME: GRANDTREK AT2
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 210mm
SPEED RATING: Q
LOAD RATING: C 112
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $284

Comments
The Dunlop was very predictable and put in a good fight on the gravel surface. It made a high-pitched hum as it gripped the constant-radius turn and showed early signs of wear on the outer shoulder. 8.5/10

As soon as you turned the steering wheel on bitumen, the Dunlops responded. They carried good speed through the slalom and felt very stable. 9/10

Wet clay didn’t suit the Dunlops much. 5.5/10
They climbed the steep hill well but couldn’t do quite as well as the Kumhos. 7/10

The Dunlops floated over the sand beautifully. Slightly less bite than the top few but still good overall. 9.5/10

After the test, the tread showed no signs of cutting or chipping damage.


MANUFACTURER: GOODYEAR
MADE IN USA
PATTERN NAME: WRANGLER
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 210mm
SPEED RATING: R
LOAD RATING: E 123
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 2 aramid (Kevlar), 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE:

COMMENT
If four-wheel slides are your thing, then the Goodyears will suit your needs on the blacktop. They cried out for grip but couldn’t find any. At least they lost traction gradually and didn’t try to surprise with a sudden loss of control. 5.5/10

The Goodyears weren’t all bad on the gravel. While they offered no grip to steer into corners, were slow to recover from sliding and occasionally snapped sideways in faster corners, they did have good traction for braking and accelerating. 5/10

Their best performance was in the clay. 7/10

Grip on the steep gravel climb was lacking. 5.5/10

The Wranglers had good flotation on sand but not a lot of bite. 6.5/10


MANUFACTURER: PIRELLI
MADE IN BRAZIL
PATTERN NAME: SCORPION A/T
ACTUAL TREAD WIDTH: 200mm
SPEED RATING: R
LOAD RATING: E 123
CONSTRUCTION: Sidewall plies - 2 polyester, Tread plies - 2 nylon, 2 steel, 2 polyester
PRICE: $272

COMMENT
The Scorpions put on a good show in the bitumen slalom. They were responsive and predictable. They held their line and went where you told them. 10/10

Gravel roads posed no problem for the Pirellis. Good grip at both ends of the HiLux meant corners could be taken at higher speeds than with many other brands. Even when you did get the Scorpions sideways, they responded by regaining grip quickly. 9.5/10

They drove through the clay pit easily and never showed signs of getting stuck. 8.5/10

They made the gravel hill climb look easy, with very little wheelspin. 9/10

The Pirelli’s worst performance was on the sand. By that, I mean it didn’t score 10 from 10. The sidewalls didn’t belly out as well as some others, but it still floated on the sand and had just enough bite to accelerate up the sand dune. They weren’t the best of the bunch in sand, but they were still pretty good. 8/10

After the test, the tread showed minor signs of cut and chipping damage.



So how did they stack up and who came out on top? While no A/T available can hold a candle to a muddie in the mud or a highway-terrain on the highway, several of the A/Ts we tested will do most things pretty well, eliminating the need for owning two sets of tyres. Each tyre’s performance in each test section is scored out of 10 and then given an overall average out of 10. This way you can see the tyre that did best overall and scan the chart to see which tyres scored best in the sections that interest you.

Some tyres that were strong in most areas only needed to perform poorly in a couple of tests to drop down the overall list. For this reason, I have added one chart showing each tyre’s off-road performance separately from each tyre’s overall performance, which paints a different picture. I won’t beat around the bush. The Pirelli Scorpion was the best A/T by a country mile. It was just as good off-road as it was on it and excelled everywhere. While it didn’t win every section, to our surprise, it came bloody close. The BFGs and Pirellis performed well in the tougher conditions, but the Cooper showed the most bite, just edging out the Pirelli in the off-road section of the test.
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Mr_B
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Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:53 am

Great post! I did note that the tyres pricing in the USA is much closer than in SA. Kumho's, in SA, are alot less expensive than the well known brands, Pirelli, BFG's etc!

B

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Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:55 pm

George,

Brilliant post! I have made this into a "sticky" under "Technical".


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Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:28 pm

Very timely (for me at least). I am starting to look around at a replacement set again as I am starting to get fed up with the noise and balancing problems with my BFG's. I am convinced on my next buy thanks to this post not just because someone said so, but because of the comparisons between all the major suppliers. One note that I found interesting, since I have been seeing the same thing happen, was how the BFG’s lost their grip on the hill without any recovery, no chance of gaining the lost grip once they started spinning. Great post! :) :) :)
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Scorpion
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Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:10 pm

Great post! Don't you have something similar for Mud Terrain Tyres?
1988 Hilex D/C 4x4 (Import spec), Lexus V8; Marlin Crawler; Custom Suspension: front and new 4 link in the rear; Disc Brake conversion rear; 35" Cooper STT tyres; Xenon lights; Custom bullbar;Next? Aircon; new front seats, redo the whole interior in nice soft leather, Respray, Double Lockers
1978 Land Cruiser HJ45
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Bacchus
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Vehicle: Hilux D/C, 3.0 D-4D, 4x4
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Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:46 pm

Now, my question. Perhaps it has been discussed already but what I can't understand is why would Toyota put H/T on a 4x4 vehicle?

I bought my Hilux D/C, 3.0 D-4D, 4x4 a few months ago with Bridgetone Dueler H/T. When I asked the dealer why not A/T, their respond was that it is based on the 80/20 ratio of tarred road and off-road. My point is that it is for me to decide and even if I had to pay more for the A/T tyres I would have done so - but at least give me the choice!

I took it up with Toyota Customer Care and received a mail this morning - now, wait for this!!

"Kindly note that the vehicle tyres that is fitted on you vehicle is as per the specification and any modification will result in the vehicle warranty being affected."

So they fit tyres for highway-terrain on a 4x4 vehicle and that is per specification - I'll say no more!!

Someone else perhaps on the forum with a similar experience in this regard?

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Family_Dog
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Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:56 pm

Have you checked out the Fortuner thread for lame excuses?

http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/sho ... hp?t=21902


Over 600 messages ;)

And, welcome to the Forum!


-F_D
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LouisK
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Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:10 pm

"The Kumhos were the last to get a run on the sand. Their superior flotation and excellent traction shocked me. They didn’t quite have the bite of the Coopers, but they were by far the best overall. They climbed the dune easily with no run-up and were the only tyres to exit the beach in second-gear high-range. 10/10 "

Nice om dit te lees!

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CasKru
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Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:15 pm

Something to remember is that the tyres get fitted at the factory and not a dealer level. So if you want other tyres fitted, you will have to pay for it yourself. m2cw
To God be the glory

mplester
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Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:08 pm

Manufacturers have to make sure that the supplier can in fact supply tyres needed to build, so if you need 1000 plus tyres a day of a specific kind the supplier has to deliver on this. If you want something else then pay for it.

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B100
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Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:02 pm

Great article. Must admit, I have Kumhos as rear wheel on my KZTE and I was amazed at their performance in the Kalahari. So I agree with their assessment on sand. The only thing which bothers me is when I had them in front they had a heck of a lot of road noise.
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2003 KZTE on B100
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yotaman
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:41 pm

Great article. - tksalot for the posting. I have the Scorpions on my lux. I cant' help wondering why they so rarely seen though! Honestly, I would never have guessed they'll be on top of the AT test! What a surprise! No wonder I never struggled in the ruff stuff and always get the ? "Hey! how come is your Lux so quiet? I'm due for new set in +-30K and honestly, I was gonna go for for a set of BFG's but after this read my choice is going to be easy. Many Tks
Last edited by yotaman on Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
My Hilux is my passport to freedom

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kfxnando
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Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:19 pm

here is another page full of variables on tyres

from 4X4 tyres to ATV tyres

hope this helps!! :mrgreen:
http://www.youtube.com/user/kfxnando" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://community.webshots.com/user/kfxnando" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://s538.photobucket.com/albums/ff343/kfxnando/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Gunta
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Real Name: Mark
Location: Gauteng

Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:17 pm

This is another great website for tire comparrisons.
http://www.tirerack.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Worry about the things you can do something about, If you can't don't worry.
Live life to the fullest with no regrets.

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Derrick
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Mon May 10, 2010 11:09 am

Very informative info supplied here. Please could someone please advise me on the correct tyre pressure for my new BFG A/T tyres 31X 10.56 R15LT. The fitment centre recomended unladen 2.3Bar? I feel this is too much for the rear tyres as you can clearly see that whole tread does not have contact only the middle part!

I have an aftermarket guage and check regulary they say 2.0Bar is too low!

Many thanks for any feedback.
HILUX RAIDER 4.0V6 4X4 DC 2007. One day it will be my bundu basher with my boys!

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Gunta
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Mon May 10, 2010 11:25 am

2 bar is just right. Some guys even go to 1.8 psi
Worry about the things you can do something about, If you can't don't worry.
Live life to the fullest with no regrets.

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Derrick
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Mon May 10, 2010 1:00 pm

Thanks will do that this afternoon I feel better about that!
HILUX RAIDER 4.0V6 4X4 DC 2007. One day it will be my bundu basher with my boys!

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Leeuplesier
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Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:09 am

I saw an artice in the overlandig forum where people complain about cracks on their BFG's side walls. Seems that the sidewalls on BFG's is a problem area. :?:

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Traveler
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Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:19 pm

BF is a good tyre, but not as good as the myth would like to make them.

I rate Cooper equal to better and they are not as expensive either.
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Know what you don't know.

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Doctor V
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Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:41 am

Nice reading material. Must say I'm happy with my Kumho KL 71's. Decent grip in all terrain. Recently ran them in Atlantis dunes between 0.6 - 0.8 Bar without beadlockers (Dino in the Disco was running 0.4 with Beadlockers). Small amount of wear (10-15%) after 25000km's but blame most of it on idiot drivers causing "emergency stops" :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
'07 D4D Fortuner 4X4, OME with BF AT's

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Gunta
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Real Name: Mark
Location: Gauteng

Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:22 pm

Leeuplesier wrote:I saw an artice in the overlandig forum where people complain about cracks on their BFG's side walls. Seems that the sidewalls on BFG's is a problem area. :?:
I am running my 2nd set of 31" BFG's and I have never had that problem.
I also have a set of 33" KL71 and I have been very impressed with them. They are very noisy though and I dont think you will get more than 60 000km out of them.
Worry about the things you can do something about, If you can't don't worry.
Live life to the fullest with no regrets.

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kfxnando
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Real Name: Fernando
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Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:31 am

eish Google keeps bringing me here :beach: :laugh2:

after much reading and phoning and searching and and and and posting . . . .

found a set of Pirelli for R 1650, and as soon as I am out of here they will be on!! they have them in stock, for that price think they might of been sitting on the shelf for a while, as it is way lower then any other price on the same tyre!!

:dance1: :dance1:
http://www.youtube.com/user/kfxnando" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://community.webshots.com/user/kfxnando" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://s538.photobucket.com/albums/ff343/kfxnando/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Macaco
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Vehicle: 93 hilux raider d/c 4x4
Real Name: Marco

Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:09 pm

thanks a lot for this info, I have been waiting so long for any sort of confirmation that I made the right choice in buying the kumho's, I basically just bought them for their rugged look, cheap price (in comparison with other major brands) and cause the seller convinced me I wouldn't be making a mistake, so this is really good to know! I have 265/75r15's on 10j rims, its the broadest they had in stock and just looks like the rim needs a broader tire but nevertheless I want to know what is the best pressure to keep them at on tarred roads, I have them at 2.3bar at the moment but they feel a lil over inflated and hard on the road, take note, this is my first 4x4 and first time riding with such vehicles, I have a SFA so don't know if the bakkie itself is to blame or if the tires have something to do with it, any advice pleas?
SFA for life baby
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Rianc
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Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:02 pm

You can go to 2.2 on tar, but the SFA is not to blame, that's how the drive, whole new experience on its own.

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Haboob
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Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:03 pm

Use Coopers A/T with good results. Small amount of chipping on shoulders, but nothing to worry about. Many rocky roads and climbs, as well as sand driving. Satified...
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HABOOB means "Dust Storm"

Ranger
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Vehicle: Hilux 4.0 V6 manual
Real Name: Gustav

Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:55 pm

Just to share my experiences:I had BFG's AT fitted to my Ford Ranger.I nearly overturned the bakkie on a wet tar road one day.Shortly thereafter I also had a sidewall that cracked on the right rear tyre.
The tyres only did about 20 000 km in two years.
The Supplier did not want to accept that it is a factory fault.
I replaced the BFG's with Achiles Desert Hawk 31*10.5 SR 15 AT.(Yokohama is the importer) At first much better than the BF's.
Did about 7000 km on them when the front tyres started feathering on the thread blocks.
I contacted Yokohama and they replaced the whole set with a brand new set of Yokohama Geolander G012 31*10.5 AT. Very impressed. A huge improvement over the other two sets of tyres.I then fitted a set of Yokohama 265 70 TR 16 G012's to my wife's Fortuner as well. Very happy with them as well.

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Stef
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Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:46 am

Who would have guessed that Michelin? :mrgreen:
Pirelli no surprises there....

Coopers did better than I thought, must admit I smoked mine last weekend with the Conqueror behind me braking in Bela Bela. Was really scary but considering the weight pushing from behind they did OK.

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pietdevs
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Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:20 pm

Brilliant article indeed. I took my Coopers off after only 8000 kms due to block separation and fitted the Scorpions. I'm very happy with the Pirellis - much less road noise and no more flats as with the Coopers..

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