While this article may seam a little off topic, as an engineer I find tire designs interesting and on a more practical tangent “I don’t like getting stuck”. I have been through two sets of BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain’s and two sets of BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2’s and now I am running a set of Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with kevlar. So this article is my perspective based on my personal experience.
First off let me say I did not expect the wrangler MTR’s to be any louder compared to the BFG Mud Terrain T/A KM2’s. I do not have stock exhaust and my truck is not exactly quiet so the fact that I could even perceive a difference in road noise surprised me. The Wranglers are definitely a bit louder at highway speeds. And while I am on the topic of noise let me just say that its very subjective as to what is acceptable. My opinion may be different than yours… but what I can say for sure is that people in jeeps tend to think these tires are a lot louder than people in trucks. I think we can all agree that these tires are going to be louder than street tires though…
Both the BFG’s and wranglers handle great in snow. To be honest I think that snow is a tie between the two of them. If I had to choose one winner on snow it would be the BFG Mud-Terrain T/A KM2’s I have driven through a foot of snow with zero issues and the same results on hard packed snow. I suspect this is due to the fact that the BFG’s are softer than the wrangers. But again its close between these two tires…
On the other hand neither are particularly good on ice but that is to be expected.
When it comes to red clay mud I think the BF Goodrich mud tires clean out a lot better than the wranglers do. They both perform pretty well when it comes to soupy mud but on thicker red clay mud the bfg’s have a serious advantage. This is not to say that the wrangler tire is terrible in the mud, because it’s not. I am just simply saying that the bfg’s are better. I think that interlocking tread block just off of the center of the wranglers that gives them their street manners is where they tend to fall behind the bfg’s in the mud. The more I use the Wranglers the more I respect the performance laid down by the BFG’s in the mud.
So now we come to crawling. Both tires have worked well for me aired down. I have yet to puncture either tires side walls. I have on the other hand shredded the older BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain’s. I think the edge on traction goes to the BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2’s again due to their softer composition but the edge goes to the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with kevlar when it comes to puncture resistant. So for crawling I think its a toss up.
I have been very happy with the BFG Mud-Terrain T/A KM2’s when hauling many loads of fire wood. They perform exceptionally well under a load. I have not hauled anything yet with the wranglers… I will up date this once I have…
When it comes to street performance I think at the same PSI the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with kevlar ride stiffer and thus have better handling than the BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2’s,but they are perceptively louder which could be an issue for some people. Both tires perform exceptionally well in the rain and from my experience there has been no hydroplaning of any kind with either tire! For me personally on the street I prefer the ride of the Goodyear Wrangler’s. But who buys a Mud Tire for street performance?
I have plenty of experience when it comes to BF Goodrich tread life, I have generally gotten about 40,000 to 50,000 miles a set when you exclude the sidewall failures I had with a few of the older BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires. So far the tread wear on the wranglers has been really good.
I have no real experience with either tire when it comes to sand.
When it comes to looks they are both pretty aggressive but a lot of people I run into seam to like the looks of the Goodyear wranglers
When you consider cost, the Goodyear wranglers are about 30 US dollars cheaper a piece or $150 a set of five. For me this was not a determining factor but I could certainly understand if it is for some buyers. In some markets availability is a bigger determining factor as well.
And now on to the question of hype “Is the Kevlar more hype than function on a mud tire?”. Kevlar works well in vests where there are many layers. The main reason this works for bullets is because there is an initial impulse of energy when the bullet is fired and then the energy bleeds off as the bullet travels. The vest is able to stop it by deforming the bullet and absorbing its remaining energy. Not all kevlar vests work against knife attacks because the energy is constant and the object is sharp and does not deform. The same can be true when you are dealing with a root or sharp rock the energy or torque is coming from the engine and is thus constant as the wheel is spinning so the kevlar sidewall may ultimately fail. Their statement that the sidewalls are 35% stronger than the original Goodyear Wrangler MT/R may indeed be true but 35% better against a sharp rock will still equal fail in many situations. The addition of kevlar does give the tire a much stiffer ride which will be a benefit on pavement when making sharp turns.
After writing this piece and thinking a lot about my experiences with both tires… I can honestly while they are both close in performance and price. I generally prefer the crawling and mud performance of the BF Goodrich Mud Terrains and unless something changes dramatically I will likely purchase the BFG’s when I am ready to get my next set of tires.
If you are on the fence I hope this article helps… feel free to leave your perspective in the comments section below.
Edited to add 2017 update
I liked the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with kevlar mud tires enough to buy another set of four! They did get progressively louder as they wore. But they wore well and performed great! I really cannot say enough good things about these tires. They are now about 200.00 more a set of four than they were before. I hope Goodyear keeps making these tires for the foreseeable future!
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