BFGoodrich Takes On The Rubicon
BFGoodrich is synonymous with off-road. Arguably one of the most identifiable off-road brands in all of the world, BFGoodrich Tires has been the premier tire brand for enthusiasts & racers for decades. When BFG made their move into the UTV market a few years ago, we got extremely excited. Not because our industry needed another UTV tire, but because of what it means to the UTV market to have such a dominant brand pay attention to us. It was validation that UTVs were and are here to stay.
Since the launch of the first BFG UTV tire a few years ago, we have slowly but surely built a strong relationship with the company. We helped launch the tire alongside Jackson Motorsports Group and since have worked with BFG in providing both product and industry feedback. In return, BFG has treated us with a tremendous amount of respect which feels good to a guy who grew up looking at BFG as this mega brand that was somewhat bigger than life.
Fast forward and BFG is setting up to launch its 3rd offering of tires to the UTV segment. The all-new BFGoodrich KM3 Mud-Terrain is the latest version of one of BFG’s most popular tires. Mud-Terrain’s are used on recreational, daily drivers and race vehicles all over the world. With each rendition comes improvements in compound, overall design, tread pattern and more and the latest KM3 is certainly a step above the rest.
While we did not get to experience the new KM3 UTV specific tire during our trip to the Rubicon, we did get to experience the new KM3 on a few different vehicles which gave us the chance to really understand just how good this tire is. BFGoodrich planned out what we guess was a million dollar event which spanned over the course of two full weeks and was based out of Squaw Valley Resort just outside of Lake Tahoe, NV. Over the two weeks, BFG would bring in the industries top influencers from off-road, action sports, media and television to participate in what they call the KM3 Terrain Takeover. The #BFGOnRubicon, which was the title of our Terrain Takeover stop, is part of a BFG’s multi-event launch which kicked off a little over a month ago with the first KM3 Terrain Takeover held in Australia. You can read more about that trip that we participated in by CLICKING HERE
The event in total was certainly one to write home about. It all started with a flight into Reno where BFG tossed us the keys to a brand new 2018 Toyota Tacoma equipped with 33″ KM3’s. We were given navigation to a few stops where we would be greeted by the RedBull Media House to give on camera insight and feedback before charging off to the next stop. The way there was scenic and fun and gave us a chance to experience the new off-road based tires while on-road. First impression, quiet! Virtually silent, which isn’t what you expect out of a Mud-Terrain on blacktop. You expect a hum or some sense of vibration, but there is non. Instead you get the smoothness and silence you would expect out of a street tire while maintaining the traction and durability you want out of an off-road tire.
Upon arrival into Squaw Valley, which is as high-end of a resort you could find in the mountains, we were greeted again by cameras and BFG staff who checked us in, provided us with an amazing room and gave us the rundown on the rest of our stay and adventure. The evening started with a group kick-off event that featured some of BFG’s best all hosted by off-road and action sports icon Cameron Steele and legendary off-road personality Bob Bower. Stories from the drivers, celebrities and racers in attendance commenced and details about the event and tire were given. A festive atmosphere was set and off to dinner we headed with a ton of anticipation for the following days activities.
Up with the sun we put some food in our stomach and made our way down to the golf course which would double as a landing pad for the helicopters that would fly back and forth all day and act as our Uber to the Rubicon Trail. The Rubicon is one of the mist storied and popular off-road trails in the universe and has even lent its name to one of the most popular versions of the Jeep that we have ever seen in our lifetime. In storybook fashion, we would land at about the 3 mile point near the bottom of the trail and be given the keys to what else, a Jeep Rubicon, fully equipped for rock crawling and of course sporting 37″ KM3 tires. A quick pairing up of drivers, a small set of instructions, and there I was climbing behind the wheel of a well equipped Jeep to take on the Rubicon for my first time.
I have always wanted to adventure on the Rubicon, to say my first experience was a bit spoiled would be an understatement. I had always envisioned a multi-day trek in a UTV equipped with all I would need to stay on the trail. Instead, I was dropped by chopper, given the keys to a fully equipped Jeep with 2K miles on it, fed lunch and treated to a few more fun things before being flown back out. Having satellite radio and air conditioning wasn’t exactly how envisioned my rookie trip but I am certainly not going to complain. Needless to say, it was also my first time piloting a Jeep off-road and while I have been quite vocal in my not being a “Jeep kinda guy”, I will say I was pleasantly surprised. It was slow, and at times was hard not to lose focus because of the pace, but it was highly capable and very stable in obstacles that I thought could easily topple us over. The tires always remained glued and only once did I ever lock the front differential, and to be honest that was just so I could see how it felt.
We climbed up the trail from Little Sluice to Arnold’s Rock where we would have lunch. I don’t know why I had expected a simple sack lunch at this point, but once again I was blown away that BFG could push the limits of an on-site experience. Multiple picnic areas with couches and lounge chairs were sprawled about this popular stopping point of the Rubicon. Massive slab’s of million year old rock create the perfect area to park large amounts of vehicles and take in the breathtaking views provided by this historic trail. Ponds, trees, and Buck Island Lake make up the view as well as some guests in the form of 8 King Of The Hammer’s Ultra 4 vehicles. As if riding in Jeeps with KM3’s wasn’t enough, BFG brought in some of their top racers and their crawlers to give us the ride of a lifetime and give us a sense of just how durable the KM3 is in a competitive environment.
I strapped in with two-time KOH race winner Randy Slawson, in his famous Bomber Fabrication 4400 race vehicle. It was literally like a full size RC rock crawler toy and anything he pointed it at, it literally shot right up. We raced and down the trail towards the Big Sluice Box and back up banging tires and nerfing alongside other KOH competitors like Tom Wayes and Brad Lovell. Slawson blew me away with his skill and vehicle and it didn’t give me much time to really reflect on how the tires worked until after I climbed out of the vehicle and changed my shorts. Once my nerves calmed I was able to think at just how crazy it was that we could hit things like we did and not even phase the tires. On top of that, they had already been doing this for over a week on the same set of tires and while Slawson’s were certainly looking a bit worn, they still looked like they had plenty more rock burnouts and power slides left in them.
Thankfully I waited until after my rock crawling roller coaster ride to eat lunch, which by the way was enough to feed a small country. With a full stomach and a new lease on life, I turned the drivers seat over to my partner for the day, famous outdoor photographer Dylan Furst. If you were like me, then you are probably asking who is Dylan Fursty? Do yourself a favor and check him out on Instagram at @fursty, the dude has an insane catalog of work on display for you to gawk over like I did. His style and creativity has made him one of the most sought after young photographers, and like me this was his first time rock crawling in a Jeep. He didn’t take long to get the hang of it and I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride as we made our way down to the Big Sluice which is where our chopper awaited. (How rich & spoiled does that sound?)
A quick flight back to Squaw and we were once again shuttled off to another fun, and final phase of our adventure. Here, RJ Anderson, Larry Roeseler, and Brandon Schueler, all close friends, were waiting on us with some brand new Polaris RZR Turbo-S machines to give us all one last and fast joy ride. The Turbo-S were equipped with the current BFG KR2 Baja T/A that we have been running since mid last year, so nothing new for us. But for the others this was their first time in a RZR and their first time experiencing those amazing tires. I hopped in with RJ, something I have done for almost 10 years now, and had a blast with my bud as we ripped up and back down the mountain. A final thank you by BFG and it was off to dinner to celebrate the day and say our goodbye’s.
BFG crushed this launch and even though I was part of the final wave, the team hid their exhaustion well. They made us feel as if we were the best group they had seen all week, and I like to think we were. Of course I will have to wait another month or so before I get to experience the new KM3 UTV tires, but I do now know what to expect and it has me very excited to get them in and begin to run them. The KM3 will be available in 5 different sizes which makes this tire arguable the most attractive from a UTV standpoint.
Anticipated 8.1.18 Launch
Naturally, there isn’t a whole lot you could say bad about these tires, and of course this experience was nothing short of amazing. We will certainly bring all the info on the release of the UTV KM3 tires as soon as we have it and we will also bring even more details and information surrounding other BFG related news and information. In the mean time feel free to post your questions and comments to us below and we would be happy to answer them.
Thank you BFGoodrich, Jackson Motorsports Group, Polaris RZR, RedBull, Rylo, Skeleton Optics, 5.11, ARB, and all the other athletes and sponsors who made the KM3 Terrain Takeover / BFG On Rubicon event so much fun. To say we were honored to be invited and attend would be an understatement!
Until Next Time….