A lot of tire lines even tire companies have come and gone in the 30 years since the first BFGoodrich All-Terrain hit the road. Since 1976, the line has evolved and expanded to include coverage for everyday drivers and more extreme tire users, posting hundreds of off-road and extreme rock crawling race wins in the process including 20 straight Baja 1000 wins.
To celebrate its birthday, the Michelin North America (MNA) unit added 12 new LT-metric and flotation sizes to the already expansive All-Terrain T/A KO line-up card.
Jimmy Carter was president when Scoop Vessels took his barely modified (by today’s standards) Ford F-150 and won BFGoodrich’s very first off-road race. Today, Vessels leaves the desert racing to his son, Skip, and focuses on his highly successful Vessels Stallion Farm, a 2,500-acre, thoroughbred-breeding farm near San Diego.
Fittingly, the pastoral Vessels farm hosted the formal launch of the BFG All-Terrain T/A KO line extension.
BFGoodrich had no idea how popular its new light truck tire the Radial All-Terrain would be when it was launched in 1976, said Gary Enterline, BFG brand category manager for MNA. Now in its third generation, and now called the All-Terrain T/A KO, the line also changed in other ways to meet the specific and sometimes unique needs of demanding consumers. What was once a single tire has grown to eight lines, from the Radial Long Trail T/A and Rugged Trail T/A for typical drivers to the Baja T/A and Krawler T/A for more extreme users.
The flagship tire sits right in the middle of the BFGoodrich light truck/SUV lineup, mixing on- and off-road performance with the right levels of comfort and sportiness. The 12 new sizes covering 17- to 22-inch, load range D and E applications are intended to give dealers greater reach into the evolving pickup truck and large-SUV segment.
As Enterline explained, vehicle makers are moving away from the 15- and 16-inch tire sizes that had been the core of the large light truck aftermarket. Now, OEMs are specifying 17-, 18- and 19-inch sizes. Further, replacement-market customers who wanted larger diameter tires and wheels 20- and 22-inch sizes had few alternatives but ultra-high performance tires, which are somewhat limited in off-road situations.
The new sizes, Enterline said, will come to market Sept. 1, giving the All-Terrain T/A KO 49 total sizes, ranging from 215/75R15 to 325/60R22.
Enterline said the success of the All-Terrain T/A KO over the years is due to consumer acceptance and a great deal of off-road racing success. During the introduction, he recounted the brand’s desert and stadium race achievements and how those have translated into enthusiast support.
Of course, BFGoodrich brand officials also point to the line’s advanced tire technology. In the case of the All-Terrain T/A KO, that includes upper sidewall traction bars; an aggressive, high-void tread design with interlocking tread elements, siping and a stabilized tread center; durable tread and sidewall construction, featuring two full-width steel belts and a three-ply polyester carcass; and single-strand bead construction.
To help dealers navigate the 49 SKUs in the line, BFGoodrich is creating an “SKU Matrix” to identify fitments “based on the OE size on the vehicle.” The look-up matrix should be available when the new sizes are launched in late summer.