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BFG Krawler Preview

By Mike "TXJEEPER" Cohn
Photos Courtesy of Michelin

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BFG Krawler
Gary Carving a Krawler

By now, you may have seen or heard of BFGoodrich's latest test tire, the Krawler. For over 30 years, BFG has been providing some of the best tires in motorsports. The All Terrain and Mud Terrain tires have been staples in the off-road arena for years and have undergone only slight changes over their entire history. What that says is that BFG is committed to intense research and development and they don't produce a tire until it's really ready. The latest KO and KM versions of these tires are proof of this committment.

But for some time now, as the sport of rockcrawling has become more extreme, drivers have yearned for something more aggressive. BFG had nothing to offer them so they many a customer was lost to other manufacturers. Not conent to continue this trend, BFG has been working diligently to come up with a more aggressive tire than the Mud Terrain KM. Enter the BFG Krawler.

Spearheaded by Gary Enterline of Michelin, BFG has been surveying four-wheelers at events around the country over the past year. We found Gary questioning participants in Alabama last year during a Superlift 4xAdventure, where he had a poster board with various tire patterns. The survey asked questions about which pattern would have the most traction and other similiar queries. One question asked whether or not the participant would be interested in carving their own tread patterns or not. This was a tip-off of what was to come.

BFG Krawler
The Evolution of a Krawler tire

Gary began hand-carving tire blanks in his back yard with a hot knife. He carved several sets with different patterns until he settled on a few to try out. The original thought was to possibly sell a basic pattern to the public and let them carve them however they'd like. The current trend is to pick one tread pattern and produce that once they find the right one.

Recently, BFG has been trail-testing various tire treads in various parts of the country. The latest version, the "GI Joe," has been given to hand-picked four-wheelers to try out in their home areas. The tires are 37x12.50 and are mounted on 17" Raceline Monster rims. The tires are being tested on some of the toughest terrain the US has to offer and they will also be found at some of the extreme competitions and the Moab Easter Jeep Safari.

The goal of the tests, of course, is to see how different rubber compounds do on different terrain. Once they are well-used, the tires will be studied and tested for wear and chipping of the lugs. If all goes well, we may find the Krawler being produced next year. Other sizes will certainly become available once production begins.

Stay tuned!

BFG Krawler
Krawler GI Joe pattern. This pattern is currently the leading tread design for the project.
BFG Krawler
Mike Duncan (Four X Doctor) tests the Krawler at Tierra Del Sol. (Photo by Tony Bothwell)
   
BFG Krawler
A "blank" Krawler tire ready for carving
BFG Krawler
   
BFG Krawler BFG Krawler