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_ HalfDork
9/19/19 2:12 p.m.

As the owner of a 2017 cross trek, I can first hand tell you that you do not need those tires for winter. I have regular old general all seasons in the factory size on my car. And last year we got 3 feet of snow for about two weeks straight.

skill>crutches. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/19/19 3:21 p.m.
llysgennad said:
Please don't take this wrong. That looks fun, but not particularly difficult IMO. I've seen a stock Crown Vic police cruiser go into much worse terrain with no problem. We took a stock Tercel way further into the boonies off-road than we thought possible. The last picture, that is better than the roads we commute on every day in a Fusion. A Crosstrek on any tires with air should be capable of nearly anything sane people do.

That was my point. That old Subaru got into high mountain and interesting desert camping spots using basically "any tires with air".  The second picture is on a trail marked "Moderate" on alltrails.com. But I didn't need any special tires or equipment to get there. The last picture was just pretty.

We've seen the Hells Revenge CV video, but Hells Revenge is a very specific type of trail.

spandak
spandak Reader
9/19/19 3:35 p.m.

Just to clarify, I live in SoCal. Snow is a non-issue. It’s more sand around here which, by the way, the stock geolanders handle just fine. 

We are mostly going for a look lol

D2W
D2W HalfDork
9/19/19 7:24 p.m.

I have had two sets on my FJ Cruiser and one set of Cooper ATs on in between. They are tough, they look good, they work well off road, and they are pretty good in deep snow (more than 6"), they are not great on packed snow and ice. They last a long time. I have over 40K on my current set, will easily get 60K. I will buy another set when these wear out.

If I was putting a set on a car I would go with an AT more like the Coopers. Something a little less aggressive, but better in snow and ice. I have a set of aggressive all-seasons on the wifes Grand Cherokee and she drives them year around no problem. 

If you don't want to put on snow tires shop for a nice aggressive AT or all season. You could also have them siped which will help a lot in icy conditions. In my younger days I always had Mud tires on my trucks. Siping made them much better winter tires.

GirlyMan
GirlyMan New Reader
9/19/19 8:02 p.m.

I have KO2s on my offroad rig (2001 XJ) and my daily (2001 Gen 3 Montero). In my experience they...

- look fantastic
- wear pretty well
- ride great...at first
- grow progressively louder as they age...even early in their life cycle
- turn into skis when it's wet

IMO they are decent tires that are too often overhyped in the herd environment created by online reviews. That said, I don't know of a better alternative since I haven't tried another AT tire over the last 10 years or so...and I don't want to steer anyone (pun intended?) wrong.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy UltimaDork
9/19/19 8:24 p.m.

Snow tires are the R compound for cold winter weather.  If I lived in the snow belt, I'd have a dedicated set of snow tires, regardless of what type of drive system my vehicle had.

I was partial to Hakkapeliittas when I lived in NY. Bonus points because its name is based on a  type of light calvary troop, which were in turn named for the battle cry (hakkaa päälle) they used.

The Cooper Discoverer AT3 4S have the little snowflake thing on them and are apparently decent. 

morello159
morello159 Reader
9/20/19 10:53 a.m.

Just want to drop in my 2c as a former tire engineer, though most of this has been said.

* Mud tires suck in the snow

* KO2's specifically are pretty good for an all season. As mentioned, they have the 3 peak mountain snowflake, which (unlike "M+S") actually means something. It's about as good as you can get before getting to a real snow tire, and it's mostly due to the tread compound and what the industry calls biting edges. Not sure if they're made in your size, but the advantage t/a sport LT is also quite good in the snow. I have experience winter testing both of these tires :) 

* Real snow tires are still better in the snow

* Wet performance and snow performance are totally different, and both the tires mentioned are solidly average in wet adherence (different than hydroplaning resistance). A high performance all-season tire will completely destroy a good snow tire when the road is wet if temperatures are above freezing and there is no standing water

morello159
morello159 Reader
9/20/19 10:57 a.m.
_ said:

As the owner of a 2017 cross trek, I can first hand tell you that you do not need those tires for winter. I have regular old general all seasons in the factory size on my car. And last year we got 3 feet of snow for about two weeks straight.

skill>crutches. 

This is a stupid comment. grip > luck

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_ HalfDork
9/20/19 11:16 a.m.

In reply to morello159 :

See you on track, son. 

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
9/20/19 12:23 p.m.

So I have some actual personal experience in this, not just anecdotes and e-pinions.

 

  • Daily drove a WRX wagon with General Grabbers and BFG All-Terrains in Wisconsin winters.
  • Like Franks Red Hot, I put BFG All-Terrains on everything.

 

The General Grabbers were total garbage.  Looked cool but sketchy to the point of dangerous in anything but fresh powder.  Despite being a near-clone of the BFG All Terrain they sucked in snow and did not have the three peaks rating.

I swapped them out for a set of nearly worn out BFG All terrains - old ones, not KO2s, and even being rock hard they were still better on my little WRX in ice and hard pack snow.  

Also have had a 2002 F250 with KO2s, a 2006 Land Cruiser with KO2s, and now have a 2015 Land Cruiser with KO2s.  BFG loves me.  They ride great, look great, and do all I need them to.  That being said a Land Cruiser is unbelieveably fantastic in snow with even Michelin passenger car tires, so its a bit like cheating.

 

morello159
morello159 Reader
9/21/19 2:59 p.m.
_ said:

In reply to morello159 :

See you on track, son. 

Sure thing. You can drive your crosstrek on all seasons, I'll drive my miata on rivals and we'll see who's faster.

Good tires are not a crutch, they are a safety item. Back on topic. 

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_ HalfDork
9/22/19 1:03 a.m.

In reply to morello159 :

Heheheh... oh to be naive again. So you’re telling me, that your Miata on rivals with you driving is faster than that same Miata on cheap Chinese maypops with Randy Pobst at the wheel? 

Skill over grip son. Learn it. 

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
9/22/19 10:59 a.m.
dclafleur said:

I've got them and have had them in the snow a few times.  I don't know that I'd say they're as good as a dedicated set of snows but they're probably the best all-terrain I've used in snow and they're better than the Michelin Long Trails I used previously in snow.  Biggest downside is they're a very loud tire on pavement (which is a common beef with all terrains).

It all depends on what you’re used to.  They are extremely quiet compared to their sister tire, the BFG Mud Terrain KO2.  

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/22/19 11:40 a.m.
llysgennad said:
Curtis said:
llysgennad said:

I've had them, and other brands of AT on several vehicles. They aren't great in deep snow (more than 3" the tread tends to pack and not self-clear) and they can be floaty in heavy rain (no circumferential grooves). But they are a good all around tire, and I'm getting another set soon. If you need it for deep snow often, get a mud-terrain or M&S rated tire.

Oh, and I never thought they were noisy at all.

Gotta disagree here.

Imagine that.

FYI, the Blizzak you picked is a M&S tire like I suggested.

 

It is also branded with the 3PMSF designation for winter use. AS IS THE BFG A/T KO2. If you're comparing worn KO's on a heavy truck to the current 4th gen KO2, that's not even close. The KO2's have a deserved great reputation.

And for DEEP snow, like I said, any of these are not the best choice. Like the Krawler you compared it to, most modern MUD tires use a soft compound to grip rocks. From Tirerack where you grabbed the picture:  "The Krawler T/A KX features a soft tread compound based on BFGoodrich's years of off-road experience molded into an extra deep tread design with a tread pattern that combines deep, aggressive independent blocks with solid sidewall lugs." Most dedicated winter tires are a similar soft compound and wear pretty fast. Deep blocks let the tire dig and pull in DEEP snow and mud. They don't generally work great for commuter vehicles. I've had them, and it's not a big deal to me, but I have low standards for comfort.

Best tire choice for a given vehicle is very subjective, and depends on a lot of factors; driving style, vehicle weight, FWD/AWD/4WD, road surface, etc. What works (and looks) good for one may not work for another.

And I've pulled a lot of vehicles out too. Tires are rarely, if ever, the reason they were stuck.

 

Correct, but you missed my point.  The M&S rating shows up on nearly every tire except summer-only, including these Asymmetrical ultra-high-performance tires... which I happen to know are completely helpless in the snow.

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season

I agree that the KO2s have a great reputation, I just disagree that it is deserved.  In nearly every category of performance they have been trumped many times over by other tires.  It is carrying its rep from 20 years ago with only modest improvements.

The Qjet was an amazing carburetor, and still one of the best carbs out there, but that doesn't make it better than EFI and direct injection.

It's also much like Uniroyal Tiger Paws and Goodrich Radial T/A.  They were the go-to muscle car tire, and people still seek them out for the look and nostalgia, but they are crap tires by today's standards.

morello159
morello159 Reader
9/25/19 7:36 a.m.
It's also much like Uniroyal Tiger Paws and Goodrich Radial T/A.  They were the go-to muscle car tire, and people still seek them out for the look and nostalgia, but they are crap tires by today's standards.

Funny you should mention the Tiger Paw - the old Uniroyal Tiger Paw is still the standard against which the industry measures traction and, annoyingly, they're actually quite good in the snow. Not very good in other areas. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/25/19 8:25 a.m.
_ said:

In reply to morello159 :

Heheheh... oh to be naive again. So you’re telling me, that your Miata on rivals with you driving is faster than that same Miata on cheap Chinese maypops with Randy Pobst at the wheel? 

Skill over grip son. Learn it. 

Oh, give me a break. More traction is always better. No matter how skilled you are, you cannot generate traction where there is none. Stopping distances, for example, are based on traction above all else.  I’m sure even Randy would prefer the right tires for the conditions, and that means snow tires in the snow. There’s no reason to handicap your car just because you’re a hero driver. 

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/25/19 8:57 a.m.

Guys, chill.

You're both just arguing the extremes.  The OP was asking about A/T tires and you guys are arguing snow traction versus F1 handling.

Living in PA, I have used summer-only tires in the winter.  Not a wise choice, but it only let me sit once because of my experience driving in the snow.  It's not a debate over skill vs traction, it's a choice of the right tire for your driving needs.  All tires will be a trade-off in some form of driving.

Tires are like a cam, or a turbo, or intake port volume... they will be most efficient at ONE POINT and be satisfactory to poor at all others points.  Just like choosing a cam, you can choose a tire to be really good at one thing and hopefully not suck in all other categories. 

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
9/25/19 9:04 a.m.

In reply to morello159 :

Dealing with 4 different ASTM methods, this does not surprise me at all. wink

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/25/19 9:21 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
you cannot generate traction where there is none. 

No, but driving skill can help you maintain the traction you have.  I could always get my ex wife's car up the driveway in the snow and she couldn't.  Her idea of getting up the driveway was to just hit it hard and floor it, which means she lost traction before she even started.  My technique was to use enough torque to keep moving but not enough to break traction.

I finally got her to learn the right way by giving her this metaphor.  Imagine you're walking on ice.  You carefully plant your shoe and gently push yourself forward.  If you push too hard, your shoe slips and you lose all traction and fall on your ass.  She learned to accelerate only as much as she could without slipping.

Also, in my case, more traction isn't necessarily better.  If you give me super-sticky track tires and another set of good DOT summer rubber, I might be faster around the cones with the DOT because of their more forgiving break away.  I don't have a lot of experience with super sticky tires, and the experience I do have usually leads me to end up eating all the cones in a 270-degree spin.  All the traction in the world doesn't help if you're spun around the wrong way with a cone wedged between your tire and fender.

Not joining the debate,  but I would say that it isn't a traction/skill debate, I would say it is choosing the right traction for your skill/experience.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/25/19 9:40 a.m.

I’m still talking about snow tires. In the summer, traction levels are high enough on the street that it’s pretty hard to get past them.  I’m having a hard time coming up with a scenario - other than hooning around - where I’d want anything with less traction in winter. Sure, you can justify it for yourself by saying that it’s not worth the effort or time...but if you need to stop in the shortest possible distance in the winter, then you need that mechanical grip. For a given level of skill, more traction is better in the slippery stuff.

This is from the perspective of someone who grew up driving a RWD on all-seasons in Canada and who has been caught in snowstorms with less than ideal rubber. I’ve got some snow time on me and I put snow tires on in the winter, even if we only get a few inches a year here in the valley. Because they’re cheaper than bodywork, and I like to give myself every advantage I can.

Snow tires are a tool, not a crutch. Why not work with the best tools you can?

And I have chased Randy Pobst around a racetrack in Miatas.  I only had to spot him 200 hp or so to keep up :)

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/25/19 10:19 a.m.

I don't disagree re: snow tires and braking, I think its more a matter of when your climate dictates that the expense of getting a dedicated set of snows is warranted.  I don't do snows in PA because I have a 4x4 with A/Ts that does more than I need, but even on my RWD cars I don't see the need to spend $750 on a set of wheels and tires that would only benefit me one or two days in the winter.  Hence the nod to A/Ts which shoot the middle.

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_ HalfDork
9/25/19 10:59 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Oh I’m not saying grip isn’t key. If it wasn’t, then we wouldn’t need slicks in Racing. 

What I am saying is that the OP could get AT tires and claim hero status With no right. Or could earn it like some of us do without it. 

My work van has snow tires. Grips like a mofo. My crosstrek does not. I drive them both in the snow. I prefer the crosstrek. 

At AX, Just because someone gets FTD doesn’t mean they were the best driver (normally it does). If you were the only one to show up with slicks, then you might take FTD, but be rubbish behind the wheel. At our local chapter someone did the opposite. No slicks, no modded suspension. Alien behind the wheel. FTD, and that includes a field of  well prepped cars, and very experienced drivers. 

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
9/25/19 11:26 a.m.

I had KO2s on the XJ. They worked fine on and off road. They even did well in snow and ice, the one time we actually had that problem. 

I replaced them with Falken Wildpeaks. The Falkens are a much better tire in every way. For half the money. 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/25/19 11:43 a.m.
Curtis said:

I don't disagree re: snow tires and braking, I think its more a matter of when your climate dictates that the expense of getting a dedicated set of snows is warranted.  I don't do snows in PA because I have a 4x4 with A/Ts that does more than I need, but even on my RWD cars I don't see the need to spend $750 on a set of wheels and tires that would only benefit me one or two days in the winter.  Hence the nod to A/Ts which shoot the middle.

Remember that when you’re using your snows, you’re not using your summers. So they don’t actually cost you any more in the long run unless your tires age out before they wear out. It’s a bit of math that people overlook.

morello159
morello159 Reader
9/25/19 12:20 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Snow tires are a tool, not a crutch. Why not work with the best tools you can?

And I have chased Randy Pobst around a racetrack in Miatas.  I only had to spot him 200 hp or so to keep up :)

Quoted for truth. I've spent months specifically testing snow traction in all manner of vehicles and on all sorts of tires (competitor benchmarking and development testing). Given my comments in this thread, you can probably surmise for which manufacturer. For OP's purposes, anything with the 3 peak mountain snowflake is probably "good enough." But snow tires are not a crutch, and will always be better than all-season tires in winter conditions. 

FWIW, I too have been on track with Randy, and I had to spot him a whole lot less than the difference between Rivals and Chinese hockey pucks. 

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