Low Noise Roller.

I had been driving on my 10-ply BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s for awhile now, and they were pretty worn down. I’d say about 95% of approximately 54,000 miles driven was on pavement or asphalt – with that last 5% or so covering a few off=road adventures, some camping, and mountain bike shuttling. Over that time period they have had around 10 different screws, nails, or other puncturing-type things in them at one point in time – but none that caused a full flat. They’ve held up pretty good, but after four years the tread was just about to the wear strips. It was time for some new tires.

This time around I already knew what I was looking for – and no, not a 285/75-16 (I’ll consider it again next time I need new tires). Also, I wasn’t planning on getting another set of KO2s; in fact I was shifting my tire choices away from the proven off-road tires specifically for one major reason: tire noise. The first year of ownership the BF Goodrich KO2s were fine. There was barely a tire hum compared to the stock Long Trails so all seemed good.

However as the miles came and the tire wear began, that little hum got louder and louder. After about 2-1/2 years it was no longer a hum – it was a loud, oscillating drone noise. It almost sounded like a bad wheel front-left bearing and it would get its loudest in the 60-65mph speed range. I tried changing tire positions, I tried different tire pressures, I tried altering my alignment specs, and nothing. I knew that a full M/T tire had a loud drone, but I didn’t think the A/T KO2 would. Since this was my daily driver/commuter I pretty much concluded that the next set of tires will have to be more “street” and less “dirt”.

What you learn after driving on the same tire for 4 years.

It was time to buy new tires. I spent a good 2 weeks comparing, researching, and debating what tire to go with this time around, and in the end I went with the Hankook Dynapro AT-M (RF10) – which I knew did not look as aggressive as the KO2, but that wasn’t what I was looking for at this time.

Fun Fact #1: Coincidentally the RF10’s are also the OEM tire for certain model year Frontiers.

So a quick call to my wheel/tire pal, and in about 4 days I had a new set of RF10’s ready to mount. I stayed with the 265/75-16 size, and I also went with the SL-rated 4-ply instead of the E-rated 10-ply as again – the main goal for this tire set was less noise, more comfort, and leaning more to the road side of things. Finally, the SL-rated tires weighed in at about 37 pounds each; that’s a decent weight savings compared to the 53 pound KO2s.

Fresh new shoes for the Frontier.
No lift needed, we can do this the old fashioned way.
New tire next to old tire.
Mounting the RF10’s onto my Level 8 wheels.

Fun Fact #2: Balancing the RF10’s were a piece of cake. Take a look at how much weight we had to use on one of the wheels that had the previous KO2s on them:

Another not so cool thing about running heavy off-road tires.