Both the BF Goodrich KO2 and the Cooper Discoverer AT3 are all terrain tires capable of performing on all sorts of lands including snow, as both have M+S and 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating symbols. But still overall, the Cooper AT3 is more oriented towards on-road performance where it offers better fuel mileage, traction, and comfort. BFG KO2, in lieu provides awesome durability and traction on rocks.
The Cooper Discoverer basically comes in 3 variants, where one is the Discoverer 4S, which is least aggressive of them all, then comes LT, which sits in the middle, and lastly, we get the XLT, which is the most comparable to the BF Goodrich KO2 as it has powerful sidewalls, but still not enough comparatively, as you’ll see.
Nonetheless, not all tires are created equal, and at the end of the day, it’s going to be up to you to decide which ones is for you, and you’ll for sure, as we are going to cover everything. Let’s begin!
Side By Side Comparison
BF Goodrich KO2
Cooper AT3 XLT
Let’s start off with quick design specs and sizes, the Cooper AT3 offers a weight range from 44 lbs to a max of 70 lb. It gives you total of 33 sizes compared to BFG KO2’s 90 with the weight range (34.3 to 69.9 lbs).
|Cooper AT3||BFG KO2|
|Weight (avg)||59.4 lbs||55.3 lbs|
|Tread Depth (avg)||16.6/32″||15/32’’|
|Available sizes||15 to 20″||15 to 22″|
|Sidewall Construction||2 ply||3 ply|
|Load Rating Range||C to E||C to F|
So BFG KO2 is heavier, offers more sizes,a nd is more durable, but Cooper AT3 has more tread depth.
Moving on to their tread structure.
Cooper AT3 has a very simple looking design compared to the other. And if we start with the sides, the tire offers serrated design with protruding edges.
On the outer margins, these blocks extend on sidewalls and make prominent lugs, while on the inner, the tire makes saw-tooth edges.
With smaller lateral spacing between the shoulder blocks, it’s not able to have enough area left for stone ejectors.
And instead, it’s shoulder blocks have connectors in between and to further support them, they are also equipped with reinforced foundations.
(These foundation supports are also seen in central ribs).
On the other hand, with BF Goodrich KO2, shows aggressive sides, but both AT3 and KO2 AT have serrated shoulders.
And although the scoop of both tires look very similar, the KO2 offers sharper edges. It’s blocks also have deep incisions in them, which combined with it’s rectilinear siping form stronger biters.
These shoulder blocks grow into lugs which join together to form a sharper sidewall design which is more efficient in comparison (during flexing sidewalls, when pressured/aired down).
All shoulder blocks also have stone ejectors in between. In fact the tire also has triangular shaped ones, strategically placed in it’s wider grooves.
The BF Goodrich provides KO2 with better ejectors where triangular ones are similar to it’s Trial Terrain Version.
(Cooper AT3 does not have them, but they still present with stone ejecting ledges, that still get the job done).
Moving on to the central part of both tires.
The Cooper AT3 is seen with 5 Rib blocky design.
And these multiple-sided blocks then form a 4 way circumferential groove pattern.
(The outer block valleys are more wider in comparison to the inner).
These outer groove blocks also have teeth/biting edges which act as strong grippers for the ground.
Wave like pattern of sipes is also seen on all blocks which give the tire additional grip.
The tire also has reinforced foundations under all it’s blocks, so it’s makes firm on road grip.
Furthermore, there are connectors between the shoulder blocks which restrict the movement of the blocks (keeping tire civilized on road), and with biters like the chamfered edges, the tire still great off road at the same time.
On the other hand, in case of BF Goodrich KO2, you get to see a totally different design. Here the blocks are hook shaped and they are uniform across the tire’s tread.
(The uniformity of these blocks distribute the stress on tires evenly, thus promoting even wear).
All these hook/c-shaped blocks are jagged with sharp notches in them which act as traction bitters.
You also get to see the 3D sipes all over the tire. These are deep and go all the way to the base allowing the blocks to have further move-ability.
The overall design of the KO2 don’t really form a proper upright grooves as seen in the Cooper AT3, instead you get to see a web of grooves giving the tire both lateral and circumferential traction.
Cooper AT3 had to compromise off road for it’s amazing on road capabilities.
It can be clearly seen from the tread pattern of both that, this tire would make more contact with the road as the blocks have less gap between them.
This allows this tire to have shorter braking distances.
|Tests||Cooper AT3||BFG KO2|
|Dry braking distance (from 60 mph)||154 feet||156feet|
|Wet (Lap) handling time||55 sec||59 sec|
|Float speed (hydroplane resistance)||46 mph||48 mph|
|Tread wear warranty||60,000 miles||50,000 miles|
The Cooper AT3 XLT besides it’s larger footprint also offers a softer compound, and this combined with it’s biting edges, it simply sticks on roads in a better way.
The softer rubber also make siping more effective, as they are more flexible to wipe water away efficiently.
KO2 on the other side, features a harder compound with rectilinear sipes, which are less efficient in sucking water particles underneath.
But the tire is still better in one aspect here, hydroplaning.
The BF Goodrich KO2 tire offers more float speeds as it’s web of channels allow the water to pass through without any resistance.
It offers wider block valleys especially around the shoulder blocks, so more volume of water can get out of the tire.
But with wider grooves, the tire is also a little loud in comparison.
Cooper AT3 with it’s whisper Groove tech, is better here. It provides connectors b/w the shoulder blocks which don’t allow the sound wave to amplify.
Is Cooper AT3 XLT Durable Enough?
Overall, both of the tires are made out of the silica based compound that give them chip and cut resistance.
In case of their construction, the Cooper AT3 has 2 steel belts covered by 2 ply polyamide wrapped with 1 layer of nylon.
And for BFG KO2, you get 2 steel belts but now 3 ply polyamide covered with 2 ply nylon. So you get 3 ply sidewall construction.
Which tells us that KO2 is tougher.
BF Goodrich claim it’s their toughest tire ever. They test dropped it from 10k feet too.
Off Road Traction of Both Tires
As we saw in the design section, the BFG KO2 features 3D track sides, notches blocks, upper shoulder sidewall armor, and a serrated shoulder design.
All these things allows this tire to have a better off road experience.
And when it comes to off road, 3 things come to mind, mud, snow and rocks. And the tire is better in all of them. Lets see why?
Why BFG KO2 is better on Mud?
- The overall design of KO2 offers wider grooves that allow more mud to escape in comparison.
- The wider shoulder blocks act as efficient scoopers and the notches cut through the surface of the mud.
- Cooper AT3 doesn’t offer the interconnected wider grooves and don’t have biters to it like the KO2.
- Both have serrated shoulders but again the KO2 have more edges to them so it’s better able to get out of deep air tight situation. (Sidewalls help here too).
Why BFG KO2 is better in Snow?
- The tire offers deeper 3D sipes that hug the surface of the snow and allow the tire to have shorter braking distances.
- The notched blocks of the tire also bite in to the surface of the snow in a better way.
- The tire has been rated with 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake (missing in Cooper AT3)
In case of Cooper AT3, the tire’s sipes and the biting edges of the shoulder blocks maintain a little grip but the tire doesn’t provide with enough lateral traction like the KO2. That’s why the tire tends to have more slippage here.
Why BFG KO2 is better on Rocks?
- Tire sticks better because of the interconnected web of grooves which allows it to have traction in all directions. (Cooper AT3 only has circumferential traction going on for it).
- The shoulders have bolder stone ejectors so the tire maintain it’s grip over smaller rocks in a better way. This also allows this tire to have higher speeds on gravel.
- Although both tires are cut resistant from the middle, the KO2 also has 3 ply sidewalls construction so it is more protected from unwanted sharp rocks.
Following is our video comparison, it’s recommended that you go through it for better understanding.
BFG KO2 vs Cooper AT3 | What’s the verdict?
Well, when it comes to Cooper AT3 XLT, it’s aggressive sure, but its high way oriented and not so capable off road especially when compared to KO2.
The BF Goodrich KO2 simply provides you with a more durable construction and a combative design to handle tough terrains off road.
But the tire is also expensive, so if you are mostly staying on road, you may want to consider Discoverer AT3.