When it comes rugged off roads tires, Kenda may not come on the list of famous brands, but they surely made a really tough tire with it’s new Klever RT. But how would this tire compare against the famous BFG KO2?
The BFG KO2 is marketed as their toughest tire ever built with 3 ply sidewalls. That’s why its so famous. But the tire is also pretty expensive.
Where in case of Kenda Klever RT, a rugged terrain tire, (which is also considered a hybrid) provides you with the same 3 ply sidewalls on a very low price tag.
So does it’s durability mean something here? Let’s find out.
Starting with their Designs:
BF Goodrich KO2
Kenda Klever R/T
So why Kenda Klever RT is considered a hybrid? Well, because of it’s bulkier sides compared to less wider grooves in the central area.
But the tire is still missing a key component, when it comes to hybrid tires’ “features”.
It does not offer you with proper circumferential groove rings, which is common with almost all hybrid tires out there.
And instead due to haphazard block placement, it’s making a very tough passing groove along the sides, if any.
The central area of the tire also features very irregularly shaped blocks which remind me of Goodyear DuraTrac.
These are actually 2 blocks which make mirror image of each other. The two on the sides can be seen with deep cuts in them and the other two only have offset edges.
All blocks have rectilinear deep sipes as well.
On the other side, the BF Goodrich KO2 features a more uniform design of interlocking “Worm like” blocks in its central area.
All these blocks have notches and are equipped with deep sipes.
These sipes are actually all the way deep (diving these blocks in a way), so the blocks are more independent to squirm and wiggle (enhancing grip).
The tire also features triangular shaped stone ejectors missing in the Kenda Klever (marked with pink).
These ejectors expel debris that would otherwise lodge in its less wider grooves.
Side Note: The previous version of this tire, the BFG “KO” T/A, had a little problem of wear with small rocks. The would pick these rocks up and they would bury themselves in the tire damaging the tread. But now with triangular numbs the tread is able to eject these stones efficiently.
But just like the Kenda Klever, the BFG KO2 also does not make proper circumferential grooves with its weirdly shaped shoulder blocks.
These blocks (marked with the color green) have deep cuts in them along with rectilinear siping. And between these blocks, prominent stone ejectors can be seen as well.
If we look at the Kenda Klever R/T’s shoulder blocks, they are still not too weirdly shaped in comparison. But they are also staggered like the KO2.
And although the tire is not 3pmsf rated (like the KO2), these blocks are still stud-able, (holes can be seen on its shoulder blocks).
All blocks in the middle, and on sides, form slanted lateral grooves which are slanted and join the outer wider grooves of shoulder blocks which have stone ejectors (see image in mud section below).
The tire also makes a very blocky sidewall lugs which protect the sides which are already strong enough with 3 ply polyester casing (in it’s inner construction) just like the KO2.
But on KO2, the sidewall lugs are pasted on a larger area, and they connect with the shoulder blocks making a sharp incision in between.
Other than this, both tires also features rim protectors which protects the tire’s bead area.
If we check out some tech. specs of these tires…
|Kenda Klever||BFG KO2|
|Weight (avg)||60 lbs||55.3 lbs|
|Tread Depth||either 17|
|Available sizes||15 to 24″||15 to 22″|
|Sidewall Construction||3 ply||3 ply|
|Load Rating Range||C to F||C to F|
We see that, both tires have same load rating range and sidewall construction, but the Kenda R/T weighs a little more and provides you with more tread depth and tire sizes, compared to KO2.
On Road Performance:
If we talk about the Kenda Klever first, the tire presents satisfactory abilities for everyday driving on a dry road as its large blocks provide enough bite on dry pavements.
But it can be used on road with optimized traction only at slower speeds, and with more speed the tire loses its traction values and makes the ride a little shaky.
And although the tire is rated up to “R” speed rating, allowing speeds only up to 106 mph, its best to keep it slow on pavements.
But still they are great on dry roads, especially when you consider their wet road traction.
The tire is very stiff with its 3 ply polyester construction, and with wider grooves and minimal siping, the tire loses a lot of traction on wet roads.
Note: It’s very hard to drive on these tires with the traction control off, (on wet roads), as the tire is very prone to slippage, especially on corners.
The BFG KO2 also has 3 ply construction, but the tire is not as stiff as the Kenda Klever, and it also provides with more sipes which are also deeper.
So the KO2 is better able to suck in the water particles beneath the sipes and spray it out as the tire rolls over.
So the KO2, although not so great on wet roads (overall), is still better than this tire.
One thing to note about wet traction of KO2: The tire has dual compound, and once the harder softer layer wears off, the stiffer compound, underneath, loses more of the tire’s wet traction values.
The 3 ply construction is common in both but it still makes Kenda Klever heavier out of the two and because of this the tire is not as fuel efficient as well.
But still with the softer compound of the tire and a lot of biting edges, the tire still manages to hang on to the wet pavements and is not too far off.
But then again this softer rubber of Kenda Klever also wears faster compared to KO2.
Other than this the BFG KO2 is also quieter of the two with it’s more consistent design.
Tire noise is one of the major cons of Klever RT because its open voids offer a massive vacuum for noisy air particles to move and collide freely among its tread channels. Hence, this aggressive tire will make you notice its presence when driving on road.
But with it’s low price tag and the fact that these tires are primarily made for off road, we can let it slide.
Off Road Performance:
The wider staggered shoulder blocks of Kenda Klever R/T is better able to scoop out the mud, as the tire has bigger staggered blocks with wider grooves. These combined with its blocky sidewall lugs are better able to dig the tire out, even when aired down deep in mud.
The tire also provide a great lateral path for mud to pass through as well.
On the other side, the BFG KO2 can not take on as much mud with it’s less wider grooves, and tread depth.
The tire also has less cleaning ability, as with its interlocking design, the mud particles are trapped in easily.
So the tire tends to get packed easily in comparison.
When it comes to rocky terrains, things can get pretty harsh, but with strong inner construction, both tires are pretty tough to handle them.
Both tires feature you with 3 layers of polyester casing, which have 2 steel belts on top, which are then layered with 2-ply nylon coverings.
But still out of the two, when aired down, the BFG KO2 gives a better grip on rocks with its flexing sidewalls, as it’s lugs are pasted on a larger surface area.
Kenda Klever has blocky lugs but it does not cover as much space on the sidewalls.
But other than this, both tires are great on griping on the rocks when climbing.
The wider grooves of Kenda Klever combined with it’s numerous off set edges (we discussed in its design), bite in to the surface of the rocks.
And the BFG KO2 on the other side, with its interlocking design and deep siping, grip the rocks from all directions. (The deep siping also act as biting edges on a smaller scale).
When it comes to snow, the BF Goodrich KO2 is a champ. It tackles snow really well.
And despite not having multiple sipes like a dedicated winter tire, the tire has been branded with severe snow rating, with 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating (3pmsfr).
It’s actually an acceleration test on snow, and this rating tells that the tire has 25% better better acceleration on snow compared to average all season tire.
The deep siping of the tire traps in the snow particles.
The tire is actually very good at trapping things. It’s interlocking design don’t allow the trapped snow/dirt/debris to leave too easily.
So where this was a bad thing in mud (as mud to mud contact loses friction), it’s good in snow.
The snow particles (crystals) have an interlocking design and they inter-mingle with other snow particles. That’s why with trapped snow, the tire is able to show better grip.
On the other side, things are okay with Kenda Klever as well. And the tire can work okay but only in deeper snow.
The tire is also stud-able so that can help here as well, but it’s not 3PMSF rated.
So what’s the verdict?
Well, given the budget, the Kenda Klever R/T is a good pick. If offers you with sturdy construction and great off road performance.
But in comparison, the BFG KO2 is a more on road oriented tire. And although you will not feel much difference on dry roads, you’ll definitely noticed some on wet.
The BFG KO2 shows better wet traction (and it does not have a very good values here to begin with). The tire also shows less wear and comes with a warranty of 50k miles, unlike the Kenda.
And the KO2 is also quieter of the two and is more fuel efficient as well.