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BF Goodrich TA Krawler & Allied 17" Steel Beadlocks
The best thing since sliced bread?
By Lance Clifford

There are so many tire choices out there. Radials or bias ply? 3 ply or 4 ply? Mud terrain or all terrain? Why isn't there a "rock terrain" tire? Well now there is...

Over the past year and a half, BF Goodrich has been testing the BF Goodrich Krawler at rock crawling competitions all over the country. Through sponsored competitors like Ken Shupe, Tracy Jordan, John Gilleland, Mike Shaffer, and Curt Hildebrand, they were able to develop a tire that should dominate the rocks.

 

So do they dominate?
With the help of my pal UGET IT, we decided to find out. We took delivery of a set of 37X12.50R17 Krawlers and a set of Allied's new 17" steel beadlocks. With a little bit of elbow grease and the help of an air ratchet, we had the tires mounted on the beadlocks in about an hour or so.

The Allied beadlocks are very well built. I have thoroughly tested their 15" beadlocks in the past, and the 17" beadlocks are just as nice, if not nicer. The "D" slots give them a much cooler look. The 17's share the 15's 32 bolt beadlock ring. The beadlock ring is what centers the tire. Some beadlocks have a groove cut into the rim itself, but the unique shape of the Allied beadlock ring is what centers the tire on these rims. This actually makes for an incredibly easy installation, as you don't have to force the bead of the rim over a tight lip. All that's needed is to visually center the tire on the rim, and then bolt the beadlock ring into place with the supplied grade 8 hardware. The beadlock ring takes care of the rest.

Don't be fooled by the Allied beadlock ring's size. It's tough! I have been beating on these rims for several months, running mutiple trails at the Hammers, the Rubicon, etc. and they are still in excellent shape, minus some paint. I haven't even bothered to check the bolts since installation, and the tires still do not leak.

The Krawlers have a unique rim protector on them. While I think it's a cool feature, it didn't seem to keep the beadlock rings from getting scratched (not that I would expect them to). These tires are not your average radial. They have 4 ply sidewalls, just like the bias ply tires that everyone loves for their durability. At just a hair under 37" tall, they are a great size for the average rock crawler. If 37" is too big for your rig, there is a 35X13.50R15 version as well. BFG is planning on coming out with a 40" version of the Krawler sometime next year, as well. I've had the privilege of playing around with the 40's, and I can tell you that they are one awesome tire. But back to the 37's. You currently purchase the 37's in two different forms - the first option is like the tires pictured here. The second option is a "blank" ungrooved tire that you can groove any way you'd like. Personally, I trust the engineers to do the grooving for me. Maybe it's because I have seen them at almost every rock crawling competition in 2002, taking notes, and getting feedback from the competitors. They truly wanted to build the very best rock crawling tire they could. I really respect that.

So how do they work?
Well let's just say that they are a great tire. They perform great in all types of terrain, from snow to granite. But are they the BEST in all types of terrain? I wouldn't say that. In snow, they worked well, but I know of better tires. They would float realtively well, but if you got on the gas they wanted to dig to china. Not exactly great for floating on top of 10' of snow! For comparison's sake, most aggressive mud-type tires like a Super Swamper will do the same thing. So I would say that in deep snow they are average.

I was impressed with their performance in the sand. I had an opportunity to bomb some sand dunes pretty hard, and the Krawlers floated on the sand very well - even in 2wd I was able to power up the largest dunes in 3rd/4th gear high range and scare the hell out of my passengers!

What about the rocks?
Afterall, these ARE supposed to be rock Krawling tires, right? At the All Pro Offroad Toyota Jamboree I was able to really punish these tires. We ran 9 trails in 2 days. The Krawlers hooked up fantastic in the dry, massive boulders. With the 17" rim, the tires turned predictably, much better than the 38 Swampers on 15" rims. On sidehills the 17" rim also reduced sidewall roll, which is always more comforting.

Do they suck at anything?
No, I wouldn't say they sucked at anything I threw at them. I would say I was a little disapointed at their ability to track in a turn when wet. They seemed to push excessively when the tires were wet, and making a turn while climbing. I am thinking some siping or possibly some strategic grooves could solve this issue, though.

So are they better than a Super Swamper SX?
That's a good question. I've run both on my rig, and I'd have to say that the overall nod goes to the Krawlers. I don't think the Krawlers are superior to the Super Swamper, but I do think the 17" option, along with being a radial give the Krawler the edge. The Krawler beats the SX in the sand and snow, and while it's a much closer margin in the rocks, I'd still give the nod to the Krawler.

After all the hard core runs on these tires, they are still holding up well. The lugs are still in excellent shape, and the corners are not excessively rounded. There is a rather large gash in one sidewall, but it does not leak. Any other radial tire would have left me with a flat on the trail.

More pictures:

Running the toughest trail at the Hammers - Bender Alley

The sidewalls still flex well when they need to.

Notice the wet marks on the rock - you can see how the tire pushed.

The Krawler sidewalls grip incredibly well.

How the tire stuck to this wall, I don't know.

Radials wrap around rocks nicely.

The Krawlers crawled right up this ledge with a light blip of the throttle.

Same shot, different angle.

It's not east coast mud, but the tires stayed clean.

The tires crawled over rocks like this with ease.

Contact
BF Goodrich Tires
Consumer Relations Department
P.O. Box 19001
Greenville, SC 29602-9001
1-877-788-8899
www.bfgoodrichtires.com

Allied Racing Wheels
info@alliedracing.com
http://www.alliedrockathons.com

High Impact Wheels/Transmission & Gear (Allied distributor)
Greg Miller
Toll Free: 888-898-4331
www.high-impact.net