Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse AT vs BF Goodrich KO2

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Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse AT vs BF Goodrich KO2 are from All-Terrain (A/T) tires category. Both are on-road performance-focused options, developed for the drivers of pickups, Jeeps, crossovers and SUVs who want a dependable tire that can handle any terrain with high traction and predictable handling, no matter the situation.

BFG KO2 looks sporty on 2000 Jeep Cherokee.

Being a tire engineer, from my opinion the Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse (A/T) although lacks off road, it still offers superior traction on sandy dunes. And on pavements, it offers great steering response (dry), noise dampening, fuel efficiency and overall mileage, though it could use some wet traction. BF Goodrich KO2, on the other side offers better wet traction, and is much better with rocks, gravel and mud.

Tread Appearance

The Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse A/T tries to be aggressive in its overall design, but falls short due to its closed-up tread pattern.

Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse (A/T)
Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse condition after running them for 30k miles.

Starting things from the middle, the tread creates 4 longitudinal channels, with the outer two being wider, and the inner two having a lot of curves and sharp edges.

(Note how the irregular placement of the central blocks does not effectively interconnect these grooves laterally).

Though its grooves are still made pretty capable of self cleaning, as they feature smaller biters embedded with in (see if you can find these biters strategically placed in those tread voids).

They are also made to chew on rocks, as their horseshoe shaped design allow them to have traction notches facing in nearly all directions.

Moreover, their full depth sipes also allow them to split open, adding to that biting power.

Moving towards shoulders, these lugs are although not staggered, they make sharp stepped edges on the outer extremities, enhancing footprint, when you lower the air pressure.

And towards middle they create similar traction notches connected with zigzag siping.

On the other hand, the BF Goodrich KO2 features a more rugged look.

BF Goodrich KO2 T/A All Terrain
Full-depth sipes of KO2 are better designed for off-road traction.

Its three interconnected ribs create a pattern of grooves, that twist and turn around the tire, provide excellent off-road traction.

That’s because they form a soup of lateral and circumferential bite, allowing the tire to grip in all directions.

The blocks are also equipped with full depth interlocking sipes, though they are more capable off-road then on wet, as they split open all they way, enhancing grip on rocks, and gravel.

In addition to these features, the tire also has a number of stone ejectors placed between the shoulders, and (triangular ones) between the grooves in the middle.

Though with wider grooves, the tread already is pretty self cleaning, these ejectors further aid that, ensuring no debris is left behind.

Moving towards shoulders, they are the most aggressive, and besides ejectors, they have powerful traction notches, and bigger traction scoops on their serrated design.

They also join each other on sidewalls creating thicker lugs, capable of superior off-road bite, comparatively, as you’ll see.

Tire Sizes Facts

Wrangler Workhorse comes in 15 to 22 inches with following specs.

  • Speed ratings available: R, S, T and H.
  • Load Ratings: SL, XL, D or E.
  • Weight range: 29 to 53 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 12/32″, 15/32″.
  • Tread wear warranty: 50k miles.

On the other hand, the BFG KO2 gives 90 sizes in 15 to 22 inches. And they have…

  • Speed Ratings in R, S, or Q.
  • Load ratings varying from C to E.
  • Weight range of 35 lbs to 67 lbs.
  • 15/32″ of tread depth, on all sizes.
  • 50k miles warranty for all.

Internal Construction

Off-road tires must be able to handle rough terrain and sharp objects, so durability is a big deal, and it mostly comes form internal construction.

But to make tire light, Wrangler Workhorse is only given 2 polyester ply casing and 2 steel belts without any nylon layers on top.

So, its very weak in comparison, as BFG KO2 gives you 3 ply polyester + 2 steel belts + 2 spirally wound nylon cap plies.

Highway Performance

When it comes to evaluating the “dry” performance of an all-terrain tire, it is essential to consider traction, steering, and cornering ability. Let’s delve into the specifics of each of these factors.

Dry Handling

Sideways grip, also known as lateral traction, is a measure of a tire’s ability to corner and is based on the performance of the tire’s sides/shoulders/sidewalls.

Here, as the Goodyear Workhorse A/T offers very packed up shoulder lugs, and as they provide a consistent design with the road, they are able to provide better lateral traction values.

BFG KO2 on the other side, has very aggressive sides, with big lateral gaps, and its irregularly shaped lugs with deep notches in them also reduces the friction needed, so you are not going to get as much lateral g forces in this tire’s case.

Dry Grip

The middle section of the tire’s tread plays a significant role in directional grip, as that is where the tire’s weight is concentrated at, and where the “most” friction is generated.

With straight forward 5 longitudinal rib design, the Goodyear Workhorse A/T supplies a more streamlined pattern of lugs, so moving in a straight paths, it yields better results, i.e. shorter braking distances and acceleration times.

Moreover, in comparison, all its lugs are more packed up, so they make more rubber to road contact, rendering superior grip.

The BF Goodrich KO2 on the other side, although offers a very uniform design in the middle, it’s wider grooves eat away the space that could have been in contact with the surface.

Moreover, although the tire offers pretty firm lugs, they are still un-supported as full depth sipes gets to divide those up, compromising on the needed on-road stability.

Steering Response

Steering response, often overlooked, is a significant factor in overall handling performance and is influenced by the tire’s weight and tread structure.

The Wrangler Workhorse with it’s less tread depth and a firmer construction (as all its shoulder lugs have foundational supports), features shorter feedback times to steering inputs.

That’s why it’s speed ratings go up to H, whereas the BF Goodrich KO2 with it’s “free-to-move” lugs takes more time and puts speed ratings down to only S.

Wet Traction

To maintain wet traction, it is essential to have efficient water removal from the tire’s contact patch. This enables better grip and reduces the risk of hydroplaning.

Wet Grip

Wet roads require tires with sipes, that are able to flex and channel water away from the tire surface.

And although both of these tires aren’t so good at it, the BF Goodrich Ko2 still supplies better results in comparison. That’s because the tire offers more self cleaning grooves, with full depth siping in all directions.

These sipes (if you consider its tread again above), as you can see, are not restricted by anything and they can open/close and distort the lugs easily.

Whereas the Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse A/T although also offers numerous sipes, the lugs can’t breath. They are just so packed up, that’ they don’t allow the sipes to be as flexible, which reduces it’s water wiping abilities drastically.


The risk of hydroplaning increases with higher speeds, and only grooves can help here, which expel out water faster.

Goodyear Workhorse A/T with packed up lugs, can’t escape water out through sides, that’s because if you consider the tire’s tread again (by scrolling above), you’ll note that there are only longitudinal channels on it, and water can only move vertically.

On the other side, the BF Goodrich KO2, with its map of groves running in all directions, that also meet up with the wider circumferential tread voids towards edges, gives water a clear pathway to gush out.

Winter Traction

All-terrain tires are versatile and can handle a range of winter conditions, including ice, deep snow, light snow, and hard-packed snow.

Snow particles basically stick better on snow, so off road tires are have tread pattern basically designed for that.

Though still, the Wrangler Workhorse A/T is better off with lighter terrains and packed up snow, even ice, it’s tread features biters better optimized for them.

On the other side, the BF Goodrich KO2 is not great on ice, it’s still slightly better when snow levels go above 2 feet.

That’s because it’s shoulder lugs do a great job at scooping and grabbing snow particles, and its central interlocking rib design don’t let the snow go off too easily, providing ample snow to snow contact.

(Both tires have 3 peak mountain snowflake ratings as well).

Fuel Consumption

The amount of fuel a tire uses can be impacted by its rolling resistance, which is determined by factors like the tire’s weight and its ability to move on the surface.

The BF Goodrich KO2 as it provides a way heavier construction, with 3 ply sidewalls and 2 more cap plies of nylon on top, it’s much more difficult to maneuver, comparatively.

Furthermore, the inconsistent lugs on this tire (on shoulders especially), hang on to the surface and don’t want to let go too easily, consuming more fuel as a result.

On the other side, although the Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse offers superior gripping values on dry asphalts, it does not create a lot of rolling resistance, simply because of it’s lighter weight.

The tire is actually very light, as it’s weight is in fact comparable to on-road passenger tires.

Off Road Traction

Although both these off road tires, come in A/T category, they lie at the extreme ends of the spectrum when it comes to performing on rugged tracks.

Let’s see how they performed on various terrains.

On Mud

To achieve good traction on muddy surfaces, a tire needs strong self-cleaning abilities to clear thick slimy debris from the tread, and maintain contact with the ground.

Goodyear Workhorse A/T is not good at it, at all. If you scroll up again to consider it’s tread, you’d see how closed up it’s lugs are.

Even the narrower grooves they make are restricted with connectors and tie bars. And shoulder lugs almost make no lateral gaps at all in them. So, mud simply has no where to go but to stick around.

The BFG KO2 on the other hand, features wild gaps, especially towards shoulders, and so it’s open design expel out the mud much more effectively.

On Rocks

The BF Goodrich KO2 is the king of rocks (when it comes to all-terrain tires). With sharp sides of it’s staggered shoulders, combined with sidewall lugs, it’s chews on rocky surface laterally, whereas it’s central interlocking design grips in all directions from the middle.

The Wrangler Workhorse A/T on the other side, although offers “horse-shoe” shaped lugs which also provide decent gripping in all directions, compared to KO2 it still lacks a lot.

On Sand

To navigate on sand effectively, tires must have a floating design.

That’s why out of both tires, the Goodyear Workhorse does a better job with it’s extremely light weighing structure, (as there are no cap plies in it’s internal construction), and it’s sides don’t offer a lot of sharpness, with missing staggered shoulders.

BF Goodrich KO2 on the other side, have a lot of biters there, and it’s sharp sides are further made more digging with it’s spirally wound nylon cap plies, rendering it slow in the incline traction test on sand.

Though with stronger rim locks, the good thing is you can lower it’s air pressure to a very lower PSI value.

Tread Life

The tread life of a tire is impacted by factors including tread depth, rubber compound, and rolling resistance.

Goodyear Workhorse weighs lighter so with that, less pressure lays on the surface and rolling resistance decreases, which increases the tread life.

The BF Goodrich KO2 on the other side, has more weight and number of bites as well, so these grab the surface and don’t want to leave off that easily, that’s why its tread tends to have a shorter life.

Though the tire features good Kevlar compounds so it’s not very susceptible to faster wear, thats why it gives you tread wear warranty of 50k miles similar to Wrangler Workhorse.

To Conclude

Both all-terrain tires are coming in at the extreme ends on aggressiveness scale. That’s why Workhorse A/T does so much better on road, and BFG KO2 off-road.

But even on roads, wet traction is seen better on KO2, whereas snow performance, fuel economy, wear and noise is better handled with Wrangler Workhorse.

Off-road although KO2 take away the bigger piece of the pie, it still lacks on sand due to it’s stiffer sides.

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