Falken WildPeak A/T Trail Review

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The Falken WildPeak A/T Trail offers a balanced mix of strengths in handling, efficiency, and winter suitability, with some off-road limitations. Let’s discuss this tire in greater details.

Ford F150
WildPeak A/T Trail installed on F150.

Key Takeaway

Overall, the Wildpeak AT Trail excels in:

  • Dry performance, offering exceptional directional grip and handling.
  • Wet conditions, with robust grip and effective hydroplaning resistance.
  • Winter traction, due to its multiple biting edges and soft rubber composition.
  • Fuel efficiency, benefiting from its lighter weight and energy-efficient design.

But it needs improvements in:

  • Mud evacuation, facing challenges in efficiently clearing muddy conditions.
  • Off-road traction on rocky terrains, particularly in lateral grip.
  • Enhanced sidewall design, to improve its performance on sandy and rougher terrains.

Available Sizes

Falken Wildpeak AT Trail on the other side, gives 16 to 20 inches, with following specs.

  • Speed ratings of H and V.
  • Load ratings of SL and XL.
  • Tread depth: 10 or 11/32″.
  • Weight Range: 25 to 42 lbs.
  • 65k miles warranty.

Tread Design

The Falken Wildpeak AT Trail, comes with a very on-road oriented design.

Falken WildPeak A/T Trail
Wildpeak AT Trail comes with dual siping patterns.

This tire makes conventional 5 rib design, making somewhat, very tough passing 4 longitudinal channels.

So here you see 3 ribs. And on each, there are lugs running in pairs.

These central most lugs are angles, have in groove notches and rectilinear sipes.

While the surrounding ones come with additional steeped edges, along with those biters as well.

Though most wet grip comes form efficient water evacuation thanks to the multiple interconnected grooves these lugs make linking with outer circumferential channels.

Moving towards shoulders, the blocks here, like seen on it’s competitor are very closely packed up, though the siping on these lugs, is much more efficient, forming an interlocking design which basically wipes off water particles in a better manner.

Compare AT Trail with:

Dry Performance

Dry performance has 2 main components, directional grip, and handling (which tells you about lateral grip, and tire’s steering).

Let’s discuss both one after another.

Directional Grip

The concept of directional grip revolves around the traction a tire offers as it rolls straight ahead.

This key feature gets measured by the tire’s braking abilities, and depend on various elements, including the tread pattern, the tire’s material makeup, and predominantly, the tire’s central contact area.

Having said that, the Falken WildPeak A/T Trail tire stands out in providing exceptional performance in this area, primarily due to its three central ribs, which are densely populated with lugs featuring sharp edges and in-groove notches.

At the center-most ribs, you’ll find “hourglass-shaped” lugs, where their uniquely slanted design interlocks with adjacent lugs, enhancing grip significantly.

Additionally, these ribs are replete with numerous biting edges, particularly in the form of in-groove notches. These features not only enhance directional grip but also contribute to overall traction, including lateral stability.

So overall, the tire not only offers optimal contact patch, with its closed up lug design, but also a ton of biting edges, all contributing to its effective braking.

That’s why, when I did the comparative analysis of the tire, the WildPeak A/T Trail demonstrates a stopping distance that is over 10 feet shorter than that of the BF Goodrich Trail Terrain (which is one of the famous tires among its direct competitors).

Overall Handling

Dry handling relies fundamentally on two aspects: the tire’s lateral grip and its steering responsiveness.

The lateral grip of a tire, often quantified by lateral g-forces, is largely determined by the design and structure of the tire’s outer tread.

This grip is significantly influenced by the quality of the tire’s shoulders and sidewalls. (These areas of the tread are primarily in contact with the road during turns).

This explains why the Falken WildPeak A/T Trail, with its relatively minimal shoulders, achieves excellent contact between its shoulders and the road, resulting in superior lateral grip.

Its design incorporates streamlined shoulders with specialized tread features, which improve the rubber’s contact with the road and, consequently, enhance grip.

Moreover, the tire also offers superb handling feedback, especially when it comes to mid-cornering, and on-center feel (post cornering, where you straighten up the vehicle/tires).

So the tire is able to lead among its direct competitors again. To give you an idea, on average, the Wildpeak A/T Trail leads, by over a second in handling lap time tests compared to Nitto Nomad Grappler (review).

Wet traction and Handling

The Falken tire doesn’t only excel in dry conditions, its wet handling is also a standout feature, thanks, primarily to the abundance of winter-tire-like “sipes” spread across its tread.

These sipes act like miniature reservoirs, capturing moisture that gets between the tread and the road, effectively clearing away residual water particles that the grooves leave behind.

So, the WildPeak A/T Trail coming with a lot of biting edges, incorporating both linear and interlocking siping, along with significant longitudinal slits, ensures a strong wet grip from all angles.

Furthermore, the tire with lighter overall construction, keeps the momentum/inertia limited, adding to the tire’s wet braking efficacy.

Consequently, drivers doesn’t need to apply brakes earlier than they would with other tires, adding to the tire’s overall lap times (as seen on tests).

If you’re wondering: With lower momentum, tires are easier to stop, relatively.

Hydroplaning Resistance

Hydroplaning occurs when a tire cannot effectively displace water through its grooves, causing it to lose contact with the road surface.

In essence, the tires start to ‘float’ or hydroplane, (and the speed at which this occurs is referred to as the float speed).

Now, the Falken WildPeak A/T Trail, equipped with notably wide circumferential grooves, excels in efficient water displacement.

And although the tire’s grooves, interconnected by lateral voids, are adept at facilitating effective sideways water evacuation, the tire’s design does present a limitation.

The densely packed shoulders of the tire slightly impede the lateral evacuation of water.

As a result, while the WildPeak offers above-average linear float speeds in comparison to its competitors, its performance in curved float speeds is somewhat below average.

Winter Performance

Winter performance involves a lot of considerations due to the unique nature of snowy terrains.

And so, for an all-terrain tire to perform well on snow, it must:

  • Enable sufficient snow-to-snow contact, which is crucial for traction.
  • Be well-rounded and narrower in design to penetrate the snow more effectively.
  • Feature a softer compound, enhancing flexibility and grip in cold conditions.
  • Offer multiple biting edges for better grip on snow.

Now, what makes Falken WildPeak A/T Trail a great winter tire, is that it satisfies all these (above-mentioned) requirements.

I mean, the tire is equipped with multiple biting edges and notches on all lugs, which capture snow particles easily, allowing for improved traction through snow-to-snow contact. And here it’s narrower design helps too, as it puts more pressure on the ground, enhancing that contact.

(If you’re wondering this “contact” type, provides better results, because snow likes to stick more on to each other, compared to tread’s rubber).

Additionally, the tire’s 3D interlocking sipes are effective in gripping more slick surfaces, like ice, where the tire’s thermally adaptive rubber, prevents the tire from becoming too rigid, with colder temperatures.

To give you an idea about its performance: It’s very similar to Cooper AT3 4S. Review this tire here: https://tiredriver.com/cooper-at3-4s-review/

Fuel Efficiency

The Wildpeak AT Trail coming in the category of on-road oriented A/T tires, offers pretty great overall fuel economy.

This is mainly because of the tire’s lighter weight, which comes from the tire’s lacking durability. I mean the tire only employs a single nylon cap ply, limiting tire’s durability.

Though, needless to say, its a trade-off with tire’s better fuel economy.

In addition, the tire’s lugs are reinforced with a secondary layer of rubber beneath them, serving as foundational supports.

This reinforcement means that despite the tire’s use of a softer rubber composition, its lugs do not bend excessively during maneuvers.

This limited bending is crucial as it prevents energy wastage in the form of heat, which is a common issue with tires that flex more.

As a result, the Falken WildPeak A/T Trail’s design effectively enhances its overall fuel efficiency, making it a more economical choice in its category.

Ride Quality

Ride quality in tires can be evaluated from two perspectives: on-road tread noise and overall comfort, which assesses how well a tire absorbs vibrations on both rough and smooth surfaces.

Let’s check them out with details.

Noise Comfort

The noise in tires is primarily caused by air flowing through the tread, often entering through shoulder voids and striking against the tread walls.

Basically its the primary source of tread noise, where the impact of air particles colliding against tread, produces initial sounds, which then goes ahead, and cause in-groove resonance along with cavity noise.

To mitigate this, the Falken A/T Trail employs whisper grooves (a term Cooper uses). This is a fancy way of saying it has rides between the shoulder lugs.

This design essentially blocks the shoulder gaps, restricting air flow into the tire and thereby reducing the primary source of noise.

Though as some air can still enter the tread, the tire comes with variable pitch technology, as a backup, you can say.

This involves variations in the tread pattern that create different sound frequencies, which are designed to cancel each other out, further reducing noise.

So overall, the Wildpeak AT Trail provides one of the quietest on-road experiences, compared to other tires in its category.

Road Vibrations Comfort

Simply put, vibration comfort, hinges on a tire’s ability to absorb bumps, and here the tire’s overall construction plays a key role.

That’s why it can be seen why Wildpeak AT Trial excels here.

Basically the tire is made of a soft silica-based rubber compound, primarily aimed at enhancing winter traction by keeping the lugs pliable in freezing conditions, but it also gives you road smoothness, as a by-product here.

I mean, its softer rubber, along with the tire’s independent lugs, allow for the flexibility that enables them to absorb energy from bumps and dissipate it effectively.

And despite this flexibility, road stability is not compromised thanks to the reinforced foundations underneath all tread blocks, (each lug sits on an additional rubber layer).

Moreover, speaking of stability, the tire features a robust and durable spirally wound cap ply, adding to the it’s jitter free cornering.

Off Road Performance

Understanding how the tire performs on various off-road terrains is key to selecting the right set. So its best we look at each terrain type one by one.

Muddy Terrain Performance

Navigating muddy terrain is often a significant challenge for all-terrain tires, and the Falken WildPeak A/T Trail is no different in this respect.

So why is that? Well, this is because of the following:

  • Packed up shoulders.
  • Lower tread depth.
  • No staggered outer edges/sidewalls.

Although the tire offers wide circumferential grooves, the packed up shoulders don’t allow mud to leave out laterally. That’s why this close arrangement of shoulder lugs, results in mud accumulating more easily and becoming challenging to dislodge.

Additionally, the tire’s tread depth is not particularly deep, further limiting its capability in handling muddy conditions.

Lastly, you also don’t get staggered shoulders on this tire. Such design elements are also known as “mud scoops” and they provide extra traction, by throwing back the mud particles, generating forward momentum against it.

So yes, overall Wildpeak AT is pretty lacking on muddy trails.

Rocky Terrain

Rocky trail is a complicated trail type, where a lot of different variable come in to play.

Now, here, the Falken WildPeak A/T Trail presents a combination of strengths and areas for improvement, making it a mixed bag in terms of performance.

The tire is equipped with effective biters throughout its tread, particularly in the middle, which results in excellent directional grip on various rocky surfaces.

However, it could benefit from additional biters on the shoulders and sidewalls, as its lateral traction is somewhat less impressive.

Speaking of which, these shoulder lugs, aren’t staggered, and with less aggressive sidewall lugs as well, the tire isn’t able to provide you with strong enough traction, especially, when it comes to lowering tire’s air pressure.

Though it’s not all bad, as the tire’s interconnected grooves, combined with multiple biting edges oriented in all directions, enhance grip from both lateral and longitudinal perspectives, (a critical aspect for climbing).

And although it’s missing with stone ejectors, which leads to slightly lacking performance on gravelly and dirt-filled roads, the tire offers durable cut resistant rubber, and lugs with stepped edges, keeping sharp stones from lodging into the tread.

On Sand

Navigating sandy terrains require a tire that promotes forward movement rather than digging in.

This is because digging/sinking on sand, is another name for getting stuck. That’s why its recommended to lower tire’s air pressure. Having said that, the Falken WildPeak A/T Trail design aligns well with this requirement.

This is because the tire:

  • Offers a lighter construction, relatively.
  • Comes with a softer rubber.

The tire, with lighter weight, which is up to 42 lbs only, is less likely to sink into soft sand, allowing for smoother and more effective traction efficacy.

And the tire’s softer, high-silica tread composition, is also helping a lot, as it can better conform to the contours of the sand, with lowered air pressure, I mean.

Though the tire could use some sidewall lugs, which would have helped the tire greatly here.

To Sum Up

In summary, the Falken WildPeak A/T Trail comes out as a great all-terrain options for highways and pavements.

It excels in dry performance with excellent directional grip and handling, and shines in wet conditions due to its effective water displacement and hydroplaning resistance.

Moreover, its winter performance is also pretty appreciable.

And yes, the tire’s lighter design helps with fuel economy too.

However, it faces challenges in off-road conditions, particularly with mud evacuation and rocky terrain traction.

And although the tire is suitable for sandy terrains, it needs a lot of improvements, where its sidewalls in particular needs more rubber.

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