Falken Wildpeak AT3w vs Goodyear Duratrac

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Both the Goodyear Duratrac and the Falken Wildpeak AT3w lie in the category of all terrain tires where the Wildpeak AT3w provides the best all purpose all terrain tire and the Wrangler Duratrac provides you with a hybrid design capable of going through tougher terrains, off road.

Falken Wildpeak AT3 w

Being a tire engineer, in my opinion, the Falken Wildpeak AT3W is simply a definition of all terrain tire, as it compromises very little and provides great on and off road experience. On road, it’s wet traction is excellent and is it’s highlighting feature. While off road the tire provides good durability and aggressive shoulder lugs combined with deepest tread in the category. The Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac on the other hand, although lacks a little on roads, provides better stability on rugged terrains, where it can also handle a little bit of mud. It’s also great on snow and is branded with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating like the Falken Wildpeak AT3w.

Tire Sizes:

In case of Wildpeak AT3w, Falken provides 76 total sizes where they range from 15 to 22″ (most sizes are available in 17″).

Speed ratings are available in Q, R, S, T, and some even have H (Learn speed rating quickly), while the load ratings go from C to F.

It offers very deep tread, where it ranges from 12/32″ (only seen in one size) and goes all the way up to 19/32″. Majority of it’s sizes stay at 17/32″.

And yes, the tire also weighs a lot, ranging from 35 to 79.4 lbs.

On the other side, the Goodyear Duratrac also offers 15 to 22″, but with less overall sizes. Speed rating stays in Q, S, P, and T. And weight ranges from 35 to 68 lbs (load rating goes up to F).

And speaking of tread depth, almost all sizes have 18/32″, with an exception of a few which offer 16/32″.

Design Comparison:

Wrangler Duratrac 1
With such wider lateral grooves between shoulder blocks, the Goodyear Duratrac does not have stone ejectors.

Starting things off from Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac, the middle part of the tread has blocks with zigzag sides. All of them have reinforced foundations underneath which provide them on and off road stability.

Because of the hybrid design, these central blocks have less wider grooves in between compared to shoulders.

That’s why the tire makes outer prominent and wider longitudinal channels.

Also, in between these channels, though you can’t see it in the image, the tire provides Tractive Groove technology where there are small biters on the base of grooves.

On the shoulder blocks, the tire has slightly bigger blocks. They are in pairs here and both of them are attached together by foundation underneath following the similar trend with central blocks.

But siping here is a little different, as it forms a more interlocking design.

On the other hand, the Falken Wildpeak shows Z shaped blocks in the middle which are surrounded by C shaped blocks in all directions.

Falken WIldpeak AT 3w tread

All of them carry rectilinear full depth sipes.

The Z shaped blocks have stepped edges if you can find, and they provide biters and at the same time support the blocks.

The rest of the blocks also have supporting ridges in a similar way and all these act as reinforced foundations for these blocks.

Two wider outer longitudinal channels divide these blocks from the shoulder blocks, where besides siping design, rest of the features stay same.

These shoulder blocks have a more interlocking siping design (just like seen on Duratrac) and on the inner edges, they are seen with notches and ramps, while towards outside, each block is staggered on itself.

Also worth reminding, both tires provide aggressive sidewall lugs, but on Goodyear Duratrac they are thicker, and on Falken Wildpeak AT3w, they cover more surface area (which is great for rocky terrains, as you’ll see in the section).

Durability

Durability of Falken Wildpeak AT3w is often under-rated. Where in fact these tires are very powerful.

The inner construction of this tire consists of 2 ply polyester casing which then gets layered with 2 belts of steel, covering the middle area of the tread. These belts are piled on further with 2 more layers of nylon, again covering the middle.

So the sidewalls becomes 2 ply polyester. But there are 2 additional layers as well, which are dedicated to just sidewalls. They are made out of polyamide, and they run around the tire’s bead, protecting the most vulnerable part of the tire.

The Goodyear Duratrac on the other hand, is just made of similar construction of 2 ply polyester, 2 belts and 2 ply nylon without any polyamide reinforcements, so the tire ends up with weaker sidewalls.

For such an aggressive tire, it’s sides sure are weak.

For Your Info: One of the most durable tires out there is BF Goodrich KO2 (review).

Comfort and Noise

Falken AT3w is one of the quietest and most comfortable tires on road (which also don’t disappoint off road).

The polymer in it’s rubber is very efficient to transmit the bumps evenly through the tire’s tread. And it has a lot of area of that too, as it’s tread depth reaches up to 19/32″.

In terms of noise, the various angles of it’s Z and C shaped blocks are design to cut down the sound frequencies, providing you with a silent ride.

On the other side, the soft enough compound of Duratrac is although able to soak up the road’s imperfection, the overall ride quality is disturbed by it’s loud on road tread noise. These tires in fact are one of the loudest in all top AT tires I reviewed.

Highway Performance

When it comes to highway performance, not much is expected out of all terrain tires, but both Duratrac and Wildpeak are above average and don’t disappoint at all.

They provide decent dry traction, steering response and handling stability, let’s discuss all of these one by one.

Dry Traction

Starting with Falken Wildpeak AT3w, it’s one of the most civil tires out there that you can get. The tire although provides a softer rubber, it’s still very stable as all ribs have reinforced foundations under them, so during cornering and braking the tread stay firm.

Also if you look at the tire’s tread, it’s shoulder blocks cover most of the area, and during cornering as tire’s shoulder have a large role to play, the Falken Wildpeak provides great grip form more rubber contact (with the pavement).

The Goodyear Duratrac on the other hand, although also provides reinforced foundations, the larger gaps between the blocks compromises the road grip.

Steering Response

The Falken Wildpeak AT3w provides very fast and alert feedback, it’s quick dynamic response has to do with it’s sides proving high lateral traction (g forces).

On the other hand, the Goodyear Duratrac is a little slow to respond to the input. These tires don’t want to move at first and then all of sudden they jump in, increasing the chances of oversteering. But this is seen on wet roads more compared to dry.

Wet Performance

On wet roads, there are 3 things to consider, one is the grip, then there is handling, and last but not least is hydroplaning, which is often underrated.

Let’s talk about all of them one by one.

Wet Grip

Wet grip of a tire is highly dependent on siping and water escaping abilities, now most of the all terrains may evacuate water efficiently, but they lack in sipes which compromises on grip a lot.

Technically, as the tire meets the water, most of it channels through the tread voids (grooves), but remaining is left under the sipes, and it’s now their job to remove it, and they do it by creating a vacuum and sucking water in. As the tire rolls over, they spray it out.

And so more the no. of sipes, the more efficient water cleaning, now Goodyear Duratrac is better at water evacuation, but with such wider grooves the a lot of sipe area gets limited.

On the other hand, the Falken Wildpeak AT3 with its dual siping shows better efficacy. The tire is also softer as it has high silica content in it’s composition, so with that the sipes are able to flex more, and create better suction for water.

Hydroplaning Resistance

Hydroplaning is an underrated wet traction metric, and it tells how fast can a tire roll over standing water without floating.

In comparison, as the Falken Wildpeak AT3w provides the deepest tread in the category, it’s able to gush out water quite efficiently. But with wider grooves, the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac shows better efficacy overall.

Fuel Efficiency

All terrain tires are usually not impressive in saving you fuel money. And these two tires are no exception, but still the Falken Wildpeak AT3w shows slightly better results.

This tire has more number of layers inside (with 2 extra polyamide coverings), so with that the tire actually weighs more than it’s competitor, which affects the rolling resistance.

Luckily, due to it’s less aggressive design, the tire is still somewhat acceptable here.

But same can’t be said about Wrangler Duratrac. This tire, even with less weight, consumes more fuel. This is because of its overall design, which is round, has more biters with wider grooves, and features narrower tread width. All these things increase rolling resistance, as the tire puts more pressure on the roads.

That’s why switching between these two you are going to see a drop of 1 MPG.

Winter Performance

Both tires are kings on snow and they both have 3 peak mountain snowflake rating.

The Falken Wildpeak’s silica rich rubber remains mushy even with freezing temperatures, and the tire can stay soft to a great extent, and this keeps the sipes flexible, aiding traction.

On the other hand, the Wrangler Duratrac provides a well rounded tread design and less small section width. Both these features helps put more pressure on snow and provide snow to snow contact (which is what you want on this terrain).

Tread Longevity

Tread wear is related to rolling resistance, and overall design of the tire.

The Wildpeak AT3w although has a softer compound, which is prone to wearing faster, the tire with it’s wider design still produces less rolling resistance.

Moreover, it’s larger tread depth takes slightly more time to wear off, as it goes up to 19/32″.

On the other side, the Goodyear Duratrac provides more rolling resistance with it’s rounded design and it’s rubber burns off quicker.

For Your Info: Falken Wildpeak AT3w does one more thing right in the wear department, it offers heat diffusers on the sidewalls, and by keeping it’s tread cooler, it reduces wear a lot this way as well.

Off-Road Performance

Both tires are great off road, and perform differently in various terrains, let me list them all.

Traction on Rocks

The Falken Wildpeak AT3w is one of the best rock climbers you can get. It’s softer rubber simply sticks on rocks and it’s notches everywhere, chamfered edges and full depth siping ensure grip from all directions.

The tire also has sidewall lugs pasted on a larger surface area, so when aired down, it provides better footprint (which is already better because of it’s closed up design).

The Goodyear Duratrac, on the other side, although provides wider tread voids which have more flexing capability, the tire still does not offer better sideway traction in comparison (which is highly crucial on rocks).

Furthermore, with just 2 ply sides, this tire is not as confidence inspiring as the Wildpeak AT3w.

Mud traction

The Falken AT3w is not optimized for mud. I mean sure the tire has tread depth to it and it’s can allows a little volume of mud to pass through, but compared to it’s competitor over here, the tread voids are way too narrow.

Furthermore, the tire’s sides don’t have any mud scoops and instead, there are sharp teeth embedded. This are not good as they dig more rather than going forward.

The Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac, besides having mud scoops which let’s the tire escapes when aired down, has wider grooves which forces the thick mud to gush out. The tire’s rounded tread try to keep the shoulders elevated a little as well and this further improves it’s evacuation abilities.

Moreover, its tread is equipped with Tractive Groove technology, where mini tread blocks are seen in the tread voids, these cut through the mud and broken down particles are easier to leave the tire.

Sand Traction

Ever wondered why balloon tires are so effective on sand? Well, that’s because they provide a larger rubber to sand contact. That’s why you always air down the tires on this terrain to get maximum traction.

But even with lower pressure, the Goodyear Duratrac shows better performance. The tire is lighter in weight, it’s sidewall lugs are thicker, and staggered and it’s soft enough as well. All these factors ensures better performance on this tire.

On the other hand, the sharp saw-toothed edges of Wildpeak which dig more, and it’s heavier weight, the tire is not able to keep up as much comparatively. But the tire’s larger width and softer rubber helps.

What’s The Verdict?

The Falken Wildpeak AT3w focuses on wet, winter and wear (the 3 w in it’s name), and out of these, I have to say it’s great in all of them, well except for wear in general.

On the other hand, the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac although can not outperform Wildpeak on a few areas, it really shines where most AT tires don’t even dare to go, Mud. The tire is also great on rocks, dirt and even gravel (despite not having any stone ejectors).

And for snow, besides providing 3 peak mountain snowflake rating (like Falken AT3w), it also offers studable lugs for enhanced ice traction.

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