Kumho’s 4×4 Range Benefiting From Rally Raid Involvement
Although the event Kumho’s 18-inch Rally Raid tyre was developed for – the 2008 Lisbon-Dakar Rally – was ultimately cancelled, the tyre has since achieved success in a number of other competitive domains. And these victories are also in a way a victory for the Korean manufacturer, as no other tyre manufacturer produces an equivalent cover in this size. According to Kumho, the monster tyre with its enormous tread blocks is designed for optimum pace and durability over the sand and rock conditions that prevail on the world’s top Rally Raids. It employs the ultra-tough synthetic fibre ‘aramid’ (short for aromatic polyamide) in its construction for optimum weight and strength.
The 275/65R18 tyre was developed jointly by Kumho engineers at its European Technical Centre in Birmingham and the company’s R&D headquarters in Korea. Designing and building tyres such as this has a positive effect on its entire 4×4 range, a range that is already, comments Kumho, already of the most extensive and competitive on the UK market. Available from Micheldever Tyre Services, Kumho’s 4×4 tyre range covers all popular SUVs such as the Mercedes ML, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and BMW X5, as well as the more serious off-road vehicles, and even specialist fitments not produced by other manufacturers, up to wheel diameters of 32-inches.
Road Venture MT KL71
The Road Venture MT KL71 is the tyre on which the Rally Raid cover is based and Kumho comments that it was designed for ultimate durability. More robust polyester plies, tougher steel belts, and thicker rubber gauges are employed throughout. A wider footprint offers the advantage of better floatation on soft surfaces, such as sand and bog, and better stability on-road.
The tread is arguably the most innovative aspect of the KL71. On the road, the tread pitch sequence and centre elements have been designed to give a quieter ride than typical MT tyres. The solid centre area of the tread is intended to maximise on-road stability and braking. The high void directional pattern provides aquaplaning resistance and also sheds mud effectively. The shoulder lugs are designed to provide off road traction on soft surfaces, and alternating lugs have a cut-away shoulder to increase contact pressure and provide additional tractive force.
The Kumho Road Venture MT KL71 was the joint winner of the 2008 ‘ultimate tyre test’ organised by 4×4 Magazine and Land Rover World. It shared top honours with a BFGoodrich, beating offerings from Goodyear, Wildcat, Maxxis, Cooper, INSA and Pirelli. The Kumho was awarded top marks on the rock crawl and gravel braking tests and performed with credit on the mud climb and bog run. In summary, the testers said, “The Kumho MT KL71 is a great tyre and a deserving all-round winner. Give it a try.”
Road Venture AT KL78
Kumho points to the Road Venture AT KL78 as being the most versatile tyre in its 4×4 range. Indeed, it says that its engineers designed the KL78 to be truly cross functional, with good road manners and competent off-road capability. The KL 78 comes with a tread compound that retains its flexibility as temperatures drop. This, in combination with the groove and sipe pattern, contributes to the tyre’s all-season and all-surface traction – even in snow. Obviously the rugged tread pattern has off-road advantages, yet it includes tie bars to improve on-road stability and engineered block sequences to reduce tread noise.
Specialist Fitment – Ecsta X3 KL 17
Kumho comments that its 305/25R32 size tyre was the world’s first ultra-large UHP cover and extends the boundaries of this increasingly popular market sector, but it is just one, albeit conspicuous, part of Kumho’s latest Ecsta X3 KL17 range for top-of-the-range SUVs – a range that includes most popular fitments, particularly in the 18 to 22-inch rim sizes. Kumho says the X3 has been developed to take UHP market leadership, and it spearheads a growing line-up of technology-driven Kumho products for SUVs. Its listed key features include stability at high speed, excellent traction, durability and powerful braking performance.
New Arrival – APT KL51
Another recent introduction is Kumho’s Road Venture APT KL51 for on-road use. Available in sizes up to 18-inches, this street terrain tyre is intended deliver tremendous all-season traction, low noise and extended mileage performance.