Awesome tire at a low cost By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Dirt Wheels is constantly testing ATV and UTV tires. They range from highly specialized tires like those for rock crawling, desert or even mud tires. But, what if you’re one of those enthusiasts who is looking for a tire that can do all these types of riding well? That’s why we prefer a good all-terrain tire. They always work great for us here in the desert terrain of the West Coast, as we can experience sand, clay, rocks and even mud on most of our trails. For this test we wanted a good, low-cost, all-terrain tire that we could put on our 2017 Honda Rubicon, and that tire is the BKT AT 108.
If you’re not familiar with BKT (Balkrishna Industries Limited), you should be. They’ve created tires since 1987 in Mumbai, India, mainly for agriculture, construction and earth-moving, but they also make ATV and UTV tires. If you’ve been to a Monster Jam monster truck show recently, you’d have noticed the main tire supplier for your favorite trucks is in fact BKT. With a tire-building resume like that, you can bet they know a thing or two about constructing great tires.
The BKT AT 108 is available in a four- or six-ply design. It features an all-terrain, chevron-style tread design that extends down the sidewall. The AT 108 is made from a natural rubber compound, which increases puncture resistance and provides excellent wear.
We went with OEM-size replacements on the AT 108s. The fronts are 25x8x12 and the rears are 25x10x12. We also opted for the six-ply rating for better puncture resistance. We weighed the BKT tires and compared them to the stock Maxxis tires that came on the Rubicon. The AT 108 front tire weighs in at 16.1 pounds and the AT 108 rear tire weighed in at 21.4. Compared to the OEM Maxxis tires, 15 pounds in the front and 19.2 pounds in the rear, there was only a 6.6-pound difference. Installation was a breeze with the AT 108. We mounted them up in a matter of 30 minutes or so to the OEM aluminum Honda wheels with tire irons and some manpower. The fronts are in the $65 price range and the rears are around $80.
All-terrain is the name of the game for these tires, right? The testing area consisted of loose rocks, fast fire roads, rocky hills, river crossings and mud. We ran a total of 6 pounds in each of the AT 108 tires. On the loose rocks, the AT 108s performed like advertised—very well! While driving hard into the corners and into banks, the side knobs provided ample traction, and the front end didn’t try to push out of the corners. They are also very quiet for a non-radial tire. Even on fast fire roads there was little tire noise. Since the tires are fairly light for six-plies, we didn’t notice a problem with performance on the Rubicon. They handled water crossings well and smaller mud holes. However, larger mud holes were tough on the AT 108s. The lugs aren’t deep enough or ideal for a full mudfest. The biggest surprise is how well they tracked up rocky hills. They rolled over big rocks with ease, and the traction pulled us up the hills without problem.
The BKT AT 108 exceeded our expectations. Not only is it a low-cost tire, but it’s a low-cost tire that can perform! We rode through some very rough and tricky sections out in the desert, and they worked perfectly. At first we were a little hesitant because the sidewall felt a little pliable when we mounted them up, but we rode hard in sharp rocks all day long without a puncture. For more information on these tires, find a local dealer, or see their entire tire lineup by visiting their website: www.bkt-tires.com.