KO2 Review

By Chris Gragtmans

As a professional kayaker, I have a different relationship with my equipment than most people.

When I slide into the river, I NEED my paddle to stay strong and not snap, my sprayskirt to hold tight against the relentless pressure of the water, and my shoes to stick to the steep canyon walls. It’s not a matter of convenience or competition… if any of these pieces of gear fail, I am suddenly in a life-threatening situation.

The same thing goes for my tires.

My home playground- Western North Carolina!

Driving is often the most dangerous part of my job. I put on about 30,000 miles a year traveling to competitions, expeditions, and media shoots. I often need to make long pushes into the night, through nasty thunderstorms, and deep into the backcountry. The best kayaking is almost always in the most rugged settings.

The KO2 has been a piece of equipment that has delivered me safely through all of these environments in 2015. I have a set of 265/70/R17’s on my Chevy Silverado, and have put ~20,000 miles on them thus far. Every time I get in the truck, they give me confidence.

Kayaking centers around water… we end up driving through a lot of it!

Here are a few observations about the KO2 tire:

Advantages

• Traction. This is probably my favorite thing about the tires. Those massive treads eat rain puddles and snow for breakfast. I find myself forging confidently through storms and other bad weather, often flying past other cars. I have literally never hydro-planed on these tires. They’re also super confidence-inspiring in off-road situations.

• Durability. It’s nice to slam through 4x4 roads with full confidence in my tires. I know that the truck will fail before the tires do, so I don’t worry about running into sharp rocks or flat edges.

• Sexy. They look muscular! The tires fill out my wheelwell nicely, and give the truck a more rugged appearance with no other aftermarket upgrades.

• Quiet. Road noise was much lower than I guessed given the aggressive tread.

• Wear. The techs at Discount Tire are continuously amazed at how well they are wearing. I noticed the same thing with my original T/A KO’s.

Disadvantages

• Fuel efficiency. This did drop by about 1/2 mpg when I put the tires on.

• Initial price tag. A set of four is a pricy initial purchase, but you get what you pay for.

When I got the tires, I was most excited about their off-road prowess, but where it has actually helped me the most is on the tarmac. I am very thankful for the sketchy rain and snow situations the tire has seen me safely through. It’s helped me to go kayaking in some of the most beautiful places that Planet Earth has to offer.

One of my favorite places on Earth… the Sierra Nevada mountains!

To conclude, this tire has worked its way into being an integral piece of equipment for me.

I trust it just like I do my kayak, paddle, sprayskirt, PFD, helmet, and shoes… with my life.

Chris Gragtmans

Photo Credits- Exploring Elements, John Rathwell Photography, Webster Media House, Jasper Gibson Photography