Kumho tires began in South Korea over 50 years ago and are now the 9th largest tire supplier in the World. Pretty impressive considering all of the manufacturers out there on the tire market.
We needed a good set of road tires that could off-road as well. Our initial impression of the Kumho Road Venture (RV) AT tires is they are quiet on the highway, have decent grip in the dry and offer easy steering and competent braking as well.
Some basic features of the tire:
- Circumferential zigzag grooves, along with multiple lateral grooves and interlocking sipes, provide biting edges and ensure excellent traction on and off the road.
- Full depth circumferential tread grooves evacuate water from the footprint area, reducing the risk of hydroplaning and improving wet handling and braking.
- Variable pitch tread block design dampens road harmonics to ensure a quiet ride.
- Optimized tread groove tapers promote self-cleaning of mud and snow for all-terrain traction.
- High tensile steel belts and jointless nylon cap plies provide uniformity to attain the maximum contact patch, steering stability and durability for the life of the tire.
- Tread compound specifically designed to combat cutting and chipping.
- Kumho’s ESCOT technology provides uniformity that results in less flexing, cooler operating temperatures and enables increased consistency and improved ride characteristics.
After a certain size, you also get a more aggressive sidewall that’s conducive to climbing obstacles. (My wife has used it often to climb curbs as she gets used to the lift and the bigger wheels.)
Dry weather handling is what you expect. The tires are a load range D giving them a ton of internal strength, 3 ply sidewalls, and have none of that tire wiggle that a softer less rigid tire has. They are also very quiet on the road, no hum or any more road noise than a typical sedan tire. Pretty impressive for a tire this size, (315/70/17), and with a fairly aggressive tread pattern.
Kumho actually rates the RV higher in the wet weather category than they do in the dry. They do offer plenty of wet weather traction, they don’t slip, slide, or have any issues braking or cornering. Except when the water is standing in a decent sized puddle. Then they do have a tendency to hydroplane at speed. We had a moment a few weeks ago that pulled us right towards the guardrail. If it wasn’t for the steering dampener and quick reflexes we would have an article on body repair.
To be fair this isn’t an issue with the Kumho tire as much as it is an issue with a 12.5 inches wide tire that’s just under 35 inches tall. You can only move so much water. (Update: With some more miles on these tires the hydroplaning has gotten worse. It now happens in much less water and is becoming rather dangerous to travel in bad weather. The tires have less than 10,000 miles on them and the tread is only 10% worn.)
Kumho rates this as the best traction category for the RV and I won’t disagree. It is like driving on a dry day with no performance loss. Except again where having that giant footprint is a detriment. They will plow snow on occasion but keep in mind what you are driving and adjust your speed accordingly and you will have no problems.
We still have a lot of testing to do with these tires. We haven’t given them a proper off-road run yet, we need more miles to gauge wear, and a long highway trip to see how the comfort holds up over a long haul. Thankfully we have plenty of events lined up to do just that!
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