ProPickup Jobsite Tested
Falken WildPeak A/T Review
Rugged all-purpose light-truck/SUV tire strong upgrade/replacement for OE all-terrain offerings
by Bruce W. Smith
With replacement tire prices at all-time highs, contractors and fleet managers with vehicles running low on tire tread life are taking serious looks at alternatives to the OEM brands.
BFG, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Firestone, Cooper and Nitto LT (light truck) all-terrains are selling in the neighborhood of $240-$270 for the common pickup OE replacement sizes.
Falken’s new WildPeak A/Ts will typically cost about 10- to 15-percent less.
But less expensive does’t mean less quality. Quite the contrary.
Falken, a subsidiary of Japan-based Sumitomo Rubber Industries, is respected their high-performance street tires and over the past few years have transistioned that tire knowledge into formulating some good pickup and SUV tires.
One of those of interest to contractors, utility, municipality and construction fleet managers is the new WildPeak A/T.
We’ve been running a set of LT285/70R17s on Project Bedrock, our 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab 4×4, for several months. They have proven to be a good tires that work well around the typical jobsite.
The WildPeak is a moderately aggressive all-terrain, all-season, all-purpose tire that has a distinctive five-rib tread pattern.
The tread block is deep and deigned to channel standing water quickly so the tread surfaces stay in good contact with the pavement.
Off-pavement those tread blocks provide good floatation in soft dirt and sand. The outter ribs are broken so they dig and give side grip while the sawtooth-design of the inner two rows provides added forward traction.
Another trait of the IWldPeak tread design are the multi-angled grooves that crisscross the tread blocks.
Falken says the notches “allow for maximum water, mud and snow evacuation.” (I have seen their water prowess during a number of strong summer thunderstorms but haven’t tested the snow traction.)
The LT tires also employ extra-wide steel belts, so stability while towing trailers is maximized without compromising ride quality.
Ride and handling are just as good if not maybe a little better than the OE all-terrains they replaced. I found the WildPeak A/Ts to be comfortable and quiet, and they seem to do a decent job of sucking up the typical jolts you get when crossing railroad tracks or broken pavement.
Falken also backs the WildPeak A/T with a 50,000 limited mileage warranty. That’s strong coverage for a light-truck tire and could make the investment that much sweeter.
DICK CEPEK WHEELS
Sometimes you just want to add a level of fun and uniqueness to your pickups.
So when it comes time to replace the worn-out treads, a new set of wheels naturally comes to mind.
We are no different.
The new wheels the Falken WildPeak A/Ts are wrapped around are none other than the newest truck wheels from Dick Cepek: Gun Metal 7.
Dick Cepek’s Gun Metal 7 is a machined-aluminum wheel coated in a tough, glossy clear that provides a layer of U.V. protection for superior durability and ease of care, even in the harshest climates. The finish has a two-year warranty.
The Gun Metal 7 wheels are valuable in 17- or 20-inch diameters, with a variety of offsets and rim widths to accommodate a wide range of tires.