Falken Tire’s all-purpose tread a good fit as a summer tire for work trucks
by Bruce W. Smith/Senior Editor
With replacement tire prices at all-time highs, contractors and fleet managers with pickups hitting 45,000-50,000 miles are taking serious looks at alternatives to the OEM treads nearing the end of their service life.
There are a lot of well-known name brands from which to choose.
One that’s maybe not as well-known in pickup circles is Falken. The brand is a subsidiary of Japan-based Sumitomo Rubber Industries, one of the most respected for high-performance street tires.
Over the past few years Falken has transistioned that tire knowledge into formulating some good pickup and SUV tires.
One of those tires of interest to contractors, utility, municipality and construction fleet managers is the new WildPeak A/T.
We ran a set of LT285/70R17s on a 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 WildPeak 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 OEM 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, encountering potholes 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.
ABOUT THOSE WHEELS
If you want to add a level of fun and uniqueness to your pickup, do like we did and wrap the Falkens around a set of Dick Cepek Gun Metal 7 wheels.
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.