KM3 Launch & Rubicon Trail Recap

The 4x4 Center joins BFGoodrich to launch the New KM3 Tire

The 4x4 Center, based in South Burlington, Vermont recently returned from a trip to the Rubicon Trail where we assisted the BFGoodrich Tire team with the launch of the new, BFGoodrich KM3 Mud Tire.

Being asked to attend an event of this magnitude is kind of a perfect storm. We (The 4x4 Center) have been selling BFGoodrich tires since we opened, we also operate the East Coast BFG Light Truck Tire Training School, and are Land Rover Defender specialists. When BFGoodrich reached out to Mike Hopwood, Owner of The 4x4 Center, to see if we would join them on the Rubicon Trail to launch the KM3 Tire Mike’s obvious answer was “YES!” Mike is always up for a challenge and, wheeling the Rubicon Trail is a great day at the office!

Fast forward through months of anticipation, preparation, and trepidation – it is the last week before the big event and The 4x4 Center is putting the final touches on 3 Land Rover Defenders that will be shipped 3,000 miles to California for the big adventure. And by “final touches” off-roaders know how long that list can grow! These Land Rover Defenders are over 25 years old so we checked & modified them extensively down to installing a brand new Cummins R2.8 engine into the white Defender 110. The 4x4 Center even built a Mobile Satellite Communications vehicle for the event (which would allow journalists to work directly from the trail). Parts were upgraded on all 3 vehicles so that we could conquer the Rubicon Trail without fail. Working into the night to install graphics, The 4x4 Center Team (shown below, and supported by many more) finally got all 3 Defenders loaded and the Tractor Trailer on the road.

The 4x4 Center KM3 Tire Launch

Arriving at the event, it was amazing to see the MASOR, BFGoodrich, and Jackson Motorsports teams work. Over 40,000 lbs of equipment for this event was packed, crated, and being flown by helicopter into camps along the Rubicon Trail - an enormous undertaking. The level of precision, planning, and stoke was at an all time high. More Jeeps, and trucks were arriving all day so we made ourselves useful and pitched in where possible.


Here is how the event worked. The plan was that we would be on the trail every other day, for 3 weeks. The days between, were “work” days where we would clean the vehicles and make any necessary repairs. On the trail days, a team of “influencers” (Off Road Journalists, Industry Professionals, Partners, etc) were flown by helicopter into camp. The Journalists load into the vehicles and drive them from Spider Lake to Buck Island where they would then be airlifted back to their hotel. Then, we drive the vehicles back up the Rubicon to Spider Lake to spend the night, and repeat the following day. If you haven’t been on the Rubicon Trail, this section of trail is made of some pretty gnarly terrain. Add to the excitement, most of these drivers have never driven on the Rubicon Trail, or in these vehicles, and, we were running a tire no one had driven before!

The tires, ohhhh these KM3 tires! On The Rubicon Trail we had 20 Jeeps plus our 3 Land Rover Defenders. We completed 9 “laps” to and from Spider Lake to Buck Island and not 1 tire puncture the entire time – a true testament to the Advanced Deflection Design and Coreguard Max Technology that has dramatically increased the strength of the tire. We ran the tires hard on road, and off road. We ran them aired down with extremely heavy loads (the Defender 110 with 2 Satellite Dishes and gear). And we pushed the KM3 as hard as we could. It quickly became apparent that these tires are different than their predecessors. The Terrain-Attack tread design and enhanced Linear Flex Zones of the tire never left us looking for traction. The KM3 Tire truly exceeded our expectations. They felt great from the start and never left us wishing for more tire.

As with every great time, they always come to an end. It was an amazing journey and we enjoyed meeting folks from all over the country. If you are still reading, you know there is no bond, like the off-road bond. Even in the midst of a commercial tire launch, it was incredible how everyone got along, lent a hand, and worked tirelessly toward the common goal together. The KM3 Tire proved to be more than the glue that brought this event together, the KM3 Tire proved that it was not only a contender, but a friend among friends. Made to mud & created to conquer.

Thank you BFGoodrich for hiring us!

The 4x4 Center specializes in East Coast Land Rover Repair and North East Land Rover Restoration.