10,000km of off-road torture.
We are lucky in Oz to have a large variety of mud terrain tyres that suit our harsh conditions.
And if your 4WD is a multi-use vehicle you need a tyre that doesn’t make a lot of noise and handles the blacktop well. While researching new tyres for my Prado, I stumbled across Kumho’s Road Venture MT51s and was suitably impressed.
I was coming to the end of planning a massive Outback adventure that would encompass some of our toughest desert tracks, and still hadn’t sorted replacing the worn and unimpressive rubber shoes that my wheels were currently wearing.
My next set of tyres would have to be able to handle the corrugations and soft sand on the Anne Beadell Highway, the stony ground on the Connie Sue Highway, the dry river crossings of the Finke, the bulldust and metal spikes on the Old Ghan and anything else the Outback tracks would throw at them.
When I contacted Kumho about a set Road Venture MT51s as long-term testers for my 4WD, they were good enough to come to the party and supplied a set of five to cover me. Now don’t get me wrong – I may have been lucky enough to receive these tyres for nix, but it doesn’t mean Kumho has bought my opinion. Kumho delivered the tyres directly to my local Tyrepower dealer, and I was like a kid in a candy shop when they drove my Prado out of the workshop wearing a set of 265/70R17s.
WHERE THEY’VE BEEN
These tyres survived the Outback desert tracks easily, as I needed them too. The Connie Sue Highway was unforgiving. I destroyed an all-terrain tyre on my camper trailer but the Kumhos survived without any damage. It was very wet on the Oodnadatta Track and the tyres came into their own – spitting out the mud with ease and tracking wherever I pointed them. I’ve recently explored Victoria’s Western Deserts, the Gawler Ranges and Googs Track – again without any issues. That’s dirt, mud, sand, rocks and a lot of bitumen in between; and no punctures.
On bitumen, the ride is good with less road noise than I would expect from a mud tyre; but handling and braking are excellent, even in the wet. Being mud tyres, they do struggle a bit in the seriously soft sand, as I found on the Palmer River in the Northern Territory and on one sand dune on Googs Track. Dropping my tyre pressures to below 15psi helped with extraction, but this is not a pressure I like driving with (especially when the Prado is loaded up).
HOW ARE THEY LOOKING?
Having recently clicked over the 10,000km mark on these bad boys, I couldn’t be happier. The wear has been outstanding with a mere 1mm lost (standard according to Tyrepower); and the tyres show no signs of damage, missing lugs, splits or cracks.
Managing my tyre pressures has helped and I have a TPMS system to assist with this. I run at 38psi on the black stuff, 28psi on the good Outback roads, between 20-24psi on the bad stuff and 18psi in the sand. These pressures seem to suit the tyres in the conditions and the internal temperatures are consistent across each terrain.
I did have to replace one tyre with a damaged sidewall, but this was caused by a cracked rim thanks to the potholes on the Calder Freeway (not by a weakness within the tyre sidewall).
I’ve noticed that the larger diameter tyres cause my speedo to be out of whack; but that’s because of the size, not the tyres themselves. Although I didn’t have to pay for my tyres, this review is no way influenced by that fact. Any negative issues I may have with them, I will be letting you know.
It is a great feeling to have total confidence in the tyres your 4WD is wearing and this is the way I feel about my Kumho MT51s. I am looking forward to testing them in the Victorian High Country in the next couple of weeks, and more desert country over the next 10,000km. So, what are my final thoughts on the Kumho MT51s? If you drive over 50% off-road and cover a variety of off-road conditions like me, then these tyres are well worth checking out.
For more info visit: kumho.com.au