Wednesday

2016 Overland Expo WEST - 3rd Generation Toyota Tacoma Bumper Shootout

Register now for NMBR's 2017 Overland Expo West Based Expeditions

GHOST DIVIDE EXPEDITION – OVERLAND TO THE EXPO – MAY 7TH TO MAY 11TH

GHOST DIVIDE EXPEDITION II – OVERLAND FROM THE EXPO – MAY 15TH TO MAY 19TH

This May, New Mexico Backroads will be guiding two separate 500-mile Overland Expo WEST based adventures. Both Ghost Divide Expedition offerings will follow the same route and cover three unique areas—Gila National Forest, White Mountains, and Mogollon Rim. Landscapes and terrain will include desert, grassland, chaparral, canyon bottoms, wildland burn scars, and dense forest with elevations ranging from approximately 4,250 to 9,575-feet. Road types and conditions will include washboards, two tracks, primitive non-maintained, graded, mountain shelf, dirt byway, and (least of all) pavement. The Ghost Divide Expeditions will provide a demanding (yet rewarding) experience—the days will be long, the terrain will be rugged, and the pace will be brisk. The Ghost Divide Expeditions will require participants to be self-supportive with regards to vehicle, equipment, provisions, meals, and supplies. 

Email nmbackroads@gmail.com for full Ghost Divide Expedition details, pricing and registration information

Overland Expo WEST 2016 3rd Generation Toyota Tacoma Bumper Shootout - With the release of the all new 3rd Generation 2016 Toyota Tacoma, aftermarket support for the new platform has followed quickly with a steady stream of new products. While the suspension of the new Tacoma remains virtually unchanged from the previous generation Tacoma, the front clip (bumper/headlight/grill) design presented a number of challenges for winch-bumper manufacturers. Rising to the challenge, companies such as ARB, Pelfreybilt, and CBI have released a host of well thought out and attractive 3rd Generation Tacoma front bumper offerings. ARB Summit Bar - Unique design features such as a 30mm edge radius on the wings and center pan, wider press formed cover straps, 60.3mm top frame tubing, two piece polyethylene buffers and redesigned fog lights. - via ARB USA The Metal-tech 4x4 3rd Gen 2016+ Tacoma bumper features a no body cutting fitment for bolt on installation. It includes an independent frame mounted winch mount and integrated pockets for 20w LED driving lights (included in stage 2) featuring "plug-n-play" wire harness that plugs directly to the factory fog light harness. The center of the bumper features an integrated LED light bar pocket (30" light bar included in stage 3). Large 3/4" pull points and 4 different metal thicknesses that are all part of the 3D CAD engineered bumper. - via Metal Tech 4X4 Pelfreybilt 16+ Toyota Tacoma Aluminum Plate Bumper (Base weight 60 pounts and comes standard with 3/4 - inch D-ring mounts) - via Pelfreybilt Off-Road CBI Offroad Fab T3 Front Bumper with Center Grill Guard - Includes internal mount for a 20” single row light bar and factory fog light bracket mounts. Product offered in steel or aluminum. - via CBI Offroad Fab DeMello Off-Road 2016 Tacoma Front Bumper - The new DeMello off-road Tacoma bumper offers reinforcements inside while maintaining light-weight construction. The bumper is offered in a flat-top version (no hoops) and low profile hoop version, and Baja (high hoop) version. - via DeMello Off-Road

Friday

New Mexico Backroads Announces 2016 Expedition and Overland Adventure Offerings

Mimbres River
Are you ready for your next great adventure? NMBR has released its 2016 expedition and overland adventure lineup. 

Email NMBackroads(at)gmail.com for details and to register.


Summer 2016 El Dorado Overland – Monday, July 18th – Thursday, July 21st | Northern New Mexico | 4 Days | 325 Miles | Elev. 6,500 to 11,200 ft. | NMBR’s El Dorado Overland will traverse the scenic high-country of northern New Mexico during the summer season—when the landscape is verdant. Areas of exploration will include San Juan Mountains, Continental Divide, Taos Plateau, Sangre de Christo Mountains, and Valle Vidal.


Summer 2016 Gila Legends Expedition – Monday, August 22nd – Friday, August 26th | New Mexico Gila | 5 Days | 375 Miles | Elev. 4,300 to 9,600 ft. | The Gila Legends Expedition provides New Mexico’s most rugged and remote overland route. Areas of exploration will include Black Range, Plains of San Agustin, Mogollon Mountains, Tularosa Mountains, Elk Mountains, Continental Divide, and Chihuahuan Desert.


Fall 2016 Camino del Tesoro Overland – Monday, September 26th – Thursday, September 29th | Northern New Mexico | 4 Days | 325 Miles | Elev. 6,500 to 11,200 ft. | NMBR’s Camino del Tesoro Overland will traverse the scenic high-country of northern New Mexico during the fall season—when the aspens are golden and the air is crisp. Areas of exploration will include San Juan Mountains, Continental Divide, Taos Plateau, Sangre de Christo Mountains, and Valle Vidal.


Fall 2016 Gila Legends Expedition – November or December – Dates TBA | New Mexico Gila | 5 Days | 375 Miles | Elev. 4,300 to 9,600 ft. | The Gila Legends Expedition provides New Mexico’s most rugged and remote overland route. Areas of exploration will include Black Range, Plains of San Agustin, Mogollon Mountains, Tularosa Mountains, Elk Mountains, Continental Divide, and Chihuahuan Desert.


Spring 2017 Gila Legends Expedition – March or April – Dates TBA | New Mexico Gila | 5 Days | 375 Miles | Elev. 4,300 to 9,600 ft. | The Gila Legends Expedition provides New Mexico’s most rugged and remote overland route. Areas of exploration will include Black Range, Plains of San Agustin, Mogollon Mountains, Tularosa Mountains, Elk Mountains, Continental Divide, and Chihuahuan Desert.


Spring 2017 Ghost Divide Expedition & Ghost Divide Expedition II – NMBR’s two Overland Expo West Based Expedition offerings – Dates TBA | New Mexico & Arizona | 5 Days | 500 Miles | Elev. 4,300 to 9,600 ft. | The Ghost Divide Expedition will lead to the 2017 Overland Expo West. The Ghost Divide Expedition II will depart from the 2017 Overland Expo West. Areas of exploration will include Gila, Black Range, Continental Divide, Mogollon Mountains, San Francisco Mountains, White Mountains and Mogollon Rim.
 
USFS Authorized Overland Outfitter/Guide 
New Mexico Backroads provides expedition and overland guide services for adventurists seeking rugged 4WD routes, unparalleled scenery, and professional guidance in the backcountry. Whether you’re a novice overlander or have completed multiple expeditions across the globe, NMBR will provide you with an adventure that suits your comfort level, experience, and 4WD vehicle. In the time leading up to a NMBR guided adventure, participants are provided with extensive preparations and information on how to prepare and what to expect. The self-sufficient aspect of NMBR guided adventures challenges and prepares participants for their future 4WD based endeavors—to go boldly, prepared, and with confidence.  Email NMBackroads(at)gmail.com for more information. LINK

Tuesday

NMBR’s Long-term BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Review: 25,000 Mile Final Summary Report


Last March, New Mexico Backroads [NMBR] began a yearlong review of the new BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire. “Is it time to come back to an all-terrain tire?”—this question would serve as the running theme for New Mexico Backroads’ review of the BFGoodrich KO2 (size: 37x12.50R17). Would an overlanding based professional guide or 4WD/overland enthusiast be willing to give up their big block mud-terrains for BFGoodrich’s next generation All-Terrain T/A? Over the past twelve months, NMBR has conducted (and completed) the most in-depth review of the KO2 available in order to determine if the tire’s durability, traction and performance are up to task for the toughest terrain and conditions the Southwest has to offer. New Mexico Backroads’ final KO2 report builds on the two previous NMBR KO2 reports (2,000-mile and 15,000-mile) and provides a final verdict on the tire. May 2015 - NMBR’s BFGoodrich KO2 2,000 Mile Report LINK October 2015 - NMBR’s BFGoodrich KO2 15,000 Mile Report LINK BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire Review Background: Until last year, New Mexico Backroads’ tire of choice has been the BFGoodrich KM2 Mud-Terrain for both the NMBR 4Runner and NMBR Rubicon (as pictured above). The KM2 provided excellent harsh terrain traction and durability without yielding a single failure through countless miles of hard use. The KM2 tires weren’t the most fuel efficient or pavement friendly of tires, but they were dependable. Needless to say, the KO2 All-Terrains had some big shoes to fill when they replaced a perfectly good set of KM2 Mud-Terrains. NMBR’s early expectations for the KO2 was that they would be a better all-around on and off pavement tire, but would likely fall short of the KM2 under the most challenging surface conditions. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Sidewall Durability & Performance: Since BFGoodrich touts the new KO2 sidewalls to be 20% tougher than its All-Terrain T/A KO predecessor, New Mexico Backroads decided to subject the KO2 sidewalls to numerous trail hazards, ranging from sharp rocks to splintered branches; seeking out scenarios that would prove or disprove the claim. Because sidewall damage is a major issue for 4WD and overland enthusiasts navigating the roughest territory, NMBR placed a high priority on providing detailed feedback on the KO2’s sidewall strength. While many all-terrain and mud-terrain tires feature aggressive (and attractive) tread patterns, the sidewall construction and design is often overlooked or lacking. The primary sidewall testing grounds for the KO2 have been the unforgiving trails and primitive backroads of the New Mexico Gila where the majority of NMBR’s field work and guiding are conducted. These remote routes follow two tracks along boulder strewn riverbeds and through dense forest littered with splintered timbers. After countless run-ins, the KO2 sidewalls have not failed; no punctures, cuts, bruises, or damage can be reported. Despite the abuse, the KO2’s sidewall lugs and sipes remain intact and retain crisp edges, only with the occasional nick or scratch. The anatomy of the KO2’s sidewalls feature a serrated shoulder tread pattern, siping and an aggressive side lug design that provides ample bite in technical situations where steering precision and control is critical such as rock crawling or v-notch/side-slope negotiation. The KO2’s sidewall material has been improved over the previous KO tire with BFGoodrich’s new Coregard Technology which provides a more robust rubber composition to resists trail damage. Additionally, the side lugs of the KO2 extend farther towards the center of the tire and feature a design meant to push aside contacting hazards such as branches. Over smooth hard packed dirt road, where higher speeds are safely obtainable, the KO2 was predictable and stable on curves, cattle guards and dips due to the firm sidewalls.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Traction: The BFGoodrich KO2 has proven itself worthy in nearly every surface condition available in the Southwest. In the mud, the tire tread voids clear quickly and provide excellent forward traction; the tires are less prone to spinning and sinking than most tires with “mud” in their namesake. The tight and interlocking tread block pattern of the KO2 provides a stable contact patch over mud which translates to better weight distribution and flotation. The overall tread impression left by the KO2 in mud is shallower and less pronounced than that of deep lugged mud-terrains. In the snow [hard pack, powder and slush], the KO2 was predictable and provided sufficient forward movement. The KO2’s strong mud performance characteristics cross over well in snow regarding weight distribution, tread pattern, and a shallower track depth. Although the KO2 is not a dedicated snow tire, it is marked with the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake logo as it is suitable for winter use. Over ice, the KO2 didn’t washout or spin when transitioning to ice from higher traction surfaces, such as dirt or snow. The KO2 boosted confidence on ice covered shelf roads featuring steep inclines and tight switchbacks where a misstep could prove disastrous. On the rocks, the KO2 provides excellent traction on southern New Mexico’s notorious dry waterfall climbs and dry rapid sections. The traction provided by the KO2 on steep climbs and off-camber situations, where surface conditions are dismal, rivals that of the knobbiest mud-terrain tires. The KO2’s interlocking tread block pattern features extensive siping that provides enhanced traction and control. Between the treads are small pyramid shaped risers that promote the ejection of stones and debris to optimize traction by keeping the tread gaps open and prevent drilling (or embedded stone caused tire damage). Bottom line—the BFGoodrich KO2 has equal or better overall traction characteristics as the BFGoodrich KM2. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Fuel Economy: Because NMBR’s field work and guiding often entails stretches of a few hundred rigorous off-pavement miles between gas pumps, fuel conservation is critical. With the previously mounted BFGoodrich KM2 tires, I’d arrive in Reserve, New Mexico on fumes, after three days and two hundred twenty-five miles traveling along NMBR’s Gila Legends Expedition route. With the BFGoodrich KO2 tires, I’m now arriving to Reserve with a bit less than a quarter tank of gas left. The KO2’s increased fuel economy over KM2 could be attributed to better overall traction (requiring less mileage in 4WD) and lower rolling resistance (due to the tighter tread pattern). Regarding tire pressure, the NMBR Rubicon’s KO2 are set between 12PSI and 16PSI for off-pavement mileage depending on terrain. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Performance on Pavement: While the NMBR Rubicon is best suited for dirt travels, the KO2 tires have provided good overall performance and enjoyable driving experience on New Mexico’s winding mountain byways. Steering feedback and all speeds remains predictable and stable. When paired with American Expedition Vehicles DualSport Suspension, the KO2’s cornering performance is exceptional for a 37-inch tall all-terrain tire. Regarding tire pressure, the NMBR Rubicon’s KO2 are set at 28PSI for pavement mileage. This puts all but a quarter inch of the tread in contact with the pavement while providing a comfortable ride. Road related noise from the KO2 is minimal and has only increased slightly with over 25,000 miles of hard use. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire Wear Characteristics: BFGoodrich has heavily modified the tread rubber compound of the KO2 to provide a 100% longer on dirt tread life expectancy than the previous generation All-Terrain T/A—a figure derived from extensive Baja development and third party testing. Given the hard life the NMBR Rubicon’s BFGoodrich KO2 tires have lived over the past year, the treads still remain in good condition. The tread depth of the KO2 tires brand new was 15/32 of an inch. A year and 25,000 miles later the tread depth measures 11/32 of an inch—an impressive figure. It’s worth mentioning that the spare is still unused and will not be included in the NMBR Rubicon’s regular 3,500-mile tire rotation and balance schedule. Balancing remains undramatic; no tire cause wandering, negative feedback or vibrations can be reported. As far as trail related wear, only a half dozen nicks the size of a fingernail are present in the tread blocks—no chunking, splitting or cutting is evident. The tread block edges are crisp and undamaged. The siping within the tread blocks display minimal rounding—evidence the sipes are hard at work providing maximum traction. Bottom line—tire wear is the best I’ve seen of any all-terrain or mud-terrain tire used primarily for off-pavement driving. At the 15,000 mile report, it was stated that the NMBR Rubicon’s KO2 tires were not even halfway through their service life; at 25,000, they still are not.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Review Conclusion: After twelve months and over 25,000 miles of nearly every weather, road and driving condition imaginable, the verdict is in. The underlying question of New Mexico Backroad’s BFGoodrich KO2 review was simple “Is it time to come back to an all-terrain tire?”. The answer to the question is simple—if the all-terrain is the BFGoodrich KO2, then, absolutely yes. No other tire provides the combined durability, traction and performance characteristics of the KO2 in a wide variety of surface conditions. Aside from providing exceptional traction, the improved fuel economy over the BFGoodrich KM2 while running the KO2 has been one of the most enjoyed benefits. As the tires have exceeded expectations and retain over half their tread left, the NMBR Rubicon will continue to run the KO2 tires into 2017 expedition and overland guide season.
Editor's Note: In early 2015, NMBR reached out BFGoodrich to provide (at no charge to NMBR) a set of (5) KO2 All-Terrain tries in order to conduct a year-long detailed, candid, and subjective review of the tire. BFGoodrich agreed to NMBR’s long-term review and provided a set of (5) KO2 All-Terrain at no charge. Since NMBR’s final 1-Year (25,000-mile) review conclusion, the tires (as of September 2016) passed the 40,000-mile mark on the Dusy Ershim Trail. NMBR has since purchased at their own expense (and at no discount) two sets of KO2 All-Terrain Tires—a replacement set for the NMBR Rubicon and a set for the new NMBR Prospector.