Equipping your ATV or UTV with a new set of tires is arguably the best single modification you can make to enhance performance! But choosing a new set of ATV tires for your machine can be an intimidating process, especially if you are new to ATV or UTV riding. There are so many different brands, ply ratings, construction types, and tread designs. The process can seem overwhelming!
What type of terrain are you riding?
The most important question is “What type of terrain are you riding?” Finding the right set of ATV tire is like choosing a new pair of shoes. There are many types of specific shoes, all for different activities and functions! Likewise, if you buy an extreme mud tire and then hit the trails, it’s a bit like wearing cleats on the basketball court. One wouldn't wear cleats on the court, and one wouldn't want sandals for hiking. The point is that there are many different tires intended for specifc types of riding. So be honest with yourself when identifying the type of terrain that you ride the most. Choosing the ATV tires which best matches this terrain will yield the best performance.
Primarily, there are five kinds of ATV tires designed for the following kinds of terrain:
- Mud & Snow
- Rock & Desert
- Sport & Race
All-Terrain ATV Tires: All-Terrain tires are what most Utility ATV’s, UTV's, and Side-by-Sides have for original tires. They do well in a variety of terrain and provide a comfortable ride. They have a medium tread and light weight design that works well in a wide variety of terrain. Utility ATV Tires are the most popular group of tires in today’s market. The tire ply ratings can range from 2 to 8 ply rated. OE (Original Equipment) ATV tires tend to be on the lighter side, tamed down and less aggressive than other tires. This makes them great for acceleration, but not so great for puncture resistance or off-road traction. Although in recent years, ATV and Side-By-Side manufacturers have been doing a better job of equipping machines with better tires from the factory to handle a wider range of terrain.
ATV Mud Tires: Mud tires can range from the docile to the extreme! Their purpose is to provide better traction in muddy conditions. They are typically more aggressive, meaning they have deeper and wider spaced tread. Tread lugs or bars that run across the tire begin to appear in the tread design. These tires pull very well in softer terrain or muddy conditions with great clean-out characteristics. More aggressive tread patterns sacrifice ride comfort for looks and traction. If you ride them on hard surfaces, there may be noticeable vibration at slower speeds and faster tread wear. They are also heavier due to their massive tread which can rob power from your machine. They are less stable for high speed riding and cornering.
Rock & Desert ATV Tires: Rocky and Desert tires are usually built to take more abuse from jagged rocks, sharp thorns, and harsh dry terrain. These tires are heavier built, usually with a 6 to 10 ply rating. They have a medium tread design that covers more of the tire casing, and wrapping shoulder lugs for increased protection and grip. The take-off is that these tires typically weigh more and cost more than All-Terrain tires, although many fall into the same two categories.
Sport and Race ATV Tires: Sport ATV tires are intended for racing or course track conditions. They have a lower profile with a tighter tread design--usually have lots of “knobs” (“knobbies”) or biting edges. They are lightweight, super smooth riding, and great at high speed riding and cornering. Typically they have a softer tire compound with different patterns for various track conditions. These may be hard-pack blue-groove, intermediate over hard-pack, or woods style terrain. In the past, these tires mainly pertained to sport quads, but with today’s explosion of Side-by-Sides, that is not necessarily the case. There are a handful of less aggressive, high speed tires, suitable for use on heavier machines.
Sand ATV Tires: ATV Sand Tires are just what they say, designed for sand. The rear tires usually have scoops or paddles, while the front tires are more-smooth to maximize floatation. Straight paddles are best for straight line traction and hook-up, while angled paddles give you a little steering assistance. Keep these tires in dunes only!
MudThrowers specializes ATV tires and wheels. Have questions? Contact us today!