The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right ATV Tires for You
Whether it’s the well-documented high that you get from racing or it’s just the exploratory feeling of riding outside, people have different reasons for riding ATVs. No matter what your purpose is, you need to get the right ATV tires to both stay safe and to be competitive. In most cases, there’s a serious overlap in the type of tire you need, all dependent on the kind of surfaces you ride on.
Here’s everything you need to consider.
Look at the Tread Pattern
The tread pattern on your ATV tires is essential when you want to be rolling over a wide variety of terrain. You might have to consider which terrain you’ll be driving on the most or whether you need something that can handle it all.
If you’re going over mud a lot, you’ll want mud tires. These treads run from the inside to the outside and have an angled pattern. Mud tires are directional and suited to give you some grip, even when it doesn’t seem like you can get one.
Medium-aggressive mud tires ensure that you can handle the intensity of driving over unstable mud.
All-terrain tires are useful when you need lateral and vertical stability. These give you a lot of variety of potential movement and will have a longer tread life than mud tires. If you see a little bit of everything on the trails, go with all-terrain tires.
Sand tires are a good option when you’re driving on sand or small pebbles a lot. They have a raised rib or paddle with a scoop on the train. These allow for traction in an otherwise unsteady terrain.
Even if you only ride over sand occasionally, you should have tires built for that.
For people who race their ATVs, racing tires are ideal. They are suitable for medium or hard-packed trails. Their flat-top construction allows for high-speed runs but is less suited to rough or unstable terrain.
Consider the Price
Price is a reasonable factor to consider when choosing tires. The type of tire you purchase for your ATV shouldn’t be determined by price, but the quality might vary based on how much you can spend.
Budget tires can be bought for around $30 each, while a whole set might cost the same price as one single specialized tire.
Expect to pay around $150 for a set of high-quality tires to use with your ATV.
The bottom line on pricing is that you should know the type, quality, and brand you want to use. There are hundreds of brands, sizes, types, and variations, even within a single line. Set aside some money and be prepared to do a fair amount of research before you make a final decision on the type of tire you want.
The size of your tires is going to impact your price, what you can do with the tire, and how well it fits your ATV. You should replace tires with ones that are relatively equal when it comes to height and width.
A lot of research and development goes into building tires. They need to match the gearing, the handling, engine power, and the component fit. This ensures that when the ATV leaves the plant, it’s ready to hit the trails.
Smaller diameter tires might decrease your speed, but they’ll increase your RPM. This is good when you’re dealing with a lot of rough terrains. Riding on too small of a tire puts a lot of stress on the other components of your ATV.
Large-diameter tires can increase the overall speed and lower your RPM. When you’re racing, you’re going to want to go this route. Installing a tire that’s too large will also stress out the components on your ATV. Large tires can overheat your engine as well.
Width matters as well. A wider tire increases the tread pattern that hits the ground and gives you more traction. A more narrow tire can be more effective when dealing with surfaces that are too soft and muddy.
Consider the Shape
When people are shopping for ATV tires, they often overlook the shape of the tires they buy. Most people don’t even know the shape of the tires on their ATV without taking a look at them. Can you picture the last tires you had, and do you know the shape that they had?
It turns out that most utility quads are going to have round-top tires, and most sport quads have flat-top tires.
Flat-top tires put all their treads right on the ground. This is ideal for getting a solid grip on harder packed trails and courses. Riders can take power slides in controlled environments and have serious sidewall stability.
Round-top tires are going to roll under themselves during hard cornering on surfaces like this. They’re more designed for versatile or softer trails.
If you’re going to be racing on tracks and trails that are well worn, consider a flat-top tire. If you’re going out on muddy trails and a wide variety of surfaces, you could use a round-top tire to get the most out of your riding.
ATV Tires Make or Break Your Ride
If you’re driving around on the wrong type of ATV tires, the amount of fun and excitement that you experience can vary widely. When you’re riding around on the right tires, you’re going to have more control and a whole lot more fun.
For some tips on getting the most out of your off-road riding, check out our guide.