See the ATV Tire Facts You Must Know Before You Buy!

Let us take the frustration out of your next ATV tire buying experience. This exclusive report will give you the 5 basics you need to know before you buy another 4 wheeler tire. Why is this important?

Only because tires are the single most important piece of equipment on your ATV! All the engine and suspension mods in the world are wasted without tires. Fact is - with the right tire - you might not have needed all those engine and suspension pieces in the first place!

Tires influence the ride, handling, and traction of your ATV more than anything else. The trick is to match the kind of riding you do with the best tire for that combination of ATV and riding situation. So let's get it on!

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ATV Tire Basic 5 Facts You Must Know.

atv-tire-gorillaDeep lug mud tire.

1. Tread Pattern - There are 4 basic tread patterns for an ATV tire. The best one for you depends on what kind of terrain you ride on the most, or want to ride on (sand dunes for example).

  • All Terrain - The Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none tire of the ATV world. But for general trail riding in most of the country, this will be your weapon of choice. 

    Designed to have decent ride and handling on most types of terrain. You can find tires within this category that are designed to favor one kind of terrain more than another.

    This usually mean mud. Look for a little more tread depth with a bit more space between lugs for better self cleaning. These will give you better traction in the goo without wearing as fast as real mud tires.

  • Mud - If you ride in mud most of the time, there is no substitute for the real thing. ATV mud tires are all about going forward in sloppy surfaces. Unfortunately, that means they're not that great at doing anything else.

    Not too bad on other soft surfaces, you'll pay the price if you ride them in rocks or on hard pack terrain. And when I say "Pay the Price", that means in rapid wear, rough ride, and unstable handling.

  • Sand - Also called paddle tires because that's pretty much what they look like. Except the fronts which normally have a couple of simple ribs around them. Sand tires are an either or proposition - if you ride the dunes you must have them - but they're no good for anything but sand. 

    In fact they are so specialized, most folks just keep at least a pair of rear paddles mounted for when they get the urge to get sand in their shorts.

  • Racing - Racing tires are a whole specialty by themselves. Special tread designs and compounds are engineered for specific track conditions. If you're a racer, you are already well aware of those differences. If not - well it doesn't really matter.

    Most racing tires have a flat profile and are intended to run on medium to hard packed terrain (think motocross). If that's the kind of trails you ride, they could work on a sport ATV, but there are probably better choices in an all terrain type tire.

2. Tire Size - You know the little numbers on the sidewall? Those tell you what the tire size is. What are the pros and cons of changing the tire sizes from stock? Let's check it out.

  • Width of the tread.

    Wider than stock.
    Pros -increased cornering traction and better acceleration and braking on some surfaces.

    Cons - more steering effort and increased stress on suspension components. May cause tire rub on some ATVs.
     Narrower than stock.
    Pros - Improved grip in soft terrain like mud and snow. Easier steering effort.

    Cons - Less grip on most hard surfaces and more of a tendency to follow ruts. 

  • Height or diameter of the tire

    Smaller diameter - Lowers center of gravity and ground clearance. Similar effect to lower gearing (engine turns more rpm). 
    Reduces tippines but more likely to high center in rough terrain. Accelerates faster but has less top speed.

    Larger diameter - Raises CG and ground clearance. Effects of higher gearing.
    More likely to tip over but has increased ground clearance.
    Slower acceleration but higher top speed.
    Increased stress on drivetrain and brakes.

  • Aspect Ratio (Sidewall height)

    Shorter sidewall - Requires a taller wheel to maintain stock ground clearance.
    Stiffer sidewall is less compliant in the rough, but more stable at high speed.

    Taller sidewall - More compliance and better ride in rough low speed terrain. More unstable at higher speeds. More sidewall area is more prone to punctures.

3. Tire Profile - Flat or Round

  • Flat - Common on racing tires and sport ATVs. Good high speed stability on medium to hard terrain. Stiffer sidewalls for predictable sliding when cornering.

  • Round - Commonly found on utility and 4x4 ATVs. Good traction and ride at slower speeds in rougher terrain and softer surfaces like mud.

4. Tire Construction - Bias or Radial and Ply rating.

  • Bias - Old school type construction. Less flexible sidewalls with rougher ride and a tendency to "skate" while cornering.
    Can be built with more plies for better puncture resistance and toughness.

  • Radial- Current technology for an ATV tire. Has more flexible sidewall for a better ride and cornering stability. 
    Less rolling resistance and longer wear.

  • Ply Rating - Back in the day the ply rating meant the actual number of plys or layers used to make the tire. Today it's a strength rating based on the old ply ratings.
    The higher the ply rating the more toughness and resistance to punctures.

5. Price - Two Ways to Go.

  • Set a budget - If you didn't already know, the price of an ATV tire can send you into sticker shock. With so many brands and types of tires to choose from, you may want to pick a price range before you start shopping for quad tires.

    Then limit yourself to considering tires in that price range. It really sucks to find the perfect tire only to find out you can't afford it!

  • Money doesn't matter - Lucky you! Your job is a lot easier. Just pick the tire that does the best job for your kind of ATV  and your kind of riding.

    If money is really no object then just buy several sets of specialty tires and you'll be ready for any kind of terrain.

Remember these five basics and you'll look forward to your next ATV tire buying session.

Your Guide to ATV Tires.

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