There are a lot of options when you choose to update your Polaris Sportsman wheels. Do you want 12 or 14 inch wheels? Black, polished aluminum, camouflage or chrome? Negative offset or positive? You also have to consider, are you going to buy new tires along with the new rims or just get new wheels to put in the tires you’re running now? After you answer these questions you can begin the fun part of looking at what’s available.
The important thing to know is the bolt pattern and in this case the Polaris Sportsman is 4×156 and the stock wheels have an offset of 4+3 (this goes for both 12in. & 14in. wheels).
ATV Wheel offset explained:
Wider offset is an expression for a wheel with the same overall width, but the position of the center location makes the ATV wider or narrower. A usual wheel description will look like “12 x 7 (4+3)”. That is a 12in. diameter x 7in. wide wheel. The (4+3) indicates the offset, with 4” being the inside part. Just remember the SMALLER the first number in ( ), the wider your stance will be.
A wider four wheeler is generally more stable. A narrower machine increases chances of a rollover, but will operate in tighter quarters and is easier to maneuver through trees.
A different offset wheel is a cheap way to widen or narrow the overall stance. It is a way to add stability (wider) or improve clearance on narrow trails (narrower).
Changing offset will alter the way your ATV behaves, and will affect the load on other parts of the quad. If you try to narrow the machine, you could run into clearance problems with suspension components. Widening the ATV with offset will generally increase steering effort and stress on ball joints, bearings, etc.
On a Polaris Sportsman I’d recommend to install wheels with the same offset that came stock on the bike (4+3). The only time I would recommend an offset that would widen its stance is if a lift kit was being installed or really wide mud tires were being mounted on the front.
Generally 12in. wheels are cheaper then 14in wheels and the same goes for tires. So if you’re on a budget you’ll want to start looking at 12 inch wheels from the start. With 12” rims there is also a wider selection of tires to choose from. If you’re looking for a way to really draw attention to your Sportsman spring for the 14 inch wheels, they look really good.
If your riding style is geared more toward mudding it’s suggested to go with the 12in. wheels. The 12in. mud tires perform better in mudding conditions and the selection of mud tires for 12in. wheels is a lot bigger. Going to 14in. wheels in this scenario won’t completely kill the bike’s performance in the mud, but it will lose an edge. So the tradeoff is up to you, looks or performance? Personally, the Sportsman performs pretty good with 14in. wheels in the mud…so I’d go with looking good and install 14in. rims.
If you’re riding rocky trails I personally like steel wheels, because the chances of bending a rim is very likely and with steel you can beat the rim back into shape and salvage the wheel. With aluminum, if you try to bend it back into shape the lip of the rim will just snap off and then you’re done…time for a new wheel.
For sandy conditions, definitely install aluminum wheels. Aluminum is lighter and helps the machine be able to get those tires spinning to throw that sand.
If you think you’ll be in the market for 8 ply radial tires you’ll be safe with both 12in. and 14in. wheels. All radial tires are available in both rim sizes. This also goes for beadlock wheels, availability is split about 50/50, just depends on the brand. Some only have bead-lock wheels in 12in., some only have them in 14in. and some have both. Either way you’ll be able to find something you like.
I think that we covered everything, if you have any other questions or concerns about picking out new wheels for you Polaris Sportsman feel free to leave a comment and we’ll respond as soon as we see it.