A lot of riders are looking for the best ATV tires. The fact is, there is NO hands down best tire, any powersports specialist is going to tell you that. Look at a professional ATV, UTV or dirt bike racing teams and what do they have, multiple sets of different types of tires with different tire compounds, different tread designs, different sizes and ply ratings. This is because no one tire can be designed to be the best at every scenario.
Like we’ve covered before in other ATV tire posts, the first step of finding a tire is recognizing what type of terrain you ride the most. This is a pretty basic concept and most people naturally have an idea of what kind of tire they’re looking for, but they still search the term “the best ATV tire”…which is hopeless to search.
So, what are you riding? Is it mud, dirt, trails, rocky terrain, swamps, mountains, sand or a combo of some of these?
So what makes a good mud tire for your 4×4 quad? We’ll start with the construction of the tire. 6 ply tires are better for serious mud running. 6 ply tires are plenty thick enough to offer good puncture resistance and they won’t get to heavy as the mud builds up in the treads.
If you’re into riding swamp like conditions look for a taller narrower tire. This will allow the quad to be less buoyant and give the tires a chance to make contact with the bottom for traction. And with taller tires you can get into deeper water. This application also demands a tire with an extreme tread pattern especially designed for displacing lots of water and sloppy mud. This type of tire tends to ride a little rougher like a tractor tire, but newer quads with independent suspension are well equipped to help offset the vibration from the wide stance treads.
If you’re riding trails with a lot mudding sections in them, stick with tires that are close to the stock size your bike came with. Do not get narrower tires, stay the same width or wider…you’ll still need stability for the rest of the terrain. For this type of mudding look for a tire with an aggressive tread pattern, nothing too crazy.
See our full list of aggressive and extreme ATV mud tires Here.
ATV Tires for Dry Dirt Trails
In this scenario you want a tire that has a tread pattern with multiple or lots of smaller lugs and knobs. A tread pattern like this will offer great traction and a soft ride. If you’re on a budget you can get into a 4 ply tire and that will withstand most punctures in normal riding conditions. But a 6 ply tire is recommended for extra protection against punctures.
ATV Tires for Rocky Terrain & Mountain Trails
Recently 8 ply radial tires have really come into their own and are offered by multiple brands. These are perfect for rocky trails that have lots of chances for you to get a flat. The radial design allows the tire to stay square with the surface during articulation, perfect for rock crawling. The radial design also allows the tire to ride very smooth. An 8 ply design can take a beating during high speed impacts with sharp rocks. For tread designs, a tread pattern that has big lugs with large amounts of space between them are perfect. This will give the tire a chance to grab onto the edge of the rocks getting traction and allowing the quad to crawl over it.
Also, look for a tire that offers a rim guard feature to help protect the wheels from rocks. For a full review on 8 ply tires click Here.
Besides the obvious option of installing paddle tires if you’re riding dunes, we want to talk about sandy trails like the ones found along the coast line similar to the ones in the Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina.
In these conditions keep the front tires narrow allowing the tire to cut the sand like a knife which will keep the quad from floating out of the corners when you turn. Fat tires on the front will ride on top of the sand and offer little control.
On the back, a tread pattern that’s similar to the one found on Kenda’s Bear Claw is perfect. The lugs that are designed to tread water and mud will be great for throwing sand. A fatter tire is recommended for the back, the more surface space for displacing sand the better.
Read more information on cheap ATV tires Here. We give our picks on the best deals on tires for three different kinds of terrain.