How do I pick ATV tires?

The time comes in every ATV’s life to change their shoes. Maybe you’ve ridden your factory tires to the bone and need a shiny new set, or you’re a more specialized rider that needs the kind of tire for the terrain you most often ride.  Well, let’s talk about tires.  The most important factor when ATV tire shopping is the kind of terrain you encounter most often. Mud or sand racer? Trail rider? Get muddy on the farm a lot? Whichever it is, consider the tread that tire manufacturers make for each of these conditions.  You should also consider tire size, shape, and construction.  It is recommended to keep the tire size as close to the factory’s as possible (after all, Honda engineers spent a lot of time making sure they would complement your machine’s gearing, engine power, handling, and fuel economy best).  Shape and construction can vary with the application, so be sure to get the one that will maximize your fun and give you longer wear!

Mud tires are characterized by their inside-to-outside angled tread pattern. They are directional tires designed to work best in mud, but can also work well with other applications (except for hard-packed trails, this can shorten tread life).

Trail tires are designed to offer good, stable traction through any terrain.  The exact kind of tread varies from one manufacturer to the next, but they are good “all-terrain” tires for the average utility ATV rider.  They can offer a higher tread life (saves $$), over specialized tires, and will handle the occasional ride through just about any terrain this crazy Arkansas weather gives us.

Sand tires are very specialized, and offer a unique tread: a single rib around the front tire and great sand-scooping paddles on the back.  These are really the only kind of tires that offer any traction in sand riding, as most other tires would burn your engine up just trying to gain ground.  They are great for sand riding, and that’s about it.  Taking these tires through any other terrain can ruin the tread, and probably wouldn’t make for a very comfortable ride.

Racing tires are also very specialized, and can make ATV motocross a whole lot of fun.  Most are designed for medium to hard-packed trails, and are characterized by flat-top, knobby construction. If motocross is your gig, get some tires and have a blast!

No matter what kind of tires you need, always remember to consider the cost trade-off with safety and stability, the life of the tire, and the degree of specialization you need. Any of our guys at Heartland Honda would be glad to talk with you about what kind of tire best fits your ATV needs!

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