What to know about selecting the best ATV tires for trail & mud.
Looking for the best ATV tires on the market jump to:
Buyers Guide: Choosing ATV Tires For Trail & Mud
6 Main Factors To Consider
- Radial/Bias Construction
Mud tires vary from regular trail tires in a couple important ways. Typical mud tires have a long deep tread pattern with a depth of 1 – 2+ inches. The long tall tread works as a paddle to provide traction while the widely spaced lugs also allows the wet mud to easily falls off and not get caked on.
Mud tires have very aggressive tread to make sure you get the best traction possible, but this aggressive tread comes at a cost.
Mud tires are heavier than trail tires, so you may notice a slow down on the straightaways. Mud performance also comes at the expense of acceleration.
One of the main drawbacks with aggressive mud tires is that they’re very specialized.
Mud tires with a super aggressive two inch tread are only suited for mudding. Riding on a smooth surface or even on a trail with these tires will be jarring. So, if you’re a trail rider who sometimes rides through mud, a two inch tread isn’t recommended or ideal.
A less aggressive mud tire with a tread in the 1 inch range is a lot more versatile. Not only will you get the mud traction you need, but they’ll also give you a good comfortable trail ride. Keep in mind though that even less aggressive mud tires still aren’t good for pavement or smooth surfaces.
Also, mud performance comes at the expense of acceleration and speed. Basically you have to choose what is most important for your style of riding – speed and acceleration or traction.
Heavier tires will also cause a reduction in fuel efficiency, but this is negligible and really isn’t enough of a factor to influence your decision.
The best ATV tire for trail and mud will be a moderately aggressive mud tire with a tread depth in the 7/8 – 1 1/4 inch range.
Ply / Load Range
All tires have a tire ply rating which indicates a tire’s strength and load capacity. ATV tires come with ply rating of 4, 6 and 8.
The ply rating is an old fashioned term that was initially used when tires were built by bonding different materials in layer after layer. So, 6 layers (ply) was of course better and stronger than 4 layers (ply).
With time, tire building technology and materials have improved over time, so tires don’t require as many layers to achieve the same results. This is why the term ‘ply’ is slowly falling out of favor and being replaced with the term ‘load range’.
For reference, here’s ply with it’s corresponding load range.
- 4 ply = B
- 6 ply = C
- 8 ply = D
Tires are either made with radial construction or bias construction.
With radial construction, the underlying layer of rubber coated steel runs from the middle to the sides of the tire in a straight line.
In bias construction, the underlying layers of rubber coated steel are overlapped from the center at an angle.
In general, radial construction is considered superior to bias construction. However, some of the benefits of radial tires occur when riding fast on pavement, so this leads to some diminished returns when it comes to the cost/benefit analysis for ATV tires.
- Superior construction
- Smooth ride
- Less road noise
- Even pressure distribution
- Better gas mileage
- Improved maneuverability
- Longer life
- More expensive
- Less expensive
- Rugged construction
- Stronger thicker sidewalls
- Good performance on rough surfaces
- Excellent tire for slow and moderate speeds
- Not well suited for high speed pavement riding
- Road vibration on pavement
- Less durable than radial
You will need to know what size tires your ATV requires.
Most ATVs will allow you to go up a tire size without any issues and some larger ATVs (500cc +) may even allow you to go up two sizes without any problems.
But, if you go with too large a tire, there may be problems with the tire potentially rubbing against the frame, shocks and exhaust. Plus, you need an engine large enough to handle the extra stress of the added weight.
If you’re looking to supersize your tires, you’ll have to make some major mods including: gear reduction, clutch kit, lift kit, drivetrain and suspension.
Not a lot to say here. I’m guessing like most people, you want the best possible tire for the least amount of money.
Although you usually get what you pay for, this isn’t an absolute. This doesn’t mean that the most expensive tire is always the best tire. A lot of the price is sometimes tied to the brand name, their image and their marketing, so keep that in mind.
Do your own research, shop around, read reviews and always try to buy when they’re on sale.