ATV Tire Types: All-Terrain
By Midwest Traction on August 3, 2018
We’re breaking each tire type down into detailed parts. For part one of the ATV Tire series: the Trail tire.
Trail tires are also referred to as All-Terrain tires. They’re the most common form of tire on the market and typically come as the stock setting on new ATVs. Why?
Well, they’re the most versatile of all the tire terrain types. Their tread depth ranges between ½” to 1” deep, which provides just enough grip where you need it while being able to provide a smooth ride on hard surfaces. They’re known for being “middle of the road” in performance. Not terrible on many surfaces, but not superior on any, either. They’re good for riders who want to ride in a little bit of everything.
STI Black Diamond All-Terrain Tire
This versatile, 6-ply tire is designed for crossover performance so you can ride various terrain during one trip. No worries about comfort here! The over-the-center tread aids in smooth, controlled ride over hardpack surfaces, while still providing good traction and self-cleaning on softer surfaces.
The size range offered by STI includes performance on side-by-sides and UTVs without sacrificing ride comfort for larger sizes. The 6-ply rating makes this a stable tire that provides extended wear thanks to its tread compound that retains biting edges throughout its life.
For easy to intermediate surfaces, the trail tire rides with all direction performance, providing lateral and vertical stability. Having good all-around grip allows riders to go faster over long distances.
Close-set lugs create a large contact patch (this also boosts speed potential). These longer lasting tires come in a wide range of tread patterns, but we recommend looking for lugs that have enough spacing between for self-cleaning, especially if you’ll be encountering intermediate level mud.
Wait, why do they last longer?
They aren’t used in aggressive riding situations, and the lugs are lower, meaning they wear off less quickly. This makes them exceptional for year-round use in more moderate climates. Areas that experience frequent deep snow or mud should consider specialized tires for those times of the year.
For a slightly more aggressive trail tire, the Duro Buffalo features a sturdier, deeper tread for grip in most terrain. The tread blocks are spaced for self-cleaning for muddy performance while featuring grooves to dig in a bit deeper under looser surfaces.
The V-shaped tread creates directional stability for this durable, puncture-resistant tire. With a 6-ply rating and bias ply construction, it allows for flexibility and mid-range loads that will take you from A to B without worry.
Ply typically correlates with load bearing and toughness. However, the higher the ply, the heavier the tire (usually). Because all-terrain tires are designed for middle of the road performance, you don’t want something too light (they’ll puncture easily), but you don’t want something too heavy (they’ll tax your engine and slow you down unnecessarily). Look for something in the 4 to 6 ply range, unless you prefer to crawl over rocks frequently.
DWT Moapa Run-Flat Utility
If you're looking for a lightweight tire that offers smooth performance and easy acceleration that won't tax your engine, the DWT Moapa Run Flat is a bias ply tire. This provides flexibility and boosts the contact patch, which makes it easier for the tire to move faster across the terrain.
Originally designed to military run-flat requirements, these tough tires feature a unique sidewall wrapped with sturdy lugs to boost protection from punctures and cuts. A specialy engineered carcass design gives high-performance feel to this all terrain/trail tire.
Radial or bias? Well… it really depends.
Bias tires maximize contact with the ground thanks to their more flexible nature. They provide more comfort over rough terrain, but they tend to wear out more quickly than their counterpart.
Radial tires are reinforced thanks to their ply and belt cord combination and positioning. They’re stiffer than bias ply tires, which means not only do they last longer, but they offer more stability and control with increased puncture-resistance. The drawback? They feel bumpier on uneven surfaces.
For more in-depth information about ATV tires, check out this post: All About ATV Tires.
Looking for great places to ride your trail tires? Check out this article: Explore These ATV Trails