Who doesn’t love ATV shopping?
OK, technically, we’re not shopping for brand new ATVs here, but without good tires, an ATV is just an expensive lawn ornament. Tires are a defining factor of your riding experience too, so sure, there’s the shiny metal part that roars. But it’s time to give your ATV tires some love.
If you’ve paid out for an expensive machine and you want it to feel that way, choosing the right tire is essential. If you have a more budget-friendly ATV and you want it to feel and perform more like a top of the range model, the right tires are the answer.
We’ve compiled the five best ATV tire options right here to give you some extra traction. Then to send you off down the trail, we’ll check out some FAQs and even give you the low down in a brief buyer’s guide.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
Top 5 Best ATV Tires
OUR TOP PICK
Despite the rapidly evolving world of ATV engineering and increasing demand from drivers who thrive on pushing limits, these 1st-in-series tires are still one of the best multi-terrain choices today.
Made from a patented 6-ply rubber compound to maximize durability, the deeply curved 0.75 inch tread and angled shoulder lugs offer impeccable traction and great clear-out in soft-pack terrain.
With a speed rating of L (75mph), these are some of the fastest tires on the market. Although they’re a bias construction, the surface area and shaping of the central tread provides comfort and a smoothness of ride normally associated with a radial set-up. And they deliver all that while maintaining the structural integrity essential to the rigors of more rugged terrain.
These tires aren’t just a great fit for a seasoned rider, they’re computer engineered to be the lightest mud rated tire on the market. That means they’ll work well with less powerful engines, so if you’re embarking tentatively into the muddy side of ATV riding and you want to start easy, these tires are a great match for your vehicle and a fantastic place to start.
The ITP Mud Lites will handle track, excel in mud, and can even get the job done in snow. However, if you’re a serious mud-slinger looking to get in deeper than a few feet, it might be worth checking out some of the later models in the Mud Lite series.
It’s little wonder these tires are our top pick; affordable, durable and versatile, the ITP Mud Lite is the king of the hill, the mountain, the forest and the mud.
- Great quality for the price
- Tread pattern makes them resistant to punctures
- Radial feel drive
- High speed rating
- Highly regarded company
- Proficient in mud up to 2 and a half feet
- Deep lugs for increased traction
- Light weight
- Computer-developed 6-ply rubber compound
- Less comfortable ride at low speeds on hard surfaces
- Treads are relatively soft and may wear down quicker if driven frequently on hard surfaces
- Aggressive tread may cause damage to environment
Perfect for trails that start with signs reading ‘Proceed at own risk’ and ‘Here be dragons’, our second set of tires are the pinnacle of aggressive, high-traction technology. Made from 6-ply reinforced, tear-resistant material, with a unique built-in rim guard that not only protects against dents and scratches, but prevents debris from lodging in vulnerable areas, this Bearclaw is an impregnable beast.
Featuring angled knobs and dimpled center and side lugs for even more traction and control, the Bearclaws are great for sport riding in tough conditions or for practical applications like dragging heavy loads.
Although they’re not marketed with this in mind, these tires are also great for handling snow and sand due to their 8 inch section width and longitudinally running tread.
An all-terrain tire that’s more capable on hard surfaces than its competitors, while boasting strong specs for dealing with soft-pack terrain, these things were born mean, and thanks to their long-lasting materials, they stay mean. A set of Kenda Bearclaws would feel absolutely at home in environments that might actually contain real bears.
- Maximum traction
- 6-ply construction
- Tread pattern makes them puncture resistant
- Built-in rim guard
- Proficient in snow
- Easy to control
- Expensive compared to other models
- Product often shipped in compressed manor and needs time to expand before fitting
- Aggressive tread may cause damage to environment
Not everyone with an ATV is an adrenaline junkie. Some use their ATVs for practical home or professional reasons. If that’s you, the Carlisle Knobby ATV tire makes our list because it meets your needs.
The Knobby excels on both hard and soft surfaces and the even, non-aggressive knob tread layout is perfect for sensitive agricultural projects and at-risk ecosystems, so if you want to leave only footprints, these are the perfect tires for you
The fail-proof, non-intrusive design maintains traction even on wet inclines, so whether you’re traversing a sloping garden, riding a delicate trail, or trying to maximize your productivity in a weather-dependant work place, the Carlisle Knobby is a game changer.
If these tires seem perfect for the application you have in mind, but you’re worried that their 2-ply construction isn’t enough if something were to go awry – relax. If you’re worried that the environment in which you intend to use them may have unlikely but potential puncture risks, again – relax. Carlisle has thought of that before you. In the event of severe environments, you can pair the Knobby with quality mousse inner tubes to galvanise your set-up and offer peace of mind.
- Unobtrusive tread. Safe for your environment
- Works well on both hard and soft surfaces
- Can be used on a number of different vehicles
- Useful for a number of applications
- Only a 2-ply construction rating
- Sometimes shipped incorrectly, which can make them hard to mount
Boasting a 10 inch section width, a 0.6 inch tread depth and 6-ply nylon construction, there’s no mistaking what our fourth set of tires was made for.
The company-original tread pattern should make short work of shallow to medium depth mud, making these tires perfect for advanced trails, and whether you care about this kind of thing or not, they’ll give your quad that dauntless, take-on-all-comers look that speaks of utter confidence in any environment.
Despite the size of these tires and the effort Wanda has gone to to make them as durable as possible, they remain quite light, weighing in at around 42 pounds for the 24x10-11 sizing, making them great for quicker acceleration and more responsive braking.
If you’re looking for a set of tires that can handle itself in sticky situations, but you’re on a budget, Wanda tires are the way to go for you. Usually coming in at under $150 for a set of two P373s, many buyers are initially suspicious about their quality. Who makes advanced trail tires any good in that kind of price range, right? Try them. Fit them. Experience what they have to offer first hand. The Wanda P373 tires are consistently highly rated and recommended, and give you a practical lesson in why Wanda is one of the leading ATV tire companies in the world.
- Great price for their size
- 6-ply construction
- Great load carrying capacity
- Will handle shallow to medium mud
- Original tread pattern
- Great look
- May have trouble clearing mud at lower speeds
- May wear faster if used on hard surfaces
- There have been complaints that they’re not as wide as advertised
- The surface of the tiers isn’t as smooth as others, which may increase bounce on paved surfaces
- Aggressive tread may cause damage to environment
- Only large sizes available
Of course, plenty of people who own ATVs absolutely are adrenaline junkies. Our fifth pick is for the thrill seekers out there. Sunf has created a tire capable of high speed, technical racing in complex landscapes, and they’re completely tubeless, saving you money and time.
The stand-out feature to consider is the protruding shoulder lugs. They reduce the risk of toppling and enhance grip when turning, letting you drive into corners faster and harder without subjecting the sidewall and rim to excess pressure.
The downsides of this model have nothing to do with their build quality but rather their specialist nature. The A027s are an all-terrain tire to a degree, but if your style of riding takes you through the deepest mud and the most mountainous terrain, these tires might not be a good fit for you.
Created with cross country riders and desert racers in mind, this unique tire will help you master sinuous forest lands and attack the sands with reptilian deftness.
- Protruding side lugs for better traction on corners
- Large surface area of tread makes for great traction, handling and acceleration
- Affordable on a budget
- Can come in packs of 2 or 4
- Resistant to punctures
- Great for racing
- Stands out against other similarly priced products
- Tubeless design saves you even more money
- Won’t clear mud as efficiently as some other tires
- Limited sizing for ATVs
- Not as versatile as other all-terrain tires
What to Look Our for When Out Shopping
Looking for new tires can be overwhelming, especially if you’re eager to get out there and tear it up. Hours spent looking at a computer screen will give you the headache that should have been caused by engine noise, fumes and gnarly terrain, which is why we’ve come up with this easy to follow, step-by-step guide to ease you through what can be a stressful and time-consuming experience.
First and foremost, the easy part: deciding where and how you’ll be using the tires. The four main categories are mud, sand, snow, and all-terrain. Each of these applications require a different specialized tire.
Mud rated tiers need a deep aggressive 0.75 to 2 inch tread with lengthy, angular lugs that continue onto the sidewall. Mud tires are also commonly characterized by prominent gaps in the tread pattern that allow for the dislocation of mud from the tire as you drive.
ATV tires designed for use on sand and dunes have long ridges known as sand paddles that wrap around the entire width and side wall of the tire. The ridges perpetually scoop away sand and gain traction on the loose terrain.
Specialised ATV snow tires are hybrid models of the other types of tire. One design is a combination of the smaller lugs of a trail tire and the spacing in the tread pattern normally seen on mud tires. The second design is a combination of the long, sparse sand paddles of the dune tire and the angular thread-pattern of the mud tire.
All-terrain tires are designed to be as versatile as possible and often have the longest life due to their rarely being out of their comfort zone. Of all the specialist tires for ATVs, all-terrains have the greatest variations of tread style as there are more of them in production. This style of tire will generally have a tread depth between 0.5 to 1 inch. All terrain tires aren’t just popular for recreational use, but for occupational use too.
Radial Vs Bias
Although it’s good to gain a more in-depth understanding of what separates radial and bias tires, there are really only a couple of key things to know when you’re deciding on a new setup. You’ll mostly be looking at radial tires if you’re going to be driving a lot on roads, and bias tires if you're going to be delving into other more rugged terrains.
The price you’re willing to pay is possibly the most important factor to consider and the fastest, most practical way to narrow down the number of products you have to trawl through. Although the cost of new tires can vary greatly, they’re not going to be particularly cheap, especially if you’re looking for all four. Do some research to gauge how cost relates to quality in the tire market, and stick to the tire budget that works for you.
Ply rating is an indication of the resilience of the tire. The higher the rating, the more it can take from a terrain. Good quality mud tires and some all-terrain tires should have between a 6 and 8-ply rating. That’s not to say that low-ply tires are bad; they just serve a different purpose. If you’re going to be riding in clearer, less challenging terrains, a 2-ply may be the perfect option for you.
You’re probably familiar enough with your vehicle to know what size tire you’re looking for, but the last thing you want is to accidentally order the wrong one and spend all that time waiting only to have to send it right back (possibly at your own expense), so here’s a quick recap.
There will be three numbers marking the dimensions of a tire, e.g. 22x8-10
The first number is the total height of the tire, meaning our example tire is 22 inches tall.
The second number, 8, is the width of the tire, so our example tire is 8 inches wide.
The third number, 10, is the rim diameter, so our example tire will fit 10 inch rims.
On Your Marks, Get Set…
So, there are the essentials. Now you’re closer to getting back out there than ever! You’re ready to go out into the big wide web and make your own informed discoveries, but if you decide one of our five picks is the perfect tire for your driving style, you won’t be disappointed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the leading ATV mud tire?
We’ve concluded that the best ATV tire is the ITP Mud Lite due to its quality, versatility and pricing, but if money is no question, you may want to try something with an even more aggressive tread such as the ITP Monster Mayhem Mud Terrain ATV Tire.
How long should they last?
It depends entirely on what they’re designed for and how they’re used. An ATV tire used on fitting terrain can last between 1 to 2 years with heavy road usage. If you manage to avoid roads, ATV tires can last as long as 10 years.
Because stock tires may not fit your exact needs, the chances are they’ll wear out faster. When replacing your stock tires, you should think carefully about the application to which you’re going to put them. Once you’ve narrowed that down, you can focus on product specification and standards.
Do they need to be balanced?
Whether you should balance your ATV tires or not largely depends on you, your preferences and how you want to use your ATV. Some of the low speed ATV applications don’t necessarily require balanced tires, whereas in high speed applications such as trail riding and racing it may be beneficial to balance your tires/wheels. The closer the center of gravity to the center of the wheel, the fewer vibrations develop from that source during a ride.