Tires can make or break your ATV. That is, if you want to maximize your engine power and fully utilize your machine, it is essential that it is equipped with the right tires. You're going to have more fun on your machine if you are using the right tires for the terrain you are riding. This might mean that you need to own a few different sets of tires, especially if you take your ATV with you on trips and ride it in all conditions.

All-Terrain ATV Tires

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All-terrain (also known as all-purpose or trail) tires are the most common type. They are usually the stock tires that come standard on most ATVs. As you can probably guess, all-terrain tires are perfect for most of the terrains you will ride on your all-terrain vehicle. For instance, an all-terrain tire would be perfect if you were riding on grass, gravel, dirt, and concrete all in the same day. The mild tread patterns are built to allow some grip, that will be essential when climbing or dealing with mud. However, don't expect to be able to handle the most extreme conditions and most difficult trails with an all-terrain.

Basically, an all-terrain tire isn't going to be the best at anything. It is definitely a compromise, but one that is suitable for the majority of ATV owners.

When it comes to buying tires, most riders purchase an ATV that is already kitted with all-terrain tires. Then, as they begin the use their machine more regularly and figure out their riding style, they also start to notice where they would like to see improvement. Often, the tires are the first thing that ATV owners will upgrade. The cost of an all-terrain tire varies, depending on the size and type. Usually, the tires that come on a new ATV will be on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

ATV Mudders

Mud tires (or mudders) are characterized by their aggressive tread pattern. They grip and enable an ATV to handle the softest, steepest, wettest, and muddiest terrain. In the right climate and the right soil, they are really the only suitable option. Professionals usually race with mud tires because the grip offers tremendous control on soft dirt tracks. Mudders are also great in the snow. While there are snow tires you can buy, mudders offer more range and flexibility for those who only ride their ATV in light snow.

But, mudders also have some disadvantages. First of all, they don't provide the smoothest or most comfortable ride. They cause the ATV to shake and vibrate, even when you are riding on a smooth surface such as asphalt. Not only that, mudders are not going to last as long as all-terrain tires, especially if you are frequently riding on concrete. The treads and lugs are larger, but they wear down very quickly. This is the biggest drawback of mud tires.

ATV owners need to decide if they are really going to ride in enough soft dirt and mud or light snow to warrant using mud tires. If you do have mud tires, you need to do your best to stay off concrete and paved roads. This is especially true when you consider that mud tires cost nearly twice as much as all-terrain tires. That is a lot of money when you consider replacing the whole set.

Sand ATV Tires

It is important to point out that sand tires are made for soft sand. They aren't suitable for hard soil, even if it has a thin layer of soft sand on top. Sand tires are meant for beach sand and dunes only.  Sand tires have different treads for front and back axles. The front tread is actually smooth with no lugs. Instead, there is a rib that runs through the center of the tire. This rib keeps the front of the ATV pointed in the right direction, even in the loosest sand. The back tires have scoop or paddle treads that literally throw the sand behind the ATV as you ride and efficiently propel the ATV forward. If you have ever seen an ATV with sand tires, you will have noticed the huge wake that the tires leave behind.

Sand tires are even more specialized than mudders. They definitely should not be used on concrete or hard surfaces. Sand tires usually don't cost as much as mudders because they don't have as much aggressive tread.  They are well worth the investment if you enjoy riding in the sand dunes. Using all-terrain tires or mudders in sand can cause your engine to severely overheat, which can cause expensive mechanical damage to your ATV.

Racing ATV Tires

Racing tires are also very specialized and not for every ATV owner.  They are usually only used by professionals and racers. They differ from all-terrain tires because they have more tread, with smaller hard lugs. This is meant for maximum control on medium and hard-packed surfaces. The tread is definitely not as aggressive as what you will see on a mud tire. Nonetheless, if you are planning on racing competitively, you want to keep your race tires off the concrete at all costs to avoid damaging or wearing down the lugs. Choosing the Best Tire for Your ATV

As you can see, there is no single type of tire thar would be the best choice for any ATV rider. That being said, most settle on an all-terrain tread, which enables them to ride on most surfaces without having to own several different sets of tires. Many people are too lazy to change their tires whenever they are driving in a different type of terrain. However, if you are planning a trip to the dunes, sand tires are a must to avoid serious damage to your ATV. And, if you are serious about racing, you will want to have a set of racing tires on hand, but you shouldn't use them on a daily basis. Your choice of tire comes down to your riding style and budget.

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