Lots of factors contribute to your UTV’s off-road performance. But its tires are near the top of the list. Whether your tires are near the end of their useful life or you just want an edge, swapping them out can make a difference. The key is choosing the best UTV tires for your ride. This quick write-up explains the finer points of tire traction and pressure – plus a tire recommendation or two to consider.
Understating How Tire Traction Works
As you know, traction is the resistance between the ground and your tires when wheel axles exert torque. Simply put, it’s your tires’ ability to grip the terrain without slipping or sliding. With traction, your UTV moves forward as tires transmit engine energy to the ground.
Tire design is key to delivering traction. Tire makers consider several factors during the design phase, including a tire’s tread pattern. One example of how this works exists on the Maxxis Carnivore 32x10x14. The Carnivore is an all-terrain tire with aggressive tread – and by aggressive, Maxxis jagged tread blocks and 28/32 lugs creating a wide and flat contact patch. The tread wraps around the tire’s exterior, with protruding blocks of tread on the sidewalls. Thanks to this design, the Carnivore performs well on both soft and rocky ground.
Tire construction, including materials and tread compounds, are also important. STI’s Roctane Tires XD 32x10x14 illustrate his point perfectly. It pairs an aggressive tread design with a high wear-resistant compound. What’s unique about this compound is that it’s softer than you’d expect for the Roctrane’s tread depth. Soft tread usually makes large lugs useless. But the special tread compound is more durable, so it delivers grip plus long life. That’s why the Roctane works well on both mud and rocky terrain.
How Reducing Tire Pressure Can Improve Your Ride
Lowering tire pressure isn’t normally recommended on passenger vehicles. But off-roading is a different story. When you reduce the pressure, more of your tires’ tread contacts the ground. This results in better grip and improved traction, which can make a big difference on mud, snow, sand, or other kinds of soft ground.
How much should you reduce your tire pressure? Experts recommend between 2.5 and 3 PSI. Be careful, though, because lowering pressure beyond 3 PSI can cause your tires to pop off their beads. For best results, use a low-pressure tire gauge to keep tabs on your tires’ PSI as you let out the air.
More Tire Shopping Tips
Tires can impact how well your UTV rides, so you must choose ones that best match your terrain and riding needs. Your best bet is to shop at a reputable Yamaha dealer specializing in motorcycle, quad, and side-by-side parts. You’ll have access to inventory specially selected to deliver the performance and value that off-roaders need. Customer feedback also reveals a lot about a product’s quality and longevity. Both example tires, the Maxxis Carnivore and STI Roctane, consistently earn four- and five-star ratings. The bottom line: Do your homework and consider tire features, price and design before you buy.