I’ve been thinking of changing the tires on my ATV for some with more tread so I was curious about whether all ATV tires are the same. I did a tonne of research and asked around and here’s what I found.
All ATV tires are not the same size. There are various different size tires and they can differ based on their width, diameter, and rim diameter. Each ATV tire also has a specific sized rim that it will work on, and there are few different sized ATV rims.
There are a range of reasons why certain tires are wider, have a greater diameter, or have more thread. And in this article, I will cover why ATV tires are different tires, as well as, how you match your ATV tires to your rims, and how to know what size your ATV tires you should get.
How do I know what size my ATV tires are?
One of the first things you’ll need to know when getting new tires is what the size of your current tires is. To find out is really easy, here’s how to do it.
There are numbers on the side of the tire, or you can look at your user manual. The numbers on the side will consist of 3 measurements, the diameter, width, and rim size in that order. The format is XX-XX-XXR. Where the X’s are different numbers.
For example, 22-11-10R is a 22-inch tire that is 11 inches wide, and fits a 10-inch rim. If the number has worn off or you don’t have the tire you can find this information in the user manual for your ATV.
If you kept your manual that’s really helpful but you can also find most manuals online by doing a Google search. A thing to search for is ‘make model manual pdf’. The PDF at the end will tend to show results that are a PDF document and makes it really likely that the official manual will show up right away.
Otherwise, you can look through the official website of the company that makes your ATV for the manual.
Can you get bigger rims than the stock rims?
It’s generally recommended by the manufacturer to only go up 2 rim sizes. Otherwise, the extra torque needed to turn the wheel can strain your drive train. But, at the end of the day, it’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Why are ATV tires different sizes?
So, there are various different sizes of tires for ATVs, but you may be curious about why that is. There is one overarching reason why tires are different sizes…
Different sizes of ATV tires are used for different terrain. For example, in muddy, wet terrain tires with more tread are used. The tread is essentially added on to the size of a tire used in flat dry terrain. Tires made for heavy-duty conditions such as rocky terrain are also thicker.
The reason is that the risk of getting a puncture is higher. And there is more stress put on the tires. There are also a few different kinds of ATV tread. Tires made for sandy conditions have almost no tread but instead, have one thick line of tread that weaves back and forward along the tire.
Best tire tread
ATV tire tread is the subject of experimentation, and new more effective treads have been developed. Across the ATV tire industry though radial tires are generally preferred.
Tires can be both good for wet soft conditions OR good for dry hard conditions. With the other kinds of ATV tires that are made for specific terrain, you need to swap them out when you’re doing any significant riding. So, it can become a bit of a pain to change your tires often.
However, radial tires perform well on both. And for that reason, they are some of the most popular.
How do you match ATV tires to rims?
When you’re looking at getting new tires you need to know what tires fit your rims, or what tires go with what rims. Here’s how to know…
Each tire has a recommended rim size. The recommended rim size is embossed or written on the outside of the tire. The number will have an R at the end of it. It’s almost always in the format XX-XX-XXR. Where the last 3 are the rim size. It might be 10R for example, meaning you should use a 10-inch rim.
The user manual for your ATV will list what size rims you should use for your specific ATV. ATV’s with a bigger engine – more cc’s – can turn a bigger rim. Whereas, smaller ATVs can’t generate enough torque to power a large rim without causing a lot of wear and tear on the engine.
It’s generally possible to go 1 or 2 rim sizes bigger than the rims that come stock with your ATV. But, you should always stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the biggest size rims you can use.
In your user manual, there is usually a one-page table that lists all of the specs, and one of them will be the rim size.
How to shop for the right sized ATV rims and tires
To get the right sized ATV tires for your rims, you need to know ahead of time what the size of your ATV rims are. From there you can simply purchase any ATV tires that are made for that rim size.
Online you can sort by rim size, or if you go into a store you can choose one that is made for your sized rims. The other consideration with ATV tires after you know what size they should be, is to decide where you want to be able to go with your tires.
If you primarily drive on hard roads then there’s a specific type of tire you should get, and if you mostly drive around on grass and in muddy conditions then there are tires especially suited to that.
However, one pair of all-purpose tires is generally recommended, and then any additional tires you may need for a unique purpose such as going on sand dunes, or going hunting in difficult terrain.