Top 10 Best ATV Tires for Challenging Terrains

ATVs emerged in popularity in recent years, with riders loving their versatility and go-anywhere nature. Even I rent ATVs often to go on adventure rides with my wife, although I am a certified car enthusiast.

From my reasonable experience with ATVs, I learned that the latest models are all great at traversing challenging terrains. Sure, some are better than others, but for most riders, even cheaper ATVs will do the trick.

With these vehicles, the limiting factor is actually the tires – not the ATV itself. The reason for that is the variety of surfaces you will be riding on. Namely, hardpacked surfaces like dirt or gravel require different tires than mud and sand, for example. And let's not forget about intermediate and rocky surfaces, or turf, all of which have different requirements.

As a result, manufacturers of ATV tires have many different tire models for ATVs, aiming to satisfy the needs of every driver. Even on the website of one manufacturer, you can find a dozen of different ATV models, each with slightly different characteristics. Having a choice is always great, but the need to choose between that many options can be dizzying, especially for novice ATV riders.

But you won't have to worry about that because I will give you the best ATV tires for every type of ride. In my list, I will include all-terrain tires, which are the best for most people, but also performance tires for experienced riders, mud tires, and sand tires. Choose a model that suits your riding scenario, and I'm sure you will be satisfied!

So, without further ado, let's discover the best wheels for your ATV adventures!

Best All-Terrain ATV Tires

1. Kenda Bear Claw K299


Kenda's Bear Claw K299 model is the gold standard among ATV riders across the world. It's a tire that doesn't perform exceptionally on any surface but instead strikes the best balance. For ATV riders that don't focus on any particular surface and just want a dependable tire for their next adventure, the Bear Claw K299 will have them covered.

The tread pattern on Kenda's most popular tire is directional; it has a 6-ply construction and a built-in rim guard. But the thing that riders praise it for the most is the long-wearing tread compound – the treadlife of the Bear Claw K299 is insanely good! Riders are easily getting four years of this tire, even when driven on hardpacked surfaces. On top of that, it has excellent resistance against punctures, cuts, and chips, which only adds to its excellent durability record.

Meanwhile, the angled knobs on the tread pattern provide exceptional longitudinal traction on hardpacked surfaces. Just apply the throttle, and the Bear Claw K299 will launch you forward. But Kenda's engineers were intelligent enough to put center lugs, which also help with directional stability, agility, and lateral grip. The Bear Claw K299 might not be a racing tire, but you can enjoy more spirited rides on it.

The fairly sizeable lugs also make this tire a good performer in shallow mud. They provide enough digging action while also keeping the ATV fairly stable when you accelerate hard. You could even attack corners more aggressively in shallow mud, so performance rides aren't out of the question. Oh, and this tread pattern also works great on turf, so making shortcuts is a breeze.

Although not really designed for riding over larger rocks, the Bear Claw K299 provides reasonable traction on intermediate surfaces. It will suffer over very large rocks, i.e., rock crawling, but that's normal for the category. Also, the tread pattern isn't deep enough to give you traction in very deep mud. So, if you often ride in wet and muddy conditions, I suggest going for a special mud-terrain tire.

As for sand, the Bear Claw K299 does provide some digging action to get you going. It also feels stable at speeds and turns easily into a corner. Still, it might struggle in very deep sand, like in an African desert. For those conditions, a paddle tire is still a much better choice.

Meanwhile, despite the fairly aggressive tread pattern of the Bear Claw K299, it rides smoothly on paved roads. It doesn't have a lot of traction, particularly when it rains, but that is expected for such a tire. As a bonus, thanks to its tread design, this tire provides solid traction in unpacked snow, so it's rideable during the winter as well.


  • Excellent traction and rideability on hardpacked terrains (dirt and gravel)
  • Solid traction in deep mud and over sand
  • Good performance on intermediate terrains
  • Long treadlife and a tough, puncture-resistant casing
  • Smooth ride on paved roads


  • Suffers in deep mud and sand
  • Not the best option for rock crawling

2. Tusk Terraform


The Terraform is another all-terrain tire with a directional tread pattern that is similar to the Bear Claw K299. Notably, it includes three-quarter-inch lugs and an open tread design for traction and clean-out on various surfaces. It also has side lugs for added grip and protection, and a 6-ply construction for durability, just like its closest rival.

So, how does that translate into the real world? Well, as you might expect from such a design, the Terraform works exceptionally well on hardpacked surfaces. I was impressed with the acceleration traction on offer – the ATV always launched forward with the throttle twist. There was also enough lateral grip for a more spirited ride on gravel or dirt roads, and the directional stability was very good as well.

Furthermore, the Tusk Terraform performs pretty well in shallower mud. The lateral blocks, which extend well into the sidewalls, provide very good traction in mud. Moreover, the tire stays planted when cornering and has excellent directional stability during hard acceleration in mud.

Unlike other all-terrain tires, the Tusk Terraform also provides solid traction in deep mud. Still, it won't cut it for real mud-terrain enthusiasts, as it doesn't provide as much traction as a special mud tire.

With that said, few will have problems with how this tire performs in the desert. It's reasonably fast and grippy, with good agility. Its performance on sand is also commendable – the tire provides solid acceleration traction and feels stable at speed. It will suffer in very deep sand, like most other all-terrain tires, though. Also, I won't trust it over very large rocks, although it will work well on intermediate terrains.

The Tusk Terraform does perform very well in unpacked snow, though. I found that it has enough traction to propel you forward and feels planted in the corners. It will struggle on packed snow, but that's pretty normal for this type of tire.

On paved roads, the Tusk Terraform surprised me with how smooth and quiet it is, even at higher speeds. Still, it suffers with grip in the corners, especially on wet roads. Not that you will ride your ATV fast on the street, but nevertheless important to mention.

As for durability, the 6-ply construction of the Tusk Terraform promises good puncture, cut, and chip resistance. Still, although the treadlife is very good, it's a no match for the longer-lasting Kenda Bear Claw K299.


  • High traction and lateral grip on hardpacked surfaces
  • Solid traction and rideability in shallower mud
  • Good performance in the desert
  • Solid traction over unpacked snow
  • Tough and durable 6-ply construction


  • Not the best option for rock crawling
  • It will still struggle in deep mud

3. GBC Dirt Devil


GBC's all-terrain tire for ATVs, the Dirt Devil, employs a directional tread pattern with fairly sizeable tread blocks. However, much like its closest rivals, the Dirt Devil's main playing ground will be hardpacked surfaces, like dirt and gravel, light mud, and the desert.

You will be getting quite a lot of hardpacked performance if you opt for the Dirt Devil. As its name suggests, this tire is an outstanding performer on dirt and in the desert. It has excellent longitudinal traction, meaning strong acceleration and short stopping distances.

Moreover, it performs very well in the corners. There is a load of lateral grip, but more importantly, your ATV will feel planted and controllable, particularly at the limit. I was also satisfied with the directional stability, which felt almost on the level of the Bear Claw K299. Naturally, the Dirt Devil also performs well on gravel roads, with the same characteristics as on dirt and in the desert.

But what about mud? Well, just like its closest rivals, the Dirt Devil works pretty well in shallow mud. It provides solid traction, it feels stable in the corners, and it's generally predictable. However, it suffers a lot in deep mud, where its tread pattern struggles to churn the mud under the tire. As a result, you won't get enough traction and might get stuck.

As for deep sand, the Dirt Devil won't penetrate the surface too much when aired down, though it lacks the initial bite when you need to accelerate hard. Not surprisingly, this tire also won't perform very well for rock crawling, but in all honestly, not many all-terrain tires will. It does work well over intermediate terrains, though, with excellent acceleration traction and good stability in the corners.

The Dirt Devil features a 6-ply construction, which is pretty much par for the course in the category. It has solid puncture resistance, and the tread seems sturdy, which means fewer cuts and cracks. The treadlife is also pretty solid, though not on the level of the Kenda Bear Claw K299. Overall, though, you shouldn't have any issues with the longevity of the Dirt Devil.

Finally, despite the fairly aggressive tread pattern, the Dirt Devil runs smoothly over paved roads and remains quiet at speed. Still, it lacks proper traction for a more spirited ride.


  • Exceptional traction and agility on hardpacked terrains
  • Great overall driving experience in the desert
  • Solid traction in shallow mud
  • Tough and durable construction
  • Smooth ride on paved roads


  • Struggles in deep mud and over large rocks
  • Lower treadlife than the class-leading tires

4. EFX MotoMTC


EXF's take on the all-terrain tire for ATVs doesn't have a directional tread pattern. Instead, it features 1.25-inch-deep lugs and a unique tread pattern that provides traction and grip on various surfaces. The tread pattern is more aggressive than what its rivals offer, which should be beneficial over more challenging terrains.

Indeed, the MotoMTC works very well on intermediate terrains with medium-sized rocks. It provides excellent traction, thanks to the wide and deep grooves, and feels very surefooted at speed. Moreover, I was pleased with how agile and playable it felt – it's a very fun tire to ride on intermediate surfaces.

But the biggest surprise was how the MotoMTC handled rock crawling. It won't beat a specialized tire for rocky terrains, that's for sure, but it does perform better than its peers.

Thanks to the sizeable lugs positioned at different angles, this tire can find traction on large and smooth roads, even on inclines. So, if you often encounter rocky terrains but still want an all-around tire, the MotoMTC is probably the best option.

The deep and wide grooves also mean that the MotoMTC works well in shallow mud. The tread is pretty good at cleaning itself from mud, and the lugs provide enough traction and directional stability. It won't win any contest – its direct rivals feel a bit better at speed – but it's more than fine for most people. That said, like most all-terrain tires, the MotoMTC will be overwhelmed by deep mud. But that's fine – for such conditions, there are a plethora of mud-terrain tires available on the market.

But has the non-directional tread pattern somehow made the MotoMTC less capable on dirt and gravel? Well, yes and no. The tire has more than enough traction to keep you going, feels surefooted in the corners, and is stable at speed. Still, it lacks the agility of its rivals with a directional tread pattern, meaning it's not as fun to drive at speed. I think that most riders won't ever feel the difference, as the MotoMTC is already very capable, but compare them side by side, and you will find it.

With that said, the MotoMTC isn't very capable in deep sand. It lacks the initial acceleration traction, but it also doesn't feel very stable at speed. It will be better if aired down, but even then, there are better options in the category.

As for durability, the MotoMTC has a 6-ply construction that feels durable and has excellent puncture resistance properties. Moreover, the tread seems very sturdy, which translates into a long treadlife. Overall, the MotoMTC is among the longest-lasting ATV tires, yet it's not very expensive to buy.


  • Surprisingly good for rock-crawling
  • Excellent traction and stability on hardpacked surfaces
  • Pretty good performance and self-cleaning in shallow mud
  • Outstanding performance on intermediate terrains
  • Solid treadlife and a tough casing


  • It doesn't feel as agile on hardpacked surfaces as tires with a directional tread pattern
  • Struggles in very deep mud and sand

Best Mild All-Terrain ATV Tires

5. Carlisle All Trail ATV Tire


Carlisle's All Trail ATV tire is the least aggressive on this list. Instead of large lugs, it features closely-spaced tread blocks, which look a lot like truck/SUV all-terrain tires.

Moreover, the casing is only 4-ply rated, meaning the puncture resistance will be lower, and the tread overall is more susceptible to cuts. Owners are satisfied with the treadlife, though overall, the Carlisle All Trail won't last as long as its rivals.

So, how does the less-aggressive tread pattern translate into real-world use? Well, for starters, the Carlisle All Trail rides much better on paved roads than any of its rivals. Notably, the ride is smooth and very quiet, and there is also more traction than what other all-terrain tires offer. The Carlisle All Trail even feels stable at speed, something I can't say about most of its rivals.

Furthermore, this tire works excellently on hardpacked surfaces with small rocks, like dirt and gravel. It might lack the initial acceleration traction of its rivals but feels more stable at speed and generally more agile.

The lateral grip is also higher than all-terrain tires with more aggressive tread lugs, especially on compacted, hardpacked surfaces. You do need to pay attention to large and sharp rocks, though, since the 4-ply construction means worse resistance to punctures, and you might experience a blowout.

Thanks to its tightly-spaced blocks, the Carlisle All Trail also performs well on turf. It not only provides good traction but also doesn't damage the surface, which is great news for riders that don't want to leave a large footprint when riding an ATV.

But there is a price to pay here. By opting for tightly-spaced tread blocks, Carlisle significantly reduced the tire's abilities to tackle loose terrain. For instance, this tire isn't at its best over intermediate surfaces with medium rocks, where it feels nervous and generally lacks traction.

Moreover, you can't really go rock-crawling with this tire – the small tread blocks won't give any meaningful traction, and the 4-ply casing doesn't give you the ability to run them aired down without damaging the sidewalls.

And don't get me talking about the mud performance of this tire because there is not much to say there. Namely, the tight and shallow grooves can't dig into the mud, and the whole tread will quickly be clogged up. This is even true in shallow mud, where the Carlisle All Trail performs worse than most other all-terrain tires.

With that said, while the Carlisle All Trail lacks the digging action necessary to get you going on the sand, it does feel stable at speed. This makes it a good tire for the desert, especially deserts without sand dunes.

Finally, although the Carlisle All Trail isn't a very tough tire, owners are happy with the treadlife.


  • Very good traction and drivability on paved roads
  • Excellent traction and agility on hardpacked surfaces
  • Surefooted feeling on dirt and gravel
  • Very good performance on turf


  • A low 4-ply rating means no heavy-duty tasks
  • Not usable in mud – even a shallow one
  • Struggles over larger rocks

Best High-Performance ATV Tires

6. Maxxis Razr2


Looking for an ATV tire that will give you the best possible performance for racing days? Or maybe you want a fun-to-drive tire with astonishing traction in the desert? In my eyes, there is currently no better option than Maxxis' latest high-performance ATV tire, the Razr2. The brand-new model improves on every aspect of the race-winning original and will undoubtedly improve how your ATV rides, particularly at higher speeds.

The best thing about the Razr2 is that it is one of the lightest ATV tires available, despite the heavy-duty 6-ply construction. I immediately felt how light it was when accelerating, turning, and braking – the ATV simply felt livelier and responded more rapidly to my inputs.

The Razr2 is so quick that it will always keep you on your toes, and it will put a big grin on your face. Oh, and it will also improve the fuel economy of your ATV, though that's not the reason you are buying this tire for.

The reason why you'd want the Razr2 is to drive fast on hardpacked surfaces. Dirt, gravel, intermediate rocks, the desert – you name it – the Razr2 will perform at the highest level. This is a tire that will give you the initial traction to get you quickly at speed, but it feels even more amazing in the corners, with outstanding stability.

Moreover, it feels very playful at the limit, which is a testament to its racing pedigree. You will need to be an experienced rider to reach the limits, as the Razr2 has quite an amazing grip. Does that mean that less-experienced riders should look elsewhere? Of course, not – the Razr2 feels fun and agile even when you ride more slowly – it's just that the bar is set higher when it comes to grip.

The best thing about this tire is that it's not picky and works well on every type of hardpacked surface. Notably, you can attack compacted surfaces are ferocious speeds and then have fun on loose surfaces. Unlike most of its rivals, the Razr2 even feels grippy and stable on soft and sandy terrains. This is great news for races that include various types of terrains, where you would have a competitive advantage on each one of them.

But can you use it on muddy terrains? Well, the tread pattern isn't really designed for driving in mud, though the tread's self-cleaning properties are pretty good. This is a special tire, after all, designed to tackle hardpacked surfaces, i.e., everything in the desert. For the woods, you'd want other tires, namely mud-terrain or all-terrain tires.

With that said, although the tread of the Razr2 is stickier and generally softer, the treadlife is very good. Moreover, the 6-ply construction is very resilient, and Maxxis designed the casing with hardpacked surfaces in mind, so punctures are very unlikely.


  • Best-in-class drivability, agility, and handling on hardpacked surfaces
  • Outstanding traction on dirt, gravel, and intermediate terrains
  • Very predictable, yet playful at the limit
  • Lightweight construction that improves the performance and fuel economy of your ATV
  • Tough construction with excellent puncture resistance


  • Not designed to tackle muddy terrains
  • Expensive

7. SunF A027


The SunF A027 is the closest rival to the Maxxis Razr2, with a similar tread pattern and overall construction. It is a proven tire in racing circles, with exceptional performance on loose and compact hardpacked surfaces, excellent puncture resistance, and a durable tread compound.

Like with the Razr2, you will get the most from the SunF A027 in the desert. This tire isn't picky about the terrain – its X-knob tread blocks work well on loose soil, intermediate terrains, compacted gravel, and even sand. As a result, you can go out in the desert knowing that the tires will get you covered.

But the SunF A027 is more than just capable of attacking dry desert terrains. It's a lightweight tire that feels very agile and responsive, yet one that also provides all the grip you need to ride at very high speeds. I was particularly impressed with how it performed in the sand – those knobs near the sidewalls do a great job with acceleration traction and generally make the ATV more stable at speed.

Moreover, the SunF A027 feels very predictable at the limit – it loses traction progressively, giving you precious time to react to the slide. It is obvious that SunF has done its homework here – the A027 feels like a true racing tire. That is in part thanks to the solid knob design. The whole tread is sturdy and stiff, which reduces squirm and makes the tire more responsive and stable.

The casing also seems very sturdy. Owners say it is very resistant to punctures, and the tread blocks seem like they can't be easily cut. The 6-ply construction only adds to the tire's durability aspect and also allows drivers to drive at lower pressures when attacking some very loose soil. Meanwhile, I heard from owners that the treadlife is solid for a racing tire.

Thanks to its particularly aggressive design, the SunF A027 performs excellently on turf, where it has more than enough traction to get you going. However, do note that it will damage the surface quite extensively, so if that concerns you, I recommend going for a different tire.

Like most racing tires, the SunF A027 won't perform well on mud-covered terrains. It does have solid traction in shallow mud, but the knobs can trap mud, worsening the traction over time. Also, since this tire has no paddles, traction in deep mud will be very limited. With that said, the SunF A027 works well over larger rocks, particularly when aired down.

You can even attack paved roads with the SunF A027. Thanks to the stiff knobs, the tires won't squirm when driven hard, and your ATV will stay responsive. You won't get a lot of traction due to the small contact patch, but at least your ATV won't feel cumbersome to drive.


  • Responsive and agile – it feels like a true racing tire
  • Exceptional traction on hardpacked surfaces – loose or compacted
  • Very sturdy construction that is resistant to punctures
  • Solid performance over larger rocks
  • Good treadlife for a racing tire


  • Suffers on mud-covered terrains
  • It might be expensive for some

Best Mud-Terrain ATV Tires

8. Maxxis Mudzilla


The Maxxis Mudzilla is currently my favorite mud tire for ATVs. This model is no joke – it can churn through any muddy surface with authority and security while also putting a big smile on your face. It just shows that Maxxis is currently a step above its competitors when it comes to specialized ATV and UTV tires.

But let's get back to the performance of the Mudzilla because there is much to talk about here. Notably, the Mudzilla has some of the best traction in shallow mud, meaning you will accelerate very quickly off the line. But it's much more than that – Maxxis' tire also feels very stable and agile at speed, so fast riding through the forests isn't out of the question.

In fact, this might be the best tire for people that love the woodlands because it also performs well on turf. Sure, it will damage the surface, but nobody will question its traction.

You also shouldn't be worried about swamps – the Mudzilla will provide you with amazing traction in deep mud as well. Just twist the throttle and feel the acceleration. Okay, and a lot of mud on your face – this tire has excellent mud-cleaning properties, meaning you will get a lot of the substance on yourself. In my book, that just adds to the fun aspect of the tire!

Another important thing to note – the Mudzilla is a bias-ply tire. This makes it incredibly stiff and durable and more puncture resistant than radial tires. It also lets the rider decrease the pressure, which would make the tire float over sand. Together with the sizeable lugs, this makes the Mudzilla an excellent sand tire as well, although it's not designed to be.

However, the bias-ply construction also has its limitations on hard-packed surfaces. Sure, it's nice to have over those sharp rocks, but it limits the responsiveness and agility. Put simply, the Maxxis Mudzilla is a heavy tire that will slow down your ATV while also making it less responsive in the corners. Traction on hardpacked surfaces won't be an issue, but you definitely won't be able to ride at very high speeds.

On the other hand, the bias-ply construction makes the Mudzilla a pretty good tire for rock crawling. Aired down, it can provide excellent traction over large and smooth rocks, and you won't need to care about cuts or punctures.

Still, while the Mudzilla has an excellent treadlife for a bias tire, it won't last as long as radial tires. But that's the nature of most ATV tires designed for mud nowadays! Besides, it shouldn't be an issue if you ride mostly in the mud since that surface isn't very abrasive.

Finally, the Mudzilla isn't at its best on paved roads, as it has limited traction and doesn't feel very stable.


  • Exceptional traction in very deep mud
  • Outstanding rideability and stability in shallow mud
  • Super-tough bias-ply construction that can withstand quite a lot of abuse
  • Very good performance in the sand and over large rocks
  • Good treadlife for a bias tire


  • Feels cumbersome to ride on hardpacked surfaces (dirt, gravel, and intermediate terrains)

9. ITP Mega Mayhem


ITP's Mega Mayhem is a direct competitor to the Maxxis Mudzilla and a tire that shares most of its properties. It features a similar tread design with large directional lugs designed to dig into the mud. This particular model has 1.5-inch-deep lugs, but ITP also offers deeper 1.75-inch lugs on the Mammoth Mayhem and scary 2.0-inch lugs on the Monster Mayhem. Meanwhile, the regular Mayhem features 1.0-inch-deep lugs.

For most people, the Mega Mayhem is more than aggressive enough. In my testing, I found that it works exceptionally well in deep mud. Actually, it handled mud deeper than I was comfortable with tackling. Still, if you are enthusiastic about riding through swamps and get dirty every time you go out with your ATV, the Mammoth Mayhem and Monster Mayhem are both great options.

But let's get back to the Mega Mayhem. Due to its medium-sized lugs, this tire actually feels better to drive in shallow mud, as there is not much tread flex. The tires remain responsive and speed and feel very stable during acceleration, cornering, and braking, enabling you to drive fast on sections that allow it.

Furthermore, as I said, there is more than enough traction in deep mud. What I liked even more is that the Mega Mayhem limited side-to-side movement when accelerating hard and made the ATV much more controllable in my novice hands. I only cared about twisting the throttle – the tires did the rest for me.

Just like the Mudzilla, the Mega Mayhem also features a bias-ply internal construction. Thus, it is heavy and not well suited to hardpacked terrains. Sure, the tread design will give you all the traction in the world, but your ATV won't be very responsive or stable at speed.

The bias-ply construction has its benefits, though. For instance, the Mega Mayhem is very resistant to punctures and cuts, and its stiff lugs also can't be easily damaged. The treadlife will be lower than on a radial tire, but you won't have issues with that if you primarily ride in the mud.

Also, thanks to the stiffer construction, the Mega Mayhem allows riding at lower pressures, which makes it a good option for rock crawling. I was also impressed by its performance in the sand – the tire has good acceleration traction, and once it gets going, it floats well over the surface.

Nonetheless, the Mega Mayhem won't give you a good ride on paved roads. Notably, it doesn't feel very smooth, and it's far from nimble or responsive.


  • Exceptional traction in deep mud (though ITP has even more aggressive mud tires that will go even deeper)
  • Outstanding overall performance in shallow mud and over turf
  • Super-sturdy bias-ply construction
  • Goes well over large rocks as well


  • Suffers on hardpacked surfaces, particularly when it comes to handling and responsiveness
  • Lower treadlife than radial tires

Best ATV Tires for Sand

10. Sedona Cyclone


The Sedona Cyclone is a special tire for riding in deep sand. Thus, if you are the type of ATV rider that wants to impress other people on the beach or Dakar-like desert conditions impress you, this is the tire for you.

The Cyclone comes in two different designs for the front and back wheels. The front Cyclone has vertical lugs that provide lateral stability and flotation into the mix, while the back tires have large paddles for increased traction.

As a result, this tire will provide you with exceptional acceleration traction in the sand. Sure, you will make a large cloud of particles around you once you twist the throttle, but due to the exceptional traction, you will quickly be gone and feed your lungs with fresh air. The Cyclone also feels very stable once you get going – you will feel like flying over those sandy dunes, just like Dakar Rally riders do.

But the Sedona Cyclone is sadly not a good tire on other surfaces. It will bring you to the beach, but you definitely won't enjoy your time on paved roads, as traction is limited and handling nervous. Moreover, the Cyclone will suffer on hardpacked surfaces, where the lower traction and worse agility make it very cumbersome to drive.

Things are even worse in the mud. Although you might think that the paddles will give you traction, the fact is that the Cyclone gets clogged up easily and will probably get you stuck somewhere. As expected, this isn't a very good tire for intermediate and rocky terrains, either, and it even suffers on turf. Not to mention, it can also damage grasslands quite easily.

Still, the Sedona Cyclone isn't a particularly expensive tire, so owners with deeper pockets can have it as a backup next to their all-terrain or mud-terrain tires. Its bias-ply construction also means that it will resist punctures well, though concerns regarding treadlife are real. For that reason, I only recommend the Cyclone to ATV riders that really need traction and flotation in the sand.


  • Best-in-class traction in deep sand
  • Feels stable at higher speeds on sand dunes and the beach
  • Very tough bias-ply construction


  • Not usable on muddy terrains
  • Suffers on hardpacked, intermediate, and rocky terrains
  • Lower treadlife than radial tires

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Buying Guide

1. What are the best ATV tires for sand?

Paddle tires, also known as sand tires, are the best choice for driving in deep sand. These tires have a unique design with large, scoop-like paddles spaced out along the tire, allowing them to dig into the sand for better traction and propulsion, preventing your ATV from getting stuck.

However, in some circumstances, going too deep into the sand will get you stuck, so these tires can also be driven at low pressures to prevent that. Other tire types, like mud-terrain and all-terrain tires, can also work well on the sand when deflated to lower pressures.

2. How do I choose the right ATV tire size?

ATV tire size nomenclature is slightly different from the typical sizing of passenger car tires. Namely, ATV tires will have three numbers on the sidewall – for example, 25x10-12. The first number is the overall height of the tire in inches (25 inches). The second number is the width of the tire in inches (10 inches), while the third number is the size of the rim in inches (12 inches).

I strongly recommend choosing the right tire size for your ATV. You can look at the owner's manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. Most ATV brands will give you the freedom to choose one size larger tires to improve off-road capability. However, going too far from the recommended size can affect your ATV's performance and potentially damage the vehicle.

Furthermore, larger tires are heavier and can have a negative effect on the performance of your ATV and will make it less agile in the corners. You will gain traction on slippery terrains, but the overall drivability will be worse. So, in most cases, it would be best to stick with the manufacturer's recommended dimensions.

3. Can I use the same ATV tires for all types of terrain?

Sure, you can use all-terrain tires for all types of terrain. However, it's important to note that these tires are a compromise, meaning they won't give you the maximum possible traction on any surface. Instead, they will provide you with enough traction to get you going on most surfaces. Also, all-terrain tires might get stuck in deep mud and won't perform well over very large rocks.

That said, all-terrain tires can be a good choice if you regularly drive on a variety of terrain types and don't want to change tires between rides. These tires typically have a versatile tread pattern that provides a balance of traction on both hard and soft surfaces.

However, if you frequently ride in extreme conditions – such as deep mud or loose sand – you may get better performance from a tire designed specifically for that type of terrain.

4. What ATV tires are best for mud?

Mud-terrain tires are specifically designed to tackle muddy terrains. These tires usually come with mild mud tread patterns or more aggressive tread patterns.

The milder option will be great for most people and provide you with enough traction on most muddy terrains, even deep mud. Meanwhile, the most aggressive mud tires are a great option for ATV riders that really want to push the vehicle on muddy terrains and tackle the most extreme conditions.

Regardless, all mud-specific tires typically have larger, wider-spaced, and more aggressive tread patterns than other tire types with the aim of providing better traction and self-cleaning abilities. The latter is very important, as a tire filled with mud will have almost no traction.

5. How often should I replace my ATV tires?

The frequency with which you should replace your ATV tires depends on several factors, including how often you ride, the terrain on which you ride, and how well you maintain your tires.

From my experience, replacing ATV tires is usually done every 3-5 years, depending on those factors. For example, if you ride regularly on rough terrain, you might need to replace them even after two years. However, driving in mud is usually not as taxing on the tires, and in that case, you might get up to five years.

It's important to note that if the tires show signs of damage like cracking, punctures, or worn tread, you should immediately replace them. In other words, you should inspect your tires after each ride to ensure they are ready for the next one.

6. What is the proper pressure for ATV tires?

The proper tire pressure for your ATV is the one that the manufacturer recommends. Naturally, it varies between various makes and models, but it's fortunately easy to find on the sticker on your ATV or inside the owner's manual.

Still, as a general rule of thumb, ATV tires should be inflated between 4 and 8 psi (0.3 to 0.55 bar), though you could extend that down to 3 psi (0.2 bar) and up to 12 psi (0.83 bar) based on the type of terrain you are riding on. For instance, you should deflate the tires when driving on the sand to increase floating but increase the pressure for hardpacked terrains to improve responsiveness and agility.

7. How can I prolong the life of my ATV tires?

Several factors will affect how long your ATV tires last, other than mileage, the type of terrain you are riding on, and external factors. Here is what you can do to prolong the life of your ATV tires:

  • Keep them properly inflated

By keeping your tires at the manufacturer's recommended pressure, you will prevent damage and premature wear. Under-inflated tires can cause poor handling, increased wear on the tire's sidewalls, and unevenly worn tread. Meanwhile, over-inflated tires can make them more susceptible to punctures.

  • Inspect the tires regularly

Inspect your ATV tires after each ride to ensure they don't have damage like cuts, cracks, or punctures. Some of these can be repaired, so do it promptly to prolong the life of the tire.

  • Exercise smooth driving habits

Riding aggressively without any purpose can wear the tires much faster and, consequently, be hard on your wallet. Smooth, controlled riding can help your tires last longer, and although it's counterintuitive, it is usually faster than aggressive riding.

  • Clean your tires after riding

After riding, especially on corrosive terrains like salt flats or chemically treated snow, clean your tires to remove any material that could degrade the rubber over time. Also, make sure to remove small stones from the tread, as they could chip or crack the rubber compound.

  • Store them properly when not in use

Sun's harmful UV rays can cause dry rot in tires, making them age more quickly. Thus, when storing your ATV, keep it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

If possible, store the ATV off the ground to take pressure off the tires. This will minimize warping in the tires and significantly prolong their life.

8. What should I look for when inspecting my ATV tires?

Tire inspection will only take a few minutes, yet it can prolong their life. Here is what you need to check:

  • Proper inflation: make sure that your ATV tires are inflated to the proper pressure before any ride. Use a tire pressure gauge and an inflator to get them to the desired psi/bar. It's important to note that under or over-inflated tires can cause handling issues and can potentially damage the tire.
  • Tread depth: you can use a tread depth gauge to measure the depth. Over time, the tread will wear down due to abrasion, and the tire will perform worse, particularly on slippery terrains. More tread equals more traction. Many tires have wear bars in the tread grooves - when the tread wears down to these bars, it's time to replace the tires. Still, I recommend replacing the tires sooner for people who are serious off-roaders.
  • Uneven wear: use the tread depth gauge to measure the depth of various grooves on the tire. Any inconsistency means that the tread wears unevenly, which could indicate an issue with the ATV's alignment or suspension, or it could be a sign of improper inflation.
  • Damage: closely inspect the tread and sidewalls for cracks, cuts, bulges, or punctures, as they could cause the tire to fail – not fun if it happens in the middle of nowhere.

9. Can I repair my ATV tires, or do I need to replace them?

In some cases, you can repair your ATV tires. For instance, you can repair smaller punctures in the tread area with a tire plug or a patch kit. When done properly, the repair should last the lifetime of the tire.

However, larger punctures, cuts, bulges, and cracks aren't repairable. Also, I strongly recommend against trying to repair the tire's sidewall. Always consult with a tire professional if you're unsure about the severity of tire damage.

10. Are there specific ATV tires for racing?

Yes, almost every ATV tiremaker has products designed specifically for racing. These tires come in several tread designs, each for a different surface. For example, tires for motocross racing usually have a knobby tread for improved traction on dirt tracks, while tires for dune racing might have a paddle-like tread for better grip in the sand.

However, all share one trait – they are very light. As a result, racing tires will improve the performance of the ATV and make it more responsive. As a result, many ATV riders are buying them for their daily drivers, though it's important to note that they are expensive and might wear faster than regular tires.

If you have money to burn, get a set of racing tires, but make sure that you will really enjoy their benefits before splurging the cash. I mean, there is no need to pay for something you won't push to its limits.

11. What are the differences between radial and bias ATV tires?

Radial and bias ATV tires have different internal construction, specifically the arrangement of the ply cords that give the tire its stiffness and elasticity. Radial tires are more common nowadays and have ply cords that run perpendicularly across the tire and then are strengthened by an additional belt that wraps around the tire.

Radial tires offer more responsive steering, agile and stable handling, and even tread wear. Moreover, they are lighter, which translates into higher performance and lower fuel consumption. However, radial tires are more expensive and more prone to punctures, particularly in the sidewall area.

Meanwhile, bias-ply tires have the ply cords arranged diagonally, usually at angles around 30 to 40 degrees, from one bead to the other. These tires are generally more resistant to damage and can carry higher loads, which makes them useful for agricultural use. Still, bias tires are heavy, cumbersome to drive, have less traction, and wear out faster than radial tires.

12. Can I use tubeless tires on my ATV?

Most modern ATVs are equipped with tubeless tires, and you can easily convert your old ATV tires into tubeless. In fact, I recommend doing this because they will then be easier to repair when punctured.

Moreover, they deflate at a lower rate when punctured than tires with an internal tube. Also, tubeless tires tend to perform better overall when it comes to the riding experience.

13. How do the treads on ATV tires affect performance?

The tread design greatly impacts an ATV tire's performance, especially considering the terrain. Tread patterns vary to accommodate different terrain conditions.

For example, a mud tire will have large, wide-spaced lugs to shed mud and maintain traction, while a sand tire will have paddle-like lugs for propulsion in loose sand. Furthermore, all-terrain tires will have a tread pattern that has a complex design so that it works on all terrain varieties, while hardpacked tires will have closer-spaced lugs.

The depth of the tread is also very important for off-roading – the deeper it is, the higher the traction. However, very deep tread designs tend to be less smooth to drive on hardpacked surfaces. Also, because the tread blocks will be deep, they tend to flex more, making them less responsive and less stable at higher speeds.

14. Are wider ATV tires better?

The wider vs. narrower debate still rages on the internet space, with ATV riders on both ends of the spectrum. But the discussion is unnecessary, really, because each tire width has its own use case.

Notably, wider tires will be better on the sand and over large rocks. In the case of sand, a wider tire will provide better floating. Meanwhile, a wider tire will conform better over larger rocks, increasing the contact area and, therefore, traction. Wider tires also work better on hardpacked surfaces, like dirt and gravel, though not always.

However, narrower tires can put more concentrated pressure on the surface and might work better in the mud since that would improve the digging action. Also, due to the increased pressure on the surface, narrower tires might sometimes be a better option on dirt and gravel, particularly for low-speed driving.

But for most ATV riders, I would just recommend sticking with the manufacturer-recommended tire size. ATVs make spend months testing various tire sizes on the vehicle, and the ones they choose will offer optimum traction in all conditions.

15. What is the benefit of having a higher ply in ATV tires?

The ply rating of a tire refers to its strength and durability – specifically, how many layers of fabric are used in the tire's construction. A higher ply rating translates into a tire that can carry higher loads but also one that has a higher puncture resistance.

Naturally, due to their durability and toughness, high-ply tires are very attractive to ATV owners. Still, it's important to note that due to their stiff construction, these tires offer a worse ride. Moreover, they are heavier, which results in worse performance and higher fuel consumption.

So, always choose a ply rating that will best suit your needs. Just going higher for the sake of it won't improve your ATV's performance; in fact, it will make it more cumbersome to drive and slower.

16. Is it necessary to balance ATV tires?

Balancing tires on vehicles that achieve high speeds on paved roads, like cars and motorcycles, is crucial. However, it's not as important for ATVs, which travel at lower speeds and often on uneven terrains. With that said, balancing your ATV tires can be beneficial, as it will lead to a smoother ride, even wear, and potentially a longer treadlife.

17. What is Clutch Adjustment in ATVs?

When you change the size of your ATV's tires, you're essentially altering the final drive ratio. Larger tires will require more torque to turn, especially when starting from a stop or accelerating, which can make your ATV feel sluggish.

Smaller tires, on the other hand, require less torque but can cause the engine to rev higher at the same speed. This happens a lot when you change from all-terrain to mud-terrain tires, as the latter have larger lugs and are, therefore, larger in radius.

Fortunately, you can adjust the clutch on your ATV to counteract the change in the final drive ratio. The clutch plays a critical role in how power is transferred from the engine to the wheels. If you've increased your tire size, the engine now has to work harder to rotate those bigger, heavier tires. This could lead to a situation where your clutch engages too quickly, causing the engine to bog down and struggle.

By adjusting the weights (or flyweights) in the primary clutch, you can change the RPM at which the clutch engages. With bigger tires, I recommend adjusting the weights so that the clutch engages at a higher RPM. This allows the engine to build up more power and torque before it starts turning the wheels. As a result, it will overcome the increased rotational inertia more easily, especially if it is a smaller engine without any turbocharging.

You should also adjust the second clutch, which controls how the clutch engages once the ATV starts moving. By adjusting the spring tension or the helix in the secondary clutch, you can change the shift characteristics of the ATV, which can help maintain optimal power delivery, even with the larger tires.

With all that said, this doesn't mean that you can put the largest possible tires on your ATV and counter that by adjusting the clutch. Every engine has its limits! Moreover, larger tires will affect other characteristics of your ATV, like handling and braking. Larger tires will be heavier as well, meaning they will negatively impact performance and fuel economy.


Choosing tires for your ATV isn't as straightforward as doing the same for your car. There are so many different options on offer, each with its own pros and cons. That said, you can speed up the process by putting your priorities on a piece of paper and seeing which type of tire works best for your usage scenario. Tire manufacturer websites will have nice graphs that will show you which model is best for your use case scenario, so use them to your benefit.

Having said that, I hope that the list above helped you find a specific model. The tires I included are all of high quality and will work exceptionally well on the surface they are designed for. And even if you don't find a suitable tire from my list, make sure that you always purchase from reputable manufacturers.

Cheap ATV tires that usually come from China are developed and manufactured using shady practices, which lead to low-quality tires with bad performance and short lifespans. Meanwhile, tires from reputable tiremakers are tested and proven to be safe, reliable, and durable!

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