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Best ATV Tires: Get a Grip

A guide to getting you out of the mud.

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BYElijah Nicholson-Messmer/ LAST UPDATED ON July 26, 2022

It’s easy to get bogged down when doing research for a new set of ATV tires. Whether you’re digging through mud pits with your ATV or skating along a loose dirt trail, the options —and opinions — seem endless when trying to find the best tire option for your application. The ideal lug depth, tread pattern, and construction type changes from one terrain to the next. 


If the wave of information makes you tempted to quit your search entirely, don’t. All the most passionate ATV enthusiasts swear by their tires for good reason — a solid set of rubber is one of the single biggest upgrades you can make on your ATV no matter the terrain you ride. To help get you up to speed in the world of ATV tires, we did the spec sheet scouring for you. These are our picks for the best ATV tires on the market today.

Best Overall

ITP Mud Lite II

Summary
The Mud Lite II offers all the performance of the original Mud Lite with a redesigned tread pattern and compound.
Pros
  • Improved clean-out and ride comfort from redesigned tread pattern
  • Reduced flex from stabilizing cords
  • Enhanced durability from 6-ply construction
Cons
  • Relatively heavy compared to competitors
Best Value

Tusk Terraform

Summary
At roughly three-quarters the cost of the Mud Lite II, the Tusk Terraform offers good all-terrain performance at a great price.
Pros
  • Competitive price point in its segment
  • Added traction and protection from side lugs
  • Enhanced durability from 6-ply construction
Cons
  • Limited sizing available
  • Made in Vietnam
Honorable Mention

Kenda Bear Claw K299

Summary
From its lightweight design to its proven durability, Kenda’s Bear Claw tire is well-known among ATV enthusiasts for good reason.
Pros
  • Available in a large range of sizes
  • Enhanced durability from 6-ply construction 
  • Lightweight tire compared to ITP and Tusk options
Cons
  • Potentially less durable from lack of side lugs
Best ATV Tires: Get a Grip

Summary List 

Best Overall: ITP Mud Lite II

Best Value: Tusk Terraform

Honorable Mention: Kenda Bear Claw K299

Best Mud Tire: Maxxis Mud Bug

Best Cross Country Tire: ITP Holeshot GNC

Best Sand Tire: Sedona Cyclone

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Our Methodology

ATV tires are a special case when it comes to product selection. Often more important than the exact model of the tire is the purpose it’s designed for, such as mud, hardpack, sand, etc. ATV enthusiasts have their brand loyalties, but there’s far from a consensus when it comes to the best tires. When it came time to make my picks for the tire models included here, I scoured forum threads, industry reviews, user feedback and, of course, employed The Drive’s review methodology to offer an array of tire options across brands and uses. I also tried to use the 25x10-12 option for each tire to better compare details such as weight. Alongside reading user experiences, I also made sure to account for relative weight differences, ply count, and durability when making the final selections.

Best ATV Tires Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Weight: 25.8 pounds
  • Tread Depth: ¾ inch
  • Rated Load: 495 pounds

Pros

  • Reduced flex from stabilizing cords
  • Good mud clean-out from redesigned tread pattern
  • 6-ply construction
  • Large array of sizing options

Cons

  • Relatively heavy compared to other tires in the segment
  • High price point compared to other options

The original ITP Mud Lite was hugely popular among ATV riders, proving itself as a great all-terrain tire with a bent toward more muddy uses. When ITP came out with the Mud Lite II in 2016, they improved upon the abilities of the original with a redesigned tread pattern, stronger mud-breaking lugs, improved shoulder protection, and reduced flex from stabilizing cords. From snow to rocky trails, the Mud Lite II can handle a variety of different terrains. But thanks to its new tread pattern and open design, the Mud Lite shines brightest when it comes to mud traction and clean-out. Despite its mud performance, the tire still manages to handle hardpack smoothly thanks to its centerline dimpled, V-shaped lugs. Depending on the size of the tires, the lugs vary from three-quarters inch to 1 ⅛ inch. Along with the new improvements, the Mud Lite II also offers 6-ply construction for extra durability, U.S.-made quality, and a wide range of sizing options.

Specs

  • Weight: 24.8 pounds
  • Tread Depth: ¾ inch
  • Rated Load: 43

Pros

  • Competitive price point
  • 6-ply construction
  • Great traction across applications

Cons

  • Only comes in two size options
  • Made in Vietnam

At under $100 in the 25x10-12 size option, Tusk offers one of the best values in the all-terrain segment with its Terraform tire. With three-quarter-inch lugs and an open tread design, the Terraform shines in muddy applications. With its versatile rubber compound and tread pattern, it rides smoothly over hardpack as well. At 24.8 pounds, the Terraform weighs exactly one pound less than the Mud Lite II, making it less likely to bog down an engine during muddy riding. Users praised the tires for their versatility across different terrains, including gravel, loose dirt, mud, and snow. They also said that the mounting process for the tires was especially smooth. With the 6-ply construction, the tires have proven durability across applications. Between its versatility and competitive price point, the Terraform has a lot to offer. But, with only two available size options — 25x10-12 and 25x8-12 — the Terraform simply isn’t an option for some ATV owners.

Specs

  • Weight: 20.5 pounds
  • Tread Depth: 19/32 inch
  • Rated Load: ‎50

Pros

  • Lightweight construction
  • Competitive price point
  • 6-ply construction

Cons

  • Less aggressive tread depth than similar options
  • Lacks side lugs

With 2022 marking the 60th anniversary of Kenda, the company has proved itself when it comes to tire design and production. The company’s original Bear Claw K299 has been a long-time favorite all-terrain tire among ATV enthusiasts. The K299’s standout feature is its lightweight construction, coming in at just 20.5 pounds per tire. Its lightweight design makes it incredibly responsive on the trail and keeps it from bogging down in snow or mud. Along with lightweight construction, the K299 also benefits from exceptional durability thanks to a combination of its 6-ply construction, long-range tread compound, and built-in rim guard. The lack of more aggressive side lugs and the more shallow tread depth could make it a less effective choice for heavier mud applications, but users say the K299 is a good option across a range of different terrains. At $85 per tire, they fall in the middle price range between the ITP and Tusk options.

Specs

  • Weight: 23.9 pounds
  • Tread Depth: 1 3/16 inch
  • Rated Load: 6-ply

Pros

  • Lightweight construction
  • Deep, aggressive tread design for mud traction
  • Competitive price point

Cons

  • Sizing options could be an issue

If you’re looking for a dedicated tire for performance in muddy terrain, the Maxxis Mud Bug is hard to beat. With an aggressive design and 1 3/16 inch tread depth, they offer all the grip you could need in deep, muddy terrain. Plus, the open tread pattern manages mud clean-out to help your ATV avoid bogging down. Mud Bugs also gain strength and durability from 6-ply construction and Reinforced Carcass Ridge Technology. The Mud Bug is also one of the lightest mud tires in its segment weighing just 23.9 pounds in the 27x10-12 size option, helping to improve unsprung weight. At $121, they’re more expensive than the other offerings from ITP, Tusk, and Kenda included here, but they remain competitively priced among dedicated mud tires. While the Mud Bugs are not always available in a large variety of sizes, those who have bought and used them swear by their unmatched traction and durability.
Best Cross Country Tire
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Specs

  • Weight: 14.2 pounds
  • Tread Depth: 19/32 inch
  • Rated Load: ‎65

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Sharp turning
  • 6-ply construction

Cons

  • Relatively high price point
  • Very few size options

The ITP Holeshot series has eight variations available, with options perfect for everything from rocky terrain to hardpack. With exceptionally lightweight construction and 19/32 inch tread depth, the GNCC variation of the Holeshot series — named after the Grand National Cross-Country (GNCC) racing series — stands as one of the best options for trail and cross country riding. ITP’s GNCC comes in 20X10-9 and 21x7-10, weighing 14.2 and 12.1 pounds respectively. Users praise the GNCC for its light steering, snappy cornering, and quick clean-out. While staying lightweight, the 6-ply construction helps to maintain durability and protect against any punctures. With prices ranging from $112 to $129, the Holeshot GNCC isn’t the cheapest option on the market when it comes to cross-country tires, but users coming from a cheaper set of rubber say that the performance increase they saw from the GNCC was well worth the additional cost.

Specs

  • Weight: 14.7 pounds
  • Tread Depth: 1 inch
  • Rated Load: 240 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight 2-ply design
  • Aggressive back paddles and support ridges
  • Good array of available sizes

Cons

  • Heavier than some higher-end sand tire models

Sedona has made quite the name for itself in the 16 years since it first started producing its high-quality line of ATV and UTV tires. Their Cyclone sand tire stands up to the reputation. With a strong but flexible rubber compound and ultra-lightweight 2-ply construction, the Cyclone offers exactly the kind of flotation and traction you need on the dunes. For the 20x11-9 tire we linked to here, the weight comes in at a sparse 14.7 pounds. Sand tires are one of the most terrain-specific designs you’ll see on any ATV tire. The Cyclone back tires feature wide open tread patterns with one-inch paddles and support ridges for more controlled slides. Meanwhile, the front tires have alternating centered dual ribs for light, snappy steering. The Cyclones come in a relatively large array of sizes, ranging from $67 to $115 in price.

Our Verdict

The ITP Mud Lite II offers just about everything you could need across an array of terrains. But, if the price tag is a little beyond what you’re looking to spend, the Tusk Terraform offers amazing traction and durability at roughly three-quarters the price of the Mud Lite II. 

Things to Consider Before Buying ATV Tires

Whether or not you end up going with any of the picks for best tires included here, there’s a handful of factors you want to consider while searching for the right ATV tire for you and your application.

Brand

There’s no shortage of quality tire companies out there for ATV enthusiasts. Everyone has their brand loyalties, but as long as you’re buying a tire model from a reasonably well-established company it’s hard to get a below-par tire. Although this is far from an exhaustive list, you can keep an eye out for a few enthusiast favorite brands as you shop, including ITP, Carlisle, Kenda, Maxxis, Sedona, and Tusk. Beyond brands, the more important consideration when researching and shopping for ATV tires is the type of terrain — be it sand, mud, or hardpack — that the tire is designed for.

Terrain Type

In the world of ATV tires, picking a set of rubber that’s been designed for the exact type of terrain you ride is the single most important factor to consider in your research. If you plan to take your ATV through deep mud, you need a tire with an aggressive tread design. That means tread depth of at least one inch and an open tread pattern for effective mud cleanout. But the same things that make a tire ideal for mud make it useless for something like cross country. If fast trail or cross country riding is your goal, then you want a lightweight tire with more shallow lugs and a much tighter overall tread pattern that allows for better stability at high speeds and snappy turning abilities. Regardless of the kind of terrain you want to ride, there’s a tire out there designed for it.

Construction

ATV tire construction can be broken down into two main categories: bias-ply or radial design. Bias-ply tires are far more common for ATVs due to their lower costs and their enhanced durability over their radial counterparts. All of the tires we chose have bias-ply construction, offering an effective balance between durability and performance. Some tires designed for applications like cross-country or sand will have 2- or 4-ply construction to reduce unsprung weight. The same rule applies to heavy-duty, 8-ply tires where durability is paramount.

Radial tires offer longer life spans than most bias-ply tires and smoother performance at high speeds on hard terrains. While they have their advantages over bias-ply tires, the increased costs and greater susceptibility to punctures make radial tires better catered to street usage than offroading applications.

ATV Tire Pricing 

ATV tires can vary drastically in their price depending not only on the brand, but the size, the type of terrain they’re designed for, and their overall construction, bias-ply or radial. With that said, most ATV tires, including the ones I chose here, can range anywhere from $70 to $130 per tire. Because so much of the cost comes down to the terrain design, construction, and size, it’s important to be honest with yourself about the kind of riding you’re going to be doing on your ATV to make sure you’re not buying more–or less–rubber than you need.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: What do I do with my old tires?

A: If your tires are still in reasonably good condition, you can always try to sell them on the secondhand market. This reduces waste and makes you some money at the same time. If that’s not an option, consider donating them to a play park or zoo. Lastly, you can take them to your local recycling center. Just make sure to check local regulations about exactly how tire recycling works in your area.

Q: Can I get bigger tires than what I have now?

A: Manufacturers include recommendations for how much you can change the tire size from their factory dimensions without severely compromising your ATV’s performance. Ideally, you want to stay within those ranges. But, ultimately, you can go as big as the clearance on your ATV allows, just know you’re sacrificing other kinds of performance by adding additional unsprung weight.

Q: Do I need to balance ATV tires?

A: Balancing your ATV tires can help extend their life by evening out wear. But the answer to this largely depends on the kind of riding you intend to do. If you’re riding your ATV through slow, rocky or muddy paths then balancing isn’t necessary, but if you’ll be riding your ATV at high speeds (35+ mph), your tires would benefit from being properly balanced.

Q: Should I rotate the tires on my ATV?

A: If you have non-directional tires, you can consider rotating your tires for more even wear. However, this is complicated by the fact that many ATVs have directional tires as well as different sizes for both front and rear tires. Through the combination of these two factors, a set of tires wouldn’t be able to be rotated side-to-side or front-to-back.

Q: Do my tires need a tube?

A: ATV tires do not come with a tube for good reason, Having a tube not only requires that you inflate your tire to a higher psi than is ideal for many offroading applications, it also poses a greater risk of leaks than tubeless tires. If a tube does develop a leak, it’s commonly more difficult to properly fix.

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