Conquer the desert and dunes on your four-wheeler
If you plan on outfitting your ATV for serious sand duty, you’re going to need a good set of ATV sand tires. As versatile as many all-terrain tires are, they could more accurately be called “most-terrain” tires – perfectly suitable for use on soft- and hard-pack trails, and able to cope with some rocks, gravel, and light mud, but their performance can suffer in loose sand.
The unique challenges that sand poses can best be understood by taking a look at the design and construction of ATV sand tires. Most often, the rear tires are “paddle tires,” with half-a-dozen or more tall paddles running the full width of the tire, helping it to literally “scoop” its way through the stuff. At the front, most often you’ll find an entirely different sort of tire design, with one or more ribs running along the circumference to dig in and help carve out a path for the ATV to follow.
The bottom line is this: sand tires are highly specialized tools, and of course, not all are created equal. To help erase some of the mystery surrounding ATV sand tires, and to give you a jumpstart on your research, we’ve put together this list of the 5 best sand tires available today.
ITP Sand Star
No matter what sort of tire we’re shopping for, ITP is one of the first brands we turn to; the brand’s reputation for quality and performance is well-earned. Perhaps that’s what makes the ITP Sand Star one of the most popular ATV sand tires around. The rear tires have more biting edges than most other designs on the market, with eight deep, 30mm paddles and an additional eight “mini-scoops,” lending the Sand Star exceptional hook-up and acceleration. The fronts feature dual full-length ribs to facilitate steering. Perhaps most important of all, these 2-ply-rated dune tires are light in weight, providing excellent flotation and resisting the tendency to sink.
Another excellent sand tire from a company with a sterling reputation, the Sedona Cyclone prides itself on offering superior strength and durability in a flexible, ultra-lightweight package, effectively delivering the best of all worlds. In fact, the manufacturer calls the Cyclone’s unique, premium rubber compound “magic.” We don’t know about all that, but we can tell you that the Cyclone is designed to offer exceptional flotation and predictable handling for a dune tire, with a nice, wide footprint and two extra deep front tire ribs with staggered blocks. The rear tires are fairly traditional, with eight deep, V-shaped paddles to shovel sand, but their calling card is their support ridges, which facilitate controlled slides without a total loss of control.
Maxxis Razr Blade
Similar in design to the ITP Sand Star, the Maxxis Razr Blade places among the best ATV sand tires on the market largely by virtue of its ability to tolerate high heat and keep performing in grueling desert conditions. The Razr Blade has a rounded profile and lightweight 2-ply rating for exceptional flotation and cooling, and the rear tire’s v-shaped blade paddles and alternating corner ribs were built not just to deliver exceptional hook-up and acceleration, but precise, predictable handling as well. And not that it will help your ATV deliver power or handle any better over sand, but the Maxxis Razr Blade also features one heck of a cool design on the carcass, with RAZR BLADE lettering and a nifty triangular logo.
Skat-Trak’s expertise in the arena of ATV sand tires is unmatched, and the Hauler is the company’s most popular model. The Skat-Trak Hauler is aimed at ATVs with between 250 cc and 350 cc of displacement, with nine full-depth 7/8”-tall paddles and a buffed carcass textured much like sandpaper to provide outstanding hook-up. The paddle profile has been specially devised to excel in dry, soft sand, where few other tires are able to deliver, and the Hauler is available in a wide breadth of different sizes, meaning you’ll almost certainly be able to find one to fit your ride.
Winner of our Best UTV Sand Tires for 2018 comparison, the Skat-Trak Extreme is also one of the best ATV sand tires available. It takes everything that’s great about the company’s popular Hauler model – notably, its lauded 7/8”-tall paddle profile and buffed carcass – and adds 1/8” of extra thickness at the paddle base. Not only does that mean the paddles are better able to perform on higher-powered machines; it also means that riders can count on improved paddle stability, for predictable handling at higher speeds. Granted, it’s more paddle rigidity than the average ATV needs, and with a thicker paddle comes extra weight, so this tire is recommended for more powerful ATVs – think the Yamaha Raptor 700.
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