Find the traction your ATV needs this winter
If you’ve ever tried riding your ATV in the winter months only to have trouble getting decent traction in the snow, it might be time to start shopping for the best ATV snow tires you can find.
The warmer months are made for riding; there’s no disputing that. But just because there’s a bit of snow on the ground, that doesn’t mean you have to pack it up for the year. In fact, riding in the snow is some of the most fun you can legally have on four wheels, testing your skills everything from soupy slush to hard, compacted snow and ice, to light, fluffy powder. The best ATV snow tires deliver competent performance in all of the above, with soft, compliant carcasses that maximize their contact patch for good “flotation” so you don’t sink in.
Dedicated ATV snow tires do exist, but options are limited, so you are mostly left with a range of all-terrain and mud-terrain tires with just some of the hallmarks of a proper snow tire. But don’t worry; many of those tires are still excellent for winter riding, delivering solid traction and good handling no matter what Jack Frost throws at them.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best ATV snow tires you can get today, from versatile, winter-compatible all-terrain designs to true, dedicated snow tires. Stick to any of these and you should have no trouble making the most of those nasty winter months.
Lead photo by trek6500/Shutterstock.com
Table of Contents
Kenda Snow Mad
With a tread pattern designed specifically for optimal performance on snow and ice, and a lightweight, 2-ply-rated carcass that maintains flexibility even in frigid temperatures, the Kenda Snow Mad is one of the best ATV snow tires that money can buy. Further helping its considerable winter weather performance, the Snow Mad is molded from a new pliable, sticky cold weather rubber compound, and it boasts a 17/32” tread depth. That’s more than enough to deliver excellent traction in the snow. Limited sizing options and a relatively low load rating mean the Snow Mad won’t work for everyone, but for those who can run it, it’s a no-brainer.
One of the few dedicated snow tire designs on the market, the Maxxis 4-Snow is perhaps the most popular ATV snow tire out there, and for good reason. It has the same lightweight 2-ply rating as Kenda’s Snow Mad, for unparalleled flotation, and it has an asymmetrical, reversible tread, effectively rendering two different tires for the price of one. Mount it one way, and you have maximum “scooping” action for snow, with a full 19/32” tread depth supplying copious traction; turn it the other way around, and you get maximum contact area for riding on ice. Couple that with an extra-soft compound that remains compliant even in frigid temperatures, and it’s easy to see how the Maxxis 4-Snow earns its status as one of the best ATV snow tires around.
The Carlisle AT489 is not explicitly a snow tire, but look around and you’ll still find plenty of ATV owners running them in the winter months. In fact, they remain some of the best-selling ATV tires in America precisely because of their tremendous versatility. That makes them among the best ATV snow tires for riders who don’t want to bother with alternate setups for the winter and the rest of the year. They’re relatively light weight for good flotation, with bias-ply construction and ply ratings from 4 to 6, depending on the exact model, which makes them uncommonly pliable, as well. Plus, with a tread depth of 19/32”, you’ve got plenty enough tread to dig your way through everything from mild slush to deep powder.
The Sedona Coyote looks a lot like an all-terrain truck tire, and that design helps lend it some truly solid snow performance. One of its hallmarks is its siped tread lugs, which allow the blocks to spread under load and expel water out from underneath the tire – pretty helpful when you find yourself cruising on the ice. The tread lugs feature jagged shapes with lots of biting edges, arranged in rows that allow the Sedona Coyote to effectively “shovel” its way through the snow, while the integrated tread lugs provide still more traction in the truly deep stuff. They may be all-terrains, but they’re still some of the best ATV snow tires you can get.
ITP Terra Cross R/T
The truth is, many of ITP’s best-known designs tout some snow-riding acumen, including the Mud Lite, Mayhem, and Blackwater Evolution. But for our money, we’re going with the ITP Terra Cross R/T – among the best ATV snow tires by virtue of its high-traction, 23/32”- to 27/32”-deep interlocking tread and broad footprint, which gives it excellent flotation. Wrap-around shoulder lugs provide extra traction in deep snow, and while the Terra Cross R/T’s hard rubber compound isn’t the most ideal for colder temps, the large void areas between tread lugs make up for it, giving the tire extraordinary self-cleaning for an all-terrain design.
Michelin X Tweel
The Michelin X Tweel is far and away the most unique choice on this list – and possibly the most unique tire ever produced. That’s because it’s not quite a “tire” in the conventional sense; it’s a wheel with an integrated, airless tread supported by myriad ribs arranged radially. So what makes it one of the best ATV snow tires? For starters, you don’t need to go and purchase a new set of wheels if you want to run alternate tires in the winter, or fiddle around with mounting and unmounting your snow tires each time the weather changes. Its unique design also maintains a broad, flat contact patch that delivers superb flotation, meaning your ATV doesn’t “dig into” the snow as much as it might with a comparable pneumatic tire. Make no mistake; it’s an expensive tire, but the price becomes much easier to swallow when you bear in mind that you don’t have to go and purchase a separate set of wheels.
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