All Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, are motorized tricycles and buggies specific for off-road use. Commonly referred to as four-wheelers or quads, the market for ATV tires and wheels is both about function and fun. These rock-solid little machines cross the most demanding terrain, from rocky surfaces to mud and even snow.
A tough chassis, growling engine and formidable suspension are definite must-haves for any ATV. Some of the trails these things have to negotiate are frightening to a novice -- that is if they even stick to a trail.
Quads have to be tough mechanically. Likewise, the wheels and tires installed have to be up to the task. Certain tires are made to go places others aren’t, so to maximize your quad's performance you need to think about where you'll be going. Many times, when people feel disappointed with the performance of the ATV I find this can be directly traced to poor tire selection.
ATV tires have large defined tread patterns that overcome all kinds of terrain. They are made from tough materials to protect against punctures from sharp rocks and debris. Their balloon-like shape stops your wheels from being caught between rocks and gaps in the road surface. Some ATV tires can even allow the vehicle to float.
ATV tires are used for varying purposes both on-road or off-road and it's important to get the right tire to get the most out of your machine. Most are low pressure tires that are subject to a lot of abuse so they are made to withstand a multitude of punishment. However, you still need to look after them to get the longest life from your investment.
Correct tire pressure is paramount. You need to regularly check your tire pressures (say once a month) and make sure you have the same pressures all around. Different pressures will make your four-wheeler pull to one side or the other. If the pressure is too low your ATV will handle sluggishly and be more susceptible to tire and rim damage.
On the other hand, over-inflation is common as owners strive to get more speed on hard surfaces -- you’ll go faster but your tires will unfortunately wear faster in the center of the tread. Over-inflation reduces grip and renders your tires prone to punctures because the tire loses its resiliance when travelling over sharp surfaces.
Quads are used off-road on gravel, sand, mud or snow. Therefore, most of the tires are designed for specific conditions, with special designs to allow better grip on a certain ground surfaces. So you end up with everything from big durable mud tires for bogs to balloon-like sand tires with huge paddles and just about everything in-between. You also get racing rubber, for those who love to compete.
Manufacturers supply a huge selection of ATV tires and wheels to handle just about any type of surface encountered. Although the selection is fantastic, it can make things a little confusing sometimes.
ATV wheels are becoming a huge industry -- especially with racers. Aluminium wheels reduce weight and improve handling as well as top end speed. Installation can involve adaptors but is usually straightforward. If you are looking to individualize your four-wheeler, you'll find a lot to choose from.
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