Don’t Forget the VALUE of Proper Air Pressure!
You’ve heard me constantly yammer on about the difference that the proper (radial!) tires make on an ATV. There are very few machines come with tires that actually help the ATV handle properly, and in fact most stock tires usually make ATVs handle more like a watercraft than a machine planted on the ground! The thin, rounded, bias-ply tires roll over too easy when cornering and provide less than precise steering. Of course, the problem is that you’d never know that the ATV could handle better until you actually change the tires.
Once you change the stock tires to anything else, you become a believer that those new tires you put on are the best in the world! The trouble with that is that it is based only on the difference they made on your machine. It’s something I see over and over again. People talk about the virtues of the tires they have put on their ATV based entirely on how they compare to the stock tires they replaced. Little do they know that almost any tire they could have bought is better than the stock tires!
So that’s something to keep in mind when your friend replaces his worn stock tires with a set of Goodyear Mud Runners and tells you how much better they are ;-)
So, once again, tires are one of the most important modifications you can make to your ATV. But choose them carefully!
But there’s more, as I was reminded just the other day. Air pressure makes a difference in every tire’s performance! And tire pressure changes with altitude! But we’ll leave that part of the discussion for another time.
Here’s my story. I was riding one of my favorite ATVs equipped with one of my favorite tires. A Suzuki King Quad with Carlisle ACTs on stock wheels. I was riding on some trails I had not been on in a long time. Several times I mentioned to my friend that the trail was really slippery. He agreed but then he was riding a Brute Force with the stock tires on. So what did he know?
As we rode, I kept going over in my mind as to why I was not that happy with the performance of this ATV and these tires. Maybe it’s me? Maybe I’m just off today? Maybe its? Maybe what?
Towards the end of the ride, we stopped near a small stream to enjoy looking over the valley below as a powerful thunderstorm moved its way slowly through. While listening to the thunder, I looked at my tires. They seemed a bit stiff looking so I decided to check the air pressure in them. To my surprise, the front tires were at 4 ½ pounds, but the rears were at almost 7 for some reason!
I lowered the rear to 4 ½ while questioning how I could have been that far off. It took little more than 1 mile for me to realize the incredible difference that adjusting the air pressure made.
So my point is - check your air pressure often, and if you have never changed it, try it? Even a ½ pound one way or another, or from front to rear can make a noticeable difference in how your ATV works. And all tires are a little different. The heavier, stiffer tires can certainly get by with a lot less air pressure than the thinner, more flexible tires.
So do yourself a favor – go ride your ATV with a little different pressure than you’re used to and see what happens……