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Including Doug's "Here's what I think!" and "What were they thinking!"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Some Random Thoughts About TIRES!

Let me say it again – “Tires are the single most important modification that you can make to your ATV or UTV!”

I’ll say this too! “Most ATVs – especially those coming from the Japanese manufacturers come with cheap, round, thin, biased-ply tires that are on the machine to save unsprung weight and save money!”

The proper tires will improve and enhance the performance of your ATV (or UTV) more than most people know simply because most people to not upgrade to the best tires for their machine and their riding. Most people upgrade to a tire they think looks good or their friends and other people say is good.

Have you ever run across a person that said they bought this ATV, or that truck, or in this case, this particular tire and it’s not the best? Let’s just look at tires; If someone upgrades their tires from the stock units, almost anything will mostly work better ;-)

If I may use a good friend as an example – he purchase a brand new Honda Rubicon. When the stock tires wore out at 800 miles, he upgraded to a set of Goodyear Mudrunners. They improved traction incredibly, but they didn’t steer as well or handle as well. He figured that was the trade-off necessary for the better tires. When those wore out he purchased a set of Maxxiss Bighorns. Now these were the best tires made because not only did they have great traction, but they rode better than the Mudrunners. He told all his friends that the Bighorns were the best ATV tire he’d ever ridden.

Then we met. I was incredulous with his choice of tires and perhaps more-so his opinion of them, and made him try a set of Carlisle ACTs. He was amazed at what he didn’t know before. Like so many others he could only make a measurement of a tire’s performance based on the tires that he was familiar with. Once he became more familiar with other tires he became aware of what he didn’t know before.

And that’s a typical case. The only difference is that Kenny was open-minded enough to want to know more, and a talented enough rider to be aware of the differences.

So, what makes a good tire?

Light weight. The lighter the tire, especially in relation to the weight of the machine, the better it will handle. A lighter tire will move up and down with less effect on the rest of the machine than a heavier one. A lighter tire will also start turning, continue turning, and stop with less effort than a heavier tire.

Tire compound. The consistency of the rubber that a tire is made from is called the compound. A harder compound will wear less and last longer. A softer compound will wear faster and therefore wear out faster. But, a softer compound will ‘stick’ or bend around objects like dirt, rocks and sticks and provide better traction whereas a hard compound will simply hit against it and somewhat like a bullet, ricochet off. The perfect combination of compound will make a tire have traction in dirt that is controllable.

Tread design. Here’s what seems to be a no-brainer. More tread is better. Wait, that’s not true. More tread can mean more weight, and more weight is bad. More tread with a soft compound can mean more flex and flex is bad. What then are we left with? The type of tread is important. An angled tread makes the tire clean the mud from it easier, but an angled tread can also make the tire less precise. A lateral tread makes for a smoother ride. Lateral is the tem for the tread being somewhat continuous around the circumference. A cut out tread – or a non solid rubber tread makes for a lighter tread and a tread with a bit more flex for superior traction without too much flex as with a deep tread with a soft compound.

Siping. Siping is the small slits in the tread of a tire. Sipes allow the tread to grip the surface better.

Sidewall structure. While a sidewall needs to flex for added comfort and the ability to give over irregular terrain, it needs to be strong enough to resist punctures. Just as important, the sidewall needs to be firm enough to not roll over while turning. Stock, bias-ply tires roll very easy when under lateral forces and that’s why ATVs and Rhinos can fall over so easy. A radial tire retains a constant contact patch and the sidewall does not flex with the tread so it is much more stable.

And since I said that these were random thoughts, here’s something else to mull over. A good part of traction and performance is based on a tire’s contact patch on the ground. When thinking of contact patch, most people only think wider and not longer. A longer contact patch comes from a taller tire. A longer contact area provides more traction. So you see, a taller tire can have more advantages than just more ground clearance.

So a good tire is as light as possible with as soft of a rubber compound as feasible with the tread designed to ride smooth and be self-cleaning. The tread should be just tall enough to provide forward traction but not so tall as to add too much weight or to bend while cornering. The tread should be somewhat flexible with siping or hollowed edges for better traction. The sidewall should flex slightly but be resistant to punctures.

And there you have it.


  1. This is the first time I've seen you mention the BigHorns... I was wondering if you had an opinion on them, now I know LOL. I haven't seen an opinion on ITP MudLite XTRs yet (maybe I missed it) but I'm sure you must have one. Their pattern is similar to the Carlisle ACT. Which we all know is your all-around favorite :-)

  2. The MudLite XTR is very similar but strangely enough we've only tried them in 14-inchers on an ATV - and they were just too heavy. Rode a couple Paiute Trail Loops with them on a Suzuki King Quad (you can see them on the Barney Lake, Trail 65, 89 and a few others I think) After that we never took the time to revisit them in 12 inch. I actually think they may be better than the ACT.

    Thanks! Now I'll have to give them a try........

  3. I know front end alignment plays a big role in handling, along with the tires. My 2011 RZR 50" has some serious toe-out from the factory! With just over 600 miles a can see the factory tires wearing substantially more on the inner half of the tread. I am saving for a new set of tires, but I don't want to wear them out prematurely by having improper allignment. Is toe-out the best setup for the RZR or should I toe it in a bit like cars are?


  4. The manufacturer's set up most ATVs (and I include UTVs in that term) with a slight toe-out. They do that to help induce understeer when turning. I guess they'd rather you run straight off the cliff rather than roll off it or spin and go off tail first ;-)

    My handling preferences are to set the machine up with neutral to just a slight (1/8") toe-in so that the tail needs to be controlled a bit. It does make a huge difference in steering precision as well....

  5. I had a set of 12 inch XTRs on ITP wheels on an 03' Rincon. I did about 2,500 miles on them and was very pleased. But I didn't know a lot about tires back then so I didn't have much to base my opinion on... When I got rid of the machine (with the tires and rims still attached) They still had about 2/3 tread left. I never had any issues. I' going to buy a new set soon for my Grizzly and am debating between them and the ACT XDs 26x12...

  6. You've made the wheels start turning (pun intended ;-) and we'll see about getting a set of the XTRs for evaluation.....Until then, you won't go wrong with either the ACT HDs, the TerraCross, or even the most recent tire we tested, the STI Black Diamond - which by the way was designed and overseen in manufacture by the same guy that was responsible for the MudLite XTR and the TerraCross - just to name two.

  7. Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. I've done about 4,600 miles on a set of TerraCross (they still had 1/2 tread when I got rid of the machine with them on it) and loved them. But I did put 9 plugs between the 4 tires. No harm done though... I carry a 12 volt compressor and plugs with me all the time. ;-) And I have been watching your comments and videos on the Black Diamonds. I'm interested to see more long term.

  8. The TerraCross are even better (maybe!) as they have had the sidewalls and tread beefed up to reduce punctures! I say (maybe) as the 'improvements' do make them stiffer and just a tad heavier.

  9. Doug, I feel like you did the review on the TerraCross RT's on the RZR just for me!!! That is the exact setup I was planning on running with a little trimming of that stupidly placed motor mount. I know you said it is wider, but did you try squeezing through any of the 50" only gates? The one at the top of the Sawmill trail on Monroe Mnt. comes to mind?!? If I can't fit on those awesome paiute trails I better stick to the narrower size.

    I've talked to a few different people that are running 26x9's all the way around on their stock rzr wheels and they really like it. They say they can still fit on the trails, what do ya think of that idea?

  10. It was just for you ;-) That gate you refer to is one of the tightest I've seen. It seems like when my RZR was running around 51 to 51 1/2 it would scrape through that gate and more easily fit through on all the others. Perhaps you could lift the rear up to pull the rear tires in and fit.

    It looks nice with those big tires filling up the rear, and it seems to feel right as well, but I too am a bit sad with that extra inch of width. Even the Highlifter wheels with an added inch of offset kept it just narrower enough to fit through the gates.....

    The 9s might be a better way to go. I remember seeing some and they didn't look 'wrong' if you know what I mean.

  11. I thought my Big Horns were a great tire until I replaced them and now I'm no longer a fan. I prefer 3 of the last 4 sets of tires that I’ve had over the BHs.

    I'm really liking my STI Black Diamond XTRs. I am most impressed with their steering and lateral traction.

    I am abusing these tires more than I have my others intentionally and they love it. :) I have to really push (which isn't hard ;) the ATV to get them to slide sideways and the "backwards" outside lugs make them great for climbing out of ruts.

    The HD1 wheels have a teflon like finish that cleans up great, the mud and dirt washes right off.

    I run over everything instead of riding around it just to see how the take it.

    I'd like to put a new set of Carlisle ACTs back on before it snows and get some miles on them just to compare the two side by side as far as steering response and tracking goes.

    I would have to credit Maxxis with a great add campaign for their huge success.

    I have put performed more powerful ATVs with front locking differentials with my Honda climbing steep snow covered hills with my ACT HDs and they had brand new Big Horns.

  12. First,

    I know it will be another month or two, but when it snows and you get to test the Black Diamonds in 18" of powder, let us know how they compare to the ACT HD's! I can't wait to hear your thoughts!


  13. Every time I think something can’t get any better it does.

    I too am looking forward to see how these XTRs do in the snow; they have exceeded my expectations in every way so far.

    I’ve worn about 1/3 of the tread off my XTRs so far and it doesn’t seem to affect their ability on the trails but tread depth does play an important part in the snow along with rubber composition and tread design.

    Right now I can tell you that the ACTs are hands down the best ATV tire that I have had in the snow, even better than some very aggressive looking tractor like tires I had years ago.

  14. Here's a tid bit of info I have experienced lately. It pays to check your tire pressure often. Air temperature and Elevation both play a big role on tire pressure! When you increase elevation, atmospheric pressure drops, thus increasing your tire pressure. Also, on a hot day your tire pressure will be much more than on a cold day. It's good to keep these things in mind.

  15. Great point Dan. That's something that's caught us more than once - especially considering we ride from 6000ft to 11,000 ft quite regularly - and with a temperature change of at least 20 degrees, maybe 30! And it's certainly something everyone should pay attention to.


  16. I have had many sets of ATCs and have found they are not very durable. The last set was on a 06 800 max XT I had to replace them because they were always flat and were way smaller than their size said. Also they are smaller than they are marked and as far as snow performance they are only fair.

  17. Interesting. The soft compound does wear a lot faster than other tires with a harder compound, but then it's that softer compound that gives them the precise handling and superior traction. And oddly enough it was an Outlander Max XT (800) with ACTs that we have gone farther in the deep snow than any other set up.

    We are about to embark on a snow tire test using Polaris Tourings and ACTs, STI XTRs, GBC Dirt Commanders, and Grim Reapers, so we'll see if our initial opinion of the ACT holds up.

  18. Must of my ridding in the winter is in deep snow and we have found that the taller the tire the farther it will go. That maybe the why ACTs- will not work as well as 27" big horns. The big horn are always taller than what they say they are 28" tall were 26" ACTs- are only 24.7" tall. So you pick up two inches of clearance.

  19. Again, very interesting. Snow is about the only place I can see the benefit of additional ground clearance. You push a lot less snow! The biggest advantage of a taller tire is that it has a longer contact patch and thus pushes more snow with each rotation - a huge plus in loose surfaces.

    We've been in the snow that was fresh enough and deep enough that it pushed a bow-wave out over ten feet in front of the machine!

    With that said, I'm guessing the benefits that you found with the Bighorns are more that they are taller and not because they have better traction from the tread or compound. We've found them to be a very poor tire in the snow compared to others we've tested.

    We have a video (somewhere) of a Suzuki King Quad outfitted with Bighorns and with the lockers in struggling to get up a hill that a (3 wheel drive!) Honda Rubicon with ACTs made it up rather uneventfully.

    For what it's worth ;-)

  20. In the snow the instant power of the Can Am V twine has a real power a over a King Quad.To start with if you are turning 27" Big Horns you need your clutch tune to the tires . With out getting in to a brand argument hear a Can AM has way more usable power .

  21. Indeed an Otty 800 has a great deal more power than a KQ750 and in deep snow I've yet to have too much power;-) And that's one reason our upcoming tests using the Polaris XP 850 (and 550) will indeed be interesting - and informative.

    But, power without traction will do you no good......

  22. The problem I have seen with polars is their weight they work well until you have to stay on top of the snow. The new Can Am maybe the same since they gained weight but that new 1,000 might have the power to make up for it.

  23. Polaris 850 XP Touring EPS - 783
    Can Am Outlander Max XT 800 EPS - 719

    They're both pretty heavy!

  24. That's their shipping weight I would like to se their weight with a tank of gas. I bet they would like a 1/2 ton ready to go.

  25. No kidding! Add in maybe 40 for gas and oil. Then there's the rider weight (I'm a lightweight), plus all the stuff that's in your bags (I don't leave anything out)! Plus the extra fuel pack (always a part of the trip).

    And then there's the extra weight of those 'bigger' Bighorns - about 54 pounds total over 26" ACTs ;-) Now that's a lot of weight where it does the most damage to the performance and handling of an ATV!

    Oh No(!) We've gone full circle ;-)

  26. After reading though your posts I can see you are a fan of ACT tires and ITP- tires. I 'm just not satisfied with the ones I have owened. They were always flat and they never round. They were also smaller that Maxis tires. So as far as handling and traction I will stay with Maxxis- big horns. You say that they the ACT have more traction well I have never been beaten in a sled pull buy ACTs-.

  27. Can't say I've ever been in a sled pull but I can say we've tested a great many tires on a lot of different ATVs and UTVs.

    (No that's wrong! I was in a sled pull at the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree in 1999 on a Bombardier Traxster!)

  28. The sled pull is on Utube under BRPBEAR it is really interesting In the first one had a king Quad 700 in it I had the max that went out the back door. The others were last summer with my Renegade This may be hard to believe but I even out pulled all the Razors.

  29. When I first installed the big Horns on my Rubicon I thought they were the cats meow but I questioned my purchase my first ride out.

    They have very poor lateral traction and love drifting and sliding in the corners at higher speeds, sometimes just plain scary. They rode smooth on hard pack and lasted a long time.

    Being on my 7th set of tires all I can say about the BHs is they lasted a long time, too long in all reality.

    I replaced them with a set of Carlisle ACTs and first ride out I couldn’t believe the HUGE improvement in steering response and overall performance.

    The combination of tread design and a softer rubber compound; just like “winter tires” for vehicles makes a lot better combination than hard rubber (longevity) and a poor tread design.

    Carlisle ACTs really are an “All Condition Tire”. My set of Black Diamond XTRs outperform my Big Horns in every way too. I do give credit to Maxxis’ advertising dept, they have done an excellent job.

    Cut and paste my video. I’m riding a 2001 Rubicon with ACTs and my friend is riding a 2012 750 KQ with the front diff locked and he can’t follow me in the snow, it’s the tires.


    I’m sitting at the top of the hill and had to shut off my camera and walk back down to help my friend. The other 2 ATVs were also equipped with BHs and they too had a very difficult time making it up the hill. From my personal experience BHs don’t hold a candle to the ACTs in handling or the snow.

  30. hears a link that compare ACTs to big horns the Outlander has the big horns and the polaris is on ACTs.

  31. If I liked ITP-Carlisle Tires and wanted to ride snow and ice why not the Tundra Cross. At lest they are studded. We do that to our big horns. So if you want to test or compare a tire don't you have to use the same ATV. and Tire pressure ect.

  32. [IMG][/IMG]

    I was pushing through 2 ft of fresh powder in the photo link above on my 06 Sportsman 500. I could literally cut the trail faster than the 4 Honda Foremans I rode with could follow me. I had 25" bighorns, but I don't recall the names of all the different tires that they had that day, but they all had good tread depth. Between front locker, CVT, tires, clearance, and power, I had a big advantage over the other guys that day.

    What I want to point out is that every one of those other riders were die-hard Honda fans. They could not believe, and did not want to accept, that a Polaris could beat their Hondas. Now I'm not saying that Hondas are bad, or that Polaris is the best. Hondas are indeed the very definition of reliability and good engineering. However, that day on the mountain those guys' ignorance was removed as they got an eye opener to a different product.

    On a different day with a different setting their Hondas may very well have an advantage over me. Like if we were trying to drive on top of crusted snow.

    I like to look at it like this, Obama got elected, but does that mean he's a good president?

    And that is what Doug has over me and so many others. When it comes to ATV's and their related products, he's got the experience. I could think that my Bighorns are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and that no other tire is as good as they are, but that is just ignorance. Doug has tried many more tires than I'll probably ever be able to. So when he says that ACT's perform better in snow than bighorns, I'm going to believe him, not because I'm a blind sheep following another sheep, but because I can recognize that he has the experience to back up his findings.

    I hope all this makes sense, and that I'm not making a fool of my self. Thanks for letting me rant.

  33. Lets try that again

  34. Well put Dan! You made perfect sense. Especially the part about Obama. I don't know how many times I've said that just because enough people voted him in office doesn't mean that they knew what they were doing.

    And I don't mean to make this any means....

    But your point about experience is well stated. You can only base your opinion on tires based on the tires you've had experience with.

    And another thing, you have to approach it unbiased by having to justify your purchase!

    The two machines that we've found the most unstoppable (least stoppable?) - okay that go the farthest are the Can Am Outlander 800 and the Polaris 850 and in a match, the Polaris front drive works the best. And that's why we'll be doing our next round of tire tests on a pair of Polaris XP Tourings, an 850 and a 550.

    And that's an awesome pic. I wish I could put it in the post rather than just a link. MAybe I'll just put it a new Blog - assuming you don't mind....

  35. Sam. I think that video shows circumstances and rider inattention more than ATV or tire choice.

    Check out Dan's photo. Now that's the kinda snow we're talkin' about!

    We ride in more snow than ice so haven't studded any tires. And the Tundra Cross are a big, heavy tire with a hard compound. Not our first (or even fourth) choice for tires for the cold and the snow.

  36. I know I’m not going to change your mind nor will you change mine.

    A couple of things make a good snow tire and one of them in the rubber compound and the other is the tread design.

    Winter tires are made of a softer rubber compound than mud, all season, ATs and regular old tires. One of the advantages for the softer compound is so that the rubber does not get hard below 40ºF so that is stays pliable so it can “grip” the snow or any other surface.

    A tire made of a hard rubber compound does not have the ability to stay pliable at lower temperatures so it get hard and slides on slick surfaces.

    Race car and rock buggy tires are both made of a softer rubber so that they can grip whatever surface they come in contact with.

    Look at the tread design of the Big Horn. It has more tread surface area than voids and what tread there is as smooth as a babies bottom.

    I’m glad you like them and hope you purchase a second set of them.

  37. So first if my Big horns are hard and very heavy why are they able out perform the out of round always flat ACTs that came on . Also how do you explain a Renegade being able out pull a outlander max with ACTs on it Also a Polaris Razor. Well it must be the Can Am power No that can't be the heaver Max had ACTs.

  38. How about a shoot out a Hi noon At the red Lion mine Georgetown Lake MT. September 15 2011

  39. While you've added some lively debate to this blog, Sam, the truth of the matter is that Bighorn's are heavy and the compound is very hard and that's why they last so long. I know of no tire in any application where a harder, longer-lasting tire outperforms a softer (and faster wearing) compounded tire.

    But, I believe we could discuss this subject to no end if all we do is base your opinion and experience against ours. The difference I believe is that we are not obligated to justify our specific purchase as the correct choice.

    We have included a set of Bighorns in our upcoming big tire test. That's six different tires on two Polaris Tourings, one an 850, and one a 550. That should prove interesting, informative, and fun. And that's the best part ;-)

  40. Use these all you want Doug! Here's a couple others.

    This one shows what First said earlier about the Bighorn loading with snow, all though I do love the tread that comes down the sidewall on the bighorns, I wish all tires had that.

    This one shows a day with wetter, heavier snow. Its a lot harder to push!!! I can't decide if the bighorns work better in this type of snow or when it is more powdery.

    And yet a different day. Did I mention this is fun?!!

  41. Wow! It is fun isn't it?

    The wetter, heavier snow doesn't look like it packed in the tread....Am I right?

    One thing that continually amazes me is the differences in snow! Some nice a fluffy that just fills the air with mist (a cold mist), and some almost like ball bearings - impossible to get traction in. And then there's the crusty stuff which I hear you can get on top of but I've never managed too...

    If there's one thing about Utah that I love it's riding in the snow!

    Thanks for the pics.

  42. So does this mean you will not be at the Red Lion Mine saturday. If you want to do some real testing let me know .

  43. I'm pretty sure we couldn't make it by September 15th ;-)

  44. DE if you had a Renegade with 27"Big Horns and a pipe you can get on top. Your wimpy King Quad just doesn't have enough power to get on top. It's like the king Quad in my 07 wallace video its just not their.I will be coming though Utah in November maybe I can stop and show you how its done.

  45. Danged if we haven't been waiting all these years for someone to show us how it's done.

    But, I'm afraid if it takes a Renegade with 27" Bighorns and a PIPE(!) (Oh be still my heart ;-) I don't think it's what we want to do....

    But thanks.

  46. Sam,

    It may very well be that the dirt conditions the day you had the sled pull lent itself better to the bighorn's tread design. Those big cross bar lugs do throw terra ferma well...

    That being said, none of us are trying to make this a pissing match!

  47. Doug,

    I just ordered 4 27x9 BlackDiamond XTR's for my RZR instead of getting the 26x9 and 26x11 terracross xd's. The blackdiamonds are cheaper, and will hopefully perform just as well. I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings! I decided to go with the taller tire in hopes of getting a little more clearance(Time to get out the grinder). I'm going to mount them on the stock wheels. Hopefully they work well. The 9" wide isn't near as heavy as the 11" wide so hopefully that will make up for the taller size when it comes to weight and being able to turn them. I guess we'll see...

    Talk about justifying my purchase!!!

  48. Doug,

    Indeed in the wet stuff the snow cleaned out much better. It was perfect snowball snow, if you know what I mean. Back down the mountain a ways when the snow was only a few inches deep, you could see a perfect impression of the tread left in the snow.

  49. DE After looking this web site over I have a understand why you like ITP- AND ACT tires and PRODUCTS they must be paying the bills. Is that why MAXXIS- and Pit Bull don't have any adds.

  50. Actually the ads were aimed at you - thanks to Google knowing your every need and desire! All our ads on the website and You Tube videos are through Google and completely out of our hands.

    Sorry to disappoint you.

    Oddly enough, we are always accused of being biased when people don't agree with us. When we were on conventional tv with sponsorship from Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki we were still accused of being paid of when a Bombardier 400 won a shoot out. I suppose it's the nature of the beast.

    BTW: Tell your friend it's not 'bomb-ba-deer', but bombard-chee-a

  51. Dan.

    I'll be very curious to see what the 27s look like and if they indeed do clear. Let me know as soon as you get them on. Sounds like a great set up.

    I sure like the 26's on our RZR.

  52. DE you seem to be miss a few things in your argument Number one is contact patch Big horns have a way more than the under sized ACTs. A 26x8x12 is more like a 24.7x8x12 and a 26x9x12 big horn is a 27x9x12. The other thing is wheel speed a King Quad at 7,000ft is only capable a 10mph wheel speed. Thats about the same as a 400 outlander in fact I have seen a 400 outlander out perform a king with ACTs.A 800 outlander has a wheel speed of 20mph with a 26" big horns.

  53. Sam. While contact patch is a big deal, and I've oftentimes said that I prefer a longer contact patch to a wider one, that is only one small part of the equation.

    What I have been focusing on is the hardness (and stiffness) of the rubber compound and the design of the tread. Siping for one thing is totally missing and it is a big factor in how well a tire works in adverse conditions.

    And exactly where did you come up with this 'wheel speed data' at 7000 ft? Sounds like something you made up.

  54. I have owned a lot of ATVs since my first one a 1990 Polaris TB 350 and it had a wheel speed of about 10mph about the same as a 700 king Quad.I have also owned Two Outlander 400s one a two up still 10mph.wheel speed.I also had a Polaris 500 it had a 12mph wheel speed then I had two 700 Kaiws. I have owned Two 800 Can Ams I put 16,000 miles on one it was a two up XT and I still have a 800 Renegade.The Two up had a 20mph wheel speed and the renegade is over that. I also have spent time on a King quad and a 700 Grizz both have wheel speed of about10mph even with a clutch kit.

  55. DE if track speed and track sizes is important on a snow machine why wouldn't it be on a ATV in snow

  56. DE If a sand tire is used in soft sand has a stiff paddle why can't a tire that is used in soft snow have a lug that is stiff enough to bite.

  57. Stupid, cheap, and cool-looking sand tires with molded flames on them have stiff paddles. The best sand tires are those that have the carcass cut away and a nice flexible paddle. Plus there are only about 6 or 8 of them. (BTW: I was an editor at Sand Sports when the magazine started.)

    Track sizes and track speed is important on snow machines. They gear the tracks down so they don't spin too fast!

    I'm glad you've owned a lot of ATVs and think that you've measured the rear wheel speed of these machines. I've been in the ATV and off-road industry since 1992 and never heard of such a thing.

    Here's the bottom line - you've worn me out! Think what you want as it seems there is no convincing you otherwise.

    Take care Sam and keep riding! It's the one thing we have in common ;-)

  58. DE They gear the track down so they don't spin too fast. Are you sure better check that statement out. The real Mountain sleds look for track speed up to 100-mph with a turbo.

  59. enjoy last winter Pipestone home stake Butte MT.

  60. Have you ever used Skat tracks in the snow. They work well but if you get into the rocks or ice they will tear up.

  61. Never did. In So Cal, dune season was/is in the winter (Glamis). So we just always rode the dunes and didn't give snow a second thought....

    Did see a guy try paddles on a Prairie in the mud nationals we filmed. Duals even! Great idea but didn't work as planned..

  62. This is a link to video that I did last week. He rides about 4,000 miles a year and has both ACTs and Big Horns.

  63. DE hear some more video of staying on top of snow

  64. Hears more the second ATV fell though the snow while following me. The snow hear is about 2 to 3 feet deep.

  65. 10,000 miles?? I seriously doubt that. Mine were bald with 4500 miles on them.

    Frozen snow is easy to stay on top of and I can't believe a CanAm is stuck in the snow that's equipped with BHs.

  66. First If you rode a lot asphalt I can see then wearing out in 4500 miles but that's twice as far as ACTs will last on the same ATV. As far as the ATV stuck in the snow with the BHs. We were on a snowmobile trail and that's what happens some times after one ATV goes over it they brake the crust and the second guy falls though if he slows down. It's a lot of fun if you keep the power on.

  67. Sam.

    While I suppose you could say that longevity is a part of performance, it's certainly not in the foremost part of that equation in my book on performance. You can't have handling and longevity any more than you can have fast acceleration and high fuel economy.

    I always use the NASCAR analogy; Why don't you think they run a set of tires that lasts the entire race? Because they wouldn't perform as well as a set that wears out in 50 miles!

    And you can say (and think) whatever you want, but a huge solid block of rubber without any siping or hollow is not going to perform well, only last a long time.

    Bighorns are 'the' most popular tire for ATVs and UTVs, but just because a lot of people perceive it to be good, does not make it so. No more than the fact that a lot of people voted for Obama makes him a good president.

    Please continue to think as you want, but you will not convince me that the Bighorn performs well any more than you will convince me that Obama is a great president ;-)

  68. DE All I'm saying hear is in Montana's long long winter we have not found a tire that works as well as a Big Horns. I have a open mined so if you want to come up and show us how well your ACTs work come on up you are welcome.We even have King Quad with Big Horns so you don't have to run along side of a Vee twine. What do tires have to with a tree huger like Obama.

  69. DE I know im a little late in posting on this topic but i like watching all your review videos. It is true that the stock tires on most new atvs are not all that great. I just purchased a used 2003 suzuki ozark locally(your review made me consider this machine in the first place)for a good price and the only thing it needed was 2 new rear tires. I went with mudlite ats as they were actually the least expensive tire in almost stock size(same diameter, an inch wider) bought them at a local shop and I really like them. They're almost as light as the oem tires and dont seem to affect performance at all as far as power goes. Im surprised with what this machine will go through with relative ease though i havent really tried to go through any really deep mud yet. Hopefully ill get many good miles of service out of them. Im surprised with how sporty the ozark is being only a 250(actually 246cc). I owned a honda recon before and the ozark seems to have noticeably more power, seems like 50cc more. And the brakes are so much better than those crappy drum brakes all around on the recon, night and day difference. The extra ground clearance is nice and rides so much better than the recon.

  70. Great points. I bet those Mudlites do work great on that machine. Keep me informed on how it works for you.